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Sustainable in Seattle

Articles: Sustainable in Seattle

A sturdy entry pergola greets visitors to Jennifer Carlson’s Seattle garden; her front garden plants are mostly drought-tolerant, colorful shrubs and perennials that stand out in her Magnolia neighborhood of rockeries and lawns. Photographs by Saxon Holt

Jennifer Carlson’s garden fits so seamlessly into her older Seattle neighborhood you’d never guess that, over the last eight years, every inch has been retrofitted with sustainable features and systems. Good intentions don’t always add up to the most beautiful gardens, but Jennifer’s little urban farm is as attractive as it is exemplary. From a composting fence to the permeable patio, every eco-savvy element in the garden contributes to its sustainability, as well as its comfort, beauty, and productivity.

When most of us walk into a garden, we see the plants, the house, the patio. Jennifer looks beyond the surface to discover a property’s physical history, where the sun falls, the composition of the soil, how water flows, and where it collects. From topography to maintenance, Jennifer ponders how each part of the garden can be built, engineered, or planted...

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