When landscape designers Rebecca Sams and Buell Steelman of Mosaic Gardens first visited this front yard in Eugene, Oregon, it was like a time capsule of ’60s design. With its expanse of concrete, old-fashioned boxwood hedging, and half-dead ivy, the yard was at odds with the wooded hillside around it. “We wanted the garden to flow through the landscape,” Sams says.
Their first task was to remove the concrete walkway and add an ipe boardwalk leading to the front door. On either side of the path, they planted western sword ferns to create a low-maintenance field of green; they require only a haircut to remove old fronds in April.
“We wanted to have that sense of floating above the ferns as you walked in and out of the house,” Sams says.
Clumping bamboo (Fargesia rufa) provides screening, giving the entryway the cozy feel of a courtyard, while a strategically placed Japanese maple greets guests as they arrive. The effect is exactly what Sams and her partner intended: “We thought, Let’s just keep it simple.”