Subsistence Farm, Port Orchard, WA

We recently visited a past project in Port Orchard, WA.  This subsistence farm has been installed in phases over the last few years and we were excited to see how it was taking shape.  Included in this project is a rain garden handling roof runoff, drought tolerant herb and perennial garden, native plantings, an orchard, vegetable beds, hoop houses and out buildings, as well as a covered patio and seat wall to capture the view of it all. We are pleased with all the hard work the owners have undertaken and hope you enjoy the photos.


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My Time so Far – Joseph Long

We have been busy over the last week! Last Wednesday Emily and I met with Rice Fergus Miller Architects in Bremerton to discuss the new Spyglass Apartments project that will be breaking ground sometime in the fall.  This is a large scale project that will present many obstacles in the design process.  The project includes a memorial near the old Hoffman house’s previous location, which will need to be approached with sensitivity to both the environment and the Hoffman family.  In addition to the Spyglass Apartments, we are also working on another residence in Mukilteo, and have just finished up the conceptual phase of the project.  This week looks to be busy with these projects under way, and I look forward to seeing the Spyglass project come to fruition!

My Time so Far – Joseph Long

This past week was a very good learning experience for me.  On Wednesday, I accompanied Emily Russell to a consultation in Mukilteo (requiring a ferry ride across the sound).  The home was on an incredible slope, making it difficult to get the measurements needed for an accurate base map.  This experience introduced me to the process of getting base information for a site before the design process.  Immediately after this we visited and took post installation pictures of a previous Russell Design Source project before returning to the office.  I’m excited to see the design process from the very beginning and look forward to having a hand in the actual design of the home’s landscape!

My Time So Far – Joseph Long

The first two weeks of the internship have flown by!  Over the past two weeks I have been fortunate enough to see many of the inner workings of a Landscape Architecture firm.  So far I have been documenting and photographing past projects, and have taken part in post construction site visits as well as pre-design consultations.  All of these experiences have been incredibly valuable and I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the summer has in store.  I have also had the opportunity to travel to Seattle on the Bremerton ferry.  Seattle, in my very brief time there, seemed such an environmentally conscious city.  In my visit I spent most of my time on the waterfront.  The many varied green spaces dotting the city’s landscape are unlike those of any city I’ve been to, and help to connect the waterfront with other parts of Seattle.  I look forward to many more trips and discoveries to be made there.

Post Construction Visit (Boys & Girls Club)

The plants at the Boys & Girls Club have not yet had time to grow to their full size, having been planted last fall, however they are doing well.  It normally takes about 3 years for planted beds to become established, at which point the plantings will fill out and take on a massed appearance. This provides a sweeping layered aesthetic, softening the front of the building.  The rain garden is in good shape and functioning well as a catchment basin for stormwater runoff from the surrounding landscape and impermeable surfaces.  The plantings will provide a good site-line when they grow to maturity without blocking the building.  The plants also fit within the context of the surrounding landscape and the style of the building itself.  This is a really functional and enjoyable design overall!

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Welcome to our newest team member!!

Russell Design Source would like to welcome our newest member Joseph Long to the team! Joseph has just completed his 4th year in the Landscape Architecture curriculum at the University of Georgia’s College of Environment and Design, and is completing his summer practicum with us. He has a huge interest in the plants and landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, and is extremely excited for the opportunity to gain experience with Russell Design Source in Bremerton.

Joseph enjoys designing landscapes that offer a sense of calm and respite, and has a context sensitive approach to designing. He has an interest in urban planning as well as park and greenway design, and believes the climate and scenery of Washington’s Puget Sound is the best possible backdrop for inspiration and direction. We are looking forward to working with him over the course of the summer!

Welcome REI

By now, most of those living on the Kitsap Peninsula know that REI has opened the doors of their newest store in Silverdale, WA.  I was honored to provide the Landscape Architecture services for this project.

Interestingly, the original building was reduced in size, allowing space for a rain garden.  With all of the building’s impervious parking lot space, this rain garden will capture stormwater runoff, filtering grease and other pollutants from entering our groundwater supply.  This, coupled with interesting drought tolerant plantings form a great forward-thinking precedent for other big box retailers.

Many thanks to FPH Construction for bringing me on board!

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Bremerton Teen Center

Do you know about the South Puget Sound Boys and Girls Club Teen Center being built in Bremerton?  Such a cool project and I was honored to be part of the team as Landscape Architect.  The landscape will be installed shortly.  Take a peek at the project here.  I’ll post photos asap!

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What sets me apart?

I was asked today during a meeting with colleague and friend Liz from EB Color what I think sets me apart from all the other Landscape Architects? What is my niche? Good question.
I do this work because it makes me really, really happy to make my clients happy. And if the client’s site functions really well for them and looks fantastic, then I’ve done my part. I know it sounds cliché, but it really matters to me that I helped someone out, made their life easier, or more joyful. Each project is a puzzle to me and I LOVE figuring out a way to make either difficult site or a difficult request work. It’s a good feeling to make the seemingly impossible possible.
Definitely not all, but some landscape architects out there (as in all professions, I’m sure) have a grand plan for a site, the way they envision it, what they would do to completely re-think the site. I’m reminded of this once in a while, when I arrive to a site meeting or consultation and a client says to me “Tell me what you see here”. If this is the first question, then I have no answer. My job is to investigate and listen. I ask the client how do you use the space now? How do you want to use it? What’s missing? What works and doesn’t work well now? I ask plenty of other questions along with what kind of budget they have. The answers to these questions usually cause the plan to unfold itself in front of me. After that, I pay attention to what is already going on with the site, the architectural style and scale of any proposed or existing building, and how we can be the most efficient and fitting for the site and the needs of the client.
It’s a collaborative effort between me, any other professionals working on the project, the client, and the site. The client and I work together to come up with a finished product that they can be excited about. I think that when working with me the client is more excited in the end because they can see themselves in their landscape plan. The way they live, work, move through space, entertain, garden, relax, recreate. This tells me (and the client) that I listened well, took enough notes, and got to know their site well.
Does being a good listener set me apart? Maybe. Isn’t this the way we should all work? I think so, but we live in world where a personal connection and communicative relationship with those we work for is becoming rarer all the time. I want to do my small part to prove that customer service is alive and well.
If listening skills and being attentive to my clients are my niche, I’ll gladly accept that!

“Give trust, and you’ll get it double in return”