Basswood Residence

June 4, 2009

Another great design and install project. We’ve been working on this project over the last several years. It’s one of our favorites. Here’s a little taste to show how the gardens are coming along in the front yard. Notice how the steps we designed shift gracefully through the gardens. The gardens are really taking shape. They were planted about a year ago. Keep posted. We’ll get photos of the back soon. IMG_0878 IMG_0880 IMG_0887 IMG_0879 IMG_0883 IMG_0884 IMG_0882


Real. Beautiful. Roofs.

February 9, 2009

For anyone interested in pursuing a green roof, now may be the time. Soon there may be an additional financial incentive to install a green roof on your new or existing structure. This is on top of all the other wonderful benefits of a green roof.


[January 30, 2009] Senator Maria Cantwell from Washington State introduced the Clean Energy Stimulus and Investment Assurance Act of 2009 (S.320) legislation on Monday January 26 that, if adopted, would provide financial incentives for commercial and residential green roof installation. Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the American Society of Landscape Architects worked together to help draft the section of the bill that is focused on the green roof incentive.

For more info see: American Society of Landscape Architects or Green Roofs for Healthy Cities or contact us at Phillips Garden


December 24, 2008

Phillips Garden is the proud recipient of 2 ‘Grand Honor’ MNLA awards for Excellence in Landscape Design.  The MNLA is the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association.  The awards we were given were frontyard design and backyard design.  This post shows our two winning projects.  Beginning with the backyard:

This first project is our backyard design.  The challenge of this project was working in a small space with great change in elevation.  The success of this site was in turning a challenge into an opportunity.  Playing with different elevations and materials was the main focus of this backyard.


Before (above)




after ( 3 above)

This next project was our front yard design winner.  This site, also in St. Paul , was completely redesigned from the stairs, to to the walkway… fences and of course the garden planting.


before (above)




after (3 above)

Roberto Burle Marx

December 15, 2008

On this cold, snowy, winters day we thought it would be nice to visit a warmer, more tropical climate.  What better place than Brazil!?  The following works were created by Landscape Architect Roberto Burle Marx. Burle Marx was born in 1909 in São Paulo Brazil and died June 4, 1994, in Rio de Janeiro.  He was known as a modern nature artist and a public urban space designer. Burle Marx was fascinated with the natural world and was said to have spent a great deal of time within Brazil’s rain-forests studying the plant communities and structures to inform his design decisions.  It is said that  all of his time spent in the rain forest let to the discovery new rocks and plants; at least 30 plants bear his name.

plant from Roberto Burle Marx’s estate

Roberto Burle Marx’s estate

Roberto Burle Marx’s estate

museum of modern art, Brazil

Roberto Burle Marx’s design of the Copacabana boardwalk in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


National Congress of Brazil, Brasilia

museum of modern art, Brazil

materials II

November 3, 2008

We’ve  been so lucky this summer/fall to have clients that allow us and inspire us to use new interesting materials, as well as the opportunity to explore different material combinations.  Here are a few more pics of materials and textures we’re playing with in a current design project.  These images show (in order) Japanese river rock, Lumasite fencing material, simple grey trap rock up against and big old Maple tree, and Ipe decking with metal grating (soon to be set within the deck).  

Design Project – Part 1

October 27, 2008

This is the most current project we are working on.  We are constructing a landscape design for a residence in South Minneapolis.  This space plays with elevations, modernism, interesting material palette and simple lines.   This initial post chronicals the site as three different spaces; the front yard, the back walkway and the back terrace system.

1.  The front yard



2.  The back walkway:
The following two images of the back walkway show the space before and during the design process (this piece, having a lot of hardscape, remains the most unfinished area).  This pathway will change from a curving, concrete path into a straight edged sunken gravel path lined with magnolia trees.



about halfway there…

3.  Back Terraces
These terraces were three levels of crumbling brick.  Though the brick was beautiful it was not structurally sound.  We took this opportunity to play with materials constructing steel facing that will, in time, turn a lovely orange.  There will be steps up to these terraces and a grassy space in the ground plane beneath it.

During the design process…

We will be finished with the bulk of the project by the end of the week.  Expect an updated blog on our progress in the next couple days.

Our fall services…

October 6, 2008

Now is a great time to get on the calendar for fall work that will help keep your gardens looking their best while preparing them for a good winter and a beautiful (next) spring.  Ways to do this are:

1.  Planting fall annuals: Gardens can be kept interesting throughout the fall season with plantings of kale cabbage and mums to name a few (see images below)

2.  Fall bulb planting: Bulb planting now will result in a spring garden filled with tulips, daffodils and crocus (see examples of tuilps/daffodils below)

3.  Garden Renovation: Plant division and cutbacks – We can rearrange problem areas in the garden as well as dividing plants to thin out over-crowded areas and use divisions to fill in empty areas.

4.  Seasonal Arrangements for winter: Planting pots with wintertime arrangements can really help a yard celebrate the season.  Below are two examples of planters we did last year

5.  Winter protection from cold and critters: As winter approaches it is important to put the garden to bed.  Covering the plantings with hay helps to protect fragile perennials from harsh winter conditions and wrapping small tress helps protect them from animals.

If you have any questions please contact us!

contact information can be found at our website: