We couldn't afford to replace the major expanse of chain link fence, so we pulled all the plastic vanes out of it and painted it glossy black. It was a big improvement and made that fence look almost intentional.
The two of us felt comfortable creating a landscape design, but we needed professional muscle to implement concrete and grass removal, soil addition and the planting of larger trees and shrubs. Winterbloom did all that and more, including sourcing many additional plants for us, and mulching after all the initial planting was done.
In the end, we had three main garden areas: first, a Northwest native area in the north backyard, planted with Western red cedars, three pinus contorta, vine maple, cornus Eddy's White Wonder, several rhododendrons, ribes sanguineum, mahonia aquifolium and nervosa, huckleberries, salal and lots of kinnikinnik.
We imagined a tropical fusion area in a narrow part of the yard between the two big areas, and initially planted it with a crape myrtle tree, bamboo and callas we moved from the front yard.
And we had a zonal-denial, Mediterranean area in the sunny south backyard, planted with pampas grass, eucalyptus, pyracantha Mohave, flaxes and a Trachycarpus fortunei palm.
Over that first year, major additions in the south garden included ilex crenata convexa for a low hedge along the house and deck, an arbequina olive, two trachelospermum jasminoides, a negronne fig, ceanothus, and cistus. And in the north garden we added snowberry, mugo pines, several smaller species rhododendrons, and three white camellias for privacy.