An Inspired Sanctuary

(This is a 2018 garden description. Gardens for this year’s tour can be found here.)

Photo by Gretchen Flickinger

Photo by Gretchen Flickinger

Red pots along the former parking strip grab your attention and draw you into the new 2016 front landscape for this classic 1949 brick rambler. 

Many visits to the Japanese Garden at the Seattle Arboretum have inspired the total makeover of the front yard. Five tall and thoughtfully-placed Japanese maples, underplanted with hostas, Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica) and Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’) anchor the entry into this serenely modern garden. Gently swaying bamboo softens the surrounding concrete. The low wood fence with aluminum accents mimics the aluminum-trimmed windows and strong horizontal lines of the house. The sound of water gently falling over a large piece of columnar basalt guides you up the walk past graceful, opened-pruned rhododendrons saved from the original 1952 landscape. 

As you reach the water fountain, your gaze drifts along the front of the house to a planter of Japanese blood grass that softens the brick exterior. From there, look south across the small patch of lawn to staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina), many fern varieties and more maples sheltering a large stone Buddha. 

Rounding the corner to the backyard, you will instantly see The Chief, a stainless steel kinetic sculpture by Anthony Howe, that moves effortlessly with the slightest hint of wind. Enjoy a breathtaking view of Puget Sound, a stunning 70-year-old Mugo pine painstakingly pruned by Lane to its current form and a wonderful fountain that musically falls from a comfortable patio dotted with specimen potted plants. 

In 2003 when the house was purchased, it was difficult to see anything here but overgrown shrubs and blackberries. Sophia and Lane devised a plan and did most of the work themselves, creating this beautiful and tranquil small sanctuary that complements the view. 

Not wheelchair accessible.