In many suburban Portland neighborhoods, the houses tower over the lots and privacy is hard to come by. At this property we made the most of the limited space with a layered planting scheme of trees, shrubs, flowering  perennials, and ground covers.

The garden features a traditional patio near the house that holds a dining table with a bright green umbrella and a nearby buffet table for serving.

Farther from the house, a flagstone path leads to a more rustic fire pit area, with a circular graveled patio and a grape arbor with a bench swing. A bright chartreuse Adirondack chair picks up the color scheme.

The narrow side yards in these neighborhoods can be just wasted space, but we made the most of one of them by adding a potting bench and utility bin storage area. The other side yard is very shady, and here we put in native plantings including vine maple, snowberry, deer ferns, woodland strawberry, and redwood sorrel. The stepping stones are a somewhat whimsical touch with varied ground covers planted inside barrel hoops lined with Mexican pebbles.