Build a Rain Garden: Be Proactive with a Functioning Stormwater Facility

While the cold temperatures have many of us huddled inside with little thought of working outdoors, now is the perfect time to start planning your spring landscaping projects. A rain garden is a great venture that can provide many benefits to you, your yard, and the environment.

What is a Rain Garden?

Think of it as a shallow landscaped hole designed to capture excess rainwater from impermeable areas around your home such as your roof, sidewalks and other hard surfaces. This runoff would normally end up in the storm drain system and flow out to our rivers and waterways which causes erosion, flooding, water pollution and decreased groundwater. Rain gardens also help conserve H2O by reducing the need for irrigation, and some municipal water agencies even offer discounts in storm water charges.  In addition to creating an ecological force field and saving money, you’ll be building a habitat for insects, birds and amphibians. How neighborly of you!

Proper Planning is Key to an Efficient Rain Garden

Choose an area that runoff naturally flows through. The idea is to capture this water before it enters the drain system and instead, allow it to absorb back into the ground.  Excavate an area to about a foot and a half, although it may need to be deeper depending on the soil absorbency. Don’t forget to call the local utility notification center prior to digging! In Oregon the number is 811 and the service is free. The excavated area will then need to be filled with high permeability soils. Finally, you’ll want to pick out some drought and wet-tolerant vegetation to be planted.

Choosing the Most Effective Plants

Ideally you want to select plants that do not require additional water. Native plants are a great choice, but it’s a good idea to research the amount of sunlight the area gets per day, the size of the matured plant, and its seasonality. You may also want to consider if the plants attract beneficial insects and/or wildlife. Finally, don’t forget that you want your rain garden to be aesthetically appealing in addition to being a place to capture and treat runoff.

While a rain garden requires careful planning, the benefits can be enjoyed with little maintenance once the job is completed. Whether you choose to tackle a rain garden project yourself or need some assistance, the experts at  All Oregon are available to answer any questions you have or to help you start preparation now. Post your inquiries in the comment section here, or on our Facebook page.

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.

Portland landscaping design by All Oregon













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.


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

outdoor kitchen design All Oregon Landscaping
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.


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.

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.

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

Creating the Perfect Shaded Outdoor Kitchen

Nicely detailed pergola and outdoor kitchen area by All Oregon Landscaping.
Nicely detailed pergola and outdoor kitchen area by All Oregon Landscaping. See below for how to fill a naked pergola.

Oregonians on the western side of the mountains love their short-lived summers. It’s the few months out of the year that we get to enjoy the benefits that the long rainy season brings: lush, green outdoor spaces, everywhere you look. Cooking outside is something to try and squeeze in as much as possible, especially if your home lacks air conditioning. But when the temperature reaches the upper 90s several days in a row, cooking outside can be equally uncomfortable, especially if you don’t have a shaded outdoor kitchen area.

Ideas for a Shaded Outdoor Kitchen

Pergolas – One of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of outdoor shade is a beautiful wooden pergola covered with vines. While these permanent structures can be weekend projects, it will still be a couple years before the vines provide sufficient shade. If you’re planning on entertaining in your outdoor kitchen between now and 2017, don’t let that deter you from building one. Tacking wide strips of canvas to the beams is a great way to provide shade and add a bit of personality to your naked pergola while you wait for the vines to take over. Indoor/outdoor fabric curtains can be incorporated for added privacy, and strings of outdoor lights in the spaces between the strips can add just the right amount of class to carry the party into the evening.

Sun Screen Fabric – A quicker solution for creating great shade is hanging sun screen fabric. This fabric is specifically designed to block UV rays, breathes well and holds up to moisture. It can be used with other structures such as the previously mentioned pergola, be fitted into a frame, or hung in sail-form by itself. It may take a bit of prep and planning to get it looking right but the applications for sun screen fabric is limited only by your imagination.

Awnings – For another more permanent option, awnings are a good value and can look great if installed correctly. Canvas awnings can be stationary or retractable and come in many styles and colors. Retractable awnings tend to last longer since they are protected from the elements in the fall and winter months. Stationary awnings can also be made from wood, metal, or a combination of elements that fit in with nearly any decor.

Umbrellas – If you don’t have a lot of space to cover, standard patio umbrellas provide easy shade for tables and small corners. Many outdoor tables come equipped with a hole for mounting

Patio design is essential to creating effective use of space in your landscape or garden.
Great use of an umbrella.

or you can buy an umbrella stand. If you are trying to create a shaded outdoor kitchen, a larger, free-standing umbrella might be a better choice. Umbrellas are a good option if you need a quick fix that is easy to self-install and are not yet ready to take the plunge for a more permanent fixture.

All Oregon Outdoor Shaded Outdoor Living Space.

A shaded outdoor kitchen can make hot days not only bearable, but enjoyable. With a cool cooking area to entertain family and friends outdoors, you might find yourself giving the indoor kitchen a summer vacation! With the right plan, your shaded outdoor kitchen may even be able to continue to operate into the fall and winter. If you’d like help planning and creating your shaded outdoor kitchen, feel free to give us a call.

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.

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!

All Oregon Landscaping

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