Contemporary Home, Casual Garden: Bellevue Modern by Darwin Webb

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The owners of this modern Washington state house have a unique situation: they built when the area was originally proposed to be a contemporary-themed addition to Bellevue, but then things changed — and now their house is the sole home of its style in a neighborhood with bungalows and more modest houses. Undaunted by this shift, they called on Darwin Webb Landscape Architecture to give the home a fitting “nest” that wouldn’t make it stand out too much from its surroundings. The result, while thoroughly modern in tone, has a surprising “cottage” feel to it: mature trees flanking the driveway, surrounded by neat curved beds that add color and softness to a home that’s built on a series of rectangles and glass.

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Follow the delightful meandering stone wall and you’ll find a home that uses both pure white and stone as its façade elements — with a surprise or two as well, such as the tiny courtyard tucked between exterior walls and the squared-off rock “frame” for a ground-level birdbath. A wide sweep of lawn gives the garden a serene feel, echoed in the feathery plantings and lavish use of ferns and grasses. What isn’t planted is neatly edged and surrounded in native stone beds and mulch, as relaxed as if it were personally tilled by the owner. In this it confirms the owner’s down-to-earth attitude: “This isn’t a $5 million home. This isn’t a contemporary in Seattle. This is a family home.”

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