The Myers garden was transformed from a traditional builder’s basic landscape into a creative Asian-inspired garden retreat over the course of 2 years by using a 3-phase installation plan set. The owners, Alan and Jan Myers, are world travelers and were excited to know that it was possible to recreate some of their most treasured memories from distant gardens.
Some design challenges included a 24’ x 30’ garage that was set entirely in the front yard. Upon entering the property, the main view was dominated by a huge garage door and a wall that was 26’ long x 12’ tall. With only 22” of ground space between the wall and entry walk, David West of Structures in Landscape came up with a one of a kind solution. West designed and built a custom steel sculpture using solid steel forged artwork in the form of vertical screens. Included in the design of the screen is a custom tree of life that rests in a ring of steel. All rays that emit out from the tree of life represent the five elements of life. Over the course of 24 months, specific roses were trained to grow up each vein of the design and this has now become a major attraction to the landscape.
Shortly after the project started, the neighbor next door decided to install a basketball hoop along the property line. Here another large metal screen was installed that uses camellias trained vertically to grow up and block the view of the sport court next door. During the winter months, the homeowner is rewarded with a stunning floral display.
Lush new plantings weave around the natural bluestone patio in overlapping fashion and help to create a full and interesting attraction in the garden. Bamboo plantings screen numerous views from the adjacent properties that are only 10 ft. away.
Another unique feature was the installation of a 3800 lb. granite Buddha shipped in from overseas. This heavy accent brings a central focus to a small meditation garden surrounded by large bamboo screenings. The main view of the Buddha is restricted by a custom steel planter vessel, which bends along a custom flagstone pathway.
To center the entryway of the main deck, two extremely large glazed pots were nestled into the ground on each side of the deck entry. These are lit with spotlights and planted with a brightly colored Loropetalum ‘Sizzling Pink’. This allows for the reflected glow off the pots to help navigate the steps leading up to the deck, without having a harsh glare from a direct light source. This look has been one of the favorite features from friends and family!
Extensive gravel pathways with 3/16” steel edging guide the visitor throughout the entire project while giving a calm sense to the space and garden. In addition, a custom 32-night light system was installed. The owner purchased hand carved granite Chinese lanterns that we disassembled and then installed custom LED lights inside. Each lantern weighs around 400 lbs. and sits in strategic locations throughout the backyard.
What was once bleak yard, viewable from four different neighbors, has now become a hidden gem. As the visitor wanders through out the garden, a sense of peace and calmness takes over the mind and spirit. Each new twist in the pathway brings joy of what lies ahead.
David West — Structures in Landscape
David has owned the Design/Build firm Structures in Landscape for the past 20 years. David has an engineering and landscape architecture background, and can take on difficult jobs. Using custom fabrication of stone, wood, and steel from his design/build studio, and lush plant materials, David has developed some of Portland’s most unique gardens.