The owners of this garden are busy people who spend several days each month traveling for business. They needed a landscape which was low maintenance. They wanted a landscape with a nod toward Asian design. And the clients wanted a dog friendly garden because they were planning to adopt two puppies.
The existing site was predominantly north facing, wet and boggy. Nearly the entire backyard was planted in lawn which was always wet and squishy which pointed to drainage problems. There were a few existing conifers breaking the view of the back fence but there was little else in foundation plantings. The entire site dropped off from the street so the primary view of the backyard was from the second story with no direct connection to the yard below.
To address drainage issues a dry creek was created to funnel water to the lowest point on the site and to add interest to the view from the second story living and dining areas. The dry creek also created a visual anchor when it was wet or dry. As a play spot for the puppies, the lawn was reduced in size and replanted at the sunnier northwest end of the yard as far a practical from the original boggy area.
A path of pavers was designed to connect the existing patio with the landscape. The path traverses the lawn and meanders through new plantings surrounding the dry creek crossing over a little simple Asian influenced footbridge before turning back to the patio.
The real star of the backyard was a lovely, established Cryptomeria japonica (Japanese cedar) which became a natural focal point in the northeast corner. This specimen plant was the backdrop for the rest of the plantings and became a natural frame for a metal sculpture of Buddha the owners purchased. The new plant palette was selected to be low maintenance and to provide interest during a minimum of 3 seasons of the year with texture, color and structure.
And the puppies, now dogs, love it.