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Designer Carol Lindsay - The Petit Garden

Homeowner, Lisa Pettit, had a dream about sitting out in her garden even when it’s cold.  As her designer, Carol was enthusiastic, though concerned that she wanted a fixed location fire pit.  Poor placement can easily ruin the flow of the entire back yard; It can be awkward to use and too expensive to remove and correct. 

The Fire pit Must Be Integrated into the Design: The fire pit must be visually subordinate to the overall garden design.  It's easy to get excited about a fire pit and forget that Lisa’s primary goal was a plant lover’s garden. The fire pit must be integrated into the design and work well with the other functions of an outdoor living room. For instance, there has to be ample room between the fire pit area and the dining area or it feels clunky and cramped.  Lisa’s dining table is on her deck so we had no crowding issues. 

Watch out for Pointing Corners: When the fire pit is a square or a rectangle, we need to be sure the corners are not pointing at the door to the house. Walking toward a strong point doesn’t feel inviting, it’s a basic feng shui principle that is very powerful. 

Strong Contrast: The materials for the fire pit and the patio hardscape need to have strong contrast.  Here the square concrete pavers used for the patio surface are notably distinct from the multiple-sized natural stone walls of the fire pit.  This is important.  It will look wrong if this contrast is not factored into material choices.  Concrete paver for the patio and then repeating something similar or worse, matching is usually a mistake. 

 Visual Integration: There are 4 rooms to this garden. The fire pit, the bird sanctuary patio, the existing rustic deck, and the raised sun garden. Planting beds weave in and out of these rooms softening the entry to each room and integrating them into one garden. The angle of the fire pit wall leads the eye straight to the bird sanctuary patio. 

The Pettit Garden offers a unique bird patio, and cozy heated sitting area surrounded by colorful plantings to satisfy pollinators and entertain guests. A large stone planter contains exuberant summer flowers. Multiple hardscape materials for patio, paths and bird patio integrate beautifully. The elegant built-in firepit is perfectly placed, a rarity in landscapes. Lisa enjoys playing and relaxing in her garden even in cooler months.  Her mature paperbark maple and sassafras tree create fall fireworks.  Lisa enjoys her neighborhood and colorful front garden even in the rain from her cozy covered front porch.

Carol Lindsay - Landscape Design in a Day

Carol Lindsay’s Landscape Design in a Day process is designed to create with her Portland clients at their kitchen table.  After two decades her goal is the the perfect design to fulfill her client’s heart’s desire and fully utilize each property’s potential. It’s fun to have the moment when we discover the perfect design together.

Photographer: Doreen Wynja

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