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Designed for viewing ... from above or ground level.

Consider the goals for this roughly 50-foot-square garden remodel: privacy from neighboring houses, a vegetable plot, a place for compost, a sense of spaciousness, and outdoor living areas. Too much to ask? Then consider these results.

Portland landscape architect Laurence Ferar and his wife Maryvonne now enjoy sunny pockets, dappled shade, and views of simple, wide expanses where favorite plants and plant combinations grow. Here, too, they cultivate the produce central to the cooking of Maryvonne's native France--basil, thyme, garlic, endive, cornichons, and other crops.

Ferar divided the sloping lot into two levels with a 3-1/2-foot-high stone retaining wall. Using a rotary tiller, he added soil amendments over the entire plot.

Off the dining room, the deck pictured at far right floats about 2-1/2 feet above the upper garden level; wooden steps connect deck and garden. Water in a shallow concrete trough runs across the upper level and spills through the retaining wall into a lower-level pool. A pump recirculates the water through a pipe that's buried alongside the trough. An assortment of water plants in rich heavy soil in individual black plastic pots that are submerged in the pool.

Graveled areas on the upper and lower levels are a mixture of 2 parts pea gravel and 1 part coarse sand. This mix settles down into a more stable surface than gravel alone.

When the owners decide to try a certain plant or combination, they rake back the gravel and plant in the enriched soil beneath. One interesting grouping grows along the south side of the garden: tall Siberian iris, big blue-leafed host a (Hosta sieboldiana), and maidenhair fern.

On the lower level, vegetables occupy 420 square feet where the sun exposure is greatest. In the southeast corner of this level, a small concrete patio gives the owners another place to sit, though the slab will later serve as a greenhouse foundation. Opposite is the reading garden pictured at top left.

To enclose the property, Ferar used 6-foot-high wooden fencing softened with plantings. Golden bamboo (phyllostachys aurea) flourishes along one stretch. It's considered a runner, but Ferar controls it by pruning unwanted emerging shoots below ground level.

Landscape architect Richard Painter also advised in the project.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:May 1, 1985
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