A Stream And Pond For A Modern Home's Garden
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
2M ago
The client’s home is modern, almost minimal. The brief for the front garden was NOT minimal: build on a slope, no trees over 15’ at maturity due to the neighbor’s view, work in a Japanese garden influence, lean a little modern but also soften the home’s face, incorporate native and drought tolerant plants where possible, and let the homeowner control all the systems on his phone. So what did we do? The design is anchored by a dramatic water feature with a 25’ long stream and a series of falls that culminate in a 4’ drop into a pond that sits right at the driveway. It makes a statement while dr ..read more
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How We Design Landscape Lighting Systems
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
7M ago
What do you want out of landscape lighting? You want it to look beautiful and maybe make your house a bit safer and more secure. It’s not rocket surgery. But how does it get there? Not by accident, but by design. Each one of the lighting systems we install is unique, but there are a number of principles that guide their design. Our Landscape Lighting Design Principles: Start with focal points. Your garden has features and views that are worth highlighting. Your garden has elements that will work well with light. Our job is to determine which of these should be featured and then what kind of ..read more
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Should You Have Landscape Lighting? The Pro's and Con's:
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
8M ago
You have a to-do list for you home that is a mile long, a dozen projects you could choose to do. If landscape lighting is one of them you may be trying to do a cost-benefit analysis. But that can be difficult to do if you have never had one. I design and install landscape lighting and have a system myself. Here is what I suggest you consider before moving forward with a new landscape lighting system. Reasons to get a low voltage lighting system: First and foremost, landscape lighting is attractive. It will make your home and garden look beautiful. And perhaps just as important, low voltage li ..read more
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The Biggest Mistakes People Make With Their Landscape Lighting
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
9M ago
Low voltage landscape lighting is pure joy. No one has ever regretted enjoying there landscape in new ways, for more hours, for a fraction of the total cost of the garden. Even poorly designed landscape lighting is better than no light. But we don’t want poor lighting, do we? Here are some common mistakes to avoid (or fix if you already made them):   Too many fixtures. This might be the most common low voltage lighting mistake. If you have too much light nothing stands out, new ways of seeing your garden are washed away in the glare. I recommend you start with the smallest system you ca ..read more
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Perennial Gardens And Meadows: What To Know
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
9M ago
Perennial gardens, landscapes made up of primarily flowering perennials and grasses, have come into their own. Designers like Piet Oudolf, Beth Chatto, Nigel Dunnett (and many others- those are just my favorites) have shown us that gardens do not have to revolve around trees, shrubs, and manicured lawns. The new perennial gardens take their cues from nature, yet use plants from all over the world. They can look delicate and ephemeral but are anchored by plants that grow along roadways with no help from us. And while swaths of color and texture seem made as much for Instagram as the Museum of ..read more
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Landscape Lighting Fixtures - This Designer's Favorites
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
10M ago
Low voltage landscape lighting systems are pretty simple. You have a transformer with a timer and/or photocell plugged into one of your outlets. From there 12 gauge wire runs to each of your fixtures. Where connections are made you will have some silicone filled wire nuts. That’s it. You probably don’t care too much about what wire I use or even about the stainless steel box that powers the landscape lights… but the fixtures that actually produce the light? Those matter. Here are some of our favorite manufacturers and fixtures.   Best LED Low Voltage Landscape Lights: Path Lights AMP S ..read more
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Japanese Inspired Strolling Garden In Hillsboro, Oregon
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
1y ago
A large property in Hillsboro, OR with a mature garden. The trees all stay but lawn goes away. What replaces it? For this design and build project we envisioned a strolling garden with two main areas. One area is open and linear with shade loving plants and boulders flanking the path. The other area is lightly screened and revolves around a large dry pond and some mature Japanese maples. This was a very rewarding project. Our clients gave us lots of leeway and the results are beyond what they had envisioned. I love properties with mature trees- the new landscape doesn’t feel like a baby garde ..read more
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Can I Design A Landscape For You To Install?
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
1y ago
Certainly. Landscapes can definitely be a DIY project for many. So when I design for you to DIY, how does it differ from any other design? Landscape Design for DIY Installation: Elements. I won’t design an element that I know you should not tackle yourself. This means, for example, that while I can include a fountain or bubbler I won’t include koi pond. Materials. I’ll choose materials that generally require less skill. Pavers, for example, are hard labor to install but don’t require advanced skill. Natural stone patios, on the other hand, will either be done by a professional or will be ugly ..read more
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Japanese Garden Designed by Michael Ellena
Ross NW Watergardens Blog
by Ben Bowen
1y 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
1y 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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