The 2022 PDX Landscape Architecture + Design Tour

July 16th, 2022

Step outside and enjoy the outdoors! Presented by the Modern Architecture + Design Society (MA+DS), we're back to show you the backyards, plantings, pergolas and gardens that make Portland's outdoor spaces amazing!

See the spaces that make staying home fun!

Summertime is when fun happens, and at these special homes the vacation never ends! 

The Portland Landscape Architecture + Design Tour is your chance to visit fantastic private outdoor spaces, meet the builders and designers that made it happen -and maybe even ask a question or two about your own dream backyard project!

Left: Tour Home outdoor dining area by Bethany Rydmark :: Landscapes

Tour Homes

Bethany Rydmark :: Landscapes
Olivine Land, LLC
Celilo Gardens
Casa Smith Designs
Kevin Chambers Design
Let's Go Outside!

Together, we'll tour Portland's coolest backyards!

Let’s get together and tour some of Portland’s impressive – and fun – backyard spaces, gardens, plantings, and outdoor entertaining areas.

Meet the Landscape Designers

Talk with the minds behind these fantastic outdoor spaces!

Get Inspired!

Finally ready to embark on your own stunning modern project? You won't find better inspiration anywhere!

Ask All The Questions

The Tour is your chance to ask Portland's leading outdoor design pros what they think - right in the spaces they designed!

Learn About the 2022 Tour Homes

Contractor: JP Stone Contractors
Photographer Credit: James Leasure / MA+DS

The Glisan Street project transformed an overgrown and underused back yard into a new family retreat. The renovated landscape includes a bluestone carpeted dining room, outdoor grilling and kitchen space, raised beds, eco-lawn, and a generous fire pit lounge anchored by a custom juniper trellis doubling as a screen support for backyard movie nights. 
The original garden had served its purposes and the existing cedar raised beds were aging out. The back door led to overgrown shrubs and the tall house walls dwarfed the space. Future phases may also include removing and reimagining the existing covered structure at the driveway, but for this era, we focused on overhauling all the open space between the house, driveway, and fence lines. 
The new garden captures borrowed landscapes of surrounding trees and plants while carving out new living, dining, and lounging spaces within the heart of the property. 
Upper and lower levels terrace the subtle slope, and a custom juniper trellis backbone anchors the rooms, provides separation from neighbors, and brings the area into scale by breaking up the distance to the high house eaves. 
A new built in bluestone kitchen countertop and steel and juniper shelving system extends from the rigid backdrop of the house, and bluestone paving and steps contrast with loose river rock and soft eco-lawn at the ground plane. 
The coziest corner features a low fire bowl surrounded by comfortable plush seating and hemmed in by grasses, vines, evergreens, and two beautiful specimen dwarf olive trees selected for their slow growth and beautiful silvery foliage. 

Landscape Installation: Marina Wynton and Mike Pajunas
Specialty Installation: Columbia Tile Art Contracting
Photographer Credit: Doreen Wynja/Eye of the Lady

Our gardens are a reflection of our deep appreciation for nature, gardening, art & home. When we bought the house in 2006, the front and back yards were all lawn. There was a brick patio & an odd floating wood dock in the back. We went to work right away removing lawn and space planning the yards. Generally Mike’s area is the back yard, Marina’s is the front. We share labor and constantly chat about this and that.



  • Use of native & non- native plants
  • Removal of lawn and invasive weeds
  • Manage storm water: disconnected downspouts & rain garden & gravel paths.
  • Create habitat for birds, insects, mammals, and invertebrates
  • No use of chemicals
  • No use of gas powered equipment
  • Organic gardening practices that support wildlife
  • Compliment the architecture of the house
  • Low maintenance
  • Acknowledge climate change
  • Drought tolerance
  • Low water use
  • Welcome people
  • Connect to nature
  • Create!

FRONT YARD: South facing yard
AESTHETIC: Wild urban modern!

USES: Marina’s plant lab: cultivating my love of perennials and flowering shrubs: native and non-native.
Native & non-native plants selected for drought tolerance


  • Native and non-native plants
  • Native hedge row
  • Disconnected downspouts & rain garden
  • Hand built stone pathway
  • Planted parking strip
  • Bird & insect baths.
  • Concrete ribbon driveway with plant bed
  • Garden art

BACKYARD: Northwest facing yard
AESTHETIC: Mike is inspired by the lush forests and meadows of the Pacific Northwest

USES: Indulging Mike’s love of native plants & all plants!
Also used for lounging, entertaining, vegetable gardening, Maisie’s (the dog) personal race course.


  • Native and non-native plants
  • Native hedge row
  • Guest fort
  • Hand built stone patio & path
  • River rock patio
  • Corten steel vegetable beds
  • Bird baths
  • Garden art, bird houses & bee& butterfly nesting boxes
  • Garden & tool shed with sedum roof
  • Bike storage

We’re constantly tinkering with the planting beds: how to get more winter structure & color? How to fit in a few more perennials and edibles. Always an eye out for the just right garden art piece for a certain spot. The mason bee box is in the wrong place…compost is in the way. Just when we think we’re done, we each get new ideas about something or other….

Contractor: Northwest Outdoor Living
Photographer Credit: Bonnie Bruce

These clients had matured out of the functions of their large back yard with a pool as the center piece. The children who were young when the property was purchased, were now grown and college age. And the principal form of entertainment was no longer pool parties with kids and dogs chasing and splashing. They wanted a more refined, contemporary space to relax, to dine with a few friends but also to entertain large groups while maintaining privacy.  

The pool was partially demolished – the concrete aggregate walks were removed, the coping and walls of the pool were removed down to 4 feet from grade. The boulders which had been incorporated into the concrete aggregate walk surrounding the pool were broken out and relocated to the new planting beds and to form a new retaining wall. An offset path was designed to lead you past plantings, past a series of Cor Ten screens and through a contemporary Cor Ten Moon Gate to a large paver patio which offers ample seating around a gas fire pit. Another smaller, paved dining area was added in the NW corner of the yard with a path connecting to the house and to the larger patio, past a low, bubbling water feature. 

People’s Choice – 2022 HGTV Ultimate Outdoor Award in the category of ‘Curb Appeal’

Contractor/Builder: Aspen Creek Landscaping 
Specialty Contracting: A. Silvestri Wall Fountains & Garden Art 
Photographer Credit: Steven R Hanning Photography

A Modern English Garden

When we approached the redesign of this garden, we wanted to accomplish several objectives: 

  1. Accessibility 
  2. Take advantage of the view
  3. Create entertaining space
  4. Minimal maintenance & drought tolerant plants 
  5. Reduced lawn area
  6. Attract birds, bees, and butterflies 

When we approach a project, we always look to the architecture of a home to guide our design and spaces. This is particularly important when you’re creating outdoor spaces extending from the house, they should feel like an extension that flows naturally.  

For this home we looked to the English garden for inspiration with paths leading us to parts of the garden, home and entertaining space, open views and an abundance of flowers attracting a bounty of pollinators.  

We combined modern materials like pavers in an old pattern (herringbone) with colored concrete for the stairs for contrast. We reduced the lawn by 50% and added garden beds filled with plants that require little fuss and even less water that attract pollinators but aren’t attractive to deer (for the most part!). The large fountain serves as a water source for the pollinators and adds a soothing sound to the whole space. We recycled existing steppingstones and boulders from an old pond on the property in new ways throughout the design. The entertaining space was enlarged to comfortably host large groups and take advantage of the view while providing privacy.  

In the evening the space is artfully lit with strategically placed lights for safety and ambiance while speakers fill the air with music. The gas fire pit extends use of the space well into the crisper months of the year. 

The overall effect is warm, inviting, and comfortable while also considering long term resources. Reduced lawn size and drought tolerant plants mean less water use and you have plants that can tolerate the heat. Using a broad selection of plant materials assures you’re attracting and sustaining wildlife. Reusing existing materials on site not only saves money, but also resources. 

Photographer Credit: Kevin Chambers 

The homeowners are a Portland hospitality power couple and in 2020 they decided to up the ante on their at-home entertaining game. It was goodbye to most of the grass and hello to an oversized dining table with built in banquette and vegetable bed. 

A central planting bed and shade garden surround the minimalist fire pit, all under the watchful eye of gnarled walnut, fig and fruit trees. This clean, modern garden is sure to host many wine and vegetable bed-to-table bbqs all summer long. 

From Kevin: This garden is relatively small but boasts many separate spaces that help to make it feel even larger. 

Contractor/Builder: Axiom Luxury Homes 
Landscape Architect/Design: Julia Dahlgren 
Photography: Courtesy of GRO

GRO was given the opportunity to bring the dreams of these two homeowners to life! We started with design, created renderings of various areas of the property then began construction in early Spring 2022. This home features (3) Bubbler Water features, Synthetic Turf to replace living lawn, Dog Run, Sauna Pad and custom pool, and features three themes of landscape. You are greeted at the entry with NW Modern plantings, as you enter the left side of the side yard you’ll transition to a relaxing oasis with covered patio and be in full resort mode as you enter the back featuring palm trees, and more! 

What You'll See

An amazing entertaining and relaxation space by Bethany Rydmark :: Landscapes
Learn More
The 2022 HGTV Curb Appeal People's Choice Winner by Casa Smith Designs
Learn More
A modernist backyard featuring cor-ten sculptural features
Learn More
A place by Kevin Chambers Design, tailor made to host many wine and vegetable bed-to-table bbqs all summer long
A lush, urban habitat by Olivine Land
Learn More

How It Works

02 Watch For Your Tour Map

About 48 hours before Tour Day, watch your email for a printable PDF map, as well as links to a dynamic online map if you prefer to navigate that way.

03 Visit the Homes on Tour Day

Travel at your own pace as you visit the homes in any order you wish between 10 AM and 2 PM* on Tour Day.

Left: Tour Home by Studio Momentum  Image: Patrick Wong

Over A Decade of Fun & Educational Home Tour Events!


Left: Tour Home fountain detail by GRO Outdoor Living

© 2022 Modern Home Tours, LLC


Like this:

Like Loading...
%d bloggers like this: