Planning Your Landscape

It may seem a bit counter intuitive, but winter is a great time to begin the landscape design process.  We will work with you and your home owners association (HOA) to develop a set of plans to meet your needs. We facilitate plan submittal to your HOA and assist in providing competitive estimates for the completion of your installation project.

We work with your building designer/architect and general contractor to create a landscape that flows with the architectural style and character of home with emphasis on appropriate plant selections and efficient irrigation for our high desert climate.  We can work together to accomplish your immediate and long term goals.

If you need a landscape overhaul, we are happy to help with that too.  We specialize in irrigation retrofits and low voltage lighting renovations. We will accentuate the existing successful components and compliment them with fitting additions. Each site has its own unique blend or attributes and constraints.  North of South is adept in dealing with those constraints and emphasizing the opportunities of your property.

Please contact us for a complimentary one hour on-site visit at 541-668-3437 or through our website at www.northofsouthlandscapes.com

Smart Irrigation Month

As another Smart Irrigation Month comes to an end, it is a good time to reflect on irrigation projects and consider what is ideal versus what is reality.  

Smart Irrigation Month is an Irrigation Association (IA) initiative to promote the social, economic and environmental benefits of efficient irrigation technologies, products and services in landscape, turf and agricultural irrigation.  As an active, certified professional with the IA, North of South Landscapes has been a supporter and promoter of Smart Irrigation Month for years.  We work to educate our clients and inform them on how to improve their irrigation efficiency and how conserve water through their landscape while improving the health of their landscape.  

In the past year, we have seen and been involved in many successful irrigation improvement projects.  We have also seen brand new installs that needed repairs, adjustments, or re-installation within the first weeks after construction.  If you are considering a landscape/construction project, it would be in your best interest to consult with a landscape/irrigation professional to ensure your project will not create problems in your existing landscape or irrigation system.    Below are some photos and descriptions of some not-so-smart irrigation issues that could have easily been avoided.

This is a photo of a new asphalt parking area that paved over existing irrigation heads.  The client was told the heads were capped off, however the sprinklers were just removed and did not have any type of cap or plug on the line.  The new asphalt has been faded by the running water and had to be cut and opened up in order to make the repair.

This is a photo of a new asphalt parking area that paved over existing irrigation heads.  The client was told the heads were capped off, however the sprinklers were just removed and did not have any type of cap or plug on the line.  The new asphalt has been faded by the running water and had to be cut and opened up in order to make the repair.

There was more than just one sprinkler head that was affected by the new asphalt paving.  an irrigation consultation to locate sprinklers and advise on how to cap them would have been a fraction of the time and money it took to locate the paved-over sprinklers and to make the necessary repairs.

There was more than just one sprinkler head that was affected by the new asphalt paving.  an irrigation consultation to locate sprinklers and advise on how to cap them would have been a fraction of the time and money it took to locate the paved-over sprinklers and to make the necessary repairs.


it is unfortunate that whoever did this turf repair did not consider an alternative for the turf grass.  This area is less than 2' wide and is impossible to irrigate overhead without wasting water.  There are other landscape and irrigation options that would result in less water wasted and provide greater aesthetics as this turf will always struggle to look healthy as it is not in a desirable location and is difficult to irrigate and maintain.  It is the landscape professional's job to inform the client as to what the best solution would be for their site and just because there was grass there to begin with doesn't mean that is what should be there now.  

it is unfortunate that whoever did this turf repair did not consider an alternative for the turf grass.  This area is less than 2' wide and is impossible to irrigate overhead without wasting water.  There are other landscape and irrigation options that would result in less water wasted and provide greater aesthetics as this turf will always struggle to look healthy as it is not in a desirable location and is difficult to irrigate and maintain.  It is the landscape professional's job to inform the client as to what the best solution would be for their site and just because there was grass there to begin with doesn't mean that is what should be there now.  


this poor serviceberry has struggled since it was installed two seasons ago.  it is planted on a slope and was irrigated with two drip lines that were incorrectly placed on the downhill side of the trunk as well as both lines were placed together instead of one on each side of the trunk.  

this poor serviceberry has struggled since it was installed two seasons ago.  it is planted on a slope and was irrigated with two drip lines that were incorrectly placed on the downhill side of the trunk as well as both lines were placed together instead of one on each side of the trunk.  

upon more investigation, it was discovered that the emitters irrigating the serviceberry were undersized as one was 1 gph and the other was 2gph, for a total of 3 gallons per hour when a serviceberry needs more than that to remain healthy.

upon more investigation, it was discovered that the emitters irrigating the serviceberry were undersized as one was 1 gph and the other was 2gph, for a total of 3 gallons per hour when a serviceberry needs more than that to remain healthy.

The remedy for the serviceberry was to install emitter line around the base to provide water on all sides of the trunk.  Emitter line has emitters built in at every six inches to deliver water evenly around the tree.  each emitter is 0.6 gph and now the serviceberry is getting 7.2 gph, more than twice what it had been receiving.

The remedy for the serviceberry was to install emitter line around the base to provide water on all sides of the trunk.  Emitter line has emitters built in at every six inches to deliver water evenly around the tree.  each emitter is 0.6 gph and now the serviceberry is getting 7.2 gph, more than twice what it had been receiving.


this is a sprinkler head that had been covered with pavers.  It was not known that there was a sprinkler under these paver stones as there were other leaks in the irrigation zone.  Once those other leaks were repaired there was enough water available in the zone for this sprinkler to cause an issue.  And once this sprinkler was capped 5 other leaks underground were found.  even if you prefer to do your landscape projects on your own, it is valuable to consult with a landscape professional before any of the work to ensure your efforts can be successful and not create more problems for your landscape in the future.  

this is a sprinkler head that had been covered with pavers.  It was not known that there was a sprinkler under these paver stones as there were other leaks in the irrigation zone.  Once those other leaks were repaired there was enough water available in the zone for this sprinkler to cause an issue.  And once this sprinkler was capped 5 other leaks underground were found.  even if you prefer to do your landscape projects on your own, it is valuable to consult with a landscape professional before any of the work to ensure your efforts can be successful and not create more problems for your landscape in the future.  

Let North of South Landscapes help you avoid any of these costly mistakes in your landscape projects.  Give us a call today.

Noxious Weeds

A noxious weed is a plant that spreads quickly and can cause problems to the environment.   These non-native, aggressive plants have numerous undesirable consequences:

  • Increase soil erosion
  • Reduce habitat for wildlife
  • Rob native plants of water, nutrients and light
  • Potentially toxic to humans and other animals
  • Increase fire potential
  • Decrease curb appeal/desirability of a community

It is the responsibility of property owner to maintain their property and the adjacent right-of-way.  Here are some suggestions about what you can do:

  • Become familiar with local noxious weeds
  • Avoid walking through infested areas.  Pets especially can spread the noxious weed seeds.
  • Keep your property free of noxious weeds. Do NOT put weeds in yard debris or compost bins.
  • Contribute to you weed removal in your community by participating in events such as “Let’s Pull Together”.

Noxious weeds in Deschutes County are rated as A, B, or C.  The A list weeds are the highest priority with ecological and/or economic importance. B list weeds are abundant locally and in neighboring regions. C list weeds have the potential to harm agricultural production and transportation systems.

Certain noxious weeds in Central Oregon have become so widespread and thoroughly established that they have been declared to be a menace to public welfare. Steps leading to eradication where possible and intensive control are necessary.

 

The Benefits of Trees

Trees are an important component of the residential landscape.  They can aesthetically frame and/or screen views while providing scale to the landscape and creating a more comfortable outdoor living experience.  Here are a just few more reasons for incorporating trees into your landscape:

1.      Trees create shade.  Deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves) provide shade in the summer, reducing air-conditioning needs which reduces energy demands, and can reduce the urban heat island effect.  A shade tree on a sunny day provides welcomed reprieve as well as the most coveted spot in the parking lot. 

2.      Trees provide privacy.  Trees can create screening barriers for unpleasant views, walls, or neighbors as well as frame pleasing views.  A strategically placed tree can mean the difference between being comfy and relaxed versus having to order new window coverings.  Trees can also dampen street sounds, provide wind breaks and capture dust. 

3.      Trees prevent erosion.  Trees reduce stormwater runoff by intercepting and slowing rainfall allowing it to be absorbed by the soil and roots. This keeps soil in place on steep slopes, hillsides and waterway slopes which reduces water pollution as well. 

4.      Trees sequester carbon.  During the process of photosynthesis, trees remove carbon dioxide from the air, store the carbon and release the oxygen back into the air.  This helps combat climate change and provides oxygen.

5.      Trees provide habitat.  Many trees including oaks, maples, and ash provide excellent homes for birds and squirrels as well as food and pollen for many more critters.  Even dead and dying trees also create habitat opportunities for many birds and insects.  Trees also provide habitat for people with wood for home construction and wood to burn for warmth. 

6.      Trees increase property values.  Well-planted and maintained trees can increase the value of a property, surrounding street, and neighborhood from 10 – 15%.  Trees can also generate a theme and provide unity throughout a neighborhood and can also serve as a landmark. 

7.      Trees provide seasonal interest.  Deciduous trees provide seasonal interest with colorful flowers in the spring, lush foliage for shade during the summer, beautiful colors of autumn from the fallen leaves, and stimulating branching patterns look even more inspiring with a coat of fresh snow and ice. 

8.      Trees provide food.  Trees not only provide food for animals and insects, but trees also provide food for people.  Fruits, nuts, chewing gum, maple syrup, and chocolate all come from trees as well as other household products such as sponges, corks, and dyes.

9.      Trees reduce stress.  Trees and landscapes have been known to reduce stress by lowering blood pressure, this improves moods and reduces anxiety.  Exposure to trees and nature has shown to reduce fatigue, increasing mental stimulation as well as reducing patient recovery times.

10.   Trees create special places.  Trees are often the ceiling to our outdoor rooms but many times they can be the whole room themselves.  Building a tree house, installing a tire swing or zip line, or climbing as high as you can provides an unique experience that only a tree can provide.  

snowy_aspen

Flower Pots

Spring is here and we all get excited to spend more time outside.  A great accent to your outdoor spaces is to add some flower pots or annual color spots to key locations. Here are a few suggestions to guide you.  Of course this is a service we provide too :)

  1. Containers.  Lots of great new materials out there along with the beauty of classic terra cotta and ceramic glaze.  Make sure you've got drainage through the bottom.  Inspect your pots for any winter damage and replace if necessary. Determine and set in desired location.
  2. Soil. How old is the "dirt"?  If it looks dry and gray, it's time to replace it.  We like to use organic potting soil with moisture control and mycorrhizae (a beneficial fungi).  Many potting soils have a fertilizer in them already.  If not, be sure to add some as annual flowers are big feeders.
  3. Plants.  Three words you need to know: thriller, filler, spiller.  Something tall in the center for drama (thriller). Fun colors and textures to make the tall item in the center feel anchored (filler). Trailing plants along the edge of the container to soften (spiller).  Play with plant combinations while shopping at your local nursery. Depending on the size of your container, the thriller item is typically purchased as a larger size, like a one gallon. Four inch or quart containers are nice for the filler.  Four inch or plugs work well along the edges for the spiller.
  4. Water. Container plants can dry out quickly.  If possible, drip irrigation is a consistent and reliable way to keep the flowers happy.  Otherwise, plan to water daily through the heat of the summer.