“Where Trees Rule – With conifers keeping the spirit alive, a property is born again.” So read the title of Valerie Easton’s article in the June 9, 2013 edition of the Seattle Times’ “Pacific NW” magazine, when Seattle Landscape Architect and garden designer Brooks Kolb was featured for the large garden he recently designed on Mercer Island. This project was a terrific opportunity for Kolb, not only because of the beautiful forested site, but because of the client’s passion for preserving and enhancing it.
Throughout the three and one-half year design and construction process, the clients expressed an uncommon ability to make good decisions, expressing their sensitivity to the site. The design theme for the interiors, designed by Kelly Wearstler, was “Hollywood Glamour,” so the landscape needed to offer a calm counterpoint to the rich fabrics, textures and materials inside the house. Given its 2 acre site, the landscape is actually a collection of several contrasting garden spaces, each with its own genius of place: a sweeping lawn and entry garden; a pool terrace; a tennis court surrounded by tall Timber Bamboo; a native woodland garden of ferns and hostas surrounding the Yoga Studio (an independent structure); and a native garden on the steep banks of a ravine.
Perhaps the most special aspect of the garden is a bluestone terrace extending out into the lawn opposite the bedroom wing of the house, in line with Oregon sculptor Lee Kelly’s stainless steel sculpture and fountain, which punctuates the woodland edge opposite the lawn. For this symmetrical and axial terrace, Brooks Kolb tagged a giant Japanese Maple at Big Trees Nursery, which was installed on the west side of the terrace to match an existing mature Maple on the east side.
The driveway, with its subtle, semi-circular bulge for parking and passing, was paved with porphyry cobbles from Argentina. Over time, when the Japanese Hornbeam trees (also from Big Trees) that flank the driveway grow larger, they will form a shady tunnel canopy, separating the sunny entry from the equally sunny parking court beyond.
Here’s a link to the article: http://seattletimes.com/html/pacificnw/2021115568_pacificpnwl09.html
Architecture by SHKS Architects; Construction by Roberts Wygal and In Harmony; Gardening and Landscape Maintenance by Zook and Oleson.
Photograph by Benjaim Benschneider