From Concrete to Greenery: A Garden Tranformed in Oregon

Buell Steelman and Rebecca Sams are alums of Gardens, the groundbreaking landscape architecture design/build firm in Austin, Texas. A decade ago, they traded the heat of the Southwest for the cooler climes of the Pacific Northwest, moving to Eugene, Oregon, where they began their own landscape design/build company, Mosaic Gardens.

The couple bought a ranch-style house (for its affordability, not charm) with a garden that was mostly concrete, located on a steep, sloping, narrow lot. Their own outdoor space promptly became Mosaic Gardens’ first major project; read on to learn their secrets. Photographs via Mosaic Gardens.

Above: Steelman and Sams began with the hardscape before tackling the landscape, mapping out pathways and flow with emphasis on focal points seen from the house and other viewpoints on the property. In this case, a Vietnamese urn filled with water flowers sits at the end of a straight pea gravel path flanked by stone. For inspiration on making your own urns, see DIY: Envy-Inducing Planters.

Above: A galvanized stock tank provides a focal point on a circular pea gravel path terrace.

Above: The stock tank is filled with water flowers such as lotus and water lilies in the summer months.

Above: A fruit orchard with a stone sphere built by Steelman. The austerity of the orchard sits in contrast to the rest of the garden. Corrugated roofing panels were used to build the fence, and its surface also serves as a great reflector of light. To see more garden art, visit Modern Sculptures for the Garden: Terra Trellis.

Above; A collection of different sized containers in brown hues, with succulents including aloes and agave. The cluster of gradating heights provides a focal point at the entryway.

Looking for more outdoor inspiration? If so, visit Gardenista‘s numerous posts on gardens around the world.


Angela K.
Angela K.6 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Terry V.
Terry V.3 years ago


Louis Olivencia
Louis Olivencia3 years ago


Myriam G.
Myriam G.3 years ago

Beautiful and inspiring!

Heidi H.
Past Member 3 years ago

Very beautiful.

Heather M
Heather Marv3 years ago

Beautiful. Gardens and plants just so filled with life, seem to give back to us, life itself.

Als S.
Alysia S.3 years ago

That is so neat

Nils Lunde
PlsNoMessage se3 years ago

Green is Good.....

Dee Campbell
Deborah Campbell3 years ago

cool inspiring....motivating...I hope

rene davis
rene davis3 years ago

Thank you.