Leafing Out

Better Homes & Gardens | August 2020

A focus on dramatic foliage in a Seattle garden delivers maximum impact with minimal upkeep.

As graphic designers and plant aficionados, Michael Connors and his husband, Dean Hart, thought coming up with a vision for their Seattle backyard would happen naturally. It turned out that “our love of plants actually made it harder,” Michael says. “After years of trying, all we had was a random assortment of cool plants.” Realizing they needed outside expertise, they turned to garden designer Paul Broadhurst for help.

Broadhurst suggested designing the garden around one theme — foliage — and planting in large swaths. “I like to use fewer plant varieties but in broad brushstrokes,” Broadhurst says. By planting in blocks and emphasizing leaf shapes and colors, the designer created a garden that is at once modern and lush, plus looks good year-round. Focusing on foliage also means the couple has to do little deadheading or other maintenance. “We have more time to sit in the garden with a glass of wine or hang out on the deck while we watch hummingbirds dart in and out of the bamboo,” Michael says.
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