The Smith’s garden is unlike any other garden in their area, effortlessly directing the passerby to pause and take in its natural beauty. This garden began as an interstate collaboration between the clients, Steve and Jennifer Smith, and their designer, Elida Rivera of All Oregon Landscaping. In 2016, the Smiths still lived in northern California as construction began on their hew home in Lake Oswego. During this time, Elida familiarized herself with the site by studying the house plans and making visits to their property. Upon her first visit, Elida could see the opportunities the property offered: slopes, sun, shade, woodland….so much to work with!
The real fun began when she started the conversations with Steve and Jennifer via emails and phone calls. The Smiths were a pleasure to work with – laid back, engaged and open to new ideas. They had a clear vision of how they wanted their garden to feel and function: a natural and flowing landscape avoiding formality and pretention; outdoor living spaces to maximize the connection between their home and garden, elements such as a hot tub and firepit incorporated into the backyard hardscape layout; space for vegetables, fruit trees and cut flowers; and a welcoming front yard landscape. The talented crew at All Oregon Landscaping brought all these ideas into reality by shaping the property to actualize the Smiths’ landscape goals.
The front yard has full sun exposure and a substantial elevation drop from the front entrance to the street level. Massed grasses, flowing shrubs and perennials take advantage of the constant sun exposure and lend themselves to the natural feel of the garden. Large boulders set throughout the front slope, frame the oversized bluestone stair treads and staggered steppers, encouraging guests to experience the garden as they approach the entrance. The front entrance patio is larger than typical, meant to be a destination to hang out and greet neighbors. The large swale required by the city, is an aesthetic feature and ecosystem in itself….and a favorite spot for the Smith’s cat to explore and hide.
The backyard has an ideal mix of deep shade on one end and sun on the other. The sunny side is perfect to fit their small raised garden, cut flowers and espaliered fruit trees. The house itself has a large living room sliding door intended to seamlessly connect the house and garden. The large patio adjacent to the living room was designed to encourage this connection. There is ample room for outdoor living including a covered area, hot tub and firepit. The bluestone theme is carried from the front yard to the back, featured on the wall caps, large stair treads leading up to the lawn, hot tub coping and a built-in seat bench.
Since the garden’s completion in 2017, it continues to grow and evolve. Elida continues to enjoy her garden collaboration with the Smiths and watching it mature into the garden she envisioned.
Elida Rivera – All Oregon Landscaping
For 25 years, Elida Rivera has enjoyed a career in horticulture and landscape design with the past 8 years spent as the senior designer at All Oregon Landscaping.
She loves collaborating with her coworkers and is constantly amazed at the talent and skill they possess to bring her designs to life.