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Designer David West - The Irvington Trio

Portland’s Irvington District contains some of the most impressive homes built in the 1900’s.  In each of the Irvington Trio, three front yard gardens designed and installed by David West in this historic neighborhood, you will find superb craftsmanship from an era of time that is almost impossible to recreate with today’s high labor cost.  Gone are the days of great craftsmen who passed down their trade to the next generation.   In a world where everything is pre-fabricated, modular at best, these homes excel in the complete opposite direction.  

These collections of old homes have outstanding custom details such as seven-layer crown moldings, internal roof gutters, and impeccable stone facades.  A true testament of this wonderful collection of hand-crafted details lies in this fact: in today's labor market it would cost more to reconstruct the exteriors of these homes from scratch than it would be to buy the property outright.  

David West created these gardens to reflect a period of time reminiscent of great craftsmanship and pride.  These three historic homes were brought back to life after the landscapes had been neglected for decades.  Instead of landscaping up to a tilting front porch, the entire front porch was lifted and repaired or replaced.   Sinking foundations were repaired to respect the structures themselves and to guarantee another 100 years of wonderful use. Tiny and unusable driveways built for the Model T car were only 8’ wide.  Major earth moving, relocation of gas mainlines, and complete restructuring of the front yards and driveways brought these impressive old homes back into the modern times.  

Great care was taken to improve the functionality of the properties without taking away the incredible character of each home.  Large grade changes hide behind perfectly fitted basalt stonework, acid washed driveways, custom bluestone walkways, and lush plantings.  Custom nightlights help showcase the properties during evening hours.  Simple, but pleasing to the eye, metal screens and planter boxes add a level of privacy and convenience.  Creative woodwork matches the quality and skill of the existing homes.  Modern irrigation systems with drip and spray combinations makes taking care of these properties a much simpler task. 

These three Irvington properties reflect a point of time that we as a society may never get back.  It was the heavy and arduous task of measuring, striking, fitting, and setting each basalt stone that gave great character and weight to the project.  In a world of picking the easiest option and getting the fastest results, David West has instead used time proven techniques from the old world to create one of a kind custom landscapes for each of these three properties.

David West – Structures in Landscape

David West has owned and operated the design/build firm ‘Structures in Landscape’ for the past 23 years.  The company’s motto is “We dwell on the details”.  Having an engineering and landscape architecture background, David is able to take on some of the most difficult jobs with his extensive hands-on experience.  By surrounding complex hardscapes with lush plant material and using the custom fabrication of stone, wood, and steel from his design/build studio, David has created a name for himself in the Portland area by developing unique and creative gardens.

Photographer: DoreenWynja

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