Tag Archives: SEATTLE GARDEN DESIGN

Volunteer Park Landmark Designation Wins Historic Seattle Preservation Award By Brooks Kolb, ASLA

At the Fourth Annual Historic Seattle Preservation Awards Ceremony, held at the Good Shepherd Center in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood on May 15, 2012, The Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks (FSOP) received the Community Advocacy Award for the Volunteer Park Landmark Designation.  One of eight awards given by Historic Seattle in 2012, the Community Advocacy Award commemorates FSOP’s hard work first to prepare the Landmark Nomination document for Volunteer Park and then to lead it through the review and approval process by Seattle’s Board of Landmark Preservation.

 

The Landmark Board applauded our presentation of the nomination in September, 2011, voting unanimously to approve the nomination and later to designate Volunteer Park as a Seattle landmark.  As a board member and then president of FSOP from 2008-2011, I led a 5-year long committee effort to research and write the nomination and submit it to the Landmark board.  The other three committee members contributing to the nomination are past FSOP treasurer and chief author Charlie Sundberg; past FSOP vice president and co-author Sue Nicol; and current president and editor Jennifer Ott, who graciously received the award on behalf of FSOP at the May 15 ceremony.

 

In a beautifully produced booklet for the awards ceremony, Historic Seattle wrote:  “The Community Advocacy Award goes to the Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks (FSOP) for the arduous work involved in preparing a complex and successful landmark nomination application for Volunteer Park.  The organization’s documentation of this complicated and highly significant cultural landscape serves to insure the preservation of Volunteer Park and fosters the on-going recognition of our unique citywide Olmsted legacy.  Realizing that Volunteer Park was the most comprehensively designed and faithfully preserved component within the citywide Olmsted-designed plan for the Seattle Park system, FSOP board members prepared…an impressive 110-page document that provides a thorough description of the park’s landscape features and elements as a whole, as well as specifically documents various component buildigns, structures, monuments and water features and small-scale design elements.  It includes in-depth contextual information regarding the national, local and neighborhood significance of the Seattle work of the Olmsted firm and the history and evolution of the park itself.”

The 50th Anniversary of The Century 21 Idea House By Seattle Landscape Architect Brooks Kolb, ASLA

In 2010 I had the opportunity to design a garden terrace for an intriguing mid-century modern house in Inverness, a north Seattle neighborhood.  Designed in 1962 by renowned architect Jack Morse, who was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a University of Washington professor of architecture, the house was sponsored by Georgia Pacific Corporation as the “Century 21 Idea House” for “House & Garden” magazine.  Publishing in the August, 1962 edition of “House and Garden,” Georgia Pacific, Jack Morse and the magazine all clearly intended to ride the tide of publicity raised by “Century 21,” the 1962  Seattle World’s Fair.  Now as Seattle celebrates the 50th anniversary of the fair, it’s timely to unveil the house and garden renovation.

 

The original house featured pyramidal skylights over four quadrants of the nearly square floor plan:  the living room, bedroom wing, kitchen and garage.  In subsequent years, the garage was converted to a family room and an independent garage was built near the southwest corner of the house.   Moving the garage freed up the original driveway to be converted for landscape use, and the south garden area was created.  By 2010, this space needed a sensitive landscape renovation.  Working closely with the new owners, I created a design that embraced both the confident modernism of the house and the Northwest Japanese flavor of the existing garden.

 

One of the best features of Jack Morse’s original house design was a flush concrete perimeter band framing the entire structure, inset in places with a band of river rock.  We kept this striking feature and introduced new paving of Abbottsford  “Texada” pre-cast concrete pavers in a striped pattern with two colors.  The garden features a Coral Bark Maple and a candle oil-fueled fire table from Restoration Hardware.

 

The landscape installation was by Performance Landscape Company.

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House From the Garden Terrace (Photograph by Holly Johnson)

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Garden Terrace viewed from the family room (photograph by Holly Johnson)

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Detail of the garden terrace (photograph by Brooks Kolb)

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Restoration Hardware Laguna Fire Table (photograph by Restoration Hardware; location shown is not in the Century 21 Idea House garden)

The base Isokern “Magnum” outdoor fireplace, before stone facing is added

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Fall Color Arrives at the Pike’s Peak Garden

We are proud to present these two images of fall color at the Pike’s Peak Garden, which was designed by Seattle Landscape Architect Brooks Kolb and installed ten years ago.  These photographs were taken by the owner, Jeff Lum, in the last week or so.

 

 

Laurelhurst Hillside Garden in “Pacific NW” Magazine

Seattle Landscape Architect Brooks Kolb’s Laurelhurst Hillside Garden was featured in the January 27, 2013 issue of the Seattle Times’ “Pacific NW” magazine. “Growing Up Gracefully: Gentle Curves and Masses of Plants Keep a Garden Looking Good” was the way Times writer Valerie Easton titled the piece.

Quoting from Valerie Easton’s article,

“A great view is about all Kevin and Jean Kelly’s Laurelhurst garden had going for it when landscape architect Brooks Kolb first saw it.  The topography was precipitous, the plantings worn, the steep steps down to the garden cracked and broken.  The handsome old house not only lacked connection to the garden, it turned its back to it…”

“Kolb started by designing an entry terrace to connect the old house to its new garden.  A geotech warned against filling in with heavy soil, so Kolb used foam to raise the grade about a foot.  Now the expanded porch steps graciously down to a terrace at lawn level.  Kolb replaced the chute-like stairs with a gentle S-curve of steps that wind their way through fragrant shrubbery….”

“How to create a garden that’s tactile, scented and seasonal, yhet so easy to care for? ‘The garden isn’t Noah’s ark, there aren’t just two of anything,’ says Kolb of his strategy of massing grasses, prennials and small shrubs…”

“Both Kelly and Kolb emphasize the importance of teamwork in the garden’s success.  Kelly had a vision, Kolb realized it, and gardener Eileen O’Leary stepped in to maintain the place. ‘Gardens evolve,’ says Kolb, who includes a yearly post-evaluation with all his landscapes.”

Here’s a link to the full article: http://seattletimes.com/html/pacificnw/2020148828_pacificpnwl27.html.

The project team included Dochnahl Construction (concrete and foam work); Gardenstone Masonry (Wilkeson sandstone masonry); Clayton E. Morgan Landscaping (softscape.)

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The S-curve sandstone stair from below

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“Before” picture

“Growing Gracefully” – A Brooks Kolb North Capitol Hill Garden Featured in “Pacific NW” Magazine

The Entry Gates – all photos by Seattle Times Photographer, Mike Siegel

Seattle Landscape Architect Brooks Kolb was once again featured in the Seattle Times’ “Pacific NW” Magazine on September 7, 2014, in an article by the noted Times garden writer, Valerie Easton. Titled “Growing Gracefully, A Redesign mixes the best of old and new,” the column lead with the following paragraphs:

“It’s not often a landscape architect gets another shot at a garden he designed years ago. But when horticulturist Sue Nicol was hired to come up with a fresh plant palette for an aging Capitol Hill garden, she asked Brooks Kolb to collaborate with her on the project. And it turns out that Kolb, along with his partner, Bill Talley, had renovated the garden in 1997 for an earlier owner.” ….New owners Don and Marty Sands “remodeled the (1932 brick Tudor) inside and out, then turned their attention to updating the garden. The couple appreciated the dramatic entry gates, as well as the matuing Japanese maples, Korean dogwoods and Hinoki cypress from the earlier renovation. Marty loves how the garden wraps around the house ‘like a little haven.’ And she calls the majestic copper beech that dominates the scene ‘a Grandfather tree.’”

Since the house is located on the corner of a curving street near Interlaken Boulevard, Brooks loved the original opportunity to remove a scruffy lawn, replacing it with a path that curves parallel to the road, connecting several distinct garden rooms along the way.

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All photos by Seattle Times Photographer, Mike Siegel:  The House and Rockery from the Street; the Entry Gates

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The Birdbath with Japanese Forest Grass; Owners Marty and Don Sands

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The Fountain in 1997; The Fountain Today, with its Lily Bud Jet

Inteviewing Brooks, Valerie asked, “What was it like for Kolb to re-imagine a garden he designed long ago? ‘It’s a wonderful chance to come back in and retool a garden,’ he says. He planted a necklace of new daphnes around the old fountain and left alone the huge white wisteria growing on the hefty arbor at the side of the house.”

Brooks also relished the opportunity to work collaboratively with Sue Nicol, whose contributions to the jointly designed planting plan included the “intensely fragrant” Daphne bholua and ‘Korean Apricot’ chrysanthemums, among many other selections. Brooks has collaborated with Sue for her horticultural and arborist expertise on a number of Seattle area garden designs.