How to Keep on Top of Yard Work

Maintenance, yard work scheduleIt’s that time of year again. The time when our yards spring to life with beautiful colors and textures. There is so much to look at! There is also a lot of maintenance to to be done. If you want to keep your yard looking its best – without getting overwhelmed by it – here are some great tips to keep in mind while trying to stay on top of your yard work.

Tips and Advice: Why not make a yard work schedule?

Your yard is part of your home, and we all want to treat with as much care, but finding the time to make that happen can be difficult. Creating a yard work schedule can help you keep your yard looking its best, and also keep you from getting overwhelmed with the workload.

  1. Know your yard – Understanding what your yard requires is the most important aspect of creating a yard work schedule. If you know what your yard needs are, you can better equip yourself for its care and upkeep. Keep the tools and products you need on hand and easily accessible (not in the back and bottom of the shed or garage) so its not a chore to get to them. Once you have your yard work arsenal assembled, you will be able to attack any yard task, no matter the size.
  2. No need to do it all at once – Time is something most of us wish we had more of but alas, 24 hours a day is all we get, so use it as efficiently as possible. If you have a calendar app that you are comfortable using – pre-schedule yard work tasks throughout the week, that way it doesn’t all get shoved to Saturday, then Sunday when it doesn’t get done. Give yourself one major task per day; Mowing Monday, Trimming Tuesday, Weeding Wednesday, etc. – it can be a great way to get outside and enjoy your yard, but not get burnt out on the upkeep.
  3. Reminder apps can save the day! – If you are looking for great way to get organized, reminder apps could be the way to go. If you are an Android user, Life Reminder is fantastic, and if you are on an iPhone, Evernote could help you easily create your yard work schedule. It is always worth perusing the app store to see what else might be out there.
  4. We’re always here to help Lastly, even when we want our yard to be a priority, sometimes you just can’t get to everything, and that’s okay. Cut yourself some slack. Here at All Oregon Landscaping, we are here to help. We offer both residential and commercial upkeep and maintenance. Give us a call and let’s talk about your landscaping needs and divvy it up between the two of us. 1-503-646-6426

5 Reasons Outdoor Living is for Everyone

Spending time outside can be one of the best ways to relax, get a little vitamin D, and spend quality time with the ones we love. With spring in the air and summer just around the corner, the time is right to start thinking about your outdoor living spaces.

Outdoor Living

5 Reasons to Love Outdoor Living

1. Outdoor kitchens bring all the people to your yard!

Outdoor Living

Outdoor kitchens are a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones and a perfect opportunity to incorporate more outdoor living into your life. Cooking brings people together, but sometimes indoor kitchens can get a bit cramped. Outdoor kitchens take the open floor plan concept to a whole new level! Without the confines of walls, your design possibilities are endless, and we are always happy to help you find what works best for you and your outdoor living space.

2. They can be enjoyed all year round!

Lets be real, this is the Pacific Northwest – we all know that liquid sunshine is just a part of our lives, why not embrace it?! Rain gardens are a great way to let nature do the work for you. Also installing an awning, pergola, or maybe even a gazebo can provide a bit of protection from the elements and helps define “the rooms” in your outdoor living space.

3. They can warm us up, even in the colder months

Outdoor Living

We all love to spend time around the campfire, but what if the campfire wasn’t just for camping anymore? Fire pits have gained popularity in the past few years, and we couldn’t be more pleased. They can help you create your outdoor living room, and can be enjoyed not only on a perfect summer night, but also during the chillier months.  We have lots of info and ideas about fire pits on our blog, even some great DIY tips!

4. Breath in the fresh air, while you do something good for you!

We all know how important exercise is, but sometimes it can be hard to get up and get moving. One of the best ways to get yourself going can be a simple change of scenery. Designing a relaxing outdoor living space can be just the thing you need to get your head in the workout game! Everything is always changing; clouds, flowers, wild birds, you won’t see any of those things if you stay inside, there is always something new to see or discover, so get moving and get outside.

5. Take some time for you

Outdoor Living

We all know the daily grind can be… well, grinding. Sometimes the best thing you can do is recharge your own batteries. Why not think about some tranquil landscaping, and a nice comfy outdoor sitting area. Curl up with your favorite book, a refreshing beverage, and give yourself a little you time.

Make Every Day an Outdoor Living Day This Summer

Outdoor living can help take an average day and turn it into something spectacular. Cook up a meal for your family and friends in your outdoor kitchen, curl up around the warmth of a glowing fire pit, or just take a little time for you. Your outdoor living area is waiting, and we would love to help you find it. Give us a call to get started.

The Latest Back Yard Trend? Pub Sheds

Pinterest is blowing up with pub sheds! What is that you say? Imagine a nice, well-built shed outfitted as a personal lounge complete with beer taps, comfy chairs, a television, and anything else you can imagine to make your backyard life buzz! We’d love to add a pub shed to our next landscape design, and it seems entirely fitting because we work mostly in the Portland area. Believe it or not – Portland has more breweries than any city in the entire world and finding some amazing beer for your pub shed is an easy task. Need some ideas to get the inspiration engine running? Here’s a few of our favorite pub sheds found on the good old inter-webs.

Envy These 5 Pub Sheds

  1. Go Big or Go Home. Yes, this pub shed offers a pool table in the backyard! What we love about this pub shed design is the indoor/outdoor nature of it. It includes, a pool table, jukebox, cinema system and bar at a cost of roughly $22,000 (converted from British Pounds). While we realize this design is probably a bit much for some – it is great for those “go big or go home” types out there. Originally covered by Daily Mail.modern pub shed with pool table
  1. Rustic is Just Right. This design brings nature a bit more into it but offers a distinct charm. Functionally, it also closes up in bad weather, protecting bar stools and bottles. Originally found on Cloud House.25f5b29f40e93194ff5ca024e415d96a
  1. Personalized Pub Shed. This highly personalized pub shed is a perfect addition to a smaller yard. Little touches like the hanging dart board and the sign make it an inviting place to hang out. Originally found on Reader Sheds.75d43bf62b6081b4ce5e9c11e27296fd
  1. Open for Business. This design looks like it could be out on the streets of Portland, not tucked away in a backyard. Is this the next big thing after food carts (we doubt it)? However, we love this simplistic design that is focused on function. Originally found on Unique Garden Sheds.484777977be9c0a767535934f0c51964, pub sheds in Portland
  1. More Fun with Multi-Purpose. This is a well designed space that can be used as a pub shed or place to pot plants or other yard crafts. The slanted roof will drain nicely so that even during rainy Portland winters this space could be a nice respite. The movable table offers a slew of options when using this space. This is a great compromise between pub shed and outdoor kitchen. Originally found on Gardenista.84578832909e39d8f9d2d25c16cb959c, pub sheds

Pub Sheds For Any Yard

The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to creating your own pub shed. Style it however you like by going either full on “man cave” or dialing it back creating a multi-use space that doubles as a bar for yard parties and barbecues. It is all up to you.

Now that we’ve poked the bear – call us to add a pub shed to your landscape design. Need a complete yard overhaul (and a pub shed?), that’s no problem either. We handle all landscape design elements, be it boulders, fountains, outdoor kitchens, gardens, or pub sheds anywhere in the Portland area.

 

Retaining Walls, hardscaping in Portland

5 Important Hardscaping Tips

Create your very own outdoor retreat with landscapings best friend, hardscaping! Hardscaping is “the placement of non-plant elements such as fences, walkways, paving, and lighting in a planned outdoor area.”

Here are some great tips when it comes to taking on hardscaping on your property.

5 Hardscaping Tips from All Oregon Landscaping

1. Do your research.

Research is paramount when it comes to hardscaping your yard. There can be many unforeseen setbacks in the world of hardscaping, and most of those setbacks have to do with lack of planning, and lack of drainage. Google can be a trusty friend when it comes to questions you may have about hardscaping your yard, and don’t hesitate to ask us either… this is what we do!

2. Drainage is key.

Making sure you have proper drainage for your design is crucial. Without proper drainage incorporated into your design you can run into issues over time. Flat surfaces such as patios, if not drained properly, can have issues with water pooling that can lead to big problems over time. We found some great tips on drainage and hardscaping on this Ask Fountain blog.

3. See the big picture.

Even if you plan on only hardscaping one area, consider the entire space. Houses aren’t built one room at a time, and your outdoor space should be given the same consideration.

As with any type of design, it is important to work with the space you have, and not the space you wish you had. No matter what – be sure to keep those curves. Outdoor spaces are a wonderful opportunity to embrace the imperfect nature of…nature! Using organic lines and curves is an easy way to work with the space you have instead of feeling like you need to carve a space out.

4. Try not to take on too much.

Hardscaping can be tricky business. Boulders, pavers, and fences, oh my! Being a do-it-yourselfer is great, but knowing when to call in the professionals is also important. Don’t get in over your head, and if you do, don’t hesitate to call up the experts. You won’t be the first person to realize their DIY project wasn’t so DIY friendly after all, so don’t be embarrassed – it happens a lot!

5. Don’t forget the green.

While there are some parts of the country where greenery can be tricky, Oregon is not one of them. Be sure to incorporate greenery and plant life into your hardscaped space, its a great way to add interest and drama to your design. Here are a few of our favorite landscape designs that showcase some great ways to do it.

And most importantly, this is your space and it should make you happy. If you know you like sleek and modern, stick to it. If English garden is your thing, go for it. We can’t wait to see what you come up with! Share your hardscaping adventures with us on Facebook or in the comments, and happy hardscaping!

Choosing the Right Tree

Intimate Spaces and choosing the right treeIt’s almost spring, and lots of families are starting to consider spring planting and yard renovations. Thinking about a new tree for the yard this year? Part of our job is to help homeowners design a landscape that looks beautiful now and 10 years from
now, and choosing the right tree(s) is a big part of that. Whether or not you are hiring a landscape company for major changes or just planting a single tree, here’s our expert advice on choosing the right tree.

A Little Research Pays Off

If you just plant any tree willy nilly, you could be in for big problems in the future. Start by taking a nice walk around your neighborhood to see what sort of trees the neighbors have. Notice what is growing well and what trees may be stressed. Do you want a low maintenance tree or one that flowers in the spring? Use the power of Google to find out what trees grow best in our part of the country. After your research is done – use the following to eliminate trees from the list until you have the perfect tree selection(s) left.

The Big Question – Deciduous or Evergreen?

As residents of Oregon, we live in a unique part of the country, where many varieties of trees don’t lose their leaves during the winter months (AKA evergreens) and provide a bit of color to the otherwise gray wintry skies. Pine trees are beautiful, but can also be too messy for some. A pool full of pine needles is no one’s idea of a good time. Consider the mess before choosing an evergreen.

Deciduous trees drop all of their leaves during the winter months sometimes leaving a bleak looking yard. Despite, they are still ideal for those that would like shade in the summer and warmth in the winter. Think about how a tree with a full canopy of branches and leaves will affect the vegetation under the canopy. Will the grass underneath get enough sun? Will other plants and shrubs still find the needed sunlight?

Size Matters

This is the most common mistake we see among homeowners who’ve chosen their own trees. Thinking about the future is critical. Planting a growing tree too close to the house will almost guarantee that the tree roots will start damaging your foundation in a few years. Sidewalks suffer from the same issue. All are expensive problems to correct. Prevention is key. The Arbor Day Foundation provides a comprehensive basic spacing guide that you can refer to for advice when selecting the right tree for your property size and type.

Water is Essential  – So Don’t Take Any Risks

Grown, established trees have the ability to regulate water intake with the water available. With new and growing trees it is necessary to water precisely in order to promote a healthy root structure. A healthy root structure will keep the tree stronger, preventing damage from wind and storms. Researching and including the watering needs of a potential new tree will pay off in the long run.

Some Trees are Fast, Some are Slow

Take into account the length of time it will take the tree to reach its full height. If you are impatient – don’t pick an Oak. Fast growing species, like Poplar, tend to grow about 2-3 feet a year. Another thing to consider; slow growing species usually have a longer lifespan. Whether you want a fast grower or something slow and steady – there are lots of options.

Don’t Hesitate to Seek Out Expert Advice

Even after reading all of this, if you are still unsure about choosing the right tree – give the experts a call. We design bountiful, intricate, and beautiful landscapes everyday – so our experience pays off when it comes to tough tree questions.

We’d love to see your newest tree additions. Share a photo with us on Facebook or in the comments!

The Oregon Blackberry Myth and Why You Should Plant Them

Oregon blackberry mythAre you thinking we are crazy for suggesting you plant that crazy, out of control bush? You aren’t alone! Most Oregonians see the seas of overgrown blackberries all along the roads and think that plating them in your yard would be a semi-crime. Well,
that is not so. We are set out to dispel the Oregon Blackberry myth in this post! Blackberries are tasty and there is no reason they shouldn’t be an edible part of your landscape.

The Oregon Blackberry Myth

This is what you may have heard.

Blackberries are an invasive weed – don’t plant them!

That is only partially true. According to the Oregon State University Extension Service, the invasive weed is a specific type known as the Himalaya blackberry. It was introduced in Oregon in the late 1800s and is extremely hard to kill. Cultivated blackberries are not the same, and are quite lovely in a yard. Cultivated blackberries are one of the easiest and most nutritious fruits to grow at home. They contain high levels of antioxidants and are full of vitamin C and fiber. They are a “superfood” for a reason! Cultivated blackberries are also more flavorful and have smaller seeds than the invasive plants all over the roads. Is that enough reasons to consider adding them to your garden? We think so.

Best Oregon Blackberries to Plant

  • Obsidian: Great flavor, this thorny blackberry produces large fruit in beginning in late June.
  • Marion: An Oregonian favorite – for good reason. This thorny blackberry produces medium-sized, soft, dark purple fruit with superior taste. Did you know the Marionberry is named after Marion County in Oregon where most of the much of the world’s supply is still grown?
  • Boysen: Known as the boysenberry, this thorny blackberry produces large, purple fruit with a unique flavor.
  • Triple Crown: A thornless blackberry that produces fruit in late summer. Its medium to large fruit is black and glossy with good flavor. The only downside to Triple Crown? It is prone to sunburn.

You’ll want to plant blackberries along a trellis to give them support. Here’s a diagram from the Oregon State University Extension Service.

trellis fo rblackberries - help dispel the blackberry myth

Want to know more about planting other fruits in your yard? View our post, Want a Produce Department? Add Fruit Trees to Your Yard, about planting fruit trees.

Need help planning the garden and designing a trellis, pergola, or other yard structure? We can help. Carl and Elida, our in-house landscape designers have experience with any type of yard project and are ready to help you make your yard makeover a reality. Let us come out and give you a free quote. Call today.

Images courtesy of Oregon State University Extension Services / Oregon State Univsersity Extension Services

Climbing Plants that Smell Fantastic – Perfect for Pergolas

Landscape Design Pergolas
Planting a climbing plant on a pergola offers additional shade.

Feel like your backyard could use a little pizazz? Have a vacant archway or pergola? Consider adding a fragrant climbing plant to fill in the gaps. It will provide shade, color, and sweet smells to any well designed landscape. Before we get all flowery,
let’s talk about pergolas.

Pergolas By All Oregon Landscaping

Trellises, Arbors, and Pergolas add beauty and dimension to any backyard, walkway or garden setting. These structures, which are all custom made, can set the theme for your yard. All Oregon

Outdoor Living
Pergola designed by All Oregon Landscaping.

Landscaping can meet your design style using building materials such as wood or metal to enhance any style – modern, contemporary, or traditional look. Our landscape designers, Elida and Carl can help you choose and select the best combinations for your outdoor space. Here are some of the best reasons to consider adding a pergola to your landscape design plan:

  • They can create shade
  • They offer a nice respite for the ultimate intimate space for reading a hot tub, or child’s play area
  • Pergolas can help break up a large yard and give the eye a central location to focus on
  • It is a great space to house a barbecue grill or other outdoor cooking appliances

Okay, now that you are convinced a pergola is a good idea – here’s some of our favorite options for climbing plants for a new pergola.

Top 5 Sweetest Smelling Climbing Plants

jasmine is great for planting around pergolas
Jasmine
  1. Jasmine – with pink flowers flushed white, Jasmine is among the best pergola climbers for both fragrance and visual appeal. A twisting semi-evergreen, it gives a dense cover in sun and produces a strong, heady scent through summer.
  2. Herald’s Trumpet – The shape of the scented, white flowers gives the evergreen Herald’s Trumpet its common name. It flowers from late spring to summer.
  3. Wisteria – Wisteria is a large, woody, deciduous climber that can live for many years once established. It produces white, hanging flower clusters up to two feet long with a wonderful fragrance.
  4. ‘Wedding Day’ Climbing Rose – Single blooms are produced in clusters, beautifully combined with luscious dark foliage. The buds are creamy-yellow in color, then quickly turn white. With fine, glossy foliage this climbing rose is known for its excellent fragrance.
  5. ‘New Dawn’ Climbing Rose – This popular rose is medium sized with silvery blush-pink flowers. It contains plentiful, healthy, glossy foliage with a lingering sweet, fruity fragrance.

Now you have the perfect combination: a new pergola and a sweet smelling yard. Remember, All Oregon Landscaping can help design, install, and plant climbing plants to make your pergola perfect with no effort on your part, except in the design of course! We build pergolas in Portland, Lake Oswego, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Sherwood, and more – just ask!

Jasmine photo by C T Johansson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Creating a Pet Sanctuary in Your Yard

192116_10150103320887466_7303622_oWhen creating an outdoor living space it should be comfortable for everyone. If pets are a part of the family, they will certainly be sharing the outdoor area, and if their needs are not considered during the planning stages it could become a stark battlefield between owner and pet. Without clear boundaries, dogs will claim the entire space, which could mean holes in the lawn and plant beds. Don’t have a digger? Even the most well-behaved pets will likely cause a dead patch or two. Instead of fighting with your dog, create a place in your yard that is a sanctuary to your dog (or other pet) as much as it is for you.

Create a Pet Sanctuary – 4 Things to Think About

  1. A water feature with the dog in mind. When a dog needs water they’ll look to the closest supply. Creating a low to the ground, pet-friendly water feature designed to allow the dog a drink (but maybe not a swim) adds beauty to the yard while keeping your dog hydrated and happy.
  2. Pet containment. Choose a fencing or dog house material that fits your style – chain link is an effective barrier but not always the most attractive. Post and wire is a great alternative to chain link and can actually become a feature of your yard with the right plants and design. Picket fence is another wonderful fencing that separates outdoor living spaces without being burdensome in height. Keep in mind this would be best used for smaller dogs and pets that aren’t jumpers.
  3. Beware of toxic plants and chemicals. Many common plants can be poisonous if consumed by dogs. Rhododendron, Hosta, Ivy and Lily varieties, just to name a few. In addition, if you choose chemicals to control plant and/or animal pests, they should be used with extreme caution where dogs or other pets have access to them. Many can be fatal to pets.
  4. A specified pet area. If you want to leave the yard open, providing pets with a space of their own can help keep them from the areas that would otherwise be damaged by their regular activities. A designated potty area can keep lawns spot-free and clean up easier. If your dog has a tendency to dig, allow them a space where it’s ok, or create a doggy sandbox complete with closable lid. A shelter or a shaded area is also important to keep them from digging under plants in an attempt to keep cool in the warmer months.

All Oregon Designs Landscapes (and pet sanctuaries too!)

i-r7HkBVm-X2Need help planning a yard that is right for everyone in the family?  All Oregon Landscaping is here to help. Our award-winning landscape designs transform dull, useless yards into fun, attractive, and useful spaces you’ll never want to leave. We work in Portland and all of the surrounding areas – just ask!

Contact us for a free quote and we can have your  dream yard ready before summer gets here.

2014 Yard, Garden, and Patio Show

All Oregon Landscaping 2014 In Review – Looking Forward to 2015

2014 was a great year for All Oregon Landscaping.What a rush! We started the year by planning our best display ever for the 2014 Yard, Garden, and Patio Show – and then spent the rest of the year so buried in projects we had little time to share them with all of you. Today’s blog is dedicated to our 2014 highlights, and what is to come in 2015.

2014 – A Year in Review at All Oregon Landscaping

The start of 2014 was all about planning and executing our intricate landscape design for the 2014 Yard, Garden, and Patio Show and we had several goals in mind. Not only did we want to win some awards, but we wanted to attract attention of homeowners and businesses in the Portland area to show off just how talented our designers and landscapers are. We were thrilled when our first goal came to fruition winning Best in Show and Best Use of Space at the 2014 Yard, Garden, and Patio Show. Read all about our show design in the following posts:

After, work started flooding in and it was clear our efforts in the elaborate show design had paid off. We spent the summer just trying to catch our breath. As summer turned to fall and as we work our way into winter, the work has slowed, but not by much. Just enough for us to catch up on blogging and send out our new proposals and designs for the next round of clients. We’ve always firmly believed the best time to start planning a big landscape overhaul is the fall, and this year we’ve got a fresh roster of landscape designs we are getting ready to tackle with the first signs of spring. We can’t wait to share all of them with you! But first, a photo reel of the 2014 Yard. Garden, and Patio Show design and other notable projects.

2014 Photo Review

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What to Expect in 2015

Considering how little we got to share with you in 2014, expect lots of posts entirely dedicated to case studies in 2015. A lot like our Sherwood Residence post, we’ll share our experience from start to finish on some of our favorite landscape designs; big and small. You should check back frequently to see lots of eye candy with photos, descriptions, and more. If you want regular updates, you can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Pinterest, and YouTube to get the latest news.

What do you want to see us post about in 2015? Share your ideas in the comments and we’ll turn it into a blog post next year!

Control Your Irrigation System with Your Phone

You may have a fancy irrigation system installed. It may be set up to water according to general needs: mornings, every other day, etc., but in our experience, most have no clue how those tricky knobs and buttons work. Once your landscaper installs the irrigation system, most homeowners are afraid to touch it – for fear that they’ll be watering the yard into a low-land swamp. That is why we have Teo, our in-house irrigation system expert who handles all of our customer irrigation complications. But what if there were an easier way to alter your irrigation system settings that didn’t involve a full fledged intervention from Teo?  What do you do when their is a giant deluge and you aren’t home to switch it off? What about when water restrictions are in place over the summer? What if you are on vacation and need to quickly adjust settings? Now, there are answers. Rachio IRO is a new product that is installed right alongside your current irrigation system that allows you to control your irrigation system remotely on your phone. Skeptical? We were too, until reading this fabulous review.

What the Heck is the Rachio IRO?

Rachio-iro-660x351 - a smart addition to your irrigation system

Sound crazy and  difficult doesn’t it? Well it isn’t. As John Brandon states in his review, he had it up and running in 15 minutes on his phone! Here’s the description from the company.

“Iro is a smart irrigation controller that makes it easy and affordable for homeowners to have beautiful, sustainable landscapes. It works by seamlessly integrating with your home’s WiFi, instantly connecting it to the Rachio software. From there Rachio automatically adjusts your watering schedule based on weather, seasonality, zone-type and regional characteristics.”

Key Features of the Rachio IRO Remote Irrigation System Controller

  • Automatic scheduling: Using information collected from your zones, it helps create the perfect irrigation schedule.
  • Smart-Cycle: Uses your unique location to determine best-practices for watering.
  • Seasonalized: Automatically adjusts watering times for different seasons based on where you are in the world.
  • Operate from anywhere: Connects to your WiFi network and can be controlled remotely with your smartphone (Apple iOS or Android device).
  • Analytics and reports: get personalized watering reports to see how much water you are saving or could be saving.

The Rachio Iro is available from Home Depot or Amazon for around $200.00.

Think the Rachio IRO may be perfect for you? Just let us know. We are happy to install one alongside an irrigation system already in place or a brand new system. Lucky for us, the Rachio IRO integrates seamlessly with Rain Bird products, our favorite when it comes to quality irrigation systems. Whether your next yard project involves a simple irrigation installation or a complete yard makeover, All Oregon Landscaping has experts standing by to provide a free quote. Let us send our experts to your property to work out a personalized quote according to your properties’ unique needs. We work in Portland and all the surrounding areas, with special concentration in Lake Oswego, Beaverton and Sherwood.