Too Shady for Grass

The Challenge

This property combines a health care clinic and family living on the same property. We wanted to create an inviting space for patients entering the clinic, while considering the busy schedule of both owners. We were fortunate to be invited to take part in a local salvage operation when a water filtration plant was being constructed nearby and transported many sword ferns from the forest which would otherwise have been destroyed. Over time we converted different sections of the property from lawn to planted areas.

The Design

The sensitive area under a large cedar tree needed special consideration to prevent root damage during the planting process. We covered the area under the tree with cardboard, with the root balls of the new ferns shallowly planted under the cardboard and applied a shallow layer of soil amender over top. The garden was gradually converted over time as the tree grew and shaded more area of the garden. The gardens at the street side of the property have been reserved for pollinator friendly flowering plants, and most of the space devoted to shade loving native plants. The existing shrubs were preserved and create a feeling of a long-established garden. The heavy drop from the cedar tree is kept in the open central area of the garden to prevent growth of weeds and maintain an open play space for children.