Call Before You Dig!

Ready for some off-season digging in the yard? Today’s post is our post championing the necessity to call before you dig. Your local utility notification service that is. Digging in your yard presents a wealth of opportunity for dangerous situations if you aren’t sure where utilities are located underground. Publicly owned utilities can be anywhere, under grass, sidewalks, or the road. Not only is digging without calling dangerous: it is also illegal. Not using the local call locate service to find buried utilities could cost you thousands in penalties if the law is not properly followed. In Oregon, one company was originally fined $245,000! After paying $33,000 – they were held to strict adherence for the next three years. Another violation would trigger the remainder of the penalty to be due. Whoa! Whether for the sake of your life or your pocketbook, the best choice is to call before you dig.

By law, what projects require you to call before you dig? In Oregon, any project that will require digging deeper than 12 inches requires a call locate. Yep, even real estate signs. Gas, Electric, Water, Telephone and CATV lines may all be lurking right where you want to place that for sale sign.

Why it is Dangerous Not to Call Before You Dig

I am not sure you need more proof than this. Don’t let this be you. Simply call before you dig.

Or this.

While not all issues with hitting utility lines are this dramatic, it is still worth it to not look like a dummy – like this guy who was recorded by his neighbor. Check out the comments for this:

call before you dig in Oregon or Washington

The Three Biggest Things Homeowners Want to Know

When do you have to call before you dig?

The following is taken from the OUNC (Oregon Utility Notification Center) website.

The definition of excavation is very clear: any operation in which earth, rock or other material is moved or displaced by any means; such as planting a tree, putting in fence posts, installing mailboxes, planting shrubs, building a deck, etc.

To be exempt from calling for locates a homeowner must meet the following four specific requirements:

  1. The Excavator is a tenant or an owner of private property,
  2. The excavation is on private property of that owner or tenant,
  3. The excavation is less than 12 inches deep and
  4. The excavation is not within an established easement.

Other than the exemptions discussed above, any person performing excavation activities must call for locates, regardless of depth.

Who do I call?

In Oregon

Oregon Utility Notification Center (OUNC) – 1-800-332-2344

In Washington

NUNC: Northwest Utility Notification Center – 1-800-424-5555

What happens when I call the toll free number?

Also taken straight from the OUNC website.

As soon as you make that important phone call, the operator answering the phone at the OUNC’s One Call Center, will ask you a series of questions designed to pin point the proposed excavation area. You will be given a reference number and the names of the Operators that have buried facilities in the excavation area. The One Call Center will then notify the affected facility Operators that have underground facilities within the proposed excavation site. The facility Operator (or their locating contractor) will locate and accurately mark their buried facilities with the required color.

All Oregon Landscape is a Full Service Landscape Design Company

Sound like a lot of hassle? All Oregon Landscaping is a group of experts when it come s to safety with utility lines. The rules and regulations are all strictly followed. We handle all of the call locate issues for you when we design and create your brand new landscape. Oregon or Washington, no problem as we handle landscapes in Portland and all the surrounding areas.

New Landscape Design for a Tigard Home

As we progress through fall and things slow down a bit for us at All Oregon Landscaping, we’ve decided that now is the perfect time to catch everyone up on our busy summer and some of the projects we’ve tackled. We installed kitchens, retaining walls, fireplaces, water features, and more that we can’t wait to share photos of. Today, we’ll highlight one of the smaller, but sweeter projects we did in Tigard. Tigard home before our landscape design services

This home just needed a focal point and change of direction. You want your guests to approach your house not from the driveway but from a dedicated entry point.  By creating the entry point off of the sidewalk, the house became warm and inviting and provided direction to guests. Add in some plantings, lighting and other yard accents and now you have a beautiful, and envy-worthy front yard.  Curb appeal, you bet, and don’t forget the increase in value to the overall house.  Here are some pretty dramatic before and after photos.

Tigard home after our landscape design services at All Oregon Landscaping

Before and after of the side yard in Tigard

Tigard Landscape Design by All Oregon Landscaping

The following are just a few of the things we took care of for this Tigard client.

  • Retaining wall to deal with sloped front yard and to provide a small area of usable lawn space in upper area and a planting area in front of the wall (street level) to soften the wall.
  • Boulders, plant material and lighting for small courtyard to provide nice visual from front door and main kitchen window.
  • Expanded the driveway on both sides.  The expansion was not for cars to park on but to give those individuals exiting and entering the automobile extra room. It allows the cars to park close to the edge of the slab but feel expansive.
  • Paver patio at front entry.
  • Paver walkway and steps leading from front entry to front sidewalk.
  • Paver pathway on left side of house leading from front to back yard. Notice how the walkway has flow. Your house is already angular so soften the parts you can and add curves.
  • Trees, plants, boulders, lighting and irrigation throughout the front and left side yard.

Yes, we design and install large projects but some of our favorite projects are the smaller designs.  We can help you transform your yard into a enviable showcase.

We provide landscape design and build services like those showcased here, in Tigard and all the surrounding areas including Lake Oswego, Sherwood, West Linn, Portland, Tualatin, and more. If you liked this post, check out some of our past posts about other landscaping projects:

Winter is a great time to come up with the best landscape design for your home, so give us a call to provide you with a free quote.

Teodoro, Conejo, Chewbacca and Grandpa – An Irrigation Expert

Just in time for #TBT (Throwback Thursday for those not in the hashtag loop), we’ve got an All Oregon Landscaping throwback all the way to 1994. His name is Teo, and that is when he began working with us.  Since he began in 1994, hes become our go-to “sprinkler-man” , irrigation expert as well as a lot of other things that come with a lot of names. He is fondly referred to as any or all of the following: Teodoro, Conejo, Chewbacca and even Grandpa. Choose your favorite.

Teo’s Photo Spread

Teo next to the All Oregon landscaping van. Matching shirt and all.
Teo next to the All Oregon landscaping van. Matching shirt and all.
Teo on the job.
Teo on the job.

What Does Teo Do at All Oregon Landscaping?

Teo has worked pretty much everyday with us since 1994, and we couldn’t be happier. Teo is our Senior (not señor) Irrigation Expert and Lighting Technician. He is responsible for almost all of our service calls, and any work order or warranty issues. When he isn’t too busy with service calls he will also occasionally help out by running a construction crew for smaller landscaping projects. No matter what job he is on, we’ve learned we can rely on Teo to fix the problem and get it done right, and that is invaluable. We hope to keep Teo as long as we can have him and appreciate his dedication and hard work immensely. Now, a special note from Teo on irrigation systems just in time for winter.

A Word from Teo on the Dangers of Failing to Blow Out Your Irrigation System for Winter

We often get questions about whether winterizing your irrigation system in the Portland area is really necessary. Take some advice from Teo, and just do it already! And, make sure you know what you are doing or hire someone (like us) who does. Why should you do it? Well, most homeowners put a significant investment into installing an irrigation system. By risking not winterizing, you risk losing your investment with cracked pipes, tubes, or pieces. There is no real science to determining how deep a frost can go, but rather a lot of moving variables. Micro-climates, vegetation, concrete retaining walls, and more can alter how deep a freeze can go. It is simply best not to risk it, and have your system blown out before winter.  Repairs can be far more costly.

So What Does Teo Do When He is Not Working?

In his free time he enjoys his 7 children, camping, church activities, and even gardening at his own home. It takes a real green thumb to want to garden at work and at home!

What is your favorite name for our “sprinkler-man” Teo? Chewbacca? Grandpa? Do you have any employees you could never replace? Who and why? Tell us on Facebook or in the comments.

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.

Smart Irrigation Month Part 3: Recycling and Harvesting Water

800px-Decorative_Watering_Can_(6320014343)The most efficient way to conserve water is to harvest or recycle it, which entails capturing rainwater or reusing water for the purpose of irrigating a lawn and/or garden. One inch of rain on a 1,000 square foot roof can collect approximately 600 gallons. Harvesting systems can be complex or simple depending on how much water is desired and what sort of investment the homeowner is willing to make. Fortunately, harvesting and recycling water is a very simple concept and anyone can start doing it with little or no investment at all.

Ways to Recycle and Harvest Water

The easiest way to recycle water is to reuse water that you would normally dump down the drain. Any water that you cook with, such as pasta water or water to blanch veggies can be used in the garden or in potted plants once it has cooled. If you turn on hot water and wait for it to heat up, save the cooler water that comes out first in a pitcher or receptacle. It can even be as simple as watering plants with glasses or bottles of water left out.

A greywater system captures water that is used in the home from sinks and showers to be used later in irrigation. These systems can be expensive depending on their size and how complex the filtration system is. Greywater systems also require only certain types of soaps and cleaners be used in the home, so are usually best left to the most serious water conservationists.

Harvesting water from rainfall is another way to use what is available. These systems can be as simple as a barrel at the base of the gutter spout or a complex series of holding vessels, filters and pumps. It all depends on what the water will be used for. If it is to be used for irrigating a garden, a covered can or barrel will suffice. There are ready made containers or you can easily build one yourself.

Make the Choice to Save Water

Whether you go for a complex rain harvesting and irrigation system or simply use the spaghetti water to feed the window herb garden, being conscious of water usage can go a long way in helping to save money and resources. If you would like to chat about water saving ideas for your home and are curious about how All Oregon Landscaping can help, feel free to send us an email. For other water-saving ideas see our previous Smart Irrigation Month posts:

Smart Irrigation Month Part 2: Irrigation Systems

In celebration of Smart Irrigation Month, today we’ll talk about installing irrigation systems. Installing an irrigation system is a great way to save money, conserve natural resources and ensure that your yard and garden are adequately watered, whether you’re there or not. An irrigation system also adds to and helps maintain value of a home by keeping the exterior appealing and fresh. It can be a big undertaking, but the benefits are long-lasting and satisfying for those who wish to keep their yard and garden healthy and yet still do their part for the environment.

Types of Irrigation Systems

"Sprinkler04". Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
“Sprinkler04”. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

There are two primary types of irrigation systems used for landscaping: drip and sprinkler.

  • A drip system delivers water directly to the base of the plant in a slow, steady trickle. These systems are great for beds and vegetation with established root systems and vegetable gardens. Different emitters offer different rates of flow for different plants.
  • A sprinkler system simulates rain and spreads water over a large area. This type is necessary for lawns but is not ideal for flower beds where extra water can evaporate or not reach the plants.

Depending on what kind of vegetation is present, one type of irrigation system may be more useful than the other. Often a combination of the two is the most efficient.

To DIY or Not to DIY?

Installing an irrigation system is no small task and will likely take several days from planning to execution. If you are considering doing it yourself, be sure you take plenty of time to prepare for the project.

Check with your local municipal and be sure to research any watering ordinances and building codes in your area. Call 811 to find out where pipes, lines and cables are located underground on your property. Find out what your home’s water pressure, GPM (gallons per minute), water meter size, and service line size is and draw up a detailed and to-scale map of the area to be irrigated. A layout of pipes and sprinklers is also necessary to determine what components are needed for the system. Once the design is finished, the location of the lines and sprinklers will need to be laid out with stakes and string, trenches will need to be dug, components assembled, the system tested and trenches filled again. If this sounds overwhelming, well, it often is.

Irrigation Systems by All Oregon Landscaping

If you don’t feel up to the task or don’t have the time to install your own irrigation system, the All Oregon Landscaping team are experts in everything landscaping. We will design the perfect irrigation system for your landscape and are happy to provide a free quote anytime. We work with other irrigation experts like Rain Bird, to be sure to provide top-notch systems for our customers. This month we’ve dedicated our blog to Smart Irrigation Month, so for other tips and tricks, check out our past posts:

Smart Irrigation Month Part 1: Save Water and Money

800px-Garden_hose_pistolJuly is Smart Irrigation Month, and whether the motivation is to help the environment or the pocket book, both will benefit from using less water in a smart way. If you are looking to save water but don’t have the time or budget to install an irrigation system, here are five easy tricks you can do to start conserving now.

Five Simple Ways to Conserve Water

  1. Rise and Shine Watering – The best time to water, especially on hot days, is in the early morning. Watering in the afternoon requires more water because much of it can evaporate before it reaches the roots. Watering plants in the evening can promote fungus and mildew growth.
  2. Mulch is Your Friend – The benefits of mulch are three-fold: it helps water retention, helps control weeds, and as it breaks down adds nutrients to the soil. Mulch comes in many forms, the most recognizable is bark dust or wood chips. Other forms of mulch include; nut shells, straw, pine needles as well as some non-organic materials such as lava rock and rubber mulch. In Oregon, we have plenty of options when it comes to mulch, so let us know if you need help determining the best type for your landscape.
  3. Over-Watering is the Enemy – Watering in the morning and mulching helps but a lot of water is wasted by just letting the sprinkler run. A programmable timer that hooks up to a hose is an easy and effective way to water just enough at the right time without having to think about it. Be sure to shut it off if the weather report predicts some summer rain.
  4. Native Plants Need Less – When choosing plants, look for drought-tolerant species that can survive with minimal watering. Native plants are a good choice since they have had ages to become accustomed to the natural weather cycle in your area. If you like native plants, we’ve also published a past post about attracting hummingbirds to your landscape.
  5. Weeds are the Worst – Weeds are certainly undesirable for aesthetic reasons but they also use up the valuable resources in the soil, especially water. Mulch does help but it will still take a bit of elbow grease to keep weeds from invading the space and drinking the water that is intended for your plants.

Other Ways to Conserve Water

Just doing these simple things will help save water with minimal investment and are a great start. If you are looking for a more comprehensive way to conserve water, consider an irrigation and or a water-harvesting system. All Oregon Landscaping has experts in landscape design and implementation. We are happy to answer any questions you have and help you determine what the best options are for you. We work with only the best in irrigation and are happy to provide customers with customized irrigation plans fit for their landscape. Smart Irrigation Month is the perfect opportunity to start saving water and money. We work anywhere in the Portland area including; Lake Oswego, Beaverton, Hillsboro, West Linn, Oregon City, Gresham, Vancouver, Sherwood, and more.

If you’ve got questions on irrigation, feel free to give us a ring or shoot us an email.

How to Protect Patio Furniture from Sun Damage

1960016_750624268289163_429737739_nPatio furniture is meant to be in the sun. Most individuals who have patio furniture understand the importance of protecting it from rain and inclement weather in order to keep it in great shape for many seasons. Though often the very thing that the furniture helps us enjoy, the sun, can cause as much damage to the furniture as moisture. Protecting your favorite outdoor furnishings from the sun is important to keep the items looking and feeling new for many years.

Types of Patio furniture and Ways to Protect Them

Although it does take a little time and effort when properly protecting patio furniture, the results can add life and beauty to your outdoor living space. How long it takes to prep the items and how labor intensive it is depends on a few factors including the current condition of the furniture and what type of material it is. Start by making sure it is sound and worth protecting, then thoroughly clean each piece.

Fabric –  If your furniture has outdoor upholstery components, follow the instructions for washing and make sure it dries completely to prevent mold and mildew. Once it is dry, apply an outdoor fabric protector that will keep it safe from fading, spills, spotting and general weathering.

Wood – Clean any wooden sections with an appropriate wood cleaner, a bucket and rag. Avoid soaking the furniture with a hose and allowing it to become overly wet, especially if it hasn’t been properly sealed. If it’s untreated or hasn’t been in some time, too much water can draw out the natural oils and cause splitting when it does dry. The best way to protect wood is with paint, which acts as a barrier to moisture and light. If you prefer the natural wood look, find a waterproof sealer that has UV protection to give you all-weather protection and won’t discolor or crack with sun exposure.

Metal – Aluminium and steel furniture provide a durable and easy to clean surface for outdoor use. They can be hosed off and are easy to paint and retouch when the color chips or fades. If your furniture is made from steel, it will be prone to rust where the protective coating comes off, requiring sanding prior to a touch up. A fantastic and long-lasting option for metal furniture and frames is powder coating. While this is not usually a DIY project, the benefits come in the form of durability and longevity and can last years, so pick a color you will be sure to like for a long time.

Prevention is Key to Protecting Patio Furniture

No matter what materials you have in your outdoor living space, the best way to protect patio furniture from the sun is to store or cover it when it’s not in use. Many retailers offer covers designed for general shapes or for specific sets. If you can’t find the cover for your set, the manufacturer should be able to point you in the right direction. One of our partners, Outdoor Kitchens NW, also carries a full line of outdoor coverings and furniture to enhance your outdoor living space.

All Oregon specializes in landscape design, installation and we love finding solutions for outdoor living. Take a look at our posts 2014 Yard, Garden, and Patio Show Photo Review and The 2014 Yard, Garden, and Patio Show is Here!  to see how we’ve been inspired this year. If you have any questions feel free to give us a ring or visit us on Facebook.

Growing Tomatoes in Oregon: Varieties that Work

Cherry tomatoes in Oregon grow really well.
Cherry Tomatoes are the easiest to grow.

Tomatoes belong in vegetable gardens. Regardless of what else is planted, the gardens here in the Willamette Valley almost always have some type of tomato. In spite of this fruit’s popularity, the Northwest doesn’t really have the best climate for growing them. We have a relatively short growing season for tomatoes with moderate temperatures, which isn’t exactly ideal. This is why you want to get your tomato starts in the ground no later than early June. Whether you’re just getting started in the world of tomatoes or are looking to try out some new varieties, 2014 may prove to be a good year due to the early start in warm weather and the predictions for a hot summer. All Oregon Landscaping is an award-winning landscape design and installation team working throughout the Portland Metro Area and today, we are happy to provide advice for growing the best tomatoes in Oregon.

Choosing the Best Tomatoes for Your Garden

For Beginners

If you are just getting started, cherry tomatoes are a great way to test the waters. They come in different colors and sizes, bear early, and are a good choice if you have limited sun exposure. This doesn’t mean to plant them in the shade, they still need at least six hours of sunlight, but if you have limited space, you still have options. The yellow varieties like Golden Cherry and Sun Gold are well suited for the climate and are a little sweeter than their red counterparts, but if you want a good red try Oregon Red or Sweet Baby Girl.

For Slicers

For tomatoes that you wish to slice and eat fresh, try heirloom varieties for superior texture and flavor, such as Cherokee Purple. Heirlooms generally take longer to mature and ripen so choose ones with fewer days to maturity and get them in the ground as soon as possible. OSU (Oregon State University) has also developed several great varieties bred specifically for our climate that have great texture and flavor. Legend and Oregon Spring are two early producer hybrids that are fantastic eating tomatoes.

For Preservers

If you are looking to process/preserve tomatoes this year, be sure you have enough space with lots of sun for 5-10 plants. Look for tomatoes marked “determinate” because the fruit ripens during a short window, then stops producing. This gives you a larger harvest in a shorter time which is best for canning. Roma tomatoes are most often used for sauces, but if you want something a little easier to grow and maintain, Oregon Star and Oroma are two varieties that are excellent for sauces and pastes.

Other Varieties of Tomatoes Well-Suited For the Willamette Valley

Heirloom tomatoes in Oregon are great for just slicing up and eating out of the garden.
Heirloom tomatoes.


  • Super Sweet 100
  • Yellow Pear
  • Sweet Million
  • Black Cherry
  • Gold Nugget


  • Early Girl
  • Beefsteak
  • Willamette
  • Stupice
  • Santiam


  • Andes
  • Amish Paste
  • San Marzano
  • Viva Italia

While you can be successful with many types of tomatoes, certain varieties require less attention than others. It all depends on if you plan to preserve them, or just have some to eat fresh, how long they take to mature and how much sunlight they will get. Fortunately, because there are so many, it’s easy to find one or three that will suit your needs.

Do you have a favorite tomato variety that you like to grow? Feel free to share your success stories with us in the comments or on Facebook. You can find other gardening advice on our blog.


Heirloom Tomatoes by Monitorpop at English Wikipedia [CC-BY-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Cherry Tomatoes by Jon Sullivan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons