Modest 1925 late craftsman house in the Seattle area wants a new front yard--maximizing ease of care, native plantings, and curb appeal.
Total budget for this project should not exceed $3,000, including materials, plants, and labor. A handrail for the lower steps must be included in the design in order to be eligible. Designers can choose to include the sidewalk strip as part of the overall design, or this strip can be left out of design--optional.
B) Existing Conditions:
Facing the house, the original concrete stairs lead up from the concrete sidewalk--a rise of approximately four feet; exact measurements below.
The yard is mostly lawn/low weeds with a concrete walkway leading from the steps to the front stoop of the house. (Altering front stoop--such as knocking out concrete steps--is outside the scope of this project. However, altering the concrete walkway along the south side of the house is acceptable) Notice in the photos that the front lawn is not level--priority will be given to designs that do not require re-leveling the yard.
The cyclone/chain link fence in the photos belongs to a neighbor, and cannot be altered. However, designers should feel free to "hide" it. There are the remnants of a wooden white picket fence gate on the south side of the house that designers should feel free to change or remove in their design.
There are existing plantings (misc. ferns) near the house that the owners want to remove as part of this project. They could be salvaged for part of the design if specified.
The house was recently purchased. The yard has been fairly neglected.
Additionally, for insurance purposes, handrails must be added to the lower steps. The owners want to incorporate a handrail into the overall landscape design. Currently there are cast iron rails only on the top of the front stoop. Those should be removed in the design and replaced with an integrated handrail design.
The winning design will incorporate handrails on the top and lower steps.
Increase curb appeal, make the yard an inviting space, add handrails.
We plan to execute the project within the next four months. We would definitely consider working with the winning designer after the competition--perhaps on the back yard, eventually. However, the winning design will be very complete with plant lists and planting specifications.
The designer does not necessarily need to be available after the competition.
The house color will eventually change--no need to "color-coordinate" with the house, the red stairs are pre-existing. Ideally, the design will be in keeping with the urban, pre-war, residential neighborhood.
Owners have a love for Japanese-style "wildness"--including moss, maples (colorful Japanese maples are favorite), wood, and a variety of textures and shapes. The owners do not want to maintain a "super manicured" look.
About the owners: active, outdoor people with one mellow dog. The owners are not avid gardeners, but are happy to do regular pruning and maintenance, but do not want a high-maintenance garden/yard (<5 hours of maintenance work per month in the summer).
Successful designs will be within budget, incorporate native plants, make creative use of the space, have an incorporated handrails, include plans that are ready to execute, and improve the curb appeal of the house.
The priorities are 1) curb appeal, 2) installation costs, and 3) minimal ongoing maintenance.
Layout, plan view, top view
Description in text
List of plantings
List of materials
Rough budget breakdown of costs
Owners seek clear, easy-to-follow plans. Design will be implemented partly by the owners (DIY), not landscape experts. Deliverables should include: list of plants and where they will be planted, materials/estimated price list for rocks/slate/handrail/etc., large projects may be completed by a contractor--but the designer must budget accordingly (i.e., installation of a fence/rock wall, etc.)
Black and white photo below is an archival shot from the 1930s. Owners are including the photo for reference only--the house paint in more muted colors.
Measurements are below. More measurements available upon request.