Greening your garden
Switch to sustainable garden practices for a lush yet healthier landscape
If a landscape is perfect, why tinker with it? This historic, 150-year-old property already had a lot going for it. Majestic trees, for one thing: A native incense cedar ― most likely planted around 1850 when the property’s first owners, the Pringles, lived here ― rises 125 feet in the air. Around this venerable monolith, a younger garden, recently installed by DeSantis Landscapes, grew up and filled in. Its paths led to sculpture gardens and satellite patios tucked beneath shade trees. A weedless lawn swept downslope to burbling Pringle Creek, while flower beds produced bouquet-perfect blooms and terraced herb beds delivered abundant seasonings. A gazebo, treehouse, and play areas nestled among the greenery. It seemed like everything a homeowner could want.
Except for one thing: Gardens need to touch the land more lightly, believes landscaper Dean DeSantis. He knows that growing spotless flowers and unblemished ornamentals can take regular use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and water. When his firm decided to go natural, he asked the garden’s owners for permission to make their landscape sustainable as well. The owners agreed, and DeSantis began making changes.
The team scaled down the lawn and planted more Northwest natives such as ceanothus and sword ferns, supplementing them with unthirsty plants like Japanese barberry, lavender, New Zealand flax, and yarrow. They built arbors of native woods and constructed dry-set paths of locally quarried stone that allow rainwater to flow freely through the spaces.