When the Cassidy family first arrived at “Windy Hill,” a three-acre parcel cresting at 500 feet just south of Lake Oswego, the first goal was to the remodel the house siting the kitchen, living and dining spaces showcasing views of the valley below and Mt. St Helens rising in the background. Adding a deck to traverse the length of the front of the house helped create space for outdoor living and grounds the scale of the house to the surrounding landscape.
When Sue reached out to Lucy Hardiman and her cohort, Teresa Dennis, of Perennial Partners in the fall of 2013, little did she know she was embarking on a multi-year garden renovation that ended up having a life of its own. Along the way she became an OSU Clackamas County Master Gardener and joined the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon.
Sue’s initial goal was to find a way to minimize the huge lawn on the upper tier of the front garden. A long boulder wall is the line of demarcation between the lower meadow and old orchard, vegetable garden and the upper lawn and house. On her first site visit, Lucy suggested breaking up the rectangle of grass using organic lines to sculpt it into curvilinear bed shapes. Since family and friends congregate to play, socialize, and dine in this part of the garden, the planting plan was designed to peak in summer and fall.
Sweeps of ornamental grasses and perennials dance in the wind their changing colors foreshadowing the inexorable descent into autumn. Upright and dwarf conifers add winter and architectural interest as do broad-leaved evergreens, hellebores, and a witch hazel. Larger plants were carefully sited to soften and bracket the valley views without obscuring them.
Work over the next couple of years was a natural response to the design of the open front garden…finding ways to create privacy and intimacy. Adding a berm along the property line at the base of the meadow/orchard created space to plant a hedgerow of mixed evergreen shrubs that stops the eye and encloses the space. Another berm filled with interesting broad-leaved evergreen shrubs along the lower driveway on the side creates separation from the neighbors.
During 2015 an existing island bed previously planted with an assortment of shrubs and trees was enlarged and replanted to shield and screen the hot tub at the end of the deck from the upper driveway. A mid-sized hinoki cypress with inky-green foliage and a Japanese cedar sporting soft feathery foliage anchor the bed surrounded by nandinas, camellias, low grasses and groundcovers
A gate and stunning Japanese maple mark the entry into “Windy Hill” from the lower driveway. What was a long border with a non-functional dry creek bed was transformed in 2016 into a mixed border that sets the stage for this country garden. A colorful panoply of foliage and flower colors (blue, coral, yellow, russet, purple and green) mingle in drifts up to the front entry enticing you to explore the rest of the garden.
Lucy Hardiman – Perennial Partners
Lucy Hardiman is immersed in all things horticultural from her passion for garden design, lecturing and activism in the regional gardening community to her role as principal and owner of Perennial Partners, a collaborative garden design group rooted in an obsession for ecological planting, innovative hardscape design and sustainable solutions.
Teresa Dennis – Perennial Partners
Teresa Dennis, born overseas and widely traveled, brings broad strokes to her designs. She enthusiastically helps clients create their own outdoor oasis, whether in large country settings or small urban spaces.
With a background in the retail nursery business, she uses her vast botanical knowledge when creating planting plans.