The backyard of this Shoreline home was essentially unusable prior to its redesign. With a huge rain garden taking up the majority of the yard space, it looked more like a jungle than a backyard. The oversized rain garden was not only too large, but also located directly in the middle of the yard—leaving little usable space. After living in the home for a few years, the homeowners were ready to sculpt a backyard that would fulfill their dreams and give their family of four space to make lasting memories. They wanted a covered deck for all-season outdoor space, an outdoor deck for dinners with family and friends, a patio for additional entertainment space, intentional places to garden, and a real lawn. Our designer and Shapiro Ryan Design crafted a backyard that would hit each of these wishlist items, while also giving the family bonus space inside the home.
A rain garden is a garden of native plants placed in a small depression to temporarily hold and soak in rain water runoff that flows from roofs, driveways, patios or lawns. It is meant to require little care, and help lower the strain on public systems during rainy seasons. Here is the Northwest, that’s almost every season! Excess “stormwater,” resulting from heavy rains or melting snow, can cause sewer backups, or pollute and erode our streams and waterways. Most cities in our region have requirements for managing stormwater in residential yards. In the case of this Shoreline home, the existing rain garden was improperly designed. A new design required substantial thought by the landscape architect, the homeowners, our team and city officials, making for a challenging obstacle.
Ultimately, the family got the backyard of their dreams just in time to plant a few things for the end of summer. The addition matches the existing siding perfectly, and the new outdoor space looks like it was always designed that way. There’s plenty of lawn space, a patio for the family’s fire pit, and a covered deck where they can keep their grill and other rain-adverse items. The new rain garden is half the size, and moved to one side of the yard. Alliance Landscape Services did a beautiful job bringing the design to life with California wax myrtle, grassy-leaved sweet flag and other Pacific-Northwest native species.
Two of our favorite features are the built-in container garden and LED deck lights. One of the homeowners is an avid gardener, and wanted to incorporate garden space into the yard wherever possible. Our designer floated the idea of using a built-in container garden instead of a deck railing, and she loved it! Now, the homeowner can keep smaller plants right outside the back door. The area gets plenty of light and the container box drains down into gravel below. The LED deck lighting is also a special touch. Simple lighting can transform a deck from a platform to a true entertainment area. It not only creates a safer backyard at twilight, but it looks beautiful too!
In addition to the changes mentioned already, landscaping was completed on the side of the home with pavers and an out-of-sight place to store garbage bins. Under the new deck, the family now has a hidden shed for storing outdoor equipment such as lawn mowers, furniture and games. Our thoughtful backyard design hit every item on their wishlist and more.
Photos: Cindy Apple Photography