J&E Dawson Residence

Welcome to the J&E Dawson residence!


This was the first design I’ve done from a non-existent landscape, and I LOVED IT! Blank canvases are the best. They allow for so much freedom and creativity!

Obviously the Dawsons were still in the process of having their dream home built, but they had a very clear vision of what they wanted for their landscape. Which is a great thing because it gave me plenty of ideas to build on. I love that too. They wanted something symmetrical and linear. (Linear is my favorite design style!) The husband, J, is from the other side of the pond, so he wanted plenty of grass for playing soccer with the kiddos, and E loves English gardens (which generally means rustic perennials that are densely planted) and the crunch of pea gravel under foot. (Love me some pea gravel.) I was so excited about doing this design.

The lot itself was large – really long and plenty wide. Here’s an aerial view that they sent me. They added the black shape for the house, and I added the green line so you get the feel of the approximate property line on that side.

Ariel View 1

That’s a lot of space to fill, eh?

For this design, I was subcontracted through Wray Dix of Boulder Landscaping. I don’t think he has a website, otherwise I’d include a link to it. I met with Wray and he talked to me about what the clients wanted. Then he forwarded me some images of ideas that they had emailed him. Since I don’t know where the images originally came from and can’t link anything, I won’t include them here. But if you want to go to my Pinterest board of ideas for this style of landscape (some of which are ones E sent), go here.

Even though the lot is wide open, there were a few areas that needed special attention.

First up, the entry way/front porch.


That view is from the front porch looking out. Before you head out to the front yard, there’s a cozy resting area, a little courtyard, created by those low walls. Here I’ve merged two pictures so you get the full view of it from the outside.

Dawson front merge 1

And here’s the architect’s rendering of that spot.

Architects Plan View-001

They had already planned to put in a fountain, a bench, and some plants, so I just expanded upon that outline.

The next area of note is the back of the house.


Three exits! Not only that, but the elevation change needed to be addressed. There’s also a mild elevation change in the surrounding yard (front and back), making the house about 1-2 feet higher than the outskirts of the lot. The architect, again, had already drawn up a plan of what the back porch area would entail:

Architects Plan View crop 2

The last area that had to be taken into consideration isn’t even in their yard – it’s in their neighbor’s.


A large weeping willow tree. Weeping willows are beautiful. But they have a couple drawbacks: The worst is, they’re weak-wooded, which means they loose limbs and branches easily and frequently, especially in high-wind areas. They also have small leaves, which can be somewhat of a pain if you plan on raking them up in the fall. The neighbors have it in the right spot though – away from the house, in a spot that doesn’t require as much maintenance. Unfortunately, the tree’s branches hang over the fence 20-some feet into J&E’s lot.


That means J&E will be doing a decent amount of branch and leaf pick-up. It also means that spot will be a bit shady.

Other than those areas, the almost-one-acre yard was a blank canvas for me to play with! I used the pictures emailed to me to form some of the design and then included features that they specifically wanted – a vegetable garden, a few fruit trees, a large swath of grass, a secluded garden spot, and other outdoor rooms. Oh, and urns/fountains. Since J&E were in the midst of home building and all the decision-making associated with that, I wasn’t able to meet with them initially. But we did connect through email where I ran some other ideas by them. I’ve been all over Europe and even lived in Austria for a while, so I had a plethora of stunning castle garden pictures from which to draw other ideas from. And here’s where I ended up:

Dawson Preliminary Design title 2


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