When Marcia Westcott Peck and Dennis Peck had their home built in 1991, their knowledge of Oregon flora was limited and their back yard was one long, poorly graded slope, not to mention a large, muddy pit, filled with blackberries and poison oak and weeds and construction debris from neighboring projects.
But that was then.
Slowly, project by project, they transformed their property into two beautiful gardens, front and back, and Marcia became a voracious student about which plants thrived and flourished in the Northwest.
They terraced their sloped property into a series of small gardens, including a shade garden, a sun garden, rock gardens, fern gardens, a vegetable garden and perennial gardens. They hauled in tons of rock to regrade an area and build an elaborate firepit with a mosaic reflecting the night sky surrounded by three towering Douglas firs. They installed two water features and built a rustic arch, much of it from storm debris. They incorporated metal artwork, including a gate from a gold-medal-winning display garden Marcia designed for the Home & Garden Show.
They then added a garden path filled with Marcia’s unique dryset mosaics, a crushed rock patio and so many projects that the editor of The Oregonian’s Homes & Gardens section asked them to write a regular column about their latest endeavours.
In the last five years, they’ve ripped out a hillside covered in ivy that they had planted in 1991 against their better judgment, installed concrete steps with carved stones and a meandering crushed-rock path, rebuilt their front porch literally from the ground up, replanted one of their side gardens and finished a complete redesign of their front garden, featuring many unique plants as well as a curved stone path.
The front and back gardens are ever-evolving, with dozens of new plants and plant varieties introduced each year and the once-ubiquitous lawn reduced to a modest patch in the back garden.
Marcia brings her artistic background (she was an art major in college) and love of plants and stone to bear on every aspect of the garden’s design, along with her fervent belief that a garden is never — ever — truly done.
Marcia has been a landscape designer since 1995 and a columnist for The Oregonian’s Homes & Gardens section for over five years. She brings her artistic background into her work. She’s won gold medals for her display gardens, and her gardens have also been featured in numerous newspapers and magazines and on dozens of tours.