The Oregon Blackberry Myth and Why You Should Plant Them

Oregon blackberry mythAre you thinking we are crazy for suggesting you plant that crazy, out of control bush? You aren’t alone! Most Oregonians see the seas of overgrown blackberries all along the roads and think that plating them in your yard would be a semi-crime. Well,
that is not so. We are set out to dispel the Oregon Blackberry myth in this post! Blackberries are tasty and there is no reason they shouldn’t be an edible part of your landscape.

The Oregon Blackberry Myth

This is what you may have heard.

Blackberries are an invasive weed – don’t plant them!

That is only partially true. According to the Oregon State University Extension Service, the invasive weed is a specific type known as the Himalaya blackberry. It was introduced in Oregon in the late 1800s and is extremely hard to kill. Cultivated blackberries are not the same, and are quite lovely in a yard. Cultivated blackberries are one of the easiest and most nutritious fruits to grow at home. They contain high levels of antioxidants and are full of vitamin C and fiber. They are a “superfood” for a reason! Cultivated blackberries are also more flavorful and have smaller seeds than the invasive plants all over the roads. Is that enough reasons to consider adding them to your garden? We think so.

Best Oregon Blackberries to Plant

  • Obsidian: Great flavor, this thorny blackberry produces large fruit in beginning in late June.
  • Marion: An Oregonian favorite – for good reason. This thorny blackberry produces medium-sized, soft, dark purple fruit with superior taste. Did you know the Marionberry is named after Marion County in Oregon where most of the much of the world’s supply is still grown?
  • Boysen: Known as the boysenberry, this thorny blackberry produces large, purple fruit with a unique flavor.
  • Triple Crown: A thornless blackberry that produces fruit in late summer. Its medium to large fruit is black and glossy with good flavor. The only downside to Triple Crown? It is prone to sunburn.

You’ll want to plant blackberries along a trellis to give them support. Here’s a diagram from the Oregon State University Extension Service.

trellis fo rblackberries - help dispel the blackberry myth

Want to know more about planting other fruits in your yard? View our post, Want a Produce Department? Add Fruit Trees to Your Yard, about planting fruit trees.

Need help planning the garden and designing a trellis, pergola, or other yard structure? We can help. Carl and Elida, our in-house landscape designers have experience with any type of yard project and are ready to help you make your yard makeover a reality. Let us come out and give you a free quote. Call today.

Images courtesy of Oregon State University Extension Services / Oregon State Univsersity Extension Services

Climbing Plants that Smell Fantastic – Perfect for Pergolas

Landscape Design Pergolas
Planting a climbing plant on a pergola offers additional shade.

Feel like your backyard could use a little pizazz? Have a vacant archway or pergola? Consider adding a fragrant climbing plant to fill in the gaps. It will provide shade, color, and sweet smells to any well designed landscape. Before we get all flowery,
let’s talk about pergolas.

Pergolas By All Oregon Landscaping

Trellises, Arbors, and Pergolas add beauty and dimension to any backyard, walkway or garden setting. These structures, which are all custom made, can set the theme for your yard. All Oregon

Outdoor Living
Pergola designed by All Oregon Landscaping.

Landscaping can meet your design style using building materials such as wood or metal to enhance any style – modern, contemporary, or traditional look. Our landscape designers, Elida and Carl can help you choose and select the best combinations for your outdoor space. Here are some of the best reasons to consider adding a pergola to your landscape design plan:

  • They can create shade
  • They offer a nice respite for the ultimate intimate space for reading a hot tub, or child’s play area
  • Pergolas can help break up a large yard and give the eye a central location to focus on
  • It is a great space to house a barbecue grill or other outdoor cooking appliances

Okay, now that you are convinced a pergola is a good idea – here’s some of our favorite options for climbing plants for a new pergola.

Top 5 Sweetest Smelling Climbing Plants

jasmine is great for planting around pergolas
  1. Jasmine – with pink flowers flushed white, Jasmine is among the best pergola climbers for both fragrance and visual appeal. A twisting semi-evergreen, it gives a dense cover in sun and produces a strong, heady scent through summer.
  2. Herald’s Trumpet – The shape of the scented, white flowers gives the evergreen Herald’s Trumpet its common name. It flowers from late spring to summer.
  3. Wisteria – Wisteria is a large, woody, deciduous climber that can live for many years once established. It produces white, hanging flower clusters up to two feet long with a wonderful fragrance.
  4. ‘Wedding Day’ Climbing Rose – Single blooms are produced in clusters, beautifully combined with luscious dark foliage. The buds are creamy-yellow in color, then quickly turn white. With fine, glossy foliage this climbing rose is known for its excellent fragrance.
  5. ‘New Dawn’ Climbing Rose – This popular rose is medium sized with silvery blush-pink flowers. It contains plentiful, healthy, glossy foliage with a lingering sweet, fruity fragrance.

Now you have the perfect combination: a new pergola and a sweet smelling yard. Remember, All Oregon Landscaping can help design, install, and plant climbing plants to make your pergola perfect with no effort on your part, except in the design of course! We build pergolas in Portland, Lake Oswego, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Sherwood, and more – just ask!

Jasmine photo by C T Johansson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

2014 Yard, Garden, and Patio Show

All Oregon Landscaping 2014 In Review – Looking Forward to 2015

2014 was a great year for All Oregon Landscaping.What a rush! We started the year by planning our best display ever for the 2014 Yard, Garden, and Patio Show – and then spent the rest of the year so buried in projects we had little time to share them with all of you. Today’s blog is dedicated to our 2014 highlights, and what is to come in 2015.

2014 – A Year in Review at All Oregon Landscaping

The start of 2014 was all about planning and executing our intricate landscape design for the 2014 Yard, Garden, and Patio Show and we had several goals in mind. Not only did we want to win some awards, but we wanted to attract attention of homeowners and businesses in the Portland area to show off just how talented our designers and landscapers are. We were thrilled when our first goal came to fruition winning Best in Show and Best Use of Space at the 2014 Yard, Garden, and Patio Show. Read all about our show design in the following posts:

After, work started flooding in and it was clear our efforts in the elaborate show design had paid off. We spent the summer just trying to catch our breath. As summer turned to fall and as we work our way into winter, the work has slowed, but not by much. Just enough for us to catch up on blogging and send out our new proposals and designs for the next round of clients. We’ve always firmly believed the best time to start planning a big landscape overhaul is the fall, and this year we’ve got a fresh roster of landscape designs we are getting ready to tackle with the first signs of spring. We can’t wait to share all of them with you! But first, a photo reel of the 2014 Yard. Garden, and Patio Show design and other notable projects.

2014 Photo Review

What to Expect in 2015

Considering how little we got to share with you in 2014, expect lots of posts entirely dedicated to case studies in 2015. A lot like our Sherwood Residence post, we’ll share our experience from start to finish on some of our favorite landscape designs; big and small. You should check back frequently to see lots of eye candy with photos, descriptions, and more. If you want regular updates, you can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Pinterest, and YouTube to get the latest news.

What do you want to see us post about in 2015? Share your ideas in the comments and we’ll turn it into a blog post next year!

Control Your Irrigation System with Your Phone

You may have a fancy irrigation system installed. It may be set up to water according to general needs: mornings, every other day, etc., but in our experience, most have no clue how those tricky knobs and buttons work. Once your landscaper installs the irrigation system, most homeowners are afraid to touch it – for fear that they’ll be watering the yard into a low-land swamp. That is why we have Teo, our in-house irrigation system expert who handles all of our customer irrigation complications. But what if there were an easier way to alter your irrigation system settings that didn’t involve a full fledged intervention from Teo?  What do you do when their is a giant deluge and you aren’t home to switch it off? What about when water restrictions are in place over the summer? What if you are on vacation and need to quickly adjust settings? Now, there are answers. Rachio IRO is a new product that is installed right alongside your current irrigation system that allows you to control your irrigation system remotely on your phone. Skeptical? We were too, until reading this fabulous review.

What the Heck is the Rachio IRO?

Rachio-iro-660x351 - a smart addition to your irrigation system

Sound crazy and  difficult doesn’t it? Well it isn’t. As John Brandon states in his review, he had it up and running in 15 minutes on his phone! Here’s the description from the company.

“Iro is a smart irrigation controller that makes it easy and affordable for homeowners to have beautiful, sustainable landscapes. It works by seamlessly integrating with your home’s WiFi, instantly connecting it to the Rachio software. From there Rachio automatically adjusts your watering schedule based on weather, seasonality, zone-type and regional characteristics.”

Key Features of the Rachio IRO Remote Irrigation System Controller

  • Automatic scheduling: Using information collected from your zones, it helps create the perfect irrigation schedule.
  • Smart-Cycle: Uses your unique location to determine best-practices for watering.
  • Seasonalized: Automatically adjusts watering times for different seasons based on where you are in the world.
  • Operate from anywhere: Connects to your WiFi network and can be controlled remotely with your smartphone (Apple iOS or Android device).
  • Analytics and reports: get personalized watering reports to see how much water you are saving or could be saving.

The Rachio Iro is available from Home Depot or Amazon for around $200.00.

Think the Rachio IRO may be perfect for you? Just let us know. We are happy to install one alongside an irrigation system already in place or a brand new system. Lucky for us, the Rachio IRO integrates seamlessly with Rain Bird products, our favorite when it comes to quality irrigation systems. Whether your next yard project involves a simple irrigation installation or a complete yard makeover, All Oregon Landscaping has experts standing by to provide a free quote. Let us send our experts to your property to work out a personalized quote according to your properties’ unique needs. We work in Portland and all the surrounding areas, with special concentration in Lake Oswego, Beaverton and Sherwood.

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.