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Asian-themed Front Entry Garden

before design patio is too small and tall plants make space feel confining

Client Design Goals

• Asian Themed Garden
• Incorporate a Fountain and Stone Bench
• Add some Color in the Shady Garden

patio after design is large enough to entertain, feels like a spacious extension of the house; gazebo adds bug-free outdoor living

To achieve an Asian theme, native plants were used that evoke natural elements. Wide glossy leaves symbolize water and tall narrow plants represent mountains and trees. Bold and fine texture contrasts and different-colored mulches also signify changing landscapes. Dwarf clumping bamboo, fargesia nitida, will not spread aggressively and adds unique interest.

Before: Old, Overgrown Plants

Before:Old, Overgrown Plants

Site Analysis

• Strong Shade Restrictions
• Grade and Drainage established by Client’s Contractor who installed Walkway
• Straight Walkway should Provide Interest for Viewer to Slow Down
• Deer Problems Restrict Plant Choices

A common mistake is to plant shrubs and aggressive ground cover in places that are too small, especially at the foundation.The pachysandra was beautiful but overtook the walkway and wasn’t very interesting. It was moved to the hillside. Rhododendrons are fairly easy to move as well. New dwarf varieties of rhododendron were planted.

Analysis of Needs with Budget
Consideration of options for:

• Bench for Client or guests to contemplate garden
• Snow Removal at foundation and walkway should be easy and minimize shrub damage from snow
• Include Water Feature: Electricity had been added
• Desire to keep umbrella pine, even though site is too shady
• Consider opening up mature surrounding trees by pruning, to let in more light
• Plants: Shade and Deer Restrictions; Low Maintenance
• Not concerned about Street View Impact, since large trees and scrub along top of property

Design Consideration: Shade, Color, and Deer Restrictions

Color is difficult to achieve in shady gardens. Most color in shade appears in the spring. Shade loving flowering perennials were planted, supplemented by impatients in the summer. A compromise was made to include some dwarf rhododendrons that would likely be targeted by deer. The small number will be sprayed or covered with fine netting in the winter. Some hostas are also experimental. Abundant rocks in the faux stream make it more difficult for deer to gain footing. Cephalotaxus, which is deer resistant, was used to replace upright yews. Texture and foliage color become important in shade as well.

Proposed Planting Plan VIew

Proposed Planting Plan VIew

For budget reasons, Client decided to delay planting the island bed on the plan.

Design Proposals:

• Design Sketches
• Provided Information on Suggested Plants

Empty Slate: Decision to Add another Bed for Bench

Empty Slate: Decision to Add another Bed for Bench

The Client opted for a second planting bed on the opposite side of the walkway to accommodate a bench.

Newly Installed Final Design of Asian-themed Garden

Newly Installed Final Design of Asian-Themed Garden

Newly planted, the design looks scant, but will fill in within a year or two


• Added wood feature to represent mountains and provide another natural element
• Client selected Stone Bench at recommended masonry supply
• Added the bamboo to provide height and evergreen element
• Faux stream bed as a way to add rocks to enhance Asian theme
• Small spring flowering shrubs and summer annuals for shade provide cover
• Low maintenance perennials and fewer shrubs

View along Walkway shows Fountain and Other Ornaments

Hostas survive Deer Two Seasons Later

Faux Stream Bed and Dwarf Rhododendron

Front Landing at Right

Stone Bench with Clumping Bamboo