Mosaic Gardens Journal

news, photos and inspiration

Our deck on Sunset’s Fresh Dirt July 26, 2011

Filed under: News,our garden,photos,Tricky spaces — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 4:52 pm
Tags: , ,

The galvanized stock tank planters on our deck got the attention of Sunset’s Jim McCausland during his recent visit.  The bamboo screen provides a soft, textural screen for the seating area and a lovely backdrop to the view of the deck from the house.  On clear nights, moonlight through the bamboo casts beautiful shadows on our walls.  Read about the screen and see some of Jim’s terrific photos on Sunset’s Fresh Dirt….


Q&A – Birch Tunnel March 31, 2011

Filed under: garden design,photos,Q&A — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 5:59 pm
Tags: , , ,

Have a question? Want more frequent updates? We’d love to hear from you! Read more here and write us in the comments or at

Last week, Brooke left a very nice comment and a couple of good questions:

I am in love with the birch tree tunnel — how beautiful! What type of birch trees are those? What is the system that is holding them up? How would one go about replicating this amazing design?

The trees are good old Betula jacquemontii, or Whitebarked Himilayan Birch, a fairly common landscape tree in our area.  In this shadier area of the garden, we wanted the trunks of the trees to stand out, and this birch had both the eye-catching light bark and the tolerance for cool, moist (but well-drained) soils that we needed.  We should note that this is the first time we’ve used this tree for this application, so it isn’t yet “proven,” but, as you can see, so far so good!

The structures are round steel tubes that we had bent to a specified radius.  Believe it or not, there are shops dedicated just to bending metal!  If you wanted to replicate an arch like this, you can talk to a pipe bending company or you may have better luck a local metalworker who can oversee the project for you (most pipe benders are not accustomed to working with homeowners).  Alternately, you may be able to carefully fabricate a supporting structure from a smaller diameter metal, such as rebar, but it is very difficult to get and keep a perfect curve and straight sides.  No matter what your method, be sure to make the “legs” of your arch extra long, in order to sink them below grade in concrete.

Design-wise, this is obviously not a new concept.  For centuries, landscape designers have understood the power of focusing attention with geometry, and our take on the allee is nothing new.  When considering a feature with this aesthetic weight, it is vital to get your lines just right.  Make sure your “tunnel” is straight and centered, and carefully consider the views or focal points at the ends.

This is our only allee, but the balance of soft and hard lines in a metal arch can create a striking effect in many spaces.  Below are a couple more photos of arches we have created.  If you missed it, you can get another view of the arches in our last post.

Thanks for the questions, Brooke!






Bigger and Better Coast Garden Photos August 15, 2010

Filed under: Deer,garden design,photos — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 1:31 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

We brought out the big camera this time.  Here are a few of our favorite potential portfolio shots of the Oregon coast garden.  What do you think?


Picture Postcard Gardens June 11, 2010

Filed under: garden design,photos — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 4:02 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Our June 2010 postcard


Our newest postcard features a few photos of our work (learn more below) and addresses for our website and this journal.  If you’re new to the journal – welcome!  Once you’ve learned about the photos on the card, we hope you’ll keep reading.  The newsletters are a great place to start, or you can take a quick scroll through our last fourteen months of photos, ideas and news.  We update every few days during the growing season, so we hope you’ll check back soon.

To learn about our Mosaic-designed, 100% recycled-paper postcards read more here.

But for now, on to the pictures!





This rusting metal wisteria arbor shades our clients’ west-facing seating area.  We designed the steel frame to be sturdy enough to support a mature vine, but aesthetically light enough not to overwhelm the plant’s beauty or the view.  When the vine drops its leaves for winter or the vine is cut back hard, the arbor provides a clean and (we think) attractive structure on its own.  If you like the arbor, you might enjoy this post with photos of some of our other custom metal features.

A little courtyard makes the perfect outdoor dining room for clients who love to cook.  The garden is just outside their kitchen, where they spend much of their time, and screened from their semi-busy street by a redwood fence.  We built the redwood fence and stone patio, installed the plants, and even designed the cool metal furniture!  Learn more about this pocket garden in our  6th newsletter, Sit. Stay., where we share some ideas for designing a great seating area, and in a post about our furniture designs.

A big, hand-coiled, Vietnamese urn and rustic basalt path anchor this pretty garden.  Our client requested a cottage-style planting with as much pastel floral color as her voracious deer would allow.  We balanced the seasonal color with bold foliage for year-round impact.  This garden has some great ideas, and we’ve discussed different aspects of it in a recent post about “making a scene,” a newsletter about garden features, and a post with photos of three of our favorite deer gardens.

Thanks for reading!  We hope the card and journal provide inspiration for your garden, or at least a few minutes of fun.  If you would like to learn more about Mosaic and how we can help you create your garden, visit or call 541.434.6467.


Furniture September 22, 2009

Filed under: garden design,our garden,photos — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 5:55 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Sometimes, a garden needs one final touch to bring it together. When that final element can be a functional table, bench or chair, all the better…. We have designed custom furniture for a few of our gardens, a feat that inevitably requires more time, effort and head scratching than we could imagine. Those big stone benches require a little sweat equity, as well. Somehow, the results are always enough to make us willing to dive in again.

Cantilevered ipe and steel bench (photo by Robin Bachtler Cushman)

Cantilevered ipe and steel bench (photo by Robin Bachtler Cushman)

Steel bench

Steel bench with perforated top

Steel table with perforated top (chairs by Henry Hall)

Steel table with perforated top (chairs by Henry Hall)

Sandstone bench

Sandstone bench

Sandstone bench with rusting steel wall

Sandstone bench with rusting steel wall

Steel table with perforated top, and our first (and only?) chairs

Steel table with perforated top and our first (and only?) chairs


Metal June 18, 2009

Filed under: garden design,photos — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 4:07 am
Tags: , , , ,

Our corrugated fence captures everyone's attention.

One of the first things that people notice in our garden is the galvanized metal. There’s the corrugated fence, stock tank pond and deck planters, custom table frame, deck railing… heck, even our garage door and gutters! In our garden, metal is a clean, bright theme throughout the garden. It is the perfect foil for plants and offers a welcome lightness on drizzly days.

In our clients’ gardens, rusty, galvanized and painted metals typically play a more subtle role, but they provide the final details that complete the space. We love the strength, clean lines and exceptional durability we can achieve with metal. While the steel arbors, furniture and features we design will last for many, many years, it is nice to know that if and when they are removed, they are completely recyclable. Below is a small sampling of the metalwork we have designed.


This fountain is a classic Mosaic feature - big, simple form.

We designed these table and chairs to add color and brightness to this small space.

We designed this metal table and chairs to add color and brightness to this small space.

Metal is a strong, but visually light solution for an arbor.

Metal is a strong, but visually light solution for an arbor.

The famous screen.

Of course, the famous screen....