A Modern Northwest Cottage Garden

A Modern Northwest Cottage Garden

This Modern Northwest Cottage Garden in Sequim was designed by landscape architect Emily Russell. Sequim is not an area that 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’re interested in working with us, please contact us. We’d love to hear how 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.


3-Column Water Feature

This 3-column water feature we constructed in Poulsbo is comprised of varying heights of columnar basalt. This elegant addition beautifully complements an already mature landscape.

Turn up your sound and enjoy!

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. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Poulsbo Concrete Driveway & Water Feature

This Poulsbo concrete driveway and water feature project was a collaboration between us and our client, Margaret, whose serene property in the Lofall area overlooks the Puget Sound and features a naturally-occurring stream, edible garden, flagstone patio sitting area, Japanese maple trees grown by her son, and retired racing pigeons. How’s that for interestingness?

tearing out old concrete

Before shot

After meeting with two other contractors, she chose to go with us because we specialize in both landscaping and concrete, and the combination was exactly what she needed to execute her plan.

In addition to ripping out the old and unsightly existing concrete driveway, there was a crooked concrete step connecting her porch to her front entry walkway that needed to be replaced. The materials she considered instead of concrete at the start of the project included flagstone and tile.

entry steps

Margaret and Colby discuss material options for the step. A concrete overlay was the chosen solution.

For practical purposes, she wanted an exposed aggregate finish for the driveway, but the driveway was just one part of the concrete installation. It conjoined the entry walkway that linked the driveway to her back patio. Margaret knew she wanted a contrasting, yet complimentary, finish to the exposed aggregate, yet had concerns about long-term maintenance and her close proximity to salty, marine air.

concrete walkway

The concrete step overlay was completed after the concrete walkway was poured and finished.

The consideration she put forth into selecting the right complimentary finish, texture and color is exactly the kind of involvement we appreciate from our clients. Concrete is longlasting when properly installed, and homeowners use their driveway on a daily basis. The importance of getting these aesthetic considerations just right cannot be overstated.

poulsbo concrete driveway

The concrete driveway was sealed with an industrial grade sealant to protect it from stains and marine air.

Roman Slate texture was selected for the borders of the exposed aggregate concrete driveway and walkway. Going this route—exposed aggregate for the body of the concrete with decorative borders at the outer edge—is a smart option because exposed aggregate is less costly than stamped or textured concrete, and the end result still features decorative customization.

poulsbo concrete driveway

Interesting sidenote: the shed-like structure in the back houses the retired racing pigeons.

Silversmoke was the color selected for integral coloring of all of the textured concrete, which was enhanced by powder antique release. For added contrast, liquid antique release was used as well.

stamped concrete walkway

This Roman Slate textured walkway connects the driveway to the back patio.

Early on, before some of these decisions had been made, Margaret decided that this was the perfect time to also install another water feature in her landscape. The naturally-occurring stream runs parallel with her home and the soothing sound of it is heard throughout the landscape. This new water feature has a different look, feel and sound altogether.

poulsbo concrete driveway and water feature

The splash and sound of this water feature was well considered prior to its construction.

The finished 3-column water feature is somewhat deceptive. Once erect and set in place, the grouping of the basalt columns is quite elegant. Moving them, however, is not! Particularly with an existing landscape that’s mature, with flagstone nearby already set in place. That being said, Colby and Elias enjoyed the process of constructing this water feature as it was our first one of this kind.

poulsbo landscaper

Margaret’s keen sense of plant design beautifully complements all of her hardscape features.

This concrete driveway and water feature project in Poulsbo was a rewarding experience for us because we had the opportunity to work with a landscape that has a lot of soul (yes, this can be felt), is still a work-in-progress (Margaret is already planning the next phase), and is a beautiful reflection of its owner.

Here’s what she had to say about us:

poulsbo landscaping contractor testimonial

Thank you, Margaret!

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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. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Formal Backyard Garden

This formal backyard garden project in Silverdale was designed by Emily Russell of Russell Design Source. Much of the homeowner’s original lawn was removed to make way for a courtyard patio and furnishings, raised garden beds and formal, shade-tolerant plantings.

backyard landscaping


Once all of the old, mossy lawn was removed, we brought in truck loads of dark, rich organic soil to create raised beds.  Then, we set up concrete forms for the courtyard patio and walkway located on the side of the house.

backyard landscaping silverdale

The concrete steps were poured first.

Emily’s plan called for three Dwarf Southern Magnolia trees, pyramidal trees that bloom in the spring, along with shade tolerant plants such such as Lenten Rose hellebores and Old Fashion Bleeding Hearts.

backyard landscaping silverdale

The leaves of Dwarf Southern Magnolias are rusty-brown on the undersides.

Ashlar slate stamped concrete looks a lot like tile though is much more affordable.  The concrete was antiqued, a technique used in concrete applications to create a marbling effect, and sealed to protect it from stains.

stamped concrete patio

This courtyard showcases the beauty of natural gray concrete.

The courtyard offers a great space to gather and entertain, and the marble planters and furniture selected by the homeowner complement it beautifully.

stamped concrete silverdale


Leave us a comment below.  We’d love to hear your thoughts about this project!

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.

Front Yard Transformation

We headed all the way out to Steilacoom for this front yard transformation.  The homeowners were a pleasure to work for, which made the added commute much more tolerable.  An added bonus was getting the opportunity to learn about and work with different vendors in that area.

The talented Emily Russell ASLA designed this lawnless landscape, creating an additional parking area along with pathways for the homeowners to easily move through their front yard space.  Her plan originally called for pavers, but with concrete being a much less costly alternative, the homeowners opted for London Cobblestone stamped concrete instead.

Take a look at the progression of this lawn-free landscaping project:

pierce county landscapers

Before shot

decorative concrete

Existing grass and an exposed aggregate concrete walkway and step were removed.


Topsoil and decorative rocks were installed for the creation of landscape beds, bordered with forms for concrete installation.


Plantings included Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ and Mexican Feather Grass. Ready for concrete!

pierce county landscapers

After shot. A total front yard landscape transformation!

Share your thoughts on this front yard transformation below in the comment section.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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.

Waterfront Landscape Installation

Working on this waterfront landscape installation in Seabeck offered us a stunning view of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The homeowners planned a massive renovation of their home and lot, tackling an extensive remodeling project and new landscape at the same time. If the view looks familiar, it’s the same mountainscape featured in this landscape installation we completed earlier this year.

Designed by the talented Emily Russell, ASLA, this project features a flagstone patio with a natural stone seating area, stone steps, raised beds, and a new lawn from hydroseed. Invasive species were removed, and native plants such as Oregon grape, salal, and beach strawberry groundcover were planted.

A key feature of this project is a rain garden which acts as a filter to mitigate stormwater runoff before it reaches the Puget Sound, thanks to Christy Christensen of C3 Habitat Corp. who provided her expertise and guidance.

Below are progress photos which document the approach we took to this waterfront landscape installation.

seabeck landscaping

All existing lawn and plant material were removed. It’s pretty amazing to see the transformation that occurs when all that is left is bare dirt.

Seabeck landscapers

Once we had a clean slate to work with, Vern’s Organic Topsoil was delivered and spread. In our opinion, Vern’s is the best topsoil in the area. It’s full of nutrients and is regularly tested to ensure that it meets the requirements for Grade A organic topsoil.

Kitsap County landscapers

Decorative placement rocks were installed in the large bed that conjoined the deck, along with rock steps. Sedum ‘Angelina’ was planted, along with woolly thyme and blue oat grass.

landscape patio

A flagstone patio was installed with decorative placement rocks that act as seating. Finding favorable rock material is a task that requires time and a good amount of patience. Sometimes the best rocks are at the bottom of the pile!

The rain garden was installed along the retaining wall on the right. Hydroseed was sprayed for a new lawn.

One month later, a lush new lawn had grown in thanks to Hoyt’s Hydroseeding.

seabeck landscapers

The homeowners were thrilled with both Emily Russell’s design and the outcome after installation. We very much enjoyed working on this waterfront landscape installation, a true collaboration between all involved.

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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.