Camas, Washington has a lot of hills! Most homeowners are not sure exactly what to do with a hilly yard, especially if it is small, but there are a lot of options to overcoming these challenges. Jennifer came to Greenhaven looking for some solutions for her sloped, small yard. Jennifer never spent time in her yard and was frustrated by its lack of privacy from her too-close neighbors. She dreamed of a landscape that reflected the beauty and serenity of the Japanese Gardens, a place she explores regularly year round. Jennifer wanted to bring the element of water into her landscape but was concerned that the slope and size of her yard would make flowing water impossible.

The Challenge

Challenge 1: Jen has a variety of designs in her yard -California, Northwest and Asian. She wanted to move most of her landscaping in an Asian aesthetic. Plants would need to be removed and the existing plants blended together with the new plants for a cohesive look.

Challenge 2: How do you build a water feature with nice sound that doesn’t overpower the small yard and still feels natural? 

Challenge 3: Because Jen’s yard was on a hill it would be a challenge to add a pergola that fit the slope and area.

Challenge 4: The small size of her yard restricted access by machine, so everything would need to be set by hand.

Greenhaven’s Solution

Greenhaven has a special affinity for Japanese design so we were thrilled to work with Jennifer to create a private and serene space. Greenhaven knew that space would be a challenge but was able to design a water feature that brought the flowing water Jennifer wanted that sounded and felt natural. Hand-built, the water feature is the focal point of her Japanese inspired yard. Carefully chosen rocks and stone invoke the timelessness of mountains. Grasses and plants were blended with existing plants to create a more consistent Asian theme. Plants around the water feature compose a beautiful line that visually blends the rock and mounding into the rest of the yard. Trees were added to create privacy, shade and buffer her yard from neighborhood sounds. Greenhaven created a custom pergola that fit Jen’s hilly yard. The pergola provides Jen shade on hot afternoons and gives a decorative view from upper decks of her home.

Elements Used in This Landscape

  • Waterfalls
  • Natural Stone
  • Pond Lights
  • Path Lights


From Our Client

“I was born in China and I really miss the landscape back at home. Rick took a tour of the Japanese Gardens and learn everything I wanted- the rocks, the water features, the plants, everything. He drew up these beautiful plans of how everything was going to lay out and I knew at that point that everything was going to be amazing!”

– Jennifer Q.