An Automatic Irrigation System is a Must-Have

hunteralringtonAn automatic irrigation system is a must have when you are installing a new landscape. Even if you install the plants in the fall or early spring, the new plants will need help getting through their first few hot seasons. Let’s look at the system as a whole.

As you may assume most of irrigation system will be unseen and underground.  Which is a good thing aesthetically nobody wants to look at a bunch of pipes or tubing running across there yard. Just as important is the function and longevity of the system, proper burial of the system protects it from, cold weather, animals and people.

Parts of the System

City Meter – The valve that connects the water from the city’s water supply to your home.

Gate Valve – This is the point where your irrigation water is separated from the rest of your home for better volume and pressure control.

Mainline – The larger diameter pipe that supplies water from the Gate Valve to your Backflow Valve continuing to the irrigation Manifold.

Backflow Double Check Valve – This unit protects the water from your irrigation system returning to your home and city water system.

Manifold / Valves – Technically multiple remote control irrigation valves create the manifold. A remote control irrigation valve is a mechanical ball valve.  They are typically connected via wires to the system’s Automatic Controller, which makes them remote.  Each valve supplies water to one irrigation zone in your system.

Lateral Lines – These smaller diameter irrigation lines supplied by the valves they provide water to the corresponding zones in the yard.

Spray Heads – There are many kinds of spray heads. Pop-up body spray heads are what you typically see in residential applications. There are also Rotary pop-ups, which are a newer type of unit that apply water at a slower rate in rotation streams. Rotor body pop-ups, which are for larger applications typically sports fields that apply larger amounts of water quickly.

Drip – A drip system has a variety of different parts to approach each specific watering need you have in your yard.  The overall philosophy of drip is to reduce the amount of evapotranspiration during the irrigation process. It does this by applying water to the plant at a slower rate beneath the top of the soil.

Controllers and accessories – The brain of the irrigation system turning on the valves at set times so you don’t have to. There are many types of controllers and accessories.  Basically you want a controller that can have multiple programs (zone grouping) so that plants with similar needs get the same amount of water. All controllers have a variety of timing selections. To make your system more water efficient you can get rain and solar sensors, which increases the controller’s ability to automatically adjust to the day-to-day weather variations at your unique location.  Be advised if your interested in these types of add-ons you need to make sure you purchase a controller that can accommodate them.

Thinking of New Landscape?

Well the most important requirement is to contact a proven professional. You can contact a Designer or a Contractor. A Design/Build Firm is the best and that is exactly what All Oregon is. Once you have a professional you should outline an overall master plan. This way no matter what your budget is you can add on and stay on track instead of having a piecemeal yard. So contact us and we can get you on the right path.

 

Custom Landscape Design

 

Ways to Reuse Fall Leaves

20131024_145636_Boones Ferry RdIt’s that time of year, the temperature is dropping and the sunshine is beginning to be replaced with endless rain showers. Soon, the leaves will begin to turn, offering a colorful palette of autumn hues for us to enjoy. That is until they start to fall. Those who have mature trees on their property understand that the novelty of falling leaves is short lived when it’s time to start the cleanup process. The trees that provided cooling shade only weeks before now shed a seemingly endless torrent of yard work. Soggy piles of leaves begin to dot the neighborhood, debris bags become lawn decor and the once beautiful yard becomes a storage space as they wait for yard bins to be emptied. But it doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore, here in the Northwest we are masters of recycling and reusing and there are some fantastic uses for those colorful fall leaves.

3 Ways to Reuse Fall Leaves

  1. Mulch – When most people think of mulch the first thing that comes to mind is bark chips but the original mulch just so happens to be fallen leaves. Using leaves as mulch around the garden help keeps moisture around the roots of your plants and returns nutrients to the soil. Additionally, leaves help insulate the ground and offer an effective weed block.
  2. Compost – Brown leaves make an excellent addition to a compost pile especially when combined with grass clippings and other green waste. Earthworms absolutely love eating leaves and their casings help create a rich compost perfect for soil amendment. Chopping the leaves with a mower or yard vacuum will speed up the decomposing process and save a tremendous amount of space.
  3. Leaf Mold – Leaf mold is another type of amendment that can be added to soil and supplies nutrients and moisture. To create your own leave mold simply pile the leaves up and let them decompose on their own similar to a compost pile. Unlike typical compost, leaf mold is low in nitrogen, but because it can hold up to 500 percent in it’s weight in water it truly shines as a moisture retainer. It can take up to a year to fully decompose, but chopping the leaves can help speed the process.

Hopefully this bit of information has inspired your Northwest recycling spirit but if not, All Oregon Landscaping can help.  We provide many services to get you through the season including regular maintenance or one time clean up and are committed to providing you with the best options for your space and budget.  Give us a call for a free consultation

Get a Head Start on Next Year’s Outdoor Living Space

The Summer of 2015 came fast and doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon. Even though BBQ season seems destined to linger, the kids will be back in school very soon and autumn will officially begin in less than a month – can you believe it? Though the warm weather will probably continue into October, the trees will eventually change color, the winds will pick up and the leaves will begin falling in what may seem like a never ending torrent of yard work. The time that was spent enjoying the sun turns into cleanup and summer fun will officially be over.  For many, this means unfinished projects and plans are shelved until next season. Thoughts will turn indoors to upcoming holidays and the outside space will be forgotten until next year. If you are one of the people who find the summers to be too short to bring to life your outdoor living dream, All Oregon Landscaping believes that you don’t have to wait to start the work on next years project. Fall is the perfect time to begin the process. Here’s why.

3 Reasons to Start a 2016 Outdoor Living Space Now

  1. You’ll get extra attention from landscape designers – Spring and summer is the busiest time of year for landscape companies with multiple projects happening and a lot to coordinate. Fall is the time when we can provide a little extra attention to planning a project for the next year since there isn’t as much going on outside of the office.
  2. This is when the summer clearance sales are happening – Saving money is always nice and if you are a savvy shopper you can pick up some brand new items at significant savings compared to what you’ll pay at the beginning of next season. Additionally, you’ll save time next spring and be better prepared to start your project.
  3. Planning is the longest part of the process – Whether you have a specific idea in mind or are still trying to figure out what you want, the fall and winter months give you plenty of time to get all of the details just right. When you work with All Oregon Landscaping, a landscape design expert visits the property and finds out what you are looking for and helps create a plan that works best for the layout and budget. If you want an outdoor living space designed for entertaining, a relaxing retreat or an urban farm we can come up with the most feasible options and start getting ready to make your dream a reality. When the time comes to break ground, everything will be in place to quickly get your outdoor living space ready to enjoy.

Here are a few selected pictures of some of our favorite outdoor living space designs.

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All Oregon Landscaping works in Portland and all of the surrounding areas including Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Tigard, Oregon City, Sherwood, Tualatin, West Linn, and more. Give us a call to get your 2016 outdoor living space project started this fall.

conserve water

Conserve Water and Keep the Garden Green in Portland

800px-Garden_hose_pistolWith the temperature hitting the triple digits in Portland early this year, keeping your outdoor space looking its best can be a challenge – especially when you are also trying to conserve water. If you planned ahead and worked in a drought resistant landscape this year, congratulations! You will certainly be ahead of the game. For the rest of us, the hot, dry weather will require a little extra irrigation. Creating a well-thought-out watering plan can keep your plants green while also keeping your water bill down.

Ways to Conserve Water, Money, and Your Plants by Watering Smart

  1. Mulch Organic-based mulches such as tree bark offer many benefits to plants, when applied properly. Among other things, mulch helps to retain water in the soil surrounding the plants. A good mulch helps conserve water by keeping it from evaporating out of the soil, which allows you to water less frequently.
  2. Moisture Gauges – If it’s moist don’t water it. Moisture gauges are very useful during hot, dry periods because they can tell you if the ground is moist below the surface. They are very easy to read and a quick test in the areas that were last watered can tell you if more is needed. Moisture gauges can also tell you if you’ve watered enough.
  3. Timing – Watering in the morning when it’s cool is the best time to conserve water, especially when it’s going to be hot. This helps keep the water from evaporating before soaking into the soil. Early watering also makes it easier for the plant to take up the water throughout the day. Watering in the evening or at dusk increases the risk of fungus forming during the night when the warm, wet environment is ideal for its growth.
  4. Choose Your System Wisely – The wrong watering setup can make it or break it. A broadcast sprinkler is the best way to waste water and drive up your utility bill. Much of what is sprayed is evaporated before it soaks into the ground or carried off as mist, watering areas that don’t need it. A hose and nozzle is a better option, since specific areas can be targeted, but it takes a lot of time to make sure each plant receives enough moisture and it has to be done manually. A drip system or a set of soaker hoses are the most efficient, delivering water where it’s needed at a speed that can be easily absorbed into the soil.
  5. Don’t Over Water – Most plants only need approximately 1 – 2 inches of water a week. Of course this all depends on the plant, but that information can be found on the plant tag that came with the plant or online. Too much water can cause root rot and soil compacting which is just as bad as under-watering. If you are worried about your lawn turning brown, just remember that most grass is quite drought tolerant. Brown grass is most likely dormant so don’t panic and water like crazy. Combining a soaker system with an irrigation timer is the most efficient way to ensure that your plants get just enough water, at just the right time. For lawns, half an inch, twice per week is all that’s needed.

Do you need help creating a plan to keep your outdoor space green while conserving water? All Oregon Landscaping not only designs beautiful outdoor spaces but offers a regular maintenance service that can get you and your plants through the hot summer. We can also help you install irrigation systems and show you how to program your timers to keep the yard beautiful while still ensuring that you are doing your part to conserve water. If you have any water saving tips we’d love to hear them! Feel free to share with us on Facebook or in the comments section below.

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.