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Designers Amy Whitworth & Lora Price - Cochran & Courts Garden

Homeowners Christian and Sara asked designers Amy Whitworth and Lora Price for a landscape to match their vision of a colorful, modern garden suited to their home and family-centric lifestyle.  The contemporary mid-century house design influenced the choice of rectangular, angled and straight lines for the landscape’s layout.  The homeowners had already designed and installed a fabulous new entry featuring steel planters and wide, welcoming steps that flow effortlessly from the driveway.  Large, staggered concrete slabs were poured in place within the lawn as an alternate route from the sidewalk to the front entry.

The corner lot provided a large public area for play. Existing lawn was traded out for lower water use RTF (Rhizomatous Tall Fescue) sod, suitable for heavy kid use.  The angled beds in the oversized parking strip provide a continuity of color with the foundation plantings, while welcoming neighborhood friends to come and go easily and guiding kids away from the street and into the open play areas.  The mature birch tree was surrounded by medium sized shrubs to provide color, texture and visual separation from the busy corner, and fine gravel provides a clean pathway to the back gate.

The contemporary fence and two backyard decks were already in place, so the design challenge was to create circulation and plantings around the mature walnut tree and the stylish modern playhouse/sandbox that was under construction.  The kids and their friends love the zip line that runs from the playhouse along the fence line on the narrow side of the property to the work area behind the garage. Wood chips were used for all of the backyard play area surfaces. The enviable finished garage space and shop has a second overhead door which opens onto the backyard gravel work area, providing nice air flow and circulation through the home. 

Plants were chosen based upon their ability to thrive in the presence of walnut toxicity in the soil. Arborscape Tree Care was tasked with treating the walnut to produce fewer nuts, reducing head injuries in the late summer as they ripen and drop over the dining area. Privacy was a big consideration and strategic plant placement was required to block views directly into the home.   Most downspouts are disconnected and directed into new rain gardens around the property to control and purify stormwater. A broad-crowned and thornless golden honey locust was planted to eventually soften the view of the tall neighboring building beyond.

Amy Whitworth, Plan-it Earth Design

Amy Whitworth, educator and owner of Plan-it Earth Design since 1998, collaborates with homeowners on personal landscapes for healthy living from concept through completion. Interactive natural spaces for families, pets and wildlife include edible, native and compatible plants. Specialties include stormwater solutions and water efficient plantings that are easy, diverse and texturally interesting all year.

Lora Price, Design With Nature

Lora Price owner of Design With Nature, combines her backgrounds in landscape architecture, organic horticulture and permaculture to create outdoor living spaces that are functional, beautiful and low maintenance. Design attention is given to building healthy soils, utilizing rainwater as a resource, conserving water use, and enhancing habitats for birds and pollinators.

Photographer: DoreenWynja

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