Synthetic Lawns are a Safe and Sustainable Solution For Oregon Homes

It is no secret that synthetic lawns are gaining popularity. Statistics in 2008 show that the artificial lawn industry is gaining around 20% every year. Americans, and others worldwide are seeing the benefits of installing a synthetic lawn. For some, it is the pet friendly nature of artificial grass. For others, it is the sustainability of installing recyclable materials that don’t waste water. And yet even others who were looking for alternative solutions for their kids, a softer surface with no threat of over exposure to common allergies. Whatever the reasons, more and more people are discovering that a synthetic lawn is the right answer for their home, and All Oregon Landscaping wants to make sure we can serve our clients whether their grass is natural or artificial.

All Oregon Landscaping Partners with XGrass

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We are proud to announce our partnership with XGrass, a synthetic lawn manufacturer. All Oregon Landscaping will be able to consult clients on  a one on one basis offering the best solutions for their yard needs, whether it involves natural grass or artificial grass. We will also have new tools for designing dream yards:  rubber play area surfaces, backyard basketball courts, rubber decking, or even an at home putting green, are all real possibilities. Whether your focus is the kids, pets, or overall family experience, there are solutions from XGrass and All Oregon Landscaping.

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Some reasons why XGrass products are perfect for pets: 

  • Provides a mud-free playing area
  • XGrass drains moisture quickly
  • It can be easily cleaned
  • Anti-microbial
  • Eliminates pesticides and chemical treatments
  • Stays green all year long

Some reasons why XGrass products are perfect for kids and play areas:

  • Meets ASTM F1292 requirements for up to a 12’ fall height
  • Reduces allergic reactions caused by grass
  • Dries quickly, allowing children to play soon after a rain shower
  • Consistent HIC safety ratings
  • Eliminates constant maintenance of loose fill surfacing

Some reasons why XGrass products are perfect for families:

Xgrass products can make family the center of your yard by helping to create areas for activities your family enjoys together. Spaces like putting greens, basketball courts, tennis courts, a place for Bocce Ball and more. Using either synthetic turf or their VersaCourt rubber tiles your athletic area will include the following:

  • Custom designed – add logos, colors and 
permanent lines
  • Suspended surface reduces playing fatigue and 
provides better ball bounce
  • Professional appearance
  • Slip resistant & easy to maintain
  • Ensures compliance with ADA regulations

Sustainability

We know sustainability is important to Oregonians. In addition to all of the great reasons above to think about synthetic lawns and rubber surfacing, there are the environmental reasons. A report by ASGI in 2008 stated that Californians helped to save of 640 million gallons of water in 2007 by installing more synthetic lawns. Synthetic lawns do not require chemicals, fertilizers, or insecticides which keep children and pets safe as well as streams and rivers. Synthetic grass is also made from recyclable materials.

Let All Oregon Landscaping help you determine if any Xgrass products are right for your yard. Whether you have been dreaming about a basketball court to play ball with the kids, or a safe place for the dog, we can help you figure out the right solution. Call today to learn more about Xgrass products and how All Oregon Landscaping can help you create the yard of your dreams.

Building a Fire Pit: Construction and Safety Advice

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Dreaming of s’mores, toasted marshmallows  and warming up a cool summer night  with a stunning new fire pit? With summer just around the corner, we are getting lots of requests to build fire pits and lots of questions about building a fire pit on some of our previously designed patios. Today, we will cover some of the main aspects of building a fire pit, what is important to know, and some tips for the Pacific Northwest regarding fire pit construction and maintenance. There are both safety concerns and construction concerns when it comes to building a fire pit. If you are thinking of making your own fire pit, be aware that most DIY sites categorize this in the “hard to do” category. If you are a DIY rookie, it might be best to leave this one to the professionals.

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Fire Pit Safety Advice

  • The interior must be made with authentic firebrick and a fire-proof grout. This detail is often overlooked by do it yourselfers but can result in an extremely hazardous situation if aggregate in concrete or cinder block overheats and explodes. Yes, you heard that right; if the proper materials are not used, your fire pit could explode.
  • Any fire pit should be constructed at least 10 feet away from a house or other structure.
  • It is best to build a fire pit close to a water source in case things get out of hand and you need to douse it quickly.

Fire Pit Construction Advice

  • Keep heights in mind for sitting or putting your feet up. We match most of our fire pits to the surrounding seating options like benches. Typical seat height is 16-18”. If you are wanting people to rest their feet on the top of the pit, you may want it a little shorter.
  •  Because the Pacific Northwest is a rainy place;  leave a weep or drain hole just above the height of your adjacent patio. You can also leave the bottom of your fire pit open to allow water to escape.
  • Check local code to make sure you are legally allowed to have and use a fire pit. Every place is different and it would be a shame to invest time and money into building a fire pit if you are not legally allowed to do so.

i-xwGwPTq-X2All Oregon Landscaping Builds Fire Pits and More

All Oregon Landscaping can construct the fire pit you are dreaming of!  With extensive experience in outdoor construction, patios, and hardscapes, we can ensure that your fire pit is safe and properly built. All Oregon Landscaping will work with you to design the fire pit you have in mind, and then make it happen. To see more photos of previously constructed fire pits, take a peek at our Outdoor Living section on our website. The mastermind behind so many of our amazing fire pit projects is our Operations Manager,Tony Prunty. Tony has over 20 years of experience in all facets of landscaping, from water features to fire pits, and he is the real magic behind making any All Oregon Landscaping project a reality. His artistry when it comes to landscaping construction is unmatched and he causes a lot of whole hearted smiles when clients get the chance to see his completed work.

All Oregon Landscaping operates in the greater Portland, OR and Vancouver WA, area including Tigard, Beaverton, Tualatin, Sherwood, Clackamas, Beavercreek, Camas, Canby, Aurora, Lake Oswego, West Linn and Wilsonville.

Call or email us today for a free quote on a fire pit, fireplace, or other landscaping project.

Keep Your Lawn Soft: Don’t Forget to Dethatch!

Dethatching your lawn is one of the most overlooked spring cleaning items for your yard. Be sure not to overlook it if you want your lawn  barefoot-ready come July. I am surprised by how little people know about this very important step to lawn maintenance. We recently wrote, Oregon Lawn Fertilization, covering tips, how to, and ideas around fertilizing your lawn and feeding it the proper nutrients. If you skip the dethatching process, you could be negating all of your fertilization work. Grass lawns that are not properly dethatched regularly have trouble absorbing water and minerals.

What is Thatch?

All Oregon Landscpaing handle dethatching your lawn

 Thatch is a layer of living and dead grass stems and roots and is the natural consequence of a healthy lawn. A little thatch is good. That is what cushions bare feet on grass. Too much thatch (1/2″ to 3/4″), and needed water, air and nutrients will not readily penetrate into soil below the lawn. When thatch is too thick, the lawn becomes green on top and brown on the bottom. The bottom can sometimes appear dead. After mowing, lawns with too much thatch can appear to have been “scalped”, with only the brown, crusty looking layer of grass remaining at the surface.

How to Dethatch Your Lawn

The majority of lawns in Oregon are planted with Bentgrass which usually requires annual dethatching. This is best done in late March to early May, so anytime in April is perfect. Making sure to dethatch every year will make it easier. When it is neglected, the task of dethatching your lawn becomes arduous. The easiest method for homeowners to dethatch their yard themselves is to rent a dethatcher.  There are generally two types, the flail-type and the solid knife-type. The solid knife-type is better for Bentgrass lawns. If you are old fashioned, you can dethatch your lawn using a thatching rake. If you rent a dethatcher, be sure to set the blades high up off of the ground (about 1/4″). They should not touch the soil. Setting the blades too low will cause more damage to the lawn than if you hadn’t dethatched. When the dethatcher is ready, make between 1 and 5 passes across the lawn until most of the thatch is removed. Then dispose of thatch waste with compost or yard waste. Be sure not to add to compost if you have used chemical fertilizers to treat the grass!

Let All Oregon Landscaping Experts Handle Dethatching Your Lawn

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Does this sound too complicated? Are you too busy? Don’t want to rent a dethatcher? Let All Oregon Landscaping handle the hassle of dethatching your lawn. We have trained professionals who know all the nuances of making sure your lawn is impeccable for those summer barbecues. You focus on the steaks, we’ll handle the grass! We work throughout Oregon in Portland, Lake Oswego, Beaverton, Sherwood, Tigard, Gresham  Oregon City, West Linn, Tualatin, Hillsboro, and more. Whether your lawn is big or small, call us today for help with dethatching, fertilizing, mowing, or re-designing your outdoor space into the yard of your dreams.

Photo 1 courtesy of Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University.

 

Oregon Lawn Fertilization

Want to have a fabulous, lush, and green lawn? Well, it takes work, and fertilization is a key aspect of a healthy and beautiful lawn. Today we will discuss the basics of lawn fertilization in western Oregon. It is true that most lawns in Oregon are not fertilized and still manage to be functional, but the best looking lawns are always a product of great care. Unfertilized lawns have a tendency to be light green or even brown and contain a high weed population. Perennial ryegrass is the most commonly planted grass throughout Oregon and is especially prone to diseases like red thread, rust, and brown blight. This is more apt to happen when lawns are not fertilized. Oregon lawns that are fertilized withstand a lot more wear and tear, compete stronger against weeds, and are able to recover from damage more quickly. The fact is, lawn fertilization will keep your lawn both healthy and beautiful.

When to Fertilize in Oregon?

lawn fertilizationDark, lush looking lawns need food to continue to thrive. How often to fertilize your lawn depends on many factors. To maintain high quality grass in Oregon, lawns should be fertilized three times per season. Once in April, again in late may to early June, and one more time in late August to early September. It is important to have soil tested before fertilizing. All golf courses and specialty lawns have soil tests done each year to help determine the proper formula of food for that grass and soil combination. Soil tests help to determine the pH and chemical makeup of your soil to see what food will be best in helping your lawn to thrive.

What Exactly Is Fertilizer?

Fertilizer is made up of elements like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, iron, calcium, and magnesium. Nitrogen is perhaps the most important nutrient in fertilizer, it is what stimulates grass growth, improves density, and makes grass that dark green color. By stimulating growth, nitrogen also helps to prevent diseases like red thread, rust, and brown blight. Potassium helps grass develop hardiness to heat and cold and increase wear tolerance. The fertilizer you or your lawn caretaker choose should incorporate the above elements in a fashion to produce the optimal pH level for your type of grass. For example, if too much sulfur is added to a lawn, it can create overly acidic soil. Finding the proper blend is imperative to good lawn fertilization.

Optimal Soil pH level for Common Grasses in Oregon

Bentgrass: 5.0-6.5

Perennial Ryegrass: 5.5-6.5

Fine Fescues: 5.5-6.5

Tall Fescue: 5.5-6.5

Annual Bluegrass: 6.0-7.0

Kentucky Bluegrass: 6.0-7.0

maintenance15All Oregon Landscaping Makes Lawn Fertilization and Yard Maintenance Easy

All of this science sounding a little complicated? It is. But All Oregon Landscaping is experienced and trained in dealing with all types of grasses and soil in western Oregon. Let us help you find the right fertilization program for your lawn to keep it looking healthy, lush, and green all season long. We can handle the science behind creating a vibrant green lawn as well as the application and other maintenance aspects of lawn care such as mowing, dethatching, aeration, and seeding. We work all over western Oregon and Washington, including Portland, Vancouver, Lake Oswego, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham, Happy Valley, Oregon City, West Linn, Sherwood, and more. Call us today, before you miss the first round of optimal fertilizing in May!

Spring Clean-Up for the Yard

I am hearing birds out my window every morning now, and even seeing a sunny day here and there! Time to start opening the windows, cleaning out the cobwebs and get outside in the yard again. Spring has arrived, and if you want your yard to be a stunning specimen of  the Oregon outdoors, follow our checklist for spring clean-up of the yard.

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Spring Clean-Up Checklist

  1. Trim back ornamental grasses and perennials
  2. Shape shrubs (if not done in the fall)
  3. Thin out over crowded flower beds
  4. Tackle weeds before they go to seed
  5. New or replacement bark or compost
  6. Lawn aeration (if needed)
  7. Over-seeding of lawn
  8. Spring fertilization
  9. Spring tune up of irrigation system
  10. Clean-up around all hardscapes

Tips for Spring Pruning and Trimming

  • For trees or shrubs, where branches have been damaged by cold, snow, and wind, prune back to live stems.  For anything larger than 1/2″ in diameter use a handsaw. 
  • Shape hedges with hand pruners instead of electric shears. Hand pruners help prevent a thick outer layer of growth that prohibits sunlight and air from reaching the shrub’s center.
  • Prune flowering perennials to a height of 4–5 inches.
  • Prune ornamental grasses to 2–3 inches to allow new growth to shoot up.

Tips for Thinning Flower Beds

  • Depending on your elevation, pay attention to the soil temperature. When it has thawed, dig up perennials. To thin out crowded beds; divide perennials leaving at least three stems per clump, and transplant them to fill in other sparse areas.

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Tips for Cleaning Up Hardscapes

  • Remove algae, leaf stains, and unwanted moss using a pressure washer. 
  • Rake escaped gravel back into aggregate walkways and patios. Order more gravel to spread in large gaps, which usually form near the driveway’s apron.
  • Refill the joints between flagstones by sweeping in new sand or stone dust. Spray it down with a hose to set it, then repeat until you get the look you want.

How To Figure Out if Lawn Aeration is Needed

Not sure if your yard is in need of lawn aeration? Lawns need aeration when the soil becomes too compacted. To determine if your lawn is compacted, use a shovel to dig a square-foot section of grass about six inches deep. If the grass roots do not extend further than two inches deep into the soil, your lawn would benefit from aeration.

Have bigger issues than just lawn aeration? All Oregon Landscaping can help. We help homeowners and business owners all over Portland, Lake Oswego, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham, Oregon City, Sherwood,  Wilsonville, Happy Valley, and the West Hills convert their yards into the yard or garden they have always imagined. Read about the dream yard we created for a Lake Oswego family in Lake Oswego Landscape Design by Elida Rivera. Or you can hear from other satisfied customers on our Customer Testimonials page.

 

Plant A Native Garden To Attract Hummingbirds in Oregon

800px-Fem_Anna's_HummingbirdSpring is just around the corner, and I have started to hear birds chirping in the mornings. Nothing is more exciting than the return of spring in a yard or garden, and some of us anxiously await the return of certain birds to the area. Many bird watchers are mesmerized by hummingbirds, and if you’ve spotted any about 3.9-4.3 inches tall with a bronze-green back, a pale grey chest and belly, and green flanks, it might have been an Anna’s Hummingbird. The Anna’s Hummingbird is a year round resident west of the cascades, so it is possible to have a year round supply of nectar for these little birds in any Portland yard or garden. There are a few native plants that will help attract not only the Anna’s Hummingbird, but also the adored Rufous Hummingbird which loves to show up just when the weather is warm enough.  The adult male Rufous Hummingbird has a white breast, reddish brown face, upper parts, flanks and tail and an iridescent orange-red throat patch. Some males have some green on back and/or crown. The female has green upper parts with some white, some iridescent orange feathers in the center of the throat, and a dark tail with white tips and reddish brown base. The Rufous Hummingbird is tiny; weighing around 2–5 g (0.071–0.18 oz), and measuring 7–9 cm (2.8–3.5 in) long with wing spans of 11 cm (4.3 in). Whether you want host a home for either the Anna’s Hummingbird or the Rufous Hummingbird, All Oregon Landscaping has some native plant suggestions to ensure your garden is a prime destination for these lovely birds.

Native Plants To Attract Hummingbirds in Portland

Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquafolium)

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Oregon Grape will attract hummingbirds if you’ve got any in bloom for the late winter. Oregon Grape can bloom as early as January, but often begins in February.

Ribes sanguineum

This is probably the first true hummingbird magnet to come into bloom. Ribes Sanguineum is bright whitish pink to deep rose with clusters of flowers.

Western Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa)

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With bright green, fern-like foliage and pink heart-shaped flowers atop 1-2’ stalks, this is a sure way to attract hummingbirds to a shade garden. Most effective in the spring, this plant will go dormant in the summer months.

Columbines (specifically Aquilegia formosa)

This is a great choice for attracting humminbirds as a plant that tolerates sun to partial shade. Considered a self seeding perennial you can count on it blooming every year in your garden. The bright orange and yellow coloring of this particular flower make it stunning addition to any yard. It is a hummingbird favorite and is sure to draw them all throughout the spring and into summer.

Honeysuckle (specifically Lonicera ciliosa)

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The Honeysuckle’s tubular flowers make them an ideal choice for hummingbirds, and this one even more so with it’s narrow flowers which are too small for bumblebees and weed out the competition. With bright yellow to orange flowers, this plant prefers open shade to only partial sun.

Other Natives To Attract Hummingbirds in the Pacific Northwest

Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium)
Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja ssp.)
Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)
Monkeyflower (Mimulus ssp)
Spirea (Spiraea ssp.)
Checkermallow (Sidalcea ssp.)
Penstemon (around fifty native varieties)

All Oregon Landscaping Brings Portland Gardens To Life

With all of these choices for native plants, it can be difficult finding a winning combination that works in your Portland yard. All Oregon Landscaping has experts to help you plan your yard and garden from start to finish whether you are looking to attract hummingbirds or create an outdoor kitchen complete with every amenity. All Oregon Landscaping specializes in pergolas and trellises, water features, custom concrete, outdoor lighting, intimate spaces, and more. Call us today to discuss how to transform your yard into the place you or the hummingbirds want to be all year round.

 

 Photo 1 By Paddyspig (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo 2 by Tersk, Lauren (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo 3 by Walter Siegmund (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo 4 by Walter Siegmund (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Outdoor Kitchen Design Tips

By mid-February, summer is creeping into minds all over Portland, so I thought we could bring “summer” to the landscaping blog by dishing out some design tips for outdoor kitchens. There is no question that outdoor kitchens have gained momentous popularity in the last few years, and All Oregon Landscaping is proud to have won, “Best in Show” and “Best Use of Color” at the 2011 Yard, Garden, and Patio Show in Portland for our elaborate outdoor kitchen design. Outdoor kitchen designs are a fun challenge for All Oregon Landscaping; combining the elements that make a great kitchen with the elements that make a great yard and landscape. There are a few factors homeowners should pay particular attention to when working on an outdoor kitchen design.

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Tips For Designing an Outdoor Kitchen

  1. Exposure to the elements is often the biggest difference between an indoor and outdoor kitchen design. This is particularly important when considering what will need waterproofing (especially here in Portland), as well as what materials you will choose for flooring, countertops, and appliances. In general, you want to find materials that will not be slippery when wet, are durable, and easy to clean. 
  2. Consider the maintenance your kitchen design will need. We find that the less maintenance needed to take care of an outdoor kitchen, the more apt the homeowner is to use and enjoy their investment. Materials like high quality stainless steel are a great low maintenance choice.
  3. Think about flow. Ask yourself, “How will people walk through and use this space?”. Flow in the outdoor kitchen space is important, but so is how the outdoor kitchen flows with the rest of the yard and other areas like a pool, garden, outdoor living room or other space. If you plan to use the space for entertaining guests, also consider how you will use both the indoor and outdoor kitchen at the same time. The outdoor kitchen design should be reflective of how you plan to use the space.
  4. In Portland, the rainy season can be really long. Don’t limit the use of your outdoor kitchen to a few months a year. Heating elements and shelter from the rain can lengthen the amount of time you can spend in your outdoor kitchen. Pergolas and awnings can cover the main preparation and seating areas, but you will probably want to leave the space about the grill open to let smoke escape. Natural gas patio heaters will make a big difference in damp Portland winter.
  5. Adequate lighting will ensure that your kitchen is usable after dark as well as on gray days. Task lighting and ambient lighting can be achieved by using a dimmer system. At All Oregon Landscaping, we love to recommend LED lights because the are more efficient than traditional lighting.

All Oregon Landscaping

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All Oregon Landscaping is a premiere Portland company focusing on outdoor kitchen design, pergolas, awnings, outdoor lighting, water features, outdoor fireplaces, intimate spaces, and more. Call us anytime to discuss your yard needs, questions, or concerns. We work in Portland, Oregon and surrounding areas and are happy to help you transform your yard into something you love!

Garden Show Exhibits Showcase Oregon Landscapers Expertise

All Oregon Landscaping has been known throughout Portland and Oregon as a premiere provider of landscaping ideas, incredible outdoor craftsmanship  and unprecedented hard work. Over the past 20 years, All Oregon Landscaping has participated in exhibits for the Portland Home and Garden Show as well as the Yard, Garden, Patio Show. Although we enjoy showcasing our work at these events, this year we are taking a break from these shows to participate as the preferred vendor for Haggart Homes in the Street of Dreams. Putting elaborate landscaping ideas to the test, we love surpassing everyone’s expectations for these types of events and have no doubt that our presence at the Street of Dreams this summer will not go unnoticed.

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In both 2010 and 2011 All Oregon Landscaping was awarded the titles, Best In Show and Best Use of Color at the Yard, Garden, Patio Show in Portland. Our 2011 design showcased both an outdoor kitchen and an outdoor living room complete with a fireplace, custom concrete table, a pressed concrete water feature, fully functional kitchen, and more. Awards in tow, we left the show prideful of our creative landscaping ideas and keen eye as Oregon landscapers. All Oregon Landscaping has found great company morale from our garden show displays, and we expect the same for the Street of Dreams this year. In some ways, creating these displays is very similar to our other Portland landscaping projects.

How A Garden Show Display Is Like Our Other Portland Landscaping Projects

With our plethora of experience in garden show exhibits, we thought it might be nice to explain how preparing these elaborate displays is actually very similar to how the average Portland landscaping project is handled. The biggest difference is simply that with garden show displays, we are the sole contributor to the design. When one of our landscaping architects visits your home to prepare a landscaping design, their goal is to combine all of your wants, needs, and ideas for your outdoor space along with their own brilliant landscaping ideas.

custom concrete water feature landscaping ideas from All Oregon landscapers

Otherwise, the landscaping design we develop for your home is executed in the same manner as our elaborate displays in the past for the Portland Home and Garden Show and the Yard, Garden, Patio Show. After a landscaping  designer holds a consultation with the client, he or she comes back to All Oregon Landscaping headquarters to brainstorm about aesthetics, function, and budget. Our landscaping designer will include the best options from each category as they draw up a  3D model of your yard incorporating all of their landscaping ideas. Once the 3D model is complete, it is presented to the client. Minor adjustments are usually made at the request of the client. After the design is agreed upon by both parties, our builders and landscapers get right to work on preparing the elements involved.  For a garden show, this can mean days or weeks of work in advance of the show. Pieces like custom concrete counter tops, framing for an outdoor fireplace, or other pressed concrete elements are all constructed ahead of time at All Oregon Landscaping headquarters and then transported to the show. When your landscaping design includes unique elements like these we build everything per your custom speculations and then install it at the proper time according to our design plan.

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outdoor fireplace landscaping ideas All Oregon

We are proud of our work as one of the premiere Portland landscaping design companies in Oregon. We provide unparalleled high quality craftsmanship for every client; serving Portland, Vancouver, Gresham, Lake Oswego, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Happy Valley, Oregon City, West Linn, Sherwood, Tigard, Gladstone, Aloha, Cedar Hills, Tualatin, and other surrounding areas. If you’d like to transform your yard into something you can be proud of, give us a call to discuss your own landscaping ideas.

 

All Oregon Wins Awards From Yard, Garden, Patio Show With Stunning Outdoor Kitchen and Living Room

The Yard, Garden, Patio Show in Portland is quickly approaching and in celebration we are excited to highlight our 2011 display. In 2011, we designed an elaborate outdoor kitchen and living room just for the Yard, Garden, Patio Show. Each year the show hosts several live gardens, and All Oregon Landscaping has been proud to participate many times since the 1990s. These live garden displays involve the entire company  for several days and many for weeks, and have been a large source of company pride. In 2011, we designed an elaborate outdoor kitchen and living room in an intimate space of approximately 1600 square feet. Always ready with new landscaping ideas, we wanted to incorporate everything used in an indoor kitchen and living room and make it accessible and functional in an outdoor setting.

2011 Yard garden patio show in Portland
Aerial shot of our display garden for the 2011 Yard Garden Patio show.

Planning For The Yard, Garden, Patio Show Display

The planning began months in advance of the Yard, Garden, Patio Show, when our landscaping team developed the design for the show. The design for the outdoor kitchen and living room began with an all encompassing brainstorming session where several employees gathered to discuss the possibilities for the show. Out of the meeting it was determined that All Oregon Landscaping couldn’t help but go above and beyond for the show; an outdoor kitchen and living room, custom concrete counter tops, a working gas stove, a gas fireplace, a water feature with pressed concrete blocks, and more. Knowing what a challenge pulling this off would be, we were sure to plan out every detail in advance. A clear timeline was developed.

custom concrete table by All Oregon
On of our in house fabricated concrete table tops.

Weeks before the Yard, Garden, Patio Show, some elements of the outdoor kitchen and living room were constructed at All Oregon Landscaping headquarters in Sherwood. Pieces like the metal frame for the fireplace, the custom concrete table, the concrete counters, pressed concrete for the water feature, and more were assembled weeks in advance. For almost the entire month before the show, 3 employees worked tirelessly to create the pieces needed for the outdoor kitchen design.

If that seems like a lot of work, it was. However, the majority of the work for these types of displays actually happens in the four days leading up to the opening of the show. Four intense, often 14 hours days for a display that will be showcased for only three days. In the four days before the show, All Oregon Landscaping began loading in pavers, pre-built pieces, appliances, dirt, and plants to construct the outdoor kitchen, living room, and surroundings. Special tasks like hooking up running water for the fountain, and getting permission from the Fire Marshall to run the gas fireplace were completed. As usual, Tony Prunty was our master problem solver helping to troubleshoot any problems incurred along the way. In the four days allotted, we managed to complete a functioning outdoor kitchen, a custom designed gas fireplace, a pressed concrete water feature, custom concrete furniture and all of the lush landscaping to surround it.

The Results

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2011 Yard Garden and Patio show display kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the end, after the perilous and exhausting days preparing it was all worth it when the staff of All Oregon saw the reaction from the yard, garden, patio show guests. They were stunned with what we had been able to bring into the convention center, and we were more than happy to show it off. When the judges for the show came to view our display, they were equally stunned. After a  unanimous vote, All Oregon Landscaping was presented the Best in Show and the Best Use of Color awards. In the end, the hard work felt justified with the overwhelming support of show guests and the show judges.

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water feature landscaping ideas
Interesting linear water feature design and install at 2011 YGP show.
outdoor fireplace landscaping ideas All Oregon
Outdoor Fireplace for the 2011 YGP Show
Planting ideas for winter by All Oregon Landscaping
Use of Witch Hazel as winter interest in our display garden, 2011 YGP Show.

Other Unique Tidbits About The Outdoor Kitchen Design

  • Because we were indoors, we had to take metered readings of emissions from the gas fireplace to ensure Yard, Garden, Patio Show guests were not being blasted with toxic fumes. A great idea to keep everyone safe.
  • The refrigerator was fully functional and appropriately stocked with beer. Perfect for Oregon, craft brew capital of the world.
  • In the four days leading up to the show, we got to use landscaping equipment inside the convention center. It is not every day you can drive a backhoe in a building.

There is no way to convey the copious amount of work and planning involved in a display like this at the yard, garden, patio show. Our belief at All Oregon Landscaping is that every landscaping project deserves the same attention to detail and respect. We practice the same care with each of landscaping clients and would be happy to answer any questions you may have about Portland landscaping at any time.

Cast Stone Vs. Natural Stone

Whether to use cast stone or natural stone can be a big debate for landscape designers and homeowners who are looking to drastically alter the architectural elements of their yard. There are pros and cons to both cast stone  and natural stone, so today we would like to help you determine which option is the best for your landscape design or yard renovation. There are benefits and drawbacks to each choice, which are outlined below.

Cast Stone

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Also known as cultured stone, cast stone is man made from cement. Pigments and crushed natural stone are incorporated to give it a natural stone appeal. It is molded and formed to look like natural stone. It is widely accepted as a great replacement for sandstone, brownstone, limestone, granite, slate, coral rock, and many other types of natural stone.

Pros of Using Cast Stone

  • Versatility. Because cast stone is man made, the only limits for color and style are the imagination.  A plethora of options are available.
  • Time. It is usually much quicker to install cast stone (as long as it is ready from the supplier).
  • Cast stone is generally, although not always, significantly cheaper than natural stone.

Cons of Using Cast Stone

  • The look of cast stone is fabricated and may not appear as unique  or detailed as natural stone.
  • Some claim it is less durable. Much of this depends on  the quality of cast stone you use.
  • Over time, the coloring may change.

Natural Stone

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Natural stone refers to any stone found in the earth, quarried, and then processed for use in landscapes, water features, sculptures, and gardens. We like to work with Mutual Materials for many of our landscape projects, and some of our favorite natural stone choices are the Camas Ledgestone, Iron Mountain Flagstone, Lavender Flagstone, Oregon Rive Rock, and Rainbow River Cobbles. The Pacific Northwest offers some great options for color and style in natural stone.

Pros of Using Natural Stone

  • The durability of natural stone is not in question. It will last forever and does not really incite the same debate as cast stone.
  • Each stone has its own unique texture, veining, patterning and color, ensuring a distinct look for each project.

Cons of Using Natural Stone

  • Natural stone can cost quite a bit more than cast stone. It requires a lot more labor by a skilled professional to hand shape pieces.
  • It can take a lot longer to install due to the hand crafted nature.

Overall, the most important thing to pay attention to is the exact nature of the product you will be using. If using cast stone, know the  durability and technical specifications are so that there are no surprises later. Generally, cast stone is around $10-$20 cheaper per square foot. At All Oregon Landscaping we only use high quality products, regardless of whether it is natural stone or cast stone.

All Oregon Landscaping Works With Both Cast Stone and Natural Stone

If you need experts in working with either cast stone or natural stone; you’ve found the right place. We work throughout Oregon, in Portland, Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Sherwood, Tualatin, Hillsboro, Wilsonville, Gresham, Happy Valley, Oregon City, Molalla and more. Contact us today with questions about your outdoor space renovation. We specialize in water features, outdoor kitchens, intimate spaces, retaining walls, trellises, pergolas, and more. With the help of All Oregon Landscaping, you could be enjoying your yard to its fullest this summer, so don’t hesitate to contact us soon!