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Designer Marina Wynton - The Stafford Garden

Homeowners Tim and Elizabeth Stafford were neighbors of designer Marina Wynton in North Portland for many years. In 2010, the Staffords moved to NE 50th & Tillamook and went right to work on making the house and gardens their own. Like so many properties, the new house was largely surrounded by old sod with some plantings on the banks in the front yard. In 2012 the Stafford’s hired Marina to design a new landscape.  

Tim and Elizabeth described their style as casual, minimalist, modern, and European. The design challenge was to define which elements of the garden would carry a modern or European styling and how to blend them to create a unique eclectic stylistic result.  The garden style that evolved is well described as casual modern meets Italianate. Tim and Elizabeth collect art and many of their personal favorites can be seen throughout the garden. 

The Stafford garden is a series of garden rooms.  Each room designed for its unique function, bio-climate and to complement the architecture of the house.  The front yard and primary entrance to the house is designed as a formal entry with classical elements and formal planting scheme.  The west side yard is private, very hot in summer, and contains all the elements of casual daily living with a modern meets Italianate styling. This area is truly multi-purpose with many features coming together in a functional and beautiful space; these include a storage shed designed by Marina and built by her husband Mike Pajunas, an Italian style fountain from Versaille Gardens, a deck and trellis structure, dining area, gravel area with a foot fountain, custom benches surrounding a fire feature, a separated area for BBQ, planting beds, and custom concrete and wood work.

Marina provided a full planting plan for each yard section. The plans were modified by Tim Stafford at the time of the original installation, and Tim, Elizabeth and Marina continue to collaborate on the evolution of the planting beds. Each yard is a unique plant style. The front yard is a formal scheme complementing the concrete walls. The east side yard has a more organic and looser scheme with bouquet like plant groupings while the west yard is minimalist with lines of more architectural plantings. 

The Stafford Garden is the result of an ongoing collaboration between the Staffords, Marina Wynton (landscape designer), Eric Schmiddling (landscape contractor), Eric Eaton (building contractor) and Mike Pajunas (all-around creative & builder). 

Marina’s love of the natural world is reflected though many creative mediums. After practicing architecture and teaching, Marina turned her attention to landscape design over the last 17 years.  Marina enjoys helping people get out into their gardens as a way to connect with nature and one another.  Marina now works for GRO Outdoor Living as Senior Landscape and Interior Designer.

Link to Marina's Profile

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