Willamette River - Pistils Landscape Design-19.jpg

Willamette River

milwaukie, Or


Perched on a rugged, west-facing hillside above the Willamette River as it meanders toward Willamette Falls, this landscape encompasses a striking transition from deep forest to the broad expanse of a major Pacific Northwest waterway.

The elegant, cedar-clad home at the center is at-once modern and rustic, very much at-home in the surrounding terrain that is anchored by majestic Douglas Fir trees and a lush understory up-top, and sweeping grassland vistas below.

Pistils worked with the talented design team at LandCurrent to create a series of unique outdoor spaces that engage the multi-faceted terrain, while responding to the specific needs of a client passionate about taking advantage of the many recreational opportunities the river has to offer.

The forested approach to the residence features a series of modern, asymmetrical concrete pads that "float" above a series of rain gardens, which are fed by the rooftops of the nearby tiber frame carport and the adjacent rustic outbuilding. This riparian zone abounds with plant life throughout the year -- from Iris and Camassia in the spring to Agastache and Verbena summer through autumn. 

From there, a series of native basalt slab stairs descend through a lush woodland garden of Anemone, Western Sword Fern and Silal to the upper backyard, which reveals an expansive view of the river below. Immediately adjacent the house is a series of casual outdoor living spaces which include a custom hardwood bench, stainless steel hot tub and natural stone dining patio.

Moving westward, the landscape tumbles down to the banks of the Willamette River with an extensive, curvy network of sturdy and beautiful custom-built basalt walls and stairs, awash on all sides by Autumn Moor grass, Sage, Asclepias and Echinachea, with the occasional evergreen Manzanita and Arbutus.