This Lush West Coast Garden Doubles As An Enchanted Forest
In this garden, the slap of a sprinkler and snore of a lawn mower would be unheard of. Instead, gusts of wind whistle through the treetops, and Cypress Creek gurgles over rocks as it rushes through the dense cedar and hemlock forest. For this 1960s post-and-beam home in West Vancouver, it’s a classic, naturally symphonic B.C. backdrop.
When the homeowners asked landscape architect Julian Pattison and his partner in design and life, Alison Magill, to take on the garden design, it wasn’t surprising that the firm, Considered Design, focused on the raw beauty of the site. They wanted the landscaping to bridge the existing garden with the home’s mid-century architecture and woodsy setting. “You feel like you’re in pristine wilderness,” says Julian. “Our role was to fit the garden within that environment.”
Scroll down to escape to this lush West Coast garden.
Simple landscape lighting illuminates the concrete walkway leading to the front entrance of the home. Majestic Douglas firs are uplit for drama.
After the post-and-beam house was extensively renovated, the gardens were replanted. Drifts of western sword fern (top) require little upkeep, and ground cover of Japanese spurge (middle) and mondo grass (bottom) are similarly easy to care for.
A cedar walkway edged in weathering steel has a boardwalk-like appearance. The cool blue undertones of ‘Big Daddy’ hostas complement the silvery cedar planks.
“The backyard gets quite a lot of sunlight in the summer,” says Alison. “The forest helps keep it cool, so it’s a nice space for the owners to hang out.” A contemporary planter and Black Diamond basalt pavers echo the home’s dark hue. “Basalt is the darkest stone we could get; when it’s wet, it’s charcoal grey,” says Julian. “Stone is a beautiful material that ages more gracefully than concrete: it just gets better and better.”
Philippe Starck’s garden gnome stools clustered around the fire bowl are an unexpectedly playful touch. “The owners already had the gnomes; we just gave them a home,” says Julian.
Drifts of black mondo grass accent the crimson tones of a ‘Bloodgood’ Japanese maple.
Sculptural seating beckons visitors to stop and soak in the lush surroundings.
“‘Palace Purple’ heuchera’s soft leaves add subtle color even when it’s not blooming, and it’s a perennial so it doesn’t need replanting,” says Julian.
“Some hostas are bright green, but we like the greyish blue tint of the ‘Big Daddy’ hosta. The cool grey with mossy tones is quite beautiful,” he says.
“The homeowners are keen to add fresh herbs in their salads. A planter adjacent to the kitchen is loaded with chives, mint, rosemary, chervil, thyme and basil,” says the architect.