I live in an 85 year old Tudor house and garden under two giant maple trees that suck the water and nutrients from every inch of soil in my front garden. For years I have experimented with every conceivable shade plant and have struggled with irrigation and lack of light. In autumn, my trees drop several feet of large indestructible leaves that smother my front beds. Gardening under these circumstances has been a challenge but it has taught me nuances of shade gardening that cannot be learned from books.
My back garden is, with great purpose, without large trees. It is very small, only 33’ x 41’ and was designed with raised planters to give dimension to my otherwise flat yard. Not only do the raised beds provide good drainage and make gardening more accessible, but they also provide seating for large crowds.
My garage is half again as large as a single car garage so I had the luxury of using part of that space for a garden room that faces out into my garden. Having a covered seating/dining area in the rainy city of Portland greatly extends the amount of time we can spend in our garden. Having French doors that close and a heating and music system makes the room enjoyable even on the coldest days and gives me a place to house tender plants during the winter.
My terrace was constructed with classic bluestone pavers. The beds are bordered with steel edging and the concrete is an acid etched finish that is silky smooth to the touch. Lighting was installed to illuminate the steps and, for dramatic effect, the beds have spotlights that I can move about through the seasons.