Urban Oasis

A tiny postage stamp of space had two big things going for it: multiple vantage points from which to view it and two clients excited by the creative process of improving it.

The design focused on creating visual clarity from three angles: a small Master Bedroom deck acts as an aerie with the broadest vantage point; basement access provides something akin to a grotto with the enjoyment of details at soil level, and, at mid-level between the two, the Main Deck used for dining.

Altogether, this was a space with enormous untapped potential.

These levels, now enhanced and improved, visually interact with a square patio and a stone sitting wall, both placed askew. This playful offset creates a graphic/spatial tension within the space. Plants are a foil to this, deployed to provide lush organic textures and patterns. Carefully chosen sculptural elements further strengthen desired sight-lines.

There is a fun, easy logic to how the owners use and enjoy the space; their activities on multiple levels animate the design and add further interest.


View from basement media-room past the ‘Grotto’ to the sculpture beyond.


Soil level details.


Steps to main garden level.


View across the width of the garden.


Two strategically placed sculptural elements.


Visual interest at the square patio.


Foliar vignette.


Leaf contrast at the bamboo.


View from main deck.


View from ‘Aerie’ with patio askew below.


Plants as a foil to hardscape and sculpture.


Textural composition.


Graphic ‘pop’ at the patio.

Better Homes & Gardens | Leafing Out

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.Read Full Article (PDF)

© 2020 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. For rest of the story, please see the August 2020 issue of Better Homes & Gardens available through 8/12/20 respectively wherever magazines are sold. http:/bhg.com