By Pamela Richards
Michelle and Chuck Joans wanted a garden with seating, a
small water feature, and plants protected from their two delightful and
energetic Portuguese water dogs. We eventually decided on a patio, water
in a container, a dog run and a fenced-in garden for their West Seattle
Now, a planting area contained by a wire fence supported
by cedar posts dominates the yard. Clematis and honeysuckle climb the wire,
which becomes virtually invisible. On top of each grayed post sits a
glass telephone insulator or a ceramic finial.
A dog run of playground chips lies between the garden
a patio made of old brick. Substantial containers edge the brick walk and
patio. Comfortable blue Adirondack chairs and a table—all built by
Chuck—invite one to sit and enjoy the nearby rose, scented daylilies and
contained water feature.
As a decorating style, the Joans’ prefer a “primitive,
rough” look: original birdhouses, a table topped with an old door and an
obelisk of rusted metal embellish the garden. Michelle protects the water
feature with a freestanding old metal gate that re-directs the dogs to the path
or their run; a solution both practical and aesthetically appropriate for her
The Hill Garden
When Mindy Hill became a dog owner, her Issaquah plateau
garden was a year old. The spacious backyard was fenced on three sides
but open along the house. Jim Honold of Home and Garden Art designed a
gate for one path leading into the garden; and Mindy and her husband Tom
installed a found gate across the other one. Old wood fencing, which
Mindy collects, closes off any remaining space. Thus, her foot-tall Cairn
terrier, Winnie, is safely contained.
In Mindy’s garden, plants and furniture and pieces
“falling-apart old” blend seamlessly. A dainty-flowered clematis weaves
through an old gate. An orange honeysuckle, a red rose and a yellow
trumpet vine (Campsis)
climb a rusted metal arbor sporting a large red star. Scarlet yarrow (Achillea) grows in a container
set on an old wood brick layer. Tarnished toy trucks nestle beside
chocolate daylilies and sherbert-colored coralbells (Heuchera).
can stretch out in the shade beneath a wood
chair with peeling red paint nestled between a peony and a black-leaved dahlia.
The Brewster Garden
My sister, Marjorie Brewster,
had an established garden in
north Seattle when her son’s black Lab came to live with her. Jake is big
and exuberant; and although he usually rushes along the paths, just one excited
trip through some plants will destroy them.
Marjorie decided she would “direct where Jake
using the “plain” vintage pieces she collects. In her garden, vintage
always has been practical as well as pleasing. Vines scramble through
glassless small-paned windows. Simple white plates stand upright,
protecting clematis roots from the sun.
Now, rusted fading metal bedsteads shield perennials and
small pink-leafed maple. Yellow motel chairs sit back to back on slabs of
marble, guarding a delightfully gangly Lonicera
nitida ‘Baggeson’s Gold’ that has shot up to five feet tall since
Jake lost it as a urinal. A weathered stool in a curve beside the path
keeps Jake on the path as he happily trots to greet a visitor. NWGN