March 25, 2012 in Photo Questions
We live in Gig Harbor, WA, would these plants grow here? If so, what are these?
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Lankford Associates Landscape Architects
Hi there, thank you for asking the question. In answer, all these plants would live and thrive in Gig Harbor. The landscape shown is on Camano Island and the conditions are probably quite similar to Gig Harbor. In the forground, the clump grasses are Blue Oat Grass, Helictotrichon sempervirens. The Purple ground cover is Thymus serphyllum, (mother of thyme). The drifts of "grass" in back are Iris siberica 'ceasers brother', (blue iris), and Miscanthus sinensis 'gracillimus', (maiden grass), a large clump grass. There is also Rosmary officinalis 'tuscany blue', and Gaillardia, (blanket flower), and Sedum spectabilis. These all work well along the shoreline.
March 26, 2012 at 1:53PM     
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Thanks for the detailed description, I love all of the plants, especially the Thymus serphyllum? Do this stay green year round? Would you recommend any native plants for Gig Harbor?

Shawna aka (meangrandma)
March 26, 2012 at 5:06PM   
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North American Materials & Manufacturing
If you use a ground covering that blends into the plants, then you could always pick a plant that doesnt stay green all year round and it would still look great! You should check out the Colored Shell Mulch Alternative at to see what you think of that idea. Have a great day!
March 27, 2012 at 6:46AM   
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Lankford Associates Landscape Architects
Hi There. The Thymus serphyllum is one of the perfect plants. It is evergreen, year around, green in summer, turning bronzy in fall. It can be easly mowed at 3". If you mow it after the bloom, it tidies it up spent flowers and encourages growth. It doesn't like too much water, it doesn't like fertilizer and can burn. It also can take light traffic, and like most thymes it is fragrant and you can use it for cooking.

There are many native plants ideal for your area. One of the most forgiving is the Oregon grape, Mahonia aquifolium. There are many varieties but the native one is tough, evergreen, sun or shade, salt tollerant and blooms with bright yellow flowers, followed by edible berries that are blue, (they are sour and have a big seed). The birds often get a little looped on the fermented berries in the fall.

This is a medium shrub. There are many more natives that work in your yard, from low ground covers to trees, sun or shade. If you give me a setting or range of sizes I can help more, or you can contact me at,

March 27, 2012 at 10:51AM   
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Hello Scott,
Again, love much about this design photo. My question is.....can I use many of your selected plantings in Southern IN. We've purchased a 2.5 acre lot that offers a slight gradual slope from the NE corner to the SW corner. The lot is surrounded by woods. Plenty of deer, wildlife. We plan to place the house approximately mid-way to give us a reasonable amount of space in back for family entertainment and outdoor privacy, similarly in front without too much front yard to mow! My husband and I are retired so I thought "terracing" would minimize the areas that need mowing. My main question is can I use the plants you've described in my location. We have plenty of lakes and one within 2 miles of the house....however, not on the water. It's Lake Monroe - which is a reservoir - not salt water. .........
I like your work.......too bad you're so far away.
July 7, 2012 at 10:24AM     
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