Japanese Garden Designed by Michael Ellena
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
1w ago
Michael Ellena has put in time at Anderson Japanese Garden, then replaced my dad at Kurisu International, left there to start a high end aesthetic pruning firm, and has been involved with Portland’s Japanese Garden. He also occasionally designs beautiful gardens for private clients. His design style lean towards traditional Pacific NW / Japanese, with an excellent sense of what makes a garden sing when you are actually out in it. This is one of several Ellena designs we have installed. The garden is long and narrow, but the paths that wind through it give a sense of depth. Planting beds are ra ..read more
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Low Maintenance and Drought Tolerant ADU Garden
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
1w ago
As you can tell from the title of the post, this garden had to be a lot of things: very low maintenance, drought tolerant, and modern. My client was going to move into their ADU and wanted the outdoor space to help compensate for how compact the inside is. The concrete walls and patios were poured prior to our start. We installed low care plants, artificial turf, irrigation, and lighting. Everything was chosen to be easy to take care of and easy to not take care of- since the homeowner plans on being away for long stretches of time. interested in a low care landscape design ..read more
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Japanese Inspired Garden in Tigard, Oregon
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
2w ago
This compact garden is the primary view from the client’s home office, shop, dining room, and living room. From all angles it needed to look great, with tons of color and texture. A Japanese influence was desired, with some traditional PNW garden elements worked in as well. The water feature is home to some fish now and the fire pit, with a huge 300K BTU Crossfire burner, gets lots of use. Other than a bunch of lights having to be warrantied this project turned out even better than we expected. Want your own japanese garden ..read more
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River View Cemetery Garden by Ross NW Watergardens
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
2w ago
I had never heard of a “scatter garden” prior to this project, but it was a pleasure to work with the great people at River View in SW Portland. The garden we designed winds down a woodland slope to a deck that cantilevers out over a ravine. Several days a year the cemetery opens the area for people to scatter cremains at no charge. If people wish to commemorate their loved ones they can do so on one of the monuments placed along the path. This garden makes use of local juniper for the steps and the deck (by our favorite sub, Unity Services). Plantings were chosen to be happy under big trees a ..read more
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Bauer Oaks Estate Designed by Toru Tanaka
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
2w ago
This really special little garden was designed by Toru Tanaka. Back in 2003 (if I remember correctly) the home was just built and owned by Art Iwasaki- a wonderful man who also happened to be in the nursery business. I will never forget moving a Japanese maple from his previous home to this one. We did it at 4:00 AM since the canopy was 20’ across and my dad didn’t want to bother with permits and “wide load” hauling. (We would not handle it that way now!) The garden is now under the stewardship of an extremely nice couple. They contacted us when they bought the house and had us do some minor u ..read more
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Renovated Japanese Garden in West Linn
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
2w ago
The owners of this fantastic West Linn home bought it for the huge windows that looked out to the backyard. But as they started living in the home and cleaned up the neglected landscape they started to realize that the garden had, as some point in the past, been special. There were mature Japanese Maples and Plume Cedars, huge moss covered boulders, and a concrete shell water feature. Our job was to bring back to life this old garden, while adding in some new elements. Paths gave access to the garden without having to walk in the mud. A masonry firepit was to become a destination. The enclosed ..read more
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Family Friendly Modern Landscape Design + Build
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
2w ago
This home, and the family that lives in it, are thoroughly modern. The landscape, on the other hand, was dated and a bit formless. We use rustic juniper timbers and weathering steel to create a garden that is functional, fun for kids, and that complements the lines of the home. Want Your own modern garden ..read more
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Green Hills Neighborhood Garden by Lynn Wolfstone
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
2w ago
Lynn Wolfstone designed this unique garden. The client is an artist and wanted to play with colors and textures. The house is built on a slope, with the front yard sloping up from the house and the backyard sloping down. This means the front yard garden is lifted up so you can see all of it from the front windows. But when you look out at the backyard you have essentially the same view that you do when you look down at a design. Phase 1 was the front yard, which was transformed by weathering steel walls, boulders, and pebbles. The backyard was Phase 2. You can see more pictures of both here at ..read more
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Modern Japanese Garden in NW Portland
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
2w ago
High up in the NW hills of Portland, just about 50 feet lower than the Pittock Mansion, is a beautiful modern home. Most of the property is a steep slope below the home and from inside you look right over it. But along the street in the front yard is a narrow strip, ready to be garden. This was a very collaborative project, with the homeowners providing a vision and feedback. One is a bonsai enthusiast and so we tried the pull from that world. The focal point pine tree was selected by the homeowner at Bentwood Tree Farm. The basalt squares were sourced from a now defunct stone yard in Washingt ..read more
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Modern Japanese Garden in Camas, Washington
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
2w ago
The client hired us to do a modern Japanese-inspired design for the front yard. After reviewing the initial design he said: “Let’s do the huge back slope too”. When I presented a design for that he said: “It’s good but let’s go bigger”. Call me now if that’s the kind of person you are. This project has so many elements that were a stretch for us (and probably for the client as well). My favorite is the huge wood retaining wall in the backyard with a section that appears to float unsupported over the slope below. Some gardens are built for the owner’s eyes only. This one was built for the neigh ..read more
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