After enlarging a spring-fed pond on their Redmond, Washington, property, Vi and Don Kono realized that an overhanging deck would be a serene retreat on lazy summer days, as well as give fish a place to escape from hungry herons. Once the fir-plank deck was in place, the Konos added a pair of classic Adirondack chairs. Then Vi, a landscape designer, started dressing it up. She brought in two large containers full of tropical plants. To visually anchor one side of the deck, she planted one container with a pair of variegated flowering maples (Abutilon hybrids) underskirted by white bacopa. The maples' finely divided leaves contrast with those of round-leafed Indian rhubarb (Darmera peltata), a water-loving plant on the left edge of the pond.
On the other side of the deck is a container featuring Canna 'Tropicanna'. Its bronzy purple foliage echoes the deep red leaves of 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple growing on the far side of the pond.
In fall, just before frost, Vi prunes the flowering maple back by about 3 feet and cuts the canna to the ground. Both spend the winter in a frost-free greenhouse. In May, she moves them back out to the deck.
DESIGN: Vi Kono, Creative Designs, Redmond, WA (425/868-3035)