This Modern Northwest Cottage Garden in Sequim was designed by landscape architect Emily Russell. Sequim and the Olympic Peninsula is not an area we typically service due to the commute and unpredictable bridge openings.

This iPhone photo was taken the day we completed the landscape lighting.

If this project had come to us any other way than through our good friend Emily, chances are likely we would have said no.

In hindsight, saying yes was a brilliant decision. This project ended up being the brightest spot of a year – 2020 – that was riddled with hardship and uncertainty.

The job itself was totally in our wheelhouse, so to speak.

It included the installation of an extensive drainage system, an irrigation system, new garden beds and plants, pathways and edging, a new lawn, a fire pit patio, decorative rocks, cut stone steps, a formal courtyard, stamped concrete pathways and landscape lighting.

Typing all of that – it’s no wonder the project took us nearly the entire summer to install!

Day one of project. The San Juan Islands are in the background.

The grades – or what we call the “dirt work” – were mostly established prior to our work beginning. Some minor manipulation of the grades is usually needed to make sure we have proper slope for drainage purposes.

Below, you see hard pipe and funny pipe coming out of the ground. All of it signals weeks of digging, trenching, and laying and gluing pipe.

Juan and Angel rake rocks to be removed. The foundation of landscaping is raking and grading, a process that takes hours and days to do right.

On this water side of the property, the landscape’s most prominent feature is a fire pit and surrounding gravel and rock patio.

We decided to increase the size of the decorative rock used for this area during the installation process, due to the grand scale of the gravel fire pit patio and our clients’ expansive, water and sky views. This required careful maneuvering of the rocks while setting them with our mini-excavator and skid steer.

Our excavator may be a mini, but we got the job done.

The informal rock retention and garden bed in the photo below was not in Emily’s plan. During the construction process, we realized it was necessary due to the lower grade of the lawn area, and the higher placement of the gravel pathway against the deck that leads to the fire pit.

Changes to an original design are not uncommon, although we remain true to the designer’s vision as much as possible.

Our clients’ beautiful home was remodeled by general contractor Sam Yadon, who we worked closely with on this project.

At the front of the house is where the landscape really lives up to its name – A Modern Northwest Cottage Garden.

Formal courtyard plantings include a Boxwood hedge on the outside of the masonry, and a Sweet Box hedge on the inside. Dogwood trees were a requested feature and will look fantastic in bloom come spring.

Our client refers to her landscape as “party in the back, business in the front” with a smile.

The formal courtyard masonry work was done by Nootka Masonry, an outfit based in Sequim that does excellent work.

To really get a sense of this landscape, watch the video below.

It begins at the front door, in the courtyard area, and takes the viewer on a tour to the back waterside of the home. Watching it, one understands the significance of the gravel walkways as a connective feature, tying together all areas of this landscape.

Our clients selected a more upscale gravel “dust” product. Because it’s so fine, it actually compacts better than other gravels over time.


This was such a rewarding project to watch come together.

It gave us the opportunity to showcase our specific specialization of high-end landscaping and decorative concrete. It was also the largest landscape lighting project we’ve ever completed, and it allowed us to grow our knowledge about landscape lighting materials and best practices for installation.

iPhone images are all we have of this completed project, but we’re excited to return in spring to capture it with professional photography.

Landscape lighting brightens up the gravel dust pathways that connect all areas of this landscape.

Only low growing perennials and shrubs were planted against the water view.

Landscape edging preserves the integrity of materials remaining in place, and results in a clean and tidy appearance.

This fire pit patio acts as an outdoor room to enjoy time with friends and family.

Landscape lighting on trees creates an ambiance of elegance.

Truly, installing this Modern Northwest Cottage Garden was an awesome experience. Our clients were very happy.

Here’s what they had to say about working with us:

Hearing positive feedback from clients is what keeps us motivated.

Leave us a comment below to tell us what you think of this project!

And if you live on the Olympic Peninsula and are searching for a landscaping company to install your landscape design, don’t hesitate to contact us to see if we’re a good fit for one another. We’d love to see if we can help you create the landscape of your dreams.

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.