Water conservation

The waterscape of Lodges on Vashon is an essential and respectful element of an island getaway


THE LODGES ON VASHON is a hospitable gathering place on an island that is close but somehow feels far away. According to Jena Thornton – who, along with her husband, Scott Shapiro, owns the Stylish Getaway – comfort, durability, and guests’ connection with the local community were the guiding principles when it came to developing the site. 4.5 acres.

In 2015, 16 pre-fab units (pre-fab or, in this case, quite fabulous) were custom-made off-site, brought to the island, and chipped away in an empty field hidden behind an existing paved parking lot. Then it was at landscape designer Jil Stenn (Stenndesign.com) to create a sense of belonging. The results are startlingly beautiful.

Water conservation has been a key factor in all aspects of the project to ensure The Lodges stay within its very limited water budget allocated by the local Vashon Water District. Stenn and Thornton attribute the difficult budget and resource constraints to promoting collaboration and creative solutions, both indoors and out. It works. “We’re remarkably below our limit,” says Thornton.

The landscape of the Lodges is rich in water and easy to maintain. “We were looking for a warm and welcoming Vashon-y vibe,” Stenn says. “A finer-grained landscape that felt lush but blended into the existing forest along the western edge of the site.”

Placement of plants throughout the property is thoughtful and strategic. Stenn defined the perimeter of the property with a mixed hedge punctuated by stands of blue-green Vanderwolf pyramid pine (Flexible Pinus ‘Vanderwolf’s Pyramid’) and placed a ‘bold brushstroke’ of ‘Warrenred’ maples (Acer ‘Warrenred’ Pacific Sunset) at the entrance to the property, where the vibrant colors of the season attract the attention of passing motorists on Vashon Highway. As the trees mature, they will form a leafy canopy over the parking lot and provide cooling.

Within the property, a mix of plants native to the Pacific Northwest combine with a variety of trees, shrubs, and perennials that are durable (read: deer-resistant), drought-tolerant, and hardy. An earthy color palette, comprised of rusty orange, gold, green, and deep wine, looks great with the chic charcoal units and the natural wood deck. Seasonality extends far beyond flowers, with colorful foliage, fine textures, and interesting bark and berries.

The landscape reflects a clever and knowledgeable manner with the plants. The fragrant plants located at the entrances and along the cobbled walkways that wind through the convivial space add a sensual impact to the comings and goings of visitors, while the gently scented thorny elaeagnus (Elaeagnus pungens) floats through the privacy fences surrounding the outdoor showers in the units facing the prairie.

Elsewhere, dwarf purple barberry (Berberis thunbergii ‘Crimson Pygmy’) deters deer from browsing the slender, arching, thornless stems of the red-leaved rose (Rosa glauca). With pristine foliage and numerous small pink blooms in early summer, followed by abundant scarlet hips that persist after the leaves turn red and drop in the fall, this is a performance worth having. protected.

The Lodges and its landscape are now 6 years old, and both are thriving. Thornton credits word of mouth and social media to keeping rooms booked. Stenn credits the flowering plants to excellent soil preparation and a good landscaping contractor (who has since switched to herding goats). Aesthetics and respect for natural systems combine wonderfully to create a destination where, as the property’s website states, ‘modern style meets Mother Nature’.


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