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.

Outdoor Lighting Portland – What you need to know

Pacific Northwest residents treasure the time they can spend in the outdoors after the rain and before cold weather returns. With summer right around the corner and the warm weather already here, people are spending more time enjoying the outdoors. For many, the evening can be cut short due to the lack of adequate lighting and on hot days, just after the sun goes down is often the best time to be outside. A well lit yard can offer a whole new space for entertaining guests, a beautiful place to relax and can maximize the time spent enjoying the summer.

The Basics of Outdoor Lighting Portland

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The best time to create a plan for outdoor lighting is at dusk. Go outside just as the sun is setting, but before it is completely dark. This is the time when you can get an idea of how things are going to look when the entire space isn’t fully illuminated. When planning outdoor lighting placement, there are three types of lighting to think about:

  • Task – Task lighting is lighting that has a specific purpose. Lighting along a path or a light over a sitting area where you like to read are good examples. Solar lights can work well since they don’t need to be very bright, but just need to give off enough light to get the job done.
  • Overall – This is used for larger areas such as an outdoor living space under a pergola where more than just the ground or a small space needs to be lit.
  • Accent –  Accent lighting is used to “decorate” the outdoor space. It is typically used to illuminate a favorite plant or water feature that normally wouldn’t be seen in the dark. This type of lighting gives a dramatic feel and can set the mood for the space.

Be sure to draw a picture of your yard and make notes on where you’ll likely spend your time. Find a few your favorite features whether it’s a tree or a pond and place them on the map. Be sure to add the paths, especially the ones that will be used in the dark.

Outdoor Lighting Portland and All Oregon Landscape

Whether you have an idea of what you want or have no desire to plan your own outdoor lighting, the experts at All Oregon Landscape are happy to help. We can make your vision come to life or create the ideal lighting layout for your space. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you.

Create a Drought Resistant Landscape

Every year homeowners try to find a balance between a beautiful landscape and conserving water. With the predictions of a drier than normal summer in 2015 and the lower level of snow melt from the mountains, reducing the amount of water you are using for irrigation is more important than in previous years. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a beautiful space to enjoy the extra sunshine. With a little planning, you can conserve water during a drought and have an outdoor space you love.

Drought Landscaping: 4 Ways to Reduce Water Consumption

1. Plant smart. One of the best ways to reduce the amount of water needed to maintain a landscape is to use drought resistant plants. Native plants are a great start since they are typically low maintenance to begin with and usually require minimal irrigation during a drought. Also placing beds near run off from the home and where moisture tends to gather is another way to use what is already there to your advantage.

modern pub shed with pool table
Backyard pub shed

2. Create more outdoor living space. Why sit on the grass when you can sit in a cozy chair on a beautiful patio or have a cold beverage in your pub shed. Minimizing the lawn, which takes a lot of water to keep green, and using the area for outdoor living simply means you have less foliage to maintain and a beautiful area to relax, cook and enjoy the sun. When considering drought landscaping, think outside the plants.

3. Using hardscapes to fill space. Well placed natural stone or rock gardens can be beautiful focal points to a landscape and best of all, they don’t need to be watered. Combine with a few drought hardy plants and keep the water bill at a minimum. Wider pathways and larger flat stepping stones among low groundcover also add a sense of importance to an area.

4. Better irrigation. While a broadcast sprinkler and hose is easy to set up and let run, it’s also inefficient and easy to forget. They water everything regardless of whether it’s growing or not and can promote

drought landscaping - use an app to control water shut off
Rachio let’s you control irrigation from your phone.

the spread of fungi that can damage plants. There are many alternatives that make it very easy to irrigate with little waste including in ground irrigation and drip systems that focus the water where it needs to be. They can be set up on a timer so there is no chance of forgetting and turning your yard into a swamp. They can also be combined with smart timers that can be controlled from your phone so if you are away from home and it rains, you can shut it off from where ever you may be.

Need help with drought landscaping that saves water and helps keep your home looking its best?  All Oregon Landscaping is here to help. Our award-winning landscape designs transform a thirsty yard into an attractive, useful,  and eco friendly space you’ll never want to leave. We work in Portland and all of the surrounding areas, contact us for a free quote and we can have your drought resistant yard ready soon.

Pub Shed – Originally covered by Daily Mail.

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.

 

Gear Up For Next Summer: Plan Your Outdoor Oasis This Fall

Contrary to popular belief, yard renovations don’t have to happen in the spring or summer. Fall is a fantastic time to get started on your new yard, and here are a slew of reasons why you should consider planning your outdoor oasis now.

outdoor oasis in Oregon
Does your outdoor oasis include a fire pit?

Reasons To Design Your Outdoor Kitchen in the Fall

  • Landscape Designers Are Twiddling Their Thumbs – Not really, but almost. As the summer wears off, landscape designers find they have a lot more free time than they did in May. Use it to your advantage to feel confident they’ve put their full attention into designing your perfect outdoor oasis.
  • You Won’t Feel Rushed – You know all those couples who plan their weddings at the last minute and it just never quite comes together? The same COULD happen if you rush into designing the perfect yard, but just don’t quite have enough time to really think everything through. Take your time to decide whether you really want the amazing stone pizza oven or sweet outdoor audio system, or both!
  • Save Money on Materials – Get the best deals on materials that may be discontinued next year. Also, by not rushing into it, your landscaping company should be able to order all materials with plenty of time to spare, saving on extra expediting costs if things are needed with a quick turn around.
  • You Have Copious Time To Brag – By getting started early, you’ll have time to make sure all of your friends are jealous, or just excited. Everyone wants to hang out at the house with the best yard in the summer, so if yours is about to take the cake – make sure everyone knows it.

Bottom Line: Great Outdoor Kitchens, Living Rooms, and Gardens Take Time

We’ve mastered the art of great design and installation and would love to start talking with you right away about what you need to make your outdoor oasis an oasis. We’ll send one of our expert landscape designers out to your home to discuss all of your needs and wants, as well as take some measurements and detailed notes. They’ll come back to our offices and compile everything into a landscape design encompassing as much as they can within your budget.

outdoor oasis with beer tap
A double beer tap for one of latest customers.

Some of our favorite designs showcase outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, audio systems, lighting, pools, potted plants, patios, decks, heaters, and anything else you might think of. Our landscape experts work 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 started.

Fall is the Perfect Time To Design Outdoor Living Spaces

The kids are almost back in school, and the leaves will start falling before you know it. Just because BBQ season is coming to an end, doesn’t mean you have to stop spending time outdoors. With a well designed outdoor living space, even in Oregon, you can enjoy the outdoors year round.

What is an Outdoor Living Space?

Outdoor living is a term that describes an outdoor space that is a functional extension of the home. Outdoor living spaces can include fireplaces, fully functioning kitchens, entertainment systems, heaters, and comfortable furniture. Just like you’ve made your home your own, an outdoor living area is a good opportunity to share your style with friends, family, and visitors to your home. Often, outdoor living spaces become the epicenter of entertaining, all year round.

Some of our favorite projects are our outdoor living designs. We work diligently to make every member of the family feel at home outdoors, whether that means a pizza oven, beer refrigerator, or big screen television. Here are some images from past outdoor living designs.

Outdoor living area with dining table and fire place.
Dining table and fireplace in the entertainment area of a local house.
outdoor fireplace landscaping ideas All Oregon
A cozy fireplace extends the amount of time you can spend outdoors.
Outdoor living room with a grill and a fireplace.
Outdoor living room with a grill and a fireplace.

Not only do we think outdoor living designs are fun, but we’ve accolades to prove we’ve top-notch talent on our team. Earlier this year, we won “Best of Show” and “Best Use of Space” at the 2014 Yard, Garden, and Patio Show , right here in Portland. Thanks to our fabulous designers, Elida and Carl, we had a stunning design that our landscape team executed perfectly under the direction of Tony Prunty. Below are some images from the award-winning outdoor living space design by All Oregon Landscaping Inc.

A comfy outdoor living room.
A comfy outdoor living room.
Gas grill with plenty of counter space.
Gas grill with plenty of counter space.
Breakfast bar.
Breakfast bar.
Finishing touches on the display. Massage table nook.
Finishing touches on the display. Massage table nook.

After the show, we were inundated with requests for work, and we’ve enjoyed a really busy summer. Luckily, for those of you wanting big changes to your outdoor living space, fall is the perfect time to design and implement. Here’s why.

  • Your yard won’t be torn up during BBQ season.
  • You’ll have more time to consider the design. There won’t be a lot of pressure to get it done as soon as possible.
  • It takes time to get plans approved, and fall offers the perfect opportunity to get things approved and in the production pipeline.

Elida and Carl are standing by, ready to help you design the best outdoor living space for your family. Give us a call or email to get a free quote on your next yard project.