If you have a newer home (think built 2000 or newer), chances are you have a somewhat large house on a relatively small plot of land. If this is you, have you felt frustrated by the lack of space? Have you given up on thinking you can do anything with your yard? Have you settled on something 'boring' because you didn't think anything else was possible for your space? If this is you, keep reading. We have some tips to help with your compact design.
All spaces have the potential to be both functional and beautiful. The trick is to consider the relationship between your space (the form) and your use of that space (the function).
Step 1: Analyze the space you have
Think first about the underlying structure of your space – is it wet or dry? Flat or rolling? Earthy or rocky? Symmetrical or asymmetrical? How can you reasonably use that space? How do the elements work together, such as the house walls, trees, property lines, etc. What challenges are presented in your space (aside from size)? While it can be tempting to start thinking about plants at this point, don't do it. A small space has little room for error and choosing plants at this point puts constraints on other decisions that you've yet to make.
Step 2: Plan your circulation
Now that you have a sense of your space from a more analytical perspective, you can begin to see how the details of your space will start to direct your design. At the top of your list should be the challenges or the things that will be most difficult to overcome or change. If these challenge items can't be moved or changed, this will affect your circulation or flow for how you and others move about in the space. You want to spend some time at this stage assessing how movement occurs in the space and how you enter and exit the space. You want the movement to be natural and flowing so the space feels welcoming.
Step 3: Layout the gathering spaces
Once you've made decisions about the space's circulation, next you want to take an honest assessment of where people gather or relax. Every inch of space is important in compact landscape design so taking the time at this stage is crucial so you don't accidentally create a space that feels cramped. Remember to take into account areas where there is a lot of sun or shade so you can make any necessary adjustments. Think about what is it like in the spring and fall... Will you use the space in the winter? Think about your space in every season of use and how that use might change throughout the year.
Step 4: Select your materials
The next step is selecting the materials needed for your compact design. Because the space is smaller, don't shy away from high-end materials. You'll want to start with hardscape elements such as patio and wall materials, even furniture. One of the many benefits of a small space is that it provides an opportunity to use higher-end, more expensive materials for key areas because you’ll need less of it. For instance, instead of choosing concrete or pavers you might choose granite or a local stone. Instead of using pressure treated wood, you could choose a sustainably harvested wood. You don’t have to break the bank on every element – select one or two things that will be focal points in your small space.
Step 5: Choose your plants
With this last step, it is finally time to choose plants. Plants bring life to a space so you'll want to choose wisely. Think about the year-round look of each plant selected, as well as how it will grow in your space. Best bets are plants that grow tall vs. wide. If your design incorporates latticework, think about plant varieties that climb or could look nice woven into the lattice.
As you maintain your space, it will be important to understand how and when to prune. You'll want to avoid chopping and hacking plants to fit.
But remember, nature is flowy and soft, so make sure you place plants to soften the corners. That will minimize the boxy, confined feeling that can occur in small spaces. And limit your plant variety. Distill it down to plants that give you more flowers and foliage and an interesting bark texture.
The design team at Graham Landscape & Design can help walk you through the process of working with your small space. We work with homeowners throughout Eugene, Springfield, Veneta, and the surrounding areas. Give us a call today to discuss your project. 541-729-8029
So often when people start thinking about a landscaping project, it's common to get swept up in the "ooh la la" aka the features and the plants and how everything is going to look gorgeous together. It's rare when someone thinks about irrigation first unless of course, you do this for a living.
There are many options to can consider when planning your irrigation, and if planned well, you can save money for years to come. Here are some tips to help your planning.
If you're like most people, irrigation is not something you really think about. Chances are, the irrigation system you have on your property was installed by the previous owner and you've never had to deal with it, or you've installed a system but then took the 'set it and forget it' approach. Both situations put you in company with the vast majority of people we work with and that's okay.
But what you might not realize is that much like how lawns need maintenance, so do irrigation systems. A neglected system needing repairs can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, so maintenance is important. The following are a few tips to help you keep your irrigation system flowing smoothly.
Working with irrigation systems doesn't typically fall into everyone's wheelhouse or skillset. The good news is that there are professionals who can help with both maintenance and repairs.
In the Eugene-Springfield area, Graham Landscape & Design works with small residential irrigation systems as well as large commercial irrigation systems. Our team of experts can work with you to assess your needs and develop a plan that makes sense for your objectives and budget. Give us a call at 541-729-8029 to schedule a consult today.
Weeds. They are the bain of every beautiful lawn and flowerbed. You know what we're talking about. You spend a great deal of time to plan, plant, and cultivate a beautiful yard and then BAM! You spot weeds. Never just one, but little clusters here and there. They're everywhere! So, what are you going to do?
Tips for dealing with weeds in your yard:
While these tips can help manage the weed situation in your yard, know that despite your best efforts, the weeds will keep coming back. Weed control is just that — control, not eliminate. Keeping weeds at bay requires ongoing monitoring and treatment. If that level of commitment or use of time sounds unappealing, consider hiring a landscaper who offers maintenance services. Together, you can discuss the priorities for your yard, how and when you want services, and come to an agreement that works for your budget.
If you live in the Eugene-Springfield area, Graham Landscape & Design can help control the weeds in your lawn, and so much more. Please give us a call for a no-obligation quote today. 541-729-8029.
There are many options when it comes to adding hardscape features to your landscape. This blog series focuses on a different landscape feature each time and will help you determine the best materials to use for each type of project. In this second blog of the series, we will explore two of the most popular options for retaining walls. This article should help you make a more informed choice when you are ready to pick your materials.
When it comes to building a retaining wall, the most common 'go to' material used is pre-formed blocks. Blocks offer several advantages including lower cost, uniform sizing making planning easy, a variety of colors and finishes, and quicker installation. Maintenance of a retaining wall made from blocks is fairly minimal — you can choose to add a sealant if you'd like and you also add capstones to create seating for lower walls. The only drawback is that while a block wall provides that 'clean' look, it can also be a bit boring if you're into walls with character. Blocks are readily available and can help you get your retaining wall finished and checked off the 'to do' list in short order.
Natural stone is another common material for building retaining walls. While natural stone can be a tad more expensive, it's durability and character are second to none. Natural stone, when used for retaining walls, allows for interesting spaces between pieces where you can add moss, succulents, or other crevice-loving plants. Like blocks, you can choose stone in a variety of colors and textures, and you can also arrange them in ways possible to allow for seating. Working with natural stone can be more involved, requiring more planning, but the result is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind wall sure to be a gem in your landscape.
Of course, there are other materials you can consider for your retaining wall, and we're happy to explore those options with you. Our team of experts can help weight the pros and cons of each option and help you choose the material that's right for your application. For more information about retaining walls, please give us a call. The professionals at Graham Landscape & Design are here to make sure you have the tools to make the best decision for your home. 541-729-8029
Now that it has started getting darker earlier in the evenings, it's time to talk about landscape lighting, especially if you don't have any. Don't worry; you're not alone. Lighting tends to be one of those items that gets overlooked, especially since most landscaping projects are completed in the spring and summer months when there is plenty of natural light.
Here are a few tips for how and where to incorporate lighting into your landscape design.
Where will you spend your time in the evening?
First and foremost, you will want to consider how and where you will enjoy your landscape in the evening hours. If you like to entertain, consider overhead lighting around your hardscape areas. If you can put the lighting on a dimmer, you can also control the amount of brightness depending on the time of night. Overhead lighting can be as simple as stringed holiday lights to elaborate hanging lanterns. The options for overhead lighting are almost limitless, and our design team can help you find a solution that is right for your design and home architecture.
Where will people walk?
Next, it is important to plan for the path by which people will need to walk in your landscape. Making sure there is adequate ground lighting is critical to ensure safety for you and your guests. You can use low voltage lighting in a variety of ways, from small lanterns tucked into the foliage to light up pavers embedded into your hardscape edges.
What do you want to highlight?
Last, but not least, take a look at your landscape design and take note of the key features of your design? Is it an ornamental or signature tree? Is it a fountain or pond? Adding low-voltage lighting to the perimeter, as well as uplighting, is an excellent way to draw attention to these beauties, even in the dark.
How is the electrical installed?
When you work with your landscape designer, he or she will map out the lines for where the irrigation and the electrical will run. Most electrical wiring is laid such that it blends with your plantings and so that it is protected from the elements. And, as for how much electrical draw you will need, your designer will work with an electrician to make sure the proper adjustments are made to your household electrical system.
If your landscape doesn't include any lighting and you would like to explore your options, please give us a call at 541-729-8029. Our design team can work with you to find a solution to bring nighttime enjoyment to your landscape.
Correct pruning is a landscape practice that can enhance the health, vigor, and aesthetics of your yard's trees and shrubs. While you should prune some plants and trees at other times of the year, there are distinct advantages to pruning in the winter.
So, which plants should you prune in the winter? Here is a short list of plants that appreciate a good trim in late winter.
What should you NOT prune in the winter? Here is a list of plants that prefer to be pruned in late spring or summer.
If you would like some help with your winter yard maintenance, including pruning, please give us a call at 541-729-8029, and we'll schedule an appointment that works for you.
You may not have the space, soil, or patience to become a master gardener, but just about anyone can master container gardening. All you need is a container (there are so many options), potting soil, some plants, and you’ll be set. Container gardening ideas are limitless so your imagination can run wild. To get you started in the right direction, we've listed a few helpful pointers.
Working in Pairs
Potted plants are incredibly versatile. You can use them as props, helping to offset or highlight other focal points in your landscape. For instance, potted plants can be used in pairs to help frame things like a walkway, a set of stairs, or the entrance to a path. You can even use potted plants as the base for climbing roses or morning glory next to a pergola or trellis.
Sculpture or Focal Points
Try copying the Chinese and Japanese and use a few beautiful, shapely plants to create an eye-catching picture. You can do this easily with larger pots and interesting plants like Japanese Maple or other topiary plants.
Rhythm and Order
Repeat planting—and that applies to both containers and plants—has many advantages. It creates a formal, organized look, especially with topiary cubes and balls, and lends itself to an overall sense of harmony. Repeat planting can also draw the eye in a certain direction, either drawing attention to a display like a water feature or diverting the focus away from eyesores.
Scale and Proportion
Placing potted plant combinations within a context can accentuate the overall look and feel of your space. For example, if you have a yellow wall, try creating a mix of yellow and white blooming plants. The green leaves will create contrast while the petals will create consistency.
If you want to create a sense of drama, consider mixing hues. For instance, if you have a lot of green non-blooming plants and green lawn, create a splash with fiery red containers.
When grouping potted plants, consider using like materials but of various heights. Groupings in odd numbers like 3 or 5 works best for this effect.
One of the other benefits of landscaping with potted plants is the flexibility you'll experience. You can move plants around until you have an arrangement you like, or you can regularly rearrange to create new spaces.
If you would like some help on how to get started, or if you'd like to work with one of our designers to create a container landscape, please contact us. We work with homeowners and commercial properties throughout Eugene, Springfield, and communities in the Willamette Valley.
Deciding to add ground cover plants to your landscape offers many different benefits. You will have to decide on which benefits you want, and then choose a ground cover that can provide what you are looking for. Maybe you are looking for a way to fill in space, control erosion, or to create a landscape that requires less maintenance than a purely grass lawn. This article aims to serve as a starting point in your search for the perfect ground cover plants. Here are some ground cover plants that will thrive in the Pacific Northwest.
Beach Strawberry (Fragaria chilioensis)
A native of the Pacific Coast regions, this plant is perfect for gardens and landscapes in the Northwest. This plant will provide visual appeal as it flowers in both winter and spring. Other benefits include the plant's low maintenance, ability to control erosion, and its potential to attract pollinators. This plant will do best in full to partial sun areas of your landscape.
Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)
For a space in need of fast ground cover, bugleweed is a great choice. Typically, this plant will provide a carpet of blue-flowering and evergreen ground cover. This is a very stout species that will tolerate many conditions but prefers partial to total shade and moist soil. Benefits include weed control, erosion control, beautification, and attraction of pollinators. Keep in mind that this plant will require maintenance as it is fast growing and can overrun other portions of your landscape.
Scotch Moss (Sagina Subulata)
Scotch moss is a lush green ground cover. This is perfect as a replacement for grass and can withstand light to moderate foot traffic. Scotch moss will thrive in partial to full sun and needs moisture in the soil. If you are looking for a grass replacement that provides low maintenance and will brighten up your landscape, look no further.
Inside-Out Flower (Vancouveria hexandra)
When not flowering, this plant is similar in look to ivy. While this plant grows slowly, it establishes itself with a thick matting which can help to prevent weeds in your landscape. The inside-out flower craves partial to full shade and moist soil, however, one benefit of this ground cover option is its ability to withstand periods of drought. During the late spring and early summer, this plant will provide flowering stems that rise above the lower evergreen leaves.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of ground cover options. Call today, and the Graham Landscape & Design team can help you choose the best option for your landscape! 541-729-8029
There are many options when it comes to adding hardscape features to your landscape. This blog series will focus on a different landscape feature each time and will help you determine the best materials to use for each type of project. In this first blog of the series, we will explore the different options for decking materials. There are many options, and this article should help you make a more informed choice when you are ready to pick your materials.
Out of all the options available, wood is the most traditional deck material. In general, wood is the least expensive option in the lineup and provides the most natural look. Sunny days won’t be as much of a problem with wood as it does not absorb as much heat as the other choices. On the downside, wood is the material that requires the most maintenance to ensure longevity. Additionally, availability and price are subject to change based on where you live.
Composites are made from a mixture of plastics and recycled wood materials. People choose composite decking for its durability, weight, and overall low maintenance needs. Although looks have come a long way, composites still have a reputation for looking “fake.” Over time, age will show and without proper reinforcement composite decks are subject to sagging. Another thing to consider is the price which can be 60-70% more than traditional wood decking.
One of the best parts about plastic decking is the environmental aspect. Much of the material is made with other recycled plastics. This material will stand the test of time and requires little maintenance. Color fade was once a factor; however, production methods have come a long way in preventing this eyesore of a problem. Negatives of this material include a need for extra structural support and its un-natural look. Additionally, unlike wood, this type of decking is extremely hot when under direct sunlight and can make the space unusable.
When choosing which materials to use for your deck, it is important to weigh the pros and cons and choose which material is best for your specific situation. For more information about decking materials, please give us a call. The professionals at Graham Landscape & Design are here to make sure you have the tools to make the best decision for your home. 541-729-8029
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