Diamond in the rough
Making the most of a view

By Stacee Sledge
For the Bellingham Herald

Choosing one finalist from the nearly 40 entries for the second annual Bellingham Herald Garden Makeover Contest was tough. But in the end, we chose a garden with potential that will also provide readers with ideas they can use in their own yards.


Occasional strong wind gusts

Height consideration in some areas, to protect neighbors' water views

Preventing erosion of the bank overlooking the bay

Controlling mole damage


Add vegetation to screen the front door from the street

Beautify the currently empty flower beds that frame the front steps

Plant an herb garden that is easily accessible from the kitchen

Plant a vegetable garden

Possibly remove two overgrown cedar trees in the back yard, replacing them with something that retains the visual screen between them and their neighbors, but doesn't block their bay view

Installing lighting to the front flower beds and the front façade of the house


"It's daunting to take that first step," says George Kaas, Herald garden columnist, of the five-month undertaking that awaits our garden makeover contest winners Dave and Teresa Anderson.


GARDEN PROPER: George Kaas (upper right) speaks with Dave and Teresa Anderson about the potential a space alongside the house could have. Kaas suggests culinary herbs and a primary cutting garden filled with perennials for bouquets near the roses already present. He also suggests small flowering trees that wouldn't block any views.
The side of the home steps down to a grassy yard with a panoramic view of Bellingham and Bellingham Bay.

"The hardest part, perhaps, is the beginning of the project when you feel overwhelmed with ideas, thoughts and possibilities," he continues. "But the beauty of garden creation is that it's a very fluid process that can be adjusted as we go."

Dave and Teresa bought their 1950s-era home two years ago and spent a spent a year remodeling the exterior facade, adding two garages to the front of the house and changing the roofline.Thus, much of their makeover will focus on updating the old-fashioned architectural and landscaping styles of their home, as well as blending in solutions that meet their lifestyle needs.

One of the property's biggest assets is an incredible view of Bellingham Bay.

"One of the most difficult parts is not doing anything to get in the way of the magnficient view," says Kaas. "I want to enhance the view and not have them alter anything that might disturb the stabilization of the site," which can be prone to erosion.

Shade is also a factor in this area, so the plan includes creating a little shift in the elevation of the front view, working in some fragrant plants and providing material for Teresa's cut flower arrangements.

Teresa would like to add a touch of beauty to their land, while Dave desires a vegetable garden. They're striving for a balance between form and function.

On a more personal note, the couple wants to plant a memorial tree for Teresa's mother. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2000, shortly after the couple bought their home, and died one year later.

Stacee Sledge is a Bellingham freelance writer.


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