October is a time for planning
As the fall months are in full swing, now is the perfect time to start planning what you would like to do with your landscape this coming spring. While that may seem months away, starting now gives you the necessary time to sketch out ideas, research costs and plan a budget, and find a professional to help you with the execution of your ideas. The following tips will help you get started.
Take measurements and map out your space.
Before you start sketching out your ideas it is important to have a good understanding of what you have to work with. As best as you can, measure the dimensions of your space and map out where critical items are located, such as irrigation lines, gas or power lines, and key structural items like retaining walls, support beams, etc. While some of these items can be moved or altered, how you work around them could have a significant impact on your budget. In addition, having accurate measurements of your space will help you determine the scale of items that will work in your space so you don’t plan for something you might later regret.
Decide on a style and research materials.
One of the fundamental principles of creating an enjoyable space is harmony between all elements. Mixing too many styles together can make a landscape feel disjointed and thrown together. However, when your landscape features and plantings complement your home’s structure and stay within a set palette or style, you can achieve that harmonious aim and create a space you will enjoy living in for years to come.
Determine your budget.
Oftentimes homeowners underestimate the cost of their landscaping projects. Many times we see wishlists from clients with all of the features they want included, sometimes with sample products and costs included, but more times than not, clients forget to add in budget for design, labor, electrical, irrigation, or any padding for contingency. There is no one set dollar amount for a wooden deck, new pool, landscape renovation, etc. as every property and homeowner’s wishes are unique. But, you can get a rough ballpark of what a project might cost by consulting with your bank if you’re taking out a loan or by looking online at annual survey publications that provide national averages.
Hire a professional.
We fully support the DIY movement but there are some things in life where hiring a professional just makes sense. Landscaping is more than trees and grass so having a team on your side who understands and can anticipate the different elements involved with your project will save you time and money. Plus, when you hire a professional landscaping company the work should come with a guarantee — something you likely won’t get if you do tackle the project yourself and things go wrong.
At Graham Landscape & Design, we have specialized teams of experts who can work with you through every step of your project, from the initial idea to the complete installation. We can even help you with ongoing maintenance so your project is as beautiful as it was on day one. Give us a call today to discuss your project. 541-729-8029
Did you have puddles this winter?
A weird question, we know... but, it's an important one! Now that the weather is a bit drier, it's time to really look at your landscape's irrigation and drainage. With this winter's rain, did you notice areas of standing water in your yard? Or, were there sections that simply got flooded out because there was too much rain? Both of these instances signal that there is an issue with your landscape and it's drainage.
Why is proper drainage so important? Well, there are a number of reasons but a few of the top concerns include root rot in your lawns, shrubs, and trees. In addition, poor drainage reduces your ability to enjoy your yard for fear of getting your shoes sucked into the muck or just getting them extra muddy. And, if either of those weren't bad enough, sitting water creates a breeding ground for all sorts of pests.
So, if you have drainage problems, what can be done? Here are a few ideas to help:
At Graham Landscape & Design, our team of irrigation and design experts can help you do just this. Please give us a call so we can turn your drainage problem into a thing of the past. 541-729-8029
Once the cold of winter hits, many Oregon gardens transition from the beauty of fall to looking drab and boring. But, that doesn't have to be the case as there are plenty of plants that can add a nice pop of color to your winter garden. Here are a few of our favorites:
Not sure how to incorporate these beautiful bloomers into your landscape? Give the Graham Landscape & Design team a call at 541-729-8029. Our landscape designers are experts at coordinating plants that complement each other and add year-round beauty.
We recently had the pleasure of working with homeowners living just north of Vida, along the McKenzie River. They wanted to transform their backyard into a riverfront oasis. Together, we worked with the family to design a beautiful paver patio, complete with an outdoor built-in BBQ, fire pit, seating wall, viewing bench overlooking the river, and natural stone pathway.
If you are a homeowner living in the Eugene-Springfield area (or nearby areas), give the Graham Landscape & Design team a call. We love to create outdoor living spaces your family can enjoy. 541-729-8029
Having a truly unique backyard was of utmost importance for this Eugene, Oregon homeowner. The challenge for our team was how to integrate a unique play space for their children with the desire for an artistic feel. Through collaboration, we designed an underground play area and a sunken trampoline that the children could enjoy. Then, we covered the structure with a high-grade artificial turf, giving it an easy-to-maintain finish with an artistic aesthetic.
To further accomplish the artistic feel of the backyard, we extended a mosaic of concrete rectangles from the back patio to "make it look like it's exploding into the yard."
This Eugene family now has a fun, and easy to maintain space they can enjoy for years to come.
If you live in the Eugene and Springfield area and have an idea for your backyard, give our design team a call. We're always up for a fun challenge! 541-729-8029
When thinking about landscape design, don't limit yourself to thinking only about plants and decks. Landscape design takes into account the entire landscape experience and works to create spaces you can live in and enjoy. This holds true with commercial landscape design, too.
For example, we worked with a business located in South Eugene to create a functional and beautiful option for their clients who choose to arrive by bike. We designed and installed this fun bike rack with a porous pavement base. Now, their customers have a place to secure their bicycles and the business has an interesting feature in front of their entrance instead of the run-of-the-mill boring bike rack.
If you have a business in the Eugene-Springfield, Oregon area and you would like to bring form and function together in a creative solution for your business landscape, let's talk. The Graham Landscape & Design team works with commercial properties for design and maintenance needs all year round and we'd love to work with you, too! Give us a call today at 541-729-8029 to get started.
Landscape design for small spaces
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
Landscaping with potted plants
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 several ways you can add curb appeal to your front yard. Everyone talks about the importance of curb appeal when you're trying to sell your home. While that's important, it's equally important to simply enjoy coming home to a beautiful front yard after a long day at work.
From simple plantings to elaborate construction projects, just about anything can be done to add curb appeal. Depending on your vision and budget, you can scale a concept up or down to meet your needs. Here are a few curb appeal ideas to get your imagination going.
Complement your home's style
A core concept in design is creating harmony between elements. Applying this concept to your landscape means thinking about the style of your home and choosing plants and landscape features to match. For instance, is your home modern in design or more traditional? Is there a regional influence, such as Spanish design or English Tudor? Look up traditional plantings and features for homes built in the same style or era as yours. This approach will create a harmonious feel between structure and landscape.
Consider the seasons
When flowers are bloom, every yard has curb appeal. But, what about the rest of the year when plants are not flowering? Consider upgrading the plantings in your yard with varieties that bloom during different seasons. Or, if not blooming, that have vibrant hues during otherwise gloomy times of the year. With this approach, you'll have visual interest year-round and a yard your neighbors will envy.
Consider your terrain
Not all homes are built on flat parcels. In fact, if your home is in the Willamette Valley, chances are your home is constructed on a grade. Knowing this, you can consider how best to work with a sloped yard. For example, if when it rains you get a river or a lake in your yard, you could install French drains or a dry creek bed. These are both beautiful and functional. Or, if you like working in your yard, you can consider installing retaining walls to terrace your yard, creating multiple flat sections for plantings or other uses.
If you would like more ideas or a professional consultation to see the possibilities for your landscape, please contact us. We service homes in the Eugene/Springfield area, as well as other communities throughout the Willamette Valley. At Graham Landscape and Design, our team of professionals can help you design, install, and even maintain your landscape so you can enjoy it for years to come.
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