Jun 4, 2015

Room of the Week: Scot Eckley Inc. Landscape and Construction

Category: Outdoor
Location: Seattle

A modern-minded client wanted an-easy-to-maintain outdoor room created on her newly completed backyard deck. She chose Seattle landscape designer Scot Eckley to turn the blank slate into a sophisticated and visually dramatic space where she could share meals and relax en plein air with friends.

Inspiration: Located near the Puget Sound, this backyard naturally takes cues from its watery neighbor. Eckley incorporated seaside elements throughout the project, including hanging a glass float from a mature Arbutus unedo, or strawberry tree, and lining a walkway with beach glass–filled circular pavers. When it came to choosing materials, the homeowner’s refined tastes inspired the designer’s choices. “The client had a modern aesthetic,” notes Eckley. “so I used contrasting materials, like the wood decking and black concrete.” Stainless steel accents repeated throughout accentuate the space’s clean lines.

Breakdown: “The retired client spends a lot of time on the road in her motorhome, so she wanted the space to be easy to maintain and to look good every day of the year,” says Eckley. He upped the low maintenance factor by using gravel instead of grass, and planting simple irrigation-watered containers in lieu of in-ground gardens that would require higher upkeep. Unfussy bamboo surrounds the deck, adding privacy. To mask the barbeque, Eckley created an organic screen using cedar planters and textural greenery.

“Security was an important consideration,” Eckley adds. “Landscape lighting became a key element at night to provide both visibility and dramatic interest. We added gravel in the side yard and in the circular stepping circles so that the client could hear anyone walking through the garden. The circular gate was designed so she could have a line of sight into her garden when pulling her car into the garage.” 

Get the Look: To emulate Eckley’s sleek outdoor space, keep furnishings simple and plantings sparse and easy to maintain. Use planted containers to create boundaries between spaces or line them up to create a focal point.  

Images courtesy of John Granen.
Text by Nicole Munson.

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