Mosaic pathway

A colorful pebble mosaic creates an eclectic garden focal point
Lauren Bonar Swezey

Cool gardening opportunities often present themselves in surprising ways. For landscape designer Vanessa Nagel, hers came when a water-guzzling fir killed off a circular patch of lawn.

The dead grass occupied the perfect spot for a garden focal point, so Nagel started by replacing it with drought-tolerant thyme. She then surrounded the thyme with a pebble mosaic of the mythical creature Ouroboros ― a snake or dragon that represents the cyclical nature of seasons in many cultures.

Nagel re-created the creature in a 12-foot-diameter, 2-foot-wide ring installed by artist Jeffrey Bale. At the center of the ring are 11 varieties of thyme. "As the thymes have knitted together, they've produced the effect of a Persian carpet," Nagel says. The imaginative design garnered Nagel an Award of Excellence in Sunset's 2004-2005 Western Garden Design Awards program.

 

DESIGN: Vanessa Nagel, Milieux Design Studio, Vancouver, WA (360/546-2746)