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  • Patrick Hughes

Reflecting on the 2015 Portland Home & Garden Show


At the 2015 Portland Home and Garden Show I lead a design team of volunteers from the Association of Northwest Landscape Designers (ANLD) to create a display garden entitled “Hot Summer Night.”

Our team included Dana Dokken of Bridge City Arbors, and Stacey Bower of Eden’s Gate Design, both along with myself are members of ANLD. Our collective effort was a smashing success, as we earned a Gold Medal for Landscape Excellence.

Designing a display garden was a brand new experience for me. It was exciting knowing our work would be put on display with tens of thousands of people having an opportunity to take a look. With this in mind I set out to make an experience, something relevant, a space people could relate to and interact with.

Initially when I learned the space I would be designing was 50’x20’ it seemed quite large. But in comparison to many of the other display gardens it was relatively small.

I however liked the size because it was representative of a typical Portland backyard. It was a space people could relate to, and the design could demonstrate the ability to transform a small space into several well-organized functional areas.

In addition to and along the same thread of creating a space people could relate to I wanted to bring things into the design that were trending in the Portland home and garden scene. And nothing is more hot right now than the Tiny House.

Shelter Wise provided the Tiny House to us and as expected it was a huge hit. Everyone wanted to take a tour of the 12’x8’, 96 square foot abode. The Tiny Home tempts the imagination and makes you consider a simpler life.

For me it was exciting to design around the Tiny House. From a landscape design perspective the Tiny House offers a bounty of opportunity. Given the tight quarters it’s only logical to develop outdoor rooms and living spaces around the perimeter of the Tiny House.

The layout I put forward included an outdoor living room space that included a natural gas concrete fire pit surrounded long swaths of plant foliage, flowers and textures. A planting that was well curated by Stacey Bower.

Adjoining the living room was a lounge area complete with a bar created from reclaimed lumber and sporting a concrete bar top. The decking in this space too was built from reclaimed wood, as was the arbor that was built by Dana Dokken of Bridge City Arbors. Other clever touches were the cedar seats also created by Dokken. These seats were designed to set atop the block wall. Minimalist and comfortable made these seats attractive and functional.

Looking back on the Display Garden experience there were a number of positives that came from this event. Being a solopreneur the ability to work in a team was refreshing and educational. As was working with other ANLD members during the construction of the garden, the show and then of course through the tear down of the garden. That said, the opportunity to connect with people as they interacted with the creation and see their imagination tempted before my eyes was a special treat.

I learned there is a lot of work that goes into a display garden. But the rare opportunity to witness people interact and be inspired by your work is worth the effort.

#portland #garden #2015homeandgardenshow #tinyhome #landscapedesign

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