The Mauch garden is a little sleeper of a garden situated under a ‘Heritage Elm’. The 1912 home, set on a typical 50’ x 100’ lot in NE Portland, is not a typical yard of lawn and a few shrubs. It is a garden of modest means, yet careful design.
When the homeowner bought the house, she knew she wanted to add a back room or sunroom in the future but didn’t want to wait to have a garden. Barbara Hilty, APLD, of Barbara Hilty Landscape Design LLC designed a garden for immediate enjoyment and livability while anticipating the future renovation by clever placement of patios and walkways that would work regardless of the dimensions and layout of the remodel. This scenario became the ideal situation for creating garden rooms within a very small area and enlarging the feeling of the small lot. The addition was recently built without having incurred additional costs to modify the garden.
Instead of replacing the steep lawn with an expensive retaining wall, a ground cover was chosen that re-roots as it grows on the slope, increasing stability. The existing brick edging was widened into a path that winds through lovely, mature rhododendrons: the ideal magical playroom for grandchildren. The path widens in the front yard and, with the addition of a bench, becomes a restful place to linger.
Ceramic sculptures by Katy McFadden create focal points within the garden and enhance views from within the house. A privacy screen designed and built by Jane Hart buffers the bedroom view of the neighboring vehicles. The carefully pruned clumping vine maples create additional screening.
By building an arbor over the path in back, the existing unruly grape was successfully rerouted away from the house. The existing shade room patio was enlarged making it more usable. A tall trellis was added later to screen a neighbor’s new RV.
The sunroom consists of a gravel patio with local basalt set within a circle of steel edging, an attractive and inexpensive way to create a patio. The crescent-shaped raised bed captures enough sun to grow a few veggies.
The garden was installed in 2007 by Nature Safe Landscaping. As with any garden, ground covers and smaller plants have been replaced to accommodate changes in light levels as trees and shrubs matured. Over time, there has been more emphasis on plants that are easier to maintain. Once maintained exclusively by the homeowner, care of the garden is now shared with Courtney Downing of Green Artisans LLC.