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Wagner Garden – Designers Helena and Dan Wagner

The Wagners’ glorious garden is the result of their artful collaboration that combines Helena’s design sense and love of gardening with Dan’s woodworking skills producing a serene and stunning personal retreat.

When they purchased the house in 2003, the yard consisted of a neglected lawn and vegetable garden; a bleak view from the kitchen window. Drawing on her Korean heritage, Helena yearned to create a tranquil, Asian-inspired space with four-season interest, abundant edibles, and areas for outdoor living. This vision guided the overall design layout and hardscape choices.

In 2012, the moss laden front lawn was removed and replaced with a welcoming courtyard, providing a restful place to visit with neighbors. The winding dry streambed that flows through the middle of the space is surrounded by exuberant colorful plantings. Viewed from the seating area by the water, the ever-changing seasonal vignettes take center stage.

The entry to the side garden is clearly designated by a pair of gates featuring bamboo insets designed and built by Dan & Helena. What is now a tropical bed was originally a drainage system covered with river rock. The new raised bed delights visitors with sun loving, bold foliage plants like Red Tiger Banana, Magnolia, Melianthus and Canna.

The backyard is divided into two main sections: lawn and ornamental garden. The gravel pathway meanders through arbors and over a bridge, connecting the rooms of the ornamental garden, eventually leading to a water feature and secluded patio surrounded by trees, shrubs, bamboo and other ornamentals.

Helena’s passion for color is represented throughout the garden in stunning plant combinations. Burgandy and red, blue and silver and chartreuse and gold vie for attention. Foliage, textures, and forms come together creating harmony and contrast. Trees anchor the garden providing four-season interest. Favorites include Skyland Oriental Spruce, Silberlocke Korean Fir, Bonsai Pine, Bamboo, Azara, Persimmon, Japanese maple, Crepe Myrtle, Paperbark maple and Stewartia. Edibles and ornamentals are integrated throughout the landscape.

Garden art, ornaments, stone lanterns and furniture are situated throughout the garden reinforcing the Asian inspired theme. Arbors, lampposts, a bridge, benches and screens ornament the various garden rooms adding a sense of place.

As a team, Helena and Dan have created a wonderful outdoor space that is both functional and beautiful. Now, as they walk their garden, they can relax and enjoy this little slice of paradise that brings them so much joy and gratitude.  Helena, so far away from her birthplace, has created a sense of home.

The water feature, flag stone patio and pavers in the front were installed by Bret Penselin of Oregon Outdoor Landscape Co.


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