Before & After – Kip Nordstrom designer

Kip Nordstrom’s client emphatically wanted an English-style garden surrounding her Portland area ranch-style home. Landscape designers like to factor in a home’s architectural style to create a cohesive and complementary garden design. In this case, the client made changes to the façade of the home—adding shingles to replace the home’s siding—to make her preferred garden style mesh with the homes appearance. That’s commitment! A charming garden shed in back enhances the effect.
English-style gardens typically require a greater commitment to garden maintenance to keep exuberant borders looking their best. In this case, the client’s husband preferred a lower maintenance yard, which posed a challenge for the garden designer. Easy care was forefront on Kip’s mind as she created the design. Since the garden’s installation, the client—a plant lover—has researched and added many more plants than were in the original design. And her husband has been very accommodating.

To address steeply sloping front and back yards, Kip used stone walls to create multi-level spaces that are more visually appealing and functional. (And stonework is quintessential to English garden design.) Colorful plants add interest year-round and specimens plants can more easily be showcased.

The front yard was completed first, followed a year later by the installation of the back garden. As many gardens do, they evolve over time. A future kitchen remodel needed to be accommodated in the backyard’s design. This was accomplished by designing in lawn that can be easily removed when building begins.

Landscape designers often offer their clients a wide range of services. In this instance, Kip created a design on paper, placing the boxwood hedging, trees and shrubs in the design but allowing flexibility in the selection and placement of perennials. She and the client initially shopped for plants together, but those plantings have since been supplemented with additional plant purchases. Kip sourced many of the plants found in the garden. A landscape contractor installed the stonework and many of the plants with Kip’s oversight to ensure the designed was adhered to correctly.

“To design a garden that reflects the soul of the client, I must really understand the essence of the client,” says Kip. “It’s this part of the client-designer relationship that is most challenging. But once I ‘get it,’ the design moves forward quickly.” The client’s touches can be seen throughout in the plant selections and garden accoutrements. The neighbors are happy, but more importantly, the client is thrilled with the result.

Kip Nordstom
Kip Norstrom Design LLC
Member Association of Northwest Landscape Designers