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Design

The Farmhouse Full Property Tour – See What We Are Working With (It’s Pretty Exciting)

There she is. Right now, post-demo, the farm resembles a set built specifically for the new “Saw-meets-Blair-Witch” mashup horror film. The production designer really nailed this one. It’s rather shocking that we ever did or will call this our dream house, but despite its current condition it was still exactly where I wanted to be a couple weeks ago when we visited. THANK GOODNESS, because turns out you can’t return a house (not that we would want to OBVIOUSLY… Ha Ha… ha:)). Sure, when we were there it was 75 and sunny (rare for April in Oregon) but there is something about that plot of land that makes me overlook what “condition” it’s in and just want to live there, with the kids running around getting lost amongst the blackberry bushes and future chickens. It’s magical. It’s almost like the trees block any real harsh wind, allowing only sweet breezes, and there is literally no street noise, despite being in a neighborhood. It’s mostly flat and usable, totally gated, with the house in the middle, an old sports court, so many trees, a barn, paddock, carriage house/sheep’s barn/garage, secondary victorian farmhouse, 2 oddly adorable sheds, a grove of rather ill fruit trees and so much more. It needs a lot of love (and a plan) but honestly, the kids love playing there as-is and part of me wants to make it better (update fencing, remove some blackberry bushes, power wash the sports court) but just keep it super rural and rough except where it’s close to the house (because we need a deck and some pretty native plants that are intentional). What if I just threw a bunch of wildflower seeds and see what happens? I’m also intimidated by the extent of work and I’m scared of myself because once I start “designing” something it gets to be VERY expensive unless I can DIY it – it’s a real gift I have and one that is an occupational hazard as a design blogger (chicken or the egg???). At the same time, we didn’t properly “design” the backyard here and we made some pretty annoying mistakes while rushing that we can’t really undo. So there is something to be said for having a plan before you just go for it (duh).

THE DRIVEWAY

You drive up a long tree-covered driveway that definitely needs to be paved, but because it’s not, you bounce around on dirt, potholes and gravel, and INSTANTLY you are transported to an old country farm. I want to keep it as-is, Brian wants it to be wider (why do men think they need such huge body clearances? It’s like, uh, dude, you aren’t THAT BIG. There is a (paved) roundabout driveway that connects the original victorian house to the main house and in the middle is a grove of fruit trees that is not in the best of shape but I’m determined to bring it back to life (and by ‘I’ I mean hire an arborist).

As I’ve said before, the house itself was a four-square box with a 1960s addition. It had mismatched windows from different eras, tiny plastic shutters and vinyl siding covering the original tongue and groove. Once it was all removed I actually loved it even more – the vintage windows popped and it felt just more what it should be.

Brian “surprised” me with a convertible mustang rental for our trip that was 100% not for “ME”

Pulling up to the state of our home while in a white convertible mustang was, well, a hilarious mix of worlds that made us all LOL a lot. Most people driving that car would not look so lovingly at the state of our home, but not us. The Hendersons are a real special mixed breed of wanting some luxury for us, and yet desperate to stay grounded and quietly punish our kids for being far more privileged than we were (I’m JOKING (??)). Nothing like sitting in a convertible Mustang, some Taylor Swift blasting (Brian’s choice, he’s obsessed) and a six pack of fancy microbrew beer next to a dilapidated “dream” farmhouse to further confuse our identity. Back to before demo…

That breezeway has so much potential. You might remember that a few iterations of the design ago we were going to add a port cochere (fancy carport) to the kitchen side of the original house, but as we were there last week we nixed it hard and fast. We love this connection between the two houses and we are just going to have a quick path to the kitchen and build a carport where they had theirs.

This side of the house (above) was one that sure we loved, but we thought we’d be playing way more in front of the living room (near the sports court). But as the sun was setting we realized that this is the most beautiful shady area near the kitchen that might be more of our family hangout space.

Oh, we’ve got rooflines for days. Four different ones that really don’t line up but these are the moments that we are strangely into. The odd, the quirk, a certain level of jank that screams “there is no way we are a new-build modern farmhouse” (nothing wrong with that, but this isn’t that). You know what else brings that sweetness?

This basement entrance with that cute little storm door on it. While this has to go because it’s falling apart, little moments like this say “I’m old and cute”. We’ll replace or rebuild something even more cute and charming (unless we have to remove for any reason). I also love those pretty wood storm windows on those two lower windows. It makes them inoperable but they are so pretty. This is when I fell back in love with the original windows. Without the dumb shutters and vinyl siding, you can really see what this house wants to be, despite looking like a horror house. And if you want to straighten out or line up those windows I see you, but we have decided those kinds of awkwardnesses are actually so unique to an old house (like the rooflines). So while we might change them and it might feel silly not to line them up at that point, if you have these kinds of oddities just know that we think they are sweet, despite being architecturally “wrong”.

Now to the sports court. The biggest selling point for Brian.

This guy is MASSIVE (like AA professional tennis sized court). It has a basketball hoop at one end with a big wood and wire structure to help balls stay in, and a tennis wall on the other side.

It’s not in the BEST shape, but we have no intentions right now of jackhammering it and making it smooth. It likely will never be flat enough to play regulation tennis, but we are hoping that with a powerwash and maybe a skim coat the kids can do everything they want to do there (which includes rollerblading – they are VERY into rollerblading). While I did play tennis in high school I think we are more interested in biking, scooting, playing basketball and maybe even four square.

THE SHEDS (IT’S ABOUT TIME)

There are two cute sheds next to each other on the property. I’ve never had a shed before and now I know why my brother INSISTED on putting in a shed at the Portland project a few years ago – there is just so much stuff that kids play with outside that looks like total garbage when its not stored.

This will house all things sports equipment, but I do have a fantasy of putting in an infrared sauna in a few years (with maybe an outdoor shower/toilet, too??). I’ve been using my sauna blanket a lot lately and it gives me something to look forward to every night so if I keep it up that might be something down the road. But for now, it has bins of tennis balls and a tennis ball shooter that the former owners left for us (thank you!).

It’s pretty darn cute and might be a great place to repurpose the original windows that aren’t energy efficient from our main house.

THE BARN

On the other side of the sports courts lives the cutest little barn you ever did see. It’s separated into two sides – one for livestock to actually sleep and feed, and the other (on the left) could be really anything (its so cute!!!).

Oh the potential. We do want to have some animals (we are still thinking Alpacas and definitely chickens as of now but not pulling ANY triggers until we live there for a while).

On this side of the barn is the paddock (an enclosed pasture). It housed a massive skate ramp (that you can see the markings of above) as well as a trampoline that has seen better days and a treehouse that could use some renovation).

It’s a lot of work, friends. It’s also a lot of space. On this side of the paddock is another pasture down from the sports court that is pretty much overtaken with blackberry bushes (which we are currently having cleared so we can see what we are working with).

I think that since there are so many “zones” it actually feels MASSIVE despite being only a little over 2.5 acres (which is big, don’t get me wrong, but most people say it feels closer to 4 or 5 acres). Of course, what we don’t have is a small body of water – a pond or stream and you KNOW my propensity towards water features. Our kids play for HOURS in our fake stream up here so I do have a 2-4 year goal to find the right place for some sort of natural looking body of water. Frogs are a must 🙂

THE VICTORIAN HOUSE

I’ll give you a full tour of the victorian house, but as you can see on the south side of the house is another field that the victorian house looks over. It’s so sweet and cute.

Inside this house we will eventually have a media room with games, etc for when the kids are older, maybe a basic kitchen for like popcorn and drinks AND then upstairs likely there will be our office. Full tour coming soon 🙂

The CARRIAGE HOUSE/SHEEP’S BARN

The last building on the property is what used to be a carriage house (I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea that functioning carriages were put in here for transport.) It is MASSIVE and has so much potential (if not currently deadly).

It’s really big (could fit 6 cars or like 40 sheep). But 1/2 of it is definitely uninhabitable and unsafe. It’s pretty close to the property line, so Arciform thinks that if we wanted to tear down and rebuild we wouldn’t be able to, so we might have to rebuild from the inside but keep enough of the original walls to get past the city stuff. It’s definitely phase 2 or 3. We have dreams of this being a dope workout area, storage and then just not knowing what my career future will be, I may want to start hoarding vintage finds again for big pop-up curated flea market once a year or so – Any excuse to keep thrifting and creating content around thrifting, upcycling and vintage, but knowing that I don’t need all this stuff for our home… I’ve got storage FOR DAYS Y’ALL. It could also be a photo studio, a place to host workshops… the sky’s the limit, but it’s currently rotted and well, dangerous so…

The video is really where it’s at – it’s super hard to understand where everything is so jusr watch through the ad (thank you) to see me giving you a full tour of the farmhouse property:

Right now I’m barely thinking about the property because I’m too focused on the house (and financially it would need to be a phase two). However, here is our rough plan of action …

1. We need a landscape designer to help with the decking design, the stairs, the hardscape – so we are looking for a landscape team that will be in it for the long haul knowing that we can’t tackle it all at once but we need to have an overall future plan (ish) so we don’t make short term mistakes that would affect our long term ideas.
2. We also need to get all the trees healthy asap so we will be hiring an arborist (anyone know anyone?) so they can start bearing fruit (I have a canning career to think about).
3. There is also one bare area of the fence, about 20′ long that is a bald spot of chain link fence into our neighbor’s yard that needs to be planted for privacy (Ken’s gardener is doing it next week).
4. We want to clean up so we can see what we are working with – the blackberries and ivy have absolutely taken over this property so we are currently clearing enough blackberries to be able to see (and leaving a bunch in the back for picking, duh) and clearing the ivy off of the trees, but leaving it on the ground for ground cover (for now). We’ll leave all trees and all bushes for now and then next time we are up there we’ll be able to really assess the property.

The problem about doing landscaping in phases is just like doing an interior renovation in phases – once you open up to do electrical and plumbing, it’s the best time to do it ALL. Irrigation is the main culprit here (and electrical out to the barn and landscape lighting) – it’s like if you are going to dig up everything to put in proper irrigation then you need to know where it’s going and to what plants need what level of water for however long a day/week/month. So that’s why we are barely pinning ideas for now while we fix problems. We’ll make the area around the house pretty and then not extend irrigation further out knowing that Oregon rains a lot so we likely will only have to water a couple months of the year and if it’s not too close to the house then the grass can be a bit brown and no one is going to die, except maybe the grass…

Check IGTV and Stories Sunday for a full tour (or the video above) because you can get such a better sense of it through video. IT’S A LOT to do, and I would say I’m overwhelmed but we aren’t. There isn’t a rush, we love the ruralness of it now, and part of loving an older home is committing to the long-term restoration of it. Also, remember my #1 mantra when it comes to renovation to negate the stress and keep the complaining at bay – renovating is a privilege, renovating is a privilege, renovating is a privilege (and it is).

So Questions For You:

  1. Landscape design/architect team in Portland? Anyone? Arborist?
  2. Green product recommendations (I’m being highly marketed right now based on my cookies, so I’m curious what electrical products are out there, what plant products, etc are good to know about.
  3. Has anyone affordably fixed a large sports court? And a follow-up question, we want to cover part of it for winter/rain so any great inspiration for making that look actually GOOD?
  4. I just read that Ipe wood isn’t sustainably sourced – anyone know of any decking material that isn’t orange-y that I can feel good about using for the big porch?

Mostly I can’t wait for the kids to get lost (together) in the woods like we did and build weird forts and worlds with just trees and bushes. Free-Range Parenting FTW!! (hopefully).

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Rusty
14 days ago

W.O.W! 🤗

Evelin
14 days ago

So exciting! PLEEEAAAASSSE, publish a map with an direction arrow! This would be so helpful. This would help to follow your explanations and thoughts.
I love the charm of lived life which speaks out of this property.

14 days ago
Reply to  Evelin

Yes! A graphic designer could create a custom “map” of the property. It would be cute, informative, and personalized art! 🙂

Ashley
14 days ago
Reply to  Jenny

Third for the map! Lakeside paper in Portland did our wedding invitations and she does BEAUTIFUL hand drawn maps. Definitely check her out!

Rusty
14 days ago
Reply to  Emily

There’s no video on my screen??🥴

Karen
14 days ago

That property is so lucky you found it. (So is the previous owner)
You both have quite the eye for potential. I can’t wait to see your renovation privilege in action 🙂

14 days ago

This place is a dream!!

this looks so amazing! it’s like my dream property! well, once you’re done with it, it will be! but such potential! also, this is sooooooooooo relatable: quietly punish our kids for being far more privileged than we were (I’m JOKING (??))
that made me laugh.

Emily
14 days ago

I really like those touches of camp green everywhere – I’d love it if that ended up in the final designs!

Lisa Smith
14 days ago

Definitely have the crews clear the ivy on the ground too – it’s incredibly invasive and tenacious and you will be waging war on it indefinitely. It turns into a monoculture and chokes out everything else, including all native plants. I have spent many, many hours in the PNW clearing it and believe me, you want to tackle it today, tomorrow, and yesterday and not just where it’s killing trees. You can learn more at the City of Portland and OSU pages on English ivy.

Rosie
14 days ago
Reply to  Lisa Smith

Came here to say this! I just moved into a new home in the PNW that’s on an acre and the previous tenant let the ivy run wild. The ivy damaged fencing, the house itself (caused the siding to begin to rot due to moisture), and boy, when we began to rip up the ivy you would not believe the messes we found under it. In particular, a bunch of ant hills for an ant species that specifically kills trees when their colony grows. It also messed up the grass on our property as well. I know how annoying it is to have strangers on the internet give unsolicited advice but dang, I wish someone would have taken care of this before I got here. Good luck!! I can’t wait to see what you do with the many yard areas 🙂

14 days ago
Reply to  Rosie

We moved into a country house in NW Portland. It’s an ongoing battle to get rid of the ivy. Growing up in England, I had always thought of ivy as been quite beautiful. Here in Portland, it’s evil. It will kill everything. And don’t get me started on blackberries. I am guessing that our previous owners didn’t even touch the blackberry bushes. Now they’re climbing up the trees etc, and are so nasty that collecting the berries will be a challenge. I’m toying with the idea of renting goats for the property, I’m told they will eat anything and everything.

Tiffany
13 days ago
Reply to  Diane

Do rent goats! They’ll take care of it!

Rusty
14 days ago
Reply to  Lisa Smith

Yikes!!! 😳 I’d be straight onto that ivy!

14 days ago
Reply to  Lisa Smith

Concur. My first thought upon reading this post. Get rid of that stuff now. All of it. And be prepared to have to keep after it for a while.

Amber
14 days ago
Reply to  Lisa Smith

This is a really great point. I was so excited to start working on my new garden the east coast, but most of my time has been spent on trying to get rid of invasives like Asian bittersweet and near invasives like false spirea. These thugs are horrible, but they’ll devour anything new you/we plant.

Nora
14 days ago
Reply to  Lisa Smith

Me too with the removal of ivy, even on the ground! Backyard Habitat is a non-profit org in Portland that can advise on invasive plants and suitable native plants for gardens, but only works directly with owners of max 1 acre plots. That said, their website is informative and can help identify other invasive plants that may be in your area, such as lesser celandine (pretty but suffocating yellow flower).

MelissaB
13 days ago
Reply to  Lisa Smith

I agree, in the PNW and have a property with it and blackberry and it will take YEARS to finally eradicate it (and only if it’s done consistently) You want that stuff up now rather than later!!

Andrea
13 days ago
Reply to  Lisa Smith

Agreed. Not to mention that ivy is a terrific place for rats to snuggle up in, and everyone I know in Portland who has chickens has also had a rat problem. You don’t need more rat magnets.

13 days ago
Reply to  Andrea

I’m not sure if our weather or climate is different here, but we have ivy ground cover on our old house here in the Czech Republic, chickens, and no rats that I’ve ever seen! I love the ground cover it provides, and it’s not hard to pull it off the trees when it creeps up them (and it’s not like it kills trees instantly or anything– lots of our fruit trees have been happy ivy-covered for years).

Melissa
12 days ago
Reply to  Maya

I imagine that is because Ivy is native to Europe so insects on the continent have evolved to keep it in check. It grows absolutely unchecked in North America.

Amanda
14 days ago

WOW! What a post. So excited to follow along the journey.

Amber
14 days ago

I am currently trying to tackle the yard and exterior of my country house, which is not as large and delightful as this, but I am very excited for this content. Getting a landscape plan is a great idea, and most designers can help with phased implementation. On the east coast, there aren’t that many that specialize in native landscapes. I’m assuming there might be more where you are, but it still might not be that hard to find someone. And given your new green bent, I’m assuming that’s the way you’re going to go :). Natives require a lot less water than exotics, so you might not need to worry as much about irrigation. Meadows are a great option and are great for supporting insects and wildlife. We all should be trying to reduce the size of our lawns. Check out No Mow May for more on this. This meadow on gardenista is lovely and paired with a farmhouse: https://www.gardenista.com/posts/landscape-architect-visit-dreamy-property-concord-ma-invites-meadow/ On the driveway stuff, your place might be a good candidate for decomposed granite. It’s a little flatter than gravel, but still looks natural, and it’s a lot cheaper than paving. It can make puppy paws dusty though. On… Read more »

karen
14 days ago
Reply to  Amber

beautiful property on the gardenista link. Thanks for sharing with us!

MKK
14 days ago
Reply to  Amber

Love the meadows on Gardenista link! Emily, you need to see this landscape not to mention the water feature incorporating a farm theme. I scratch my head about irrigation for maybe two months of the year. Native plants! I echo the advice on eradicating the English Ivy.
Have you ever played Pickleball? Your court may get more use than tennis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickleball

Rusty
14 days ago
Reply to  Emily

Yaaay!

jen
14 days ago
Reply to  Emily

Speaking from experience, keep your future chickens away from any area you landscape and want to keep looking pretty. They are DESTRUCTIVE!!! 😉 You may want to make the chicken area large enough so they can free range, but enclosed/separate so they don’t mess up your pretty plants/garden/lawn. I am constantly chicken-proofing my yard!

13 days ago
Reply to  jen

We have 10 chickens on 1/2 acre and they don’t actually destroy our veggie garden or grass They seem to preferentially scratch in our ivy areas instead. Maybe the key is to have enough bugs around that they are occupied elsewhere?

Andrea
13 days ago
Reply to  Emily

You definitely need to plant a rose garden!

Melissa
12 days ago
Reply to  Emily

So so so happy you are seriously considering native landscaping. The idea of a pond is so exciting as well. You will attract so much wildlife with water!

Rusty
14 days ago
Reply to  Amber

Amber, those are great suggestions.

14 days ago
Reply to  Amber

Also Benjamin at Monarch Gardens does native prairies. Wrong ecosystem, but the idea is such a good one. https://www.monarchgard.com/thedeepmiddle

Annabel
13 days ago
Reply to  Amber

The house featured in that article is actually in my town and I walk past it all the time! We left the lawn in the front of our house as a wildflower meadow and it was one of the most magical things to have growing up! My mom would mow paths through it so you could walk through all the flowers. We also started keeping bees– Emily you should totally look into beekeeping especially with such a large property with a meadow and lots of native plants!

Rusty
13 days ago
Reply to  Annabel

And bees are in peril, so that’d be fabulous!

Sadie
13 days ago
Reply to  Rusty

Honey bees are not native to North America. Bee keeping is like caring for domestic animals, not saying it’s good or bad, it’s not helping our native bee populations.

kk
12 days ago
Reply to  Amber

One thing to watch for in taller plants is TICKS! Chickens LOVE eating ticks! Pets can wear (rather toxic) collars but kids can pick up ticks easily… Lower rate of Lyme in Oregon than here in the East which is good

Teresa
14 days ago

Wow the place looks like it has loads of potential but is definitely going to be a big project. As someone that has 1.5 acres with loads of trees and landscaping that were overgrown and a really large oversized detached garage I can’t wait to see how it turns out. A couple things to think about: running CAT6 wiring in conduit to any of your outbuildings/garage/shed where you would want to be able to use WiFi. WiFi repeaters and extenders really only go so far. And if you’re planning to have a workout space, hobby space etc you’ll eventually want to have WiFi there (plus it’s useful for security camera placement – which we have lots of personally). Also a map possibly overlaying your property survey showing any wiring that’s run underground and water/sewer lines/sprinkler lines/sprinkler head locations will be priceless in the future (we created one of our property to avoid damaging any lines etc when doing landscaping etc). You might also think about getting a tractor with a front end loader bucket/forklift forks or finding someone who you can rent one from or have out when needed to move things. I know it sounds a bit over the… Read more »

14 days ago
Reply to  Teresa

Agree with you 100% on some kind of machinery. We had 5 acres in Portland and had a GATOR. I thought my husband was just looking for a toy but it was indespensible for property maintenance. I’m so excited for the Hendersons so I’m only going to say this once: for the 7 years that we had our property that was also a fixer (house, multiple barns, orchard, sheep, pasture, large garden, landscaped back yard) we spent every free moment of our lives doing manual labor, usually in the rain except for 3 months/year, and also spent 2500 month on landscape/project help while working full time. It is a TON of work but there are those sweet satisfying moments.

Teresa
14 days ago
Reply to  Molly Knott

Ours is a fixer as well and I totally agree with you about spending every free moment doing manual labor. Even with half our property basically being wooded with native trees and a meadow like open area it’s still a lot of work to maintain. We were both raised in rural areas so we know how to run tractors/heavy equipment/chainsaws etc and I can definitely say that anything that cuts down on the actual manual labor and saves you from back pain is worth the money. A gorilla cart with a dump bed is super useful too for moving dirt/limbs/flower pots/anything too heavy to tote. If my father in law didn’t like to buy heavy machinery as his “toys” and let us borrow them anytime we definitely would have invested in a small tractor with a front end loader and other attachments. The lifting ability of the front end loader has been a lifesaver so many times. Home Depot in our area rents larger equipment and we’ve taken advantage of that a few times as well.

14 days ago
Reply to  Emily

Am here for this!!!!

14 days ago
Reply to  Emily

Excited for this 🙂 and should add, my husband really enjoyed a lot of the labor. Fixing a fence, mowing (with beer in hand), etc are nice tangible things that provide a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. It’s just a LOT. We also had a rule: no chainsaw work when nobody is else home. LOL

Katie Chapple
13 days ago
Reply to  Molly Knott

Us too on our 6 acres! After I came home to find him perched on a table, in the bed of a truck, chainsawing above his head. Seemed like a good idea at the time, apparently. I love my EGO brand chainsaw & weedwackers, and goats are also a super fun secret landscaping weapon. It’s never ending work, but it’s mostly enjoyable and super gratifying.

Teresa
13 days ago
Reply to  Katie Chapple

Oh my that sounds like something my husband and his friends would do. In the past we have definitely used the front end loader of the tractor to raise someone up to trim a really high branch back (that was before we bought a pole saw). The Houston Arboretum uses a goat herd rental company to help maintain some areas a few times a year I think.

13 days ago
Reply to  Teresa

Pole saw for the win!

k
13 days ago
Reply to  Emily

I am not sure about portland, but in WA state many counties have ‘conservation sales’ on plants. You order online in fall (around nov.) and pick up plants in feb. They are conservation grade (ie CHEAP and small) but grow quickly. As an example, you can expect to pay 20-50 dollars for a plant like native redcurrant if you go to a nursery. The conservation grade are bare root stalks, 5 for $18 dollars. Within a year mine were three feet high and two feet wide. The key to low maintenance landscape is to eradicate invasives (huge job and will never fully end) and plant with natives. Resist the urge to turn things into lawns. Same goes for meadows – those are not ‘native’ to the PNW and so will be labour intensive (but pretty). First nations tribes managed garry oak meadows in order to harvest camass bulbs – which is why you often see open meadows and oaks in some areas.

Melissa
12 days ago
Reply to  Emily

HERE FOR IT lol

Sara
14 days ago

As a Scandinavian reader I can’t wrap my head around the irrigation thing. Isn’t it the most superfluous and environmentally bad thing ever? It’s not a thing here (and a guess is that the climate isn’t too different..?). Garden people here seem to use a garden hose and/or rainwater barrels and only water what is most necessary. And plant things that are hardy enough. I don’t mean to be overly critical but it surprised me, as you write about the environment quite a lot :). (On that note, the funniest thing this year was the tip about swedish dish cloths which i think was on here, or possibly cupcakes&cashmere… what the heck were you all using before? 😳🤣).

For decking material, over here we have some new-ish products based on silicon. They grey the wood beautifully and are very long-lasting. Some people also use linseed oil soap – when you scrub the wood it is fattened and get a bit of protection. (Check out sioox wood treatment and see if you can find it or something similar 🙂 ).

Christina
14 days ago
Reply to  Sara

I was surprised to hear that irrigation is in the plans too. I’d be asking landscape designers if it’s strictly necessary in Portland, where there’s supposed to be more precipitation than LA. You may be able to find a landscape designer who can create the landscape you’re looking for without irrigation. For example I garden in Atlanta, and where I am I’ve found that beautiful native plants (flowering plants, bushes, trees, all of it) are not hard to source, and they’re adapted to this environment. I don’t need irrigation at all. I plant things that do well here, water them for one season until they’re established, and 90% of them flourish.

Rusty
14 days ago
Reply to  Emily

With all those roof tops, you can install rainwater tanks and if you need to irrigate anything, use that water. Yes?

Lill
14 days ago
Reply to  Rusty

Here in Oregon rain mainly happens during the winter rainy season. You could fill a rain barrel then but it’s already rainy and wet, so you don’t need to irrigate anything. During the dry summer season when you need to water your vegetables, etc, it seldom rains so rain tanks would be empty and useless. You would have to have a ridiculously enormous tank to store winter rain for summer use.

14 days ago
Reply to  Emily

If you’re growing food crops, a vegetable garden, etc., I would expect you’d want irrigation?

14 days ago
Reply to  Emily

We had an sprinkler system at our last property (suburbia). However, we’re thinking that we won’t install one here. We’ll water with a hose and /or manual sprinkler; knowing that there will be areas that will naturally go dormant. Also, I’m not sure what county you’re in Emily, but we noticed a huge difference with water rates moving from Washington county to Multnomah county.

emily jane
13 days ago
Reply to  Emily

If you want to be able to plant and then grow with intention (rather than let nature decide ; ) irrigation -even if you use water collected in rain barrels- will dramatically free up your time in the summer. Also, I’m guessing your research will find that your property watered with an installed system saves water when compared to my daily summer watering via a hose (2nd hand rain barrels are on their way to my ‘regular sized but relative to your acreage tiny and yet still almost-too-much-for-me’ yard so I’ll feel better about watering the plants that we cannot eat during this summer’s dry stretch. If I was going to design my eco-system from scratch, I would make sure most of what I had to water was not only native but also -EDIBLE!- as I have guilt watering the pre-existing plant residents in my yard that either the humans and/or rabbits cannot eat (though I would also create a bed full of flowers grown with the express purpose of picking to bring into the house : ). Last thought: I agree -get rid of as many invasive plants as soon as possible! Love getting to go along for the… Read more »

Rusty
13 days ago
Reply to  emily jane

Emily Jane – you sound really organised and into it. Yay!

Kate
13 days ago
Reply to  Emily

Portland resident here! Portland climate has changed a lot and the idea that it rains constantly and everything is green is a real misunderstanding that I think a lot of the readers may have! While the winter is wet, the summers are VERY dry and increasingly HOT – it’s typical to have a week of it being over 100 degrees, and other long spells where it’s in the 90s for awhile. And it’s dry….so dry in the summer. That said, you don’t need irrigation IF you plant and plan accordingly to our current Portland climate in your landscaped areas; in addition to natives there are other plants that will do well here* You will not sustain a lush green suburban lawn without massive amounts of water, and I hope you decide against that! There are fantastic alternatives that I’m listing below. However you *will* need irrigation where you plan to grow food, so think about where that will be most sited (think: near the house, but also where you get the most sun). *check out local Xera Nursery here in SE for excellent information on what the actual Portland climate is like for landscaping and plants https://xeraplants.com/our-climate-2/ *For Portland alternatives… Read more »

k
13 days ago
Reply to  Kate

xera and cistus for the win. Two AMAZING places for plant nerds, that’s for sure

sally
12 days ago
Reply to  Kate

No one in Portland has a green lawn aside from rich anti environmentalists! Most of us just let the lawn die for a few months – I only water any plants in my yard at all maybe 2-3 months of the year. It’s great!

Lori
13 days ago
Reply to  Emily

With all the roofing you have on the property, maybe you could take advantage and put in some cisterns and then connect to your gutters? You could tuck the cisterns away in an unobtrusive spot and landscape to hide them. Plants prefer rainwater to city water anyway, which usually has chloramine, etc, in it. With climate change, rainfall patterns are shifting so rain events dump more water at once, so it would make sense to take advantage of that and use the water during dry periods. Also a fun idea instead of a straight up pond could be to put in a rain garden or two– they’re designed to fill during rain events and then soak in completely before mosquitoes breed– I install them a lot in Austin where we get all of our rainfall during rain events and then it is dry dry dry for months– so magical to see a pond for a day and then an oasis of happy plants after that!

Emilie
14 days ago
Reply to  Sara

I think irrigation is a wealth marker. Probably most people in the US do what you describe (provided they have outdoor space to even tend).

14 days ago
Reply to  Emilie

Not in California per se. We have no rain between May and October, so if we don’t irrigate we are dry and brown. Not to say that we shouldn’t revert to our original ecosystem, but the decision to build and landscape in a way that depends on irrigation was made decades ago. To make the shift is going to require all kinds of commitment to new hardscaping, and that’s a lot more expensive than water right now.
Of course, given the change in our climate, the cost balance may shift too.

BW
14 days ago
Reply to  Lisa

But you don’t need a full irrigation system to water your yard. I’m a native Californian, and we always just used a hose. If your lot it so large that that’s not feasible, that’s likely to be a sign of wealth, especially in CA.

Suzanne
13 days ago
Reply to  BW

In California, irrigation can be more efficient than watering with a hose. Soaker hoses, that run under mulch, water slow and deep and less frequently. There’s no evaporation since it goes right to the soil. Yes, irrigation is more expensive, but done correctly, it can save water. I imagine a vegetable garden, even in Oregon, requires water, but natives may not except on the hottest, dry days.

Rusty
13 days ago
Reply to  Suzanne

Done correctly, yes. You’re right, it needs to be done properly.

Rusty
14 days ago
Reply to  Sara

Sara, Europe is leagues ahead in environmentally friendly living. Remember, the US has loads of GM food production? It’s a different way of ,ife for sure.

Andrea
13 days ago
Reply to  Sara

Irrigation for the vegetable plot is needed. I don’t think Emily is talking about a huge sprinkler system for acres of grass.

Beth Chu
14 days ago

Omg, TREX for your deck. Trex!!! Its beautiful, lasts far longer than wood, and is made of recycled bags. This is such an easy way to do what you’ve been talking about all month.

https://www.trex.com/inspiration/colors/

Also, loved loved reading about the whole property. This kind of move is like my version of romance novels.

Lane
14 days ago
Reply to  Beth Chu

Not really. Trex is not superior to wood, it could mold and wave and do other undesirable things. We are installing composite decking, which I wish we didn’t. No one does ipe here in my price range, and my deck doesn’t dry in winter.

Rusty
14 days ago
Reply to  Lane

“Trex decking offers a superior performance and durability that you cannot get from timber decking. Unlike timber, Trex decking never needs to be stained, oiled or painted. It will not warp, rot, splinter and is also resistant to termites. Being made from 95% recycled materials makes it an environmentally friendly choice”

Lill
13 days ago
Reply to  Rusty

It gets moldy, though. I fight it all the time on my composite deck. In Oregon. I would never use it again.

Katie Chapple
13 days ago
Reply to  Rusty

Mine faded almost immediately, but then again, we’re in Northern CA hot climate – may be different in Portland?

Rusty
14 days ago
Reply to  Beth Chu

Great suggestion!

Katy
14 days ago
Reply to  Beth Chu

The things about Trex that kept me from using are 1.) It looks and feels like plastic. You can spot it a mile away despite their efforts to make it look like wood. 2.) It gets HOT – like, burn your freaking feet hot when the sun hits it. Maybe this won’t be an issue in Portland. And 3.) Yes, it is a recycled product from plastic but at the end of it’s life? Still ends up in the landfill, never breaking down. Sustainably sourced hardwood will always look better, feel better underfoot, and return to the earth at the end of it’s life.

DeniseGK
10 days ago
Reply to  Katy

While I certainly agree that #2 is a serious consideration, #1 is just aesthetic preferences that plenty of people don’t have and #3 is not taking certain things into account. While yes, Trex decking is made of plastic, it’s a product meant to last significantly longer than many other plastic products – like picnic plates, swimsuits, jeans, umbrellas, etc. Those are usually expected to last a season or a year before getting broken or going out of style (except maybe the umbrella depending on where you live, I get plenty of rain and people really do get trendy umbrellas here, ugh), meanwhile a deck of any sort is meant to be around for years and years. The point at which trex boards will end up in a landfill is much further down the road – and that’s good news because there are some hardworking scientists and student scientists working on this problem. Plants and microbes that can breakdown plastic and make something better for us and the environment already exist, but the ability to use them at large scale and in an infrastructure way to prevent further damage and heal what’s already been done doesn’t exist. That’s what these folks… Read more »

Amanda McCullough
14 days ago
Reply to  Beth Chu

We used TREX for our double deck and pretty much love it….yes it is hot when it’s HOT outside….bring sandals….but I will NEVER Have a splinter neither will any kids over playing at my house…..we love that there is no staining/maintenance and we just power wash when needed….you still need to treat the support beams which is no big deal
it is SO durable

It is a little slippery in the rain though….but decking can be too

Erin
13 days ago
Reply to  Beth Chu

I second the non-wood options. Lumber is so expensive right now plus it rots and gets moldy (and slippery!) in PNW weather. The warping and swelling/shrinking causes nails to protrude and need to be hammered back in place. Manufacturers have def improved on the plastic looking slabs I remember from 10 or 15 years ago, some you would never guess aren’t real wood planks. Forget about irrigation at least until you spend 1 full rainy season on the property. Chances are you will need to get water out of some places like low spots or any place close to the buildings. This will give you the opportunity to see where a natural water feature would work well like a pond, then you can put in french drains where needed and move your unwanted water toward your pond. You will probably really need some spigots in your food garden/farming areas for produce and animal water though you can probably add those in later when you do your larger landscaping plan. DG is beautiful in dry climates but the dust translates to mud in wet areas, stick to gravel. My heart swoons for Irish moss and Wooley Thyme for ground cover, it… Read more »

Hannah
13 days ago
Reply to  Beth Chu

My folks installed Trex on their Portland deck in the woods and LOVE it. It looks gorgeous too. Strongly recommend.

Amy
13 days ago
Reply to  Hannah

Our deck is a mix of Trex and wood, which I love. Trex for the floor only- which makes it super smooth on bare feet, no splinters, and the deck furniture can slide around easily, which I love. But the railings are all wood, which is what is mostly visible from the yard and from inside, so it has that nice wood look. It works great for us.

Laura
14 days ago

Just one word for your sports court… Pickleball! Fun for the whole family and fastest growing sport. And invented in the NW.

Meghan Terry
14 days ago
Reply to  Laura

I was going to say the same thing! And pickleball is FAR more forgiving of a cracked surface!

Kj
14 days ago
Reply to  Laura

Or gagaball. It’s a lot of fun for groups and easy for everyone to play.

Melinda Hall
14 days ago
Reply to  Laura

We lived for a period of time in the childhood home of the man that invented pickleball! It was in Queen Anne in Seattle. It was such a cute/special story to the home, really appreciated the the real estate agent did that research.

DeniseGK
9 days ago
Reply to  Laura

Also playing soccer, but with a big beach ball, with teams on either side of a tennis net (tennis rules about when and where the ball can bounce). I don’t think it has a name, but it is the best thing ever with kids as old as junior high. The bigger they are, the bigger your beach ball can be. I have a 14, 10, and 6 year old and the two older girls can play with a beach ball that the two of them could fit inside of. Like, it’s only a couple inches smaller in diameter than those ridiculous Hammacher Schlemmer ones. They love it, and our girls aren’t even really the sporty-type (my computer nerd husband got to them at an early age, sob). We also use our super-cheap-o badminton and ping pong paddles with the 18″ beach ball. It’s just very silly. We have a popup net that can be set at volleyball, badminton, or tennis height and we’ll use whatever height we feel like depending on who’s playing or how much us parents are creaking and aching. You may be able to play the soccer-tennis thing with high schoolers, most of the ones I’ve tried… Read more »

Sarah
14 days ago

My artist/gardener/landscape visionary Josh Palvacky just moved to Portland (from Booklyn)- he’s amazing and creative and has such ecological visions- just phenomenal. You will adore him and adore working with him. I highly recommend!
https://www.deepearth.studio/about

14 days ago
Reply to  Sarah

Hi! We are landscape architecture firm based out of the Willamette Valley and Denver. We focus on naturalistic design and work largely on farms, ranches, and residences. I would suggest doing a master plan for the property to establish design phases and detail it out in increments. Website is http://www.studio-campo.com. If if interest, you can reach me at [email protected]. Cheers.

Rusty
14 days ago
Reply to  Sarah

Oooooh! Gah! That’s so lucky for The Hendersons! Emily, you have to call him seriously! 😊

Andrea
13 days ago
Reply to  Sarah

Absolutely no offense to your NY pal, but I hope Emily uses a landscape architect from Portland with extensive knowledge of native plants. We have a ton of great talent here and fir a space that big Emily should go with someone who has a deep background in the PNW. Also just really would read wrong to have a CA person move to Portland and use other new transplants. We have enough of the CA/NY people coming here because it’s cute and charming and cheap! And then forming basically an expat community in our town.

Sarah
13 days ago
Reply to  Andrea

Sure! I see your point 🙂 For the record, he was born and raised in Portland so I wouldn’t dismiss either his background or his knowledge!

Louise
14 days ago

This is going to be INCREDIBLE. After the property tour, I totally see why you all fell so hard for it. Your kids are going to have so much fun growing up here.
Just curious — when are you all expecting to move in? I don’t really have a baseline for how long an extensive reno like this takes.

CJM
14 days ago

For a PDX based landscape architect, I strongly recommend Karen Ford http://www.karenford.net/about . We found her when we were doing a major remodel on 20 acres outside of Portland. She’s the best and works to make it look not too landscaped but more like its always been there. Plus, she’s a lovely, interesting person as well.

14 days ago

This tour was so fun! Piece of IMPORTANT technical advice that I want to share since you have a well: get someone good to look at the pump controller and its wiring. We lost two pump controllers that shorted during power outages and 1) you have no water when the power is out 2) when the power comes back on you will still not have water until the fried controller is replaced 3) each new pump controller costs $3K. Ours was checked during the inspection and they missed this.

14 days ago
Reply to  Molly Knott

To clarify, you will not have water PERIOD when the power is out and a friend pump controller complicates things expensively after that. Power goes out frequently in Portland area during storms because of large tree limbs hitting power lines. Consider a generator for sure. Days without water is no fun.

Rusty
14 days ago
Reply to  Molly Knott

This doesn’t happen if you gave trip switches or RCDs thpugh… does it?
Then, all you nedd to do is flip the switch and you’re all good.
That’s what we have.

14 days ago
Reply to  Rusty

I’m not sure about that. When it was finally wired properly we never had an issue again. And thankfully I don’t have to worry about it any more! 🙂

Lori
14 days ago

Sweet Peas grow amazing on chain link fences!

Rusty
14 days ago
Reply to  Emily

They don’t live long thpugh, you need something permanent for privacy screening.

Mary C
13 days ago
Reply to  Emily

Be careful, some are poisonous, your could unwittingly kill the dogs or alpacas if they eat them.

14 days ago
Reply to  Lori

But are they perennials? Will they not die back in winter?

Lisa
13 days ago
Reply to  Lisa

No. Sweet peas are annuals. Sometimes they self sow, though. But they are GONE in the winter in any case, and they require lots of water when sown.

Lesley
13 days ago
Reply to  Lori

We had a chain link fence and just placed a thick trellis over it. The cross-patterns are the same, so you hardly notice the chain link. And then you let a beautiful native vine take it over–ta-da, no more ugly chain link–more like a wall of greenery (that isn’t ivy).

Chef Ellen
14 days ago

For an arborist in the Portland area, we have used Honl Tree Care for years. They have expertly trimmed our fruit trees and their employees are very knowledgeable. https://www.honltreecare.com/

Suzanne
13 days ago
Reply to  Chef Ellen

I was going to suggest Honl Tree Care too!

Kat van der Hoorn
13 days ago
Reply to  Chef Ellen

Plus one on Honl tree care! Truly fantastic service, well priced, often a long wait list but worth the wait.

Colleen
13 days ago
Reply to  Chef Ellen

Yes, Honl Tree Care.
Knowledgeable, great service!

Ashley
14 days ago

Man, I just really wish I could buy a bottle of Emily’s enthusiasm and take daily doses! 😂 We bought 14 acres with a pond and I have a hard time feeling anything but daunted and nervous when I walk our property… and it’s far less dilapidated than this! I can get excited over home potential but I lack the vision for outdoor spaces. Everyone is obsessed with our 40×60 barn and our 2 acre pond and I just see the rotting roof tiles and overgrown plants and pond scum. Ugh that sounds so awful and ungrateful— I need better inspo in my life, I suppose! Suggestions welcome 🙂 So excited to watch along on this journey and see what y’all do with the place.

13 days ago
Reply to  Emily

I completely agree Emily!! We have 1/2 acre (I think… 2000 sq meters) here in the Czech Republic, and my philosophy is to maintain the wild feel of our yard while making it functional and productive, so I don’t do anything too high maintenance. So, for example, I left our ivy ground cover because it’s beautiful and means I don’t need to mow as much! Our yard is such a peaceful and wonderful place to me, and like yours, it contains a lot of buildings and areas so it feels much bigger than it is. Trust your gut, love the imperfections, and don’t let Internet commenters scare you!!

Caity
10 days ago
Reply to  Ashley

Do you ever watch Gardener’s World? It is a fabulous gardening show in Britain and you can get it on Amazon prime for $5/month (Britbox). Monty Don is one of the hosts, and they do a lot of filming at his incredible garden Longmeadow. You can also google the garden or find him on instagram. Here are some tips for large gardens/properties: Create garden zones or rooms, with paths with the same material linking them together. Place statues or fountains at the end of long views to draw the eye and encourage meandering. Cheap statuary and trellises can sometimes be found on Facebook marketplace. I got a fantastic real stone statue for $50 last year. You can build your own garden trellises from hazel or willow. I cut my willow branches from around a pond at a garden center (they gave me permission). Paths can be mown grass or gravel or brick for cheaper options. Or you can cast your own concrete steppers for cheap. Start small with one area. Tell yourself you will create one zone or flower bed per year. This will cut down on your costs and labor. This is how I’m doing it. Then as your… Read more »

DeniseGK
9 days ago
Reply to  Caity

Just wanted to second this show. It is also very soothing for people who are looking for that kind of show still.

Lori
14 days ago

They’re based out of Eugene and not Portland, but I love the work that Mosaic gardens does. Lots of eye candy on their IG & website. And with your farm setup, you could totally do a big round stock tank pond like they have! I have that setup in my backyard and in a few client gardens and it is so dreamy and so easy to take care of! http://www.mosaic-gardens.com/

14 days ago

If you need a BOMB arborist in Portland, Honl is fantastic. Family owned, but big enough for larger projects. I hired them to do a big prune of all our trees including an apple and pear tree that were having a hard time producing and this spring they’re both BURSTING with blooms. I’m actually having them come out again next week to help with a diseased maple in our front yard. Good luck! This project looks SO fun.

Amy
13 days ago

I agree. My husband is a landscape contractor and always refers clients to Honl when needed.

Amy
13 days ago
Reply to  Amy

And I’ll add a shameless plug for my husband, who, in my humble, totally non-biased, personal opinion, is the VERY best landscape contractor out there 😉 (But seriously, he’s amazing! And he works with Anne! And he would probably hate that I’m posting this right now! But he’ll never find out haha) My vote is for Northwest Native Landscapes. https://northwestnativelandscapes.com/

7 days ago
Reply to  Amy

Omg Amy I totally stalked your husband’s website earlier this year when looking for landscape contractors! (I ended up diying, but his work is truly sooo dreamy.)

Amy
6 days ago

Oh Marian, that makes me so happy to hear that! I’ll pass on the compliment to him. Thank you!!

patty
14 days ago

Ok. Great post. But hold on, SAUNA BLANKET??? Please discuss.

Michelle
14 days ago

A plug for a proper Landscape Architect in lieu of a landscape designer. Designers are awesome when it comes to garden bed design and implementation support and even problem-solving specific areas, but a Landscape Architect can really dive in with your architectural team and develop a phaseable master plan for the whole site – thinking holistically so that you don’t usurp future plans with an intermediary step. There may be some awesome landscape designers that can also aid in implementation, but often landscape designers are beholden to the install side of the business, and that can get sticky… All that being said, however, check into Blossom PDX, Pistils, Donna Giguere, Bethany Rydmark

14 days ago

I just started doing research on sustainable deck material that’s not composite. Check out Kebony:
https://us.kebony.com/ The rep said there are homes in the Portland area who have installed it. We are in Bend, so I need to see if it can handle our weather.

Roberta Davis
14 days ago

What a beautiful day for your visit! The property looks like a wonderful place to live and grow up! And you will have built-in projects forever!

Rusty
14 days ago
Reply to  Roberta Davis

Built-in. Projects. Forever. = Content. Heaven!

Jan
14 days ago

Rob Osborne is a great Portland arborist.

14 days ago

I am so incredibly excited for this. Projects for a decade at least:). I just thought, maybe Brian will make one of those outbuildings into an experimental theater space?

DeniseGK
9 days ago
Reply to  Lisa

Ooooh, he totally should! Or start doing experimental videography art (is that thing? Brian, you could invent it if it’s not!). I seriously was thinking of Brian A LOT when the photo for the carriage house came up too. Like…one of those spaces could be a black box theater and they could stage small plays at their home for friends and neighbors who would bring their own wine and chairs. Plus, the kids could do talent shows in the summer! Like, the structure is already built in such a way that it’s so supportive of those activities.

14 days ago

Ok 1st! I had to laugh so hard about the driveway- we live in Pasadena California and so a smaller urban house 1935 with a Porte Cochere. My husband FREAKS OUT about me wanting to pull up the concrete!! He keeps insisting we may need “heavy equipment” to get through… umm.. no the Porte Cochere stops that anyway. #2. If you plan to have the place beautifully landscaped – and it sounds like you do – PLEASE consider taking out the divider (adding collar ties and sister-in-law the studs/possibly the rafters);and turn it into an event space! Great extra income to care for farm animals that can go in the sheep barn or a new one you put up to replace it. #3. Start looking for a REGISTERED landscape architect- this means they have finished school and passed hard exams and they are a real pro – landscaping can kind of turn into a touchy Feely thing (since it won’t fall on your head) BUT you want a real pro with real solutions and checking for things you may not even think of. LASTLY (finally) make sure you have a cutting garden and maybe a green house? Along with your… Read more »

Rusty
14 days ago

I don’t get a video on my screen??🤔

This is sooo exciting!
I love love love that you aren’t planning a prissy garden and are rather going with natives – I hope you’re focusing on local native species from the area?

My brother has a 5 acre rural property and he planted PEACHARINE TREES!!! Yuumo!🤗
You can get so many carieties of pest resilient fruit trees that have MULTIPLE FRUITS ON ONE TREE!!

I hope you install water tanks if you’re planning to irrigate. Do you NEED to irrigate at all?

By moving up there in August, you’ll closer to the action and it’ll be less stressful.
So. Exciting. For the kids to go to school! Pricipal Henderson won’t know what to do with all that time! Ha! 😹 Oh, wait! He can start sourcing his Alpaca stock! LOL

Little. Tiny. Elephant. Steps. 🐘

Erin
13 days ago
Reply to  Rusty

I love the idea of a fun yard that is a bit wild too, ripe for exploration and adventure. Your kids are going to love it!

DeniseGK
9 days ago
Reply to  Erin

And so many built in school projects, whether they continue home schooling or not. Sometimes, a project is due and you just have no energy or time. It’s nice to be able to utilize your yard for last minute science and art projects.

Cynthia
14 days ago

I was so excited to watch the video of the exterior but could barely hear Emily over the music. :/

Dena
14 days ago

I love love that I get to vicariously live this through you!!!! Please please can we get goats!!!

DeniseGK
9 days ago
Reply to  Dena

You have to be good for Santa all year, ok?

Katy
14 days ago

I can help with the Ipe alternative! We used Garapa wood and it’s beautiful. Has all the same benefits as Ipe, but is a lighter, more golden brown look rather than Ipe’s rich chocolate brown. Just look for “FSC certified garapa” which stands for Forest Stewardship Council. You may even be able to find some Ipe that is FSC certified.

Rachel S
13 days ago
Reply to  Katy

Came here to say this. If the wood is FSC certified, you’re good to go. You can even get FSC certified mahogany these days. There is indeed FSC certified Ipe.

DeniseGK
9 days ago
Reply to  Katy

Ah, I keep reading it as “grandpa” and “FSC certified grandpa” is really giving me a chuckle.

Cynthia
14 days ago

I am a docent for a private Olmsted designed residence here in Seattle. (Olmsted is considered the “father of landscape design” with his first commission being Central Park in NYC.) One of his tenets for private residences was a curvilinear drive from public to private space. Keeping your driveway rustic and narrow is part of the experience of leaving the bustle and relaxing into home. I would strongly encourage you to resist the temptation to modernize this feature by widening, repaving, or even pruning the trees too far back. Having an errant branch slap the side of the car will one day feel like an old friend welcoming you home.

Lori
13 days ago
Reply to  Cynthia

Plus narrow forces vehicles to slow way down, which is great when you have kids running around! Built in safety feature!

DeniseGK
9 days ago
Reply to  Cynthia

Whoa! I didn’t know Olmsted did anything over here in the States.

Stephanie
14 days ago

Amazing! I grew up on 5 acres south of Portland and your property feels that big. Sport court should be used for pickle ball! Your family will love it!

14 days ago

Holy cow!! What an amazing piece of property, envious of all the potential, but not envious of all the work that needs to happen- I know you will do a beautiful job as always!!

Tiara
14 days ago

All Around Arbor always does great work, clean up properly, and are really professional.

Betsy erickson
14 days ago

So exciting. On the window conversation, you may have already gotten this tip on past posts, but wanted to make sure you knew about Indow Windows which is based in Portland. While it may not be right for your home, in the spirit of you promoting more green building/living wanted to share about them and let you know how great our experience with them has been. They are interior storm windows designed by an intel engineer who had a historic home abs wanted to preserve the windows and not waste energy. They are beautiful, cheap and so effective. We live in a historic home from 1780 and our windows are beautiful, but bananas in shape and not energy efficient. We put them in a few years ago and it has been life changing. You cannot even see them and huge bonus is that we got ones with UVA protection so they protect our fabrics and art too. Don’t have any affiliation with this company at all, but am a total evangelist for this product.

Kate
13 days ago
Reply to  Betsy erickson

Indow is AMAZING.

Portlander here and I was missing storm windows on several of my 1920s original windows. No more drafts, plus everything became so much quieter.

Rusty
13 days ago
Reply to  Betsy erickson

W.O.W!!!!
I really hope Emily checks this out!!!

Kelly
14 days ago

AS the wife of a landscape architect, I can’t emphasize enough the value of having your house oriented to the way you want to use your outdoor space. A really good landscape architect won’t just ‘design’ or ‘decorate’ your outdoor space but will help you create a space where the house and the landscape are in accord.

Danielle
14 days ago

You should check out Cornell nursery!!! It’s another old farmhouse that was turned into a nursery but there’s a massive selection of plants including tons of varieties of native species. Even if you aren’t buying anything it’s a fun place to check out and get inspired.

Jamie
13 days ago

I had a Tigerwood deck in the past that was orange at first – but went to grey left unfinished pretty quickly. For a more sustainable option, Kebony is looking pretty interesting: https://us.kebony.com

Lauren
13 days ago

I love on ten acres, four of which are not woods. I would not recommend irrigation. You’re going to live in a very wet climate, and using more water to increase your lawn growth means more mowing and work. The only irrigation I’d recommend is spigots at the garden or where you keep animals.

Clear your ivy quickly! Plant any perennial fruits and veggies the first year so in 5 years you have abundant crops!

and can we hear more about the sauna blanket??

Rusty
13 days ago
Reply to  Lauren

There’s great advice backed eith experience!

Sara
13 days ago

l have no doubt it will look amazing when finished, but right now it look s like some scene from The Walking dead 🙂

Kara
12 days ago
Reply to  Sara

Right? They should totally rent it out for movie shoots right now!

Lesley
13 days ago

If you have grass in Portland then it SHOULD be brownish during the summer! It turns green again soon enough.

Lesley
13 days ago

Please, please, look into creating a native-plant focused landscape. You could do so much for this very important movement! Doug Tallamy has several wonderful books about why this is so important (check out: Nature’s Best Hope and Bringing Nature Home) and how we can link desperately needed bird/butterfly/pollinator habitats by planting natives in our yards. We have destroyed so much habitat and replaced necessary native plants with lawn and foreign ornamentals that do absolutely nothing for our native the bees, butterflies, and insects. Without these pollinators and small-animal food, our ecosystem collapses.

Rusty
13 days ago
Reply to  Lesley

YES. YES. YES.🌏🌏🌏

liz
13 days ago

We just researched Accoya wood. it is normal wood but they treat it with vinegar. All natural. They have decking in it and they are all about susatinability.
We are using it on a brewery we are doing here. I think they are located in oregon though.

Abby
13 days ago

This is so exciting! To your second question, yes there are so many great resources, and you have such a great opportunity to make a sizeable piece of property a true wildlife sanctuary that is home not just to your family but to bees and butterflies and birds too! I would recommend researching a good native plant landscaping company – I’m sure there are several in the Portland area and the ones in our area are the same price or cheaper than traditional landscaping. They can help identify and remove the invasive species and build a beautiful wildlife sanctuary with natives in the right areas of the property, and the extra plus cost-wise is that native plants generally don’t need maintenance or irrigation since they are evolved to live in the area. A really great and accessible resource for this is the books “Bringing Nature Home” and “Nature’s Best Hope” by Doug Tallamy. He has a great concept of “Homegrown National Park” – essentially celebrating private property as nature, just like we do National Parks – can make an enormous impact on the wildlife in the area. The kids would love it too – more frogs, butterflies, and birds to… Read more »

Rusty
13 days ago
Reply to  Abby

Abby…this sounds absolutely wonderful!!!🤗

AshleyB
10 days ago
Reply to  Abby

I came to the comments to suggest Doug Tallamy’s books as well. Native plants are the way to go!

Shelly
13 days ago

ooh get/borrow some pigs to clear those bushes! they work fast! and also highly recommend planting a ground cover that isn’t grass… clover is excellent for returning nitrogen to the soil.

Katherine
13 days ago

Green recommendations
1) use the outdoor space to install a ground-source heat pump to help heat your home sustainably and reduce your heating bills
2) don’t put in irrigation! You’re not in California, you don’t need it. Find native species that are used to that climate and will look beautiful without your help – nature’s got this. It doesn’t need us to plumb, irrigate, dig and dredge to be pretty.
3) plant lots of things that birds, bees and butterflies will enjoy
4) use solar lighting outside – there’s some really pretty outdoor solar string/festoon lights and fairy lights options, and they can come on automatically at dusk so your place will be beautifully lit without you needing to go around switching them on
5) if you’re getting rid of any trees, keep the tree stumps as a planting feature – they can be beautiful and are also great habitats for lots of animals

Enjoy! You have an amazing space. I think you’re absolutely right to rush it – sit back, get to know it, see what it does throughout all the seasons.

Katherine
13 days ago
Reply to  Katherine

*absolutely right NOT to rush it…

Rusty
13 days ago
Reply to  Katherine

👍

A.B.
13 days ago

Beautiful vision! A wonderful illustrator who creates maps like readers are mentioning here is Linda Bleck (similar in style to Carson Ellis). Perhaps the property will need a name eventually, something to do with its history . . . Question . . . will you be covering the fences (chain link, wood, etc) with ivy or bushes/hedges? Good idea to hold off on the additional buildings as once you are settled you may realize you really don’t need them all and want more runaround space. (Can you keep just 1 shed, use part of the barn for storage, and reduce the garage to 3 spaces for future use? It’s hard to see that beautiful land with so many structures.)

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