An Oregon Coast Garden Gets An Unrecognizable Makeover

March 30, 2024

This Oregon coast garden, created by Mosaic Gardens, is full of beautiful ideas. There is nothing typical about this design. It is a full front, back, and all-sides garden renovation that takes a weedy lot and transforms it into a haven you’d hardly recognize.

Let’s take a tour – starting with the front garden.

You’ll see that that building has great views of the ocean from the front and side, so it makes sense to frame the view with a lush, beautiful garden.

A single-story house with a newly constructed terraced front yard.
This is more the’ During’ than the ‘Before.’ The garden’s structure has been created with small retaining walls, steps, and a way to access the sidewalk that isn’t through the driveway. It is always best to work in layers when building a garden. This is the hardscaping layer, and completing it first will ensure that you don’t have access issues later that will cause other parts of your garden to get torn up.

A lush residential garden with a variety of flowering plants and shrubs in front of a house with the street number 662.
The after for the Front garden. It is now lush and able to create privacy for the side garden. The hardscaping is softened, and the fact that you can’t see everything anymore creates mystery.
A well-maintained garden with a variety of plants and shrubs leading to a house with the number 662.
After – The gravel driveway and stairs to the side of the house.
Stone steps leading into a lush garden with a variety of flowering plants and shrubs.
After: A close-up of the stacked stone stairs and the knee wall that retains the front yard planting.

The Backyard Stock Tank Water Garden

A stock tank, cited in the center of a stone-edged circular gravel patio, provides both a focal point and a reason to travel to this area of the garden.

Remember, if there is no reason to go to a place- then you will never go there. Something like this provides an excellent reason to walk through and actually enjoy the garden.

Circular metal fire pit centered within a patterned stone patio.
Before the plants go it: A sunken gravel patio has great structure and will let the gardeners grow water plants.
Metal container used as a pond with water lilies and surrounding garden plants.
After: Water lilies grow in the stock tank pool and the planting fills in all the awkward corners.
A serene garden with a variety of plants and a small circular pond, demonstrating lush landscaping.
In the foreground, there is a potted succulent and evergreen garden. Lots of special plants look great when displayed together in a variety of pots whose colors make a cohesive palette. The pee-a-boo view of the water garden below is the perfect way to beckon you deeper into the garden.
Circular garden pond surrounded by well-maintained plants and pebble paths.
After – The stock tank water garden from above.

Other Details of the Garden:

Catching my eye is the oversized arbor over the ‘L’ shaped bench.  Typically, you might see a narrower arbor over a single bench.

The planting is striking and bold, combining well-known plants but in slightly lesser favored varieties.  (like the yellow Kniphofia and the fresh green Japanese maple, as opposed to the typical red)

A metal garden swing with overgrown plants in a lush green setting.

The L-shaped Bench and Arbor

Designed by Mosaic Gardens

Kniphofia and purple-leaved plants make a beautiful tapestry of textures.

Creeping thyme grows over the stone stairs.

A winding garden path lined with assorted plants and flowers.
Lush garden with a variety of plants and a stepping stone path leading to a wooden arbor.

An Arbour Made of Birch Trees.

The Birch tunnel.

oregon coast garden by mosaic gardens
Stone steps leading to a garden path surrounded by lush greenery and potted plants.
The view from the sunken garden back to the potted container garden area.
A serene garden path with stone steps flanked by lush, colorful foliage and leading to a wooden pergola.

The Vegetable Garden and Orchard

I wholeheartedly agree with Mosaic Garden’s own statement about sculpture in the garden. They have many projects where they have placed an Andy Goldworthy-esque stacked stone sculpture in a landscape.

“We believe that simple forms make the best features. In a classical or contemporary space, clean, unadorned forms dovetail with the geometry of their surroundings. In spaces that overflow with plants or lack a formal framework, visual complexity would be lost in the noise. Clean, quiet lines balance the surrounding chaos. We have designed several features, including a rusted metal fountain at the new Watershed building and several stacked stone sculptures. When left to our own devices, we always return to the simplest forms.

-Mosaic Gardens

This Goldsworthy-inspired stone ball sculpture is in their gravel courtyard (that is also an orchard), and it is a strikingly simple art feature that gives a clear focus to a space that would otherwise lack a defining characteristic.

A stone sphere sculpture placed on a gravel surface with trees and a corrugated metal fence in the background.
Stacked stone ball sculpture in the Mosaic Garden’s Orchard.
A garden pathway flanked by lush corn stalks on one side and dense greenery on the other, leading to a round stone sculpture.
A view of the stone sculpture (with the corrugated metal fence as a backdrop) through the tomato cages and corn stalks of the vegetable garden.

Storm-damaged backyard with fallen branches and debris along a stone pathway.

Before – The Backyard:

Dog in a residential backyard with plants and a wooden deck under construction.
A dog standing in a disorderly backyard with construction debris and a dismantled wooden structure.
A serene garden pathway bordered by lush plants and a large decorative pot.
Even though this garden is not that big and it is also built on complex topography, the designers have cleverly created many, many vistas through the space that make it feel more expansive. These walkways and vistas with obvious focal points easily carry the narrative of the garden and beckons you from one place to the next.
A large, round terracotta planter at the end of a garden path, surrounded by assorted green plants and a metal fence.
Here, a large piece of pottery set up as a small water garden creates one of many long views through the garden

Another trick I am noticing throughout this garden is a strong consistency of repetitive foliage colors. In the top areas, there are a notable number of blueish-colored plants. Picea pungens ‘Montgomery blue’ and other blue spruce combine with euphorbia, silverly blue phormium, and other plants to create a strong repetition.

As you move into the area of the garden with the stock tank water garden, you notice that the blues are gone and are replaced with a strong repetition of dark purple-leaved plants. These reddish and burgundy elements repeat, and even though they are not the same plant, the color pattern once again makes the space feel cohesive. Do you see it in the heucheras, phormium, Japanese maples, and elephant ears (among others)?

Finally, when you are in the vegetable garden area, some fresher greens and plants with green and white variegated leaves are introduced. These background tonal changes through the various rooms of the gardens really heighten the feeling of separate spaces, and the idea of separate spaces ultimately makes a small garden feel bigger.

What design tricks are you noticing? There are so many things to admire…what is your favorite?

More Oregon, Coastal, and stock tank garden posts:

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  1. Pam Thomas says:

    They are all my favorite. Gardening is one of many reasons I loved living in the Northwest for 10 years.

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