Tony and Joy Dobson Way moved to Ashland in 2007 with two goals for the new home they sought: a view and a pool. Given the steep slopes for hillside homes in Ashland, they learned this was a complex vision. They realized half of their dream when they found a home with a view of the Cascade slopes north of Ashland.
Problem: No pool.
But a long slope to the street provided ample space to install one with the right site work. Once Tony knew they'd be grading the lot, he added a garden to the project list.
"I'm one of those people who likes to garden," says Tony. "I think it's fun to go out and trim the flowers."
They began in April 2007, only a month after they moved into the home. "It was a three-ring circus here for three months," says Tony. Remodeling became a part-time job for him. Joy estimates he spent 15 hours a week managing the installations, which included fences, grading, terraces and retaining walls, along with the construction of the pool and installation of the landscaping.
He worked closely with Alonso Izaguierre, owner of JA Gardens in Medford, who helped create their dreamscape and helps maintain the property.
The 12-by-28-foot Gunite pool is surrounded by a 1,000-square-foot quartzite patio and a black wrought-iron fence with a planting border. Solar heating is usually enough to maintain the pool's preferred temperature of 88 degrees, says Tony. Next to the pool, a dining area sheltered by the home's main-floor deck gets plenty of use during the warm seasons. In winter, the nearby hot tub is the outdoor attraction.
"We're in it every day," says Joy.
When the Ways purchased the property, the yard's terrace was supported by surplus telephone poles. Tri-colored concrete block walls and stairways now handsomely frame the three tiers created by the new grading. The thin lawn was replaced with a 20-by-20-foot lawn that gets plenty of use as a badminton and croquet court, especially during the annual Fourth of July bash. A small triangular vegetable garden is nearby.
Fruit and nut trees help frame the property line, along with a cedar fence fronted with laurel bushes. Reed sheeting along the inside of the cedar fence echoes the Asian influence of the home's interior. Maintaining this theme, Asian-style trellises create privacy for the hot tub, as well.
The couple have high words of praise for Izaguierre. "He did everything: the fences, the concrete, the planting," says Tony.
A rose garden on the west side of the house provides plenty of puttering time for Tony. Beds of neatly planted perennials surround the pool and lawn area. Daisies, penstemon, snow in summer, azalea, salvia, heath and hardy geranium keep the garden in colorful flowers through October, says Joy.
Trees adding bloom or color include apple, cherry, almond and Japanese maple. The spectacular hues of a mature blue spruce near the street has inspired them to work to reshape it after utility-line trimming had destroyed its form.
Their property also benefits from mature landscaping they left in place, and by established greenery in neighboring yards. A neighbor's quaking aspen provides shade for the pool and a home for the hummingbirds that vie for feeder time. A fully grown yew on the east side of the Ways' deck maintains privacy and provides morning shade.
After owning several homes that didn't allow much puttering, Tony is gratified to have his garden. With automated watering, low-voltage lighting and a solar heater for the pool, it's not that much work to care for his landscape — about five hours a week, Tony says.
In consideration of their small dog, no chemicals are used in the upkeep. Tony keeps the plants fertilized so they'll grow faster than the weeds. Fertilizing and dead-heading flowers can be good therapy, he says.
Joy, a former nurse, keeps track of whether their investment is paying off. Swimming is her therapy — she says they swam 80 times last year — and getting into the warm pool is great at relieving back pain.
"You're just suspended," she says. "All pain disappears."