Project Spotlight: Northeast Portland Yard Transformed by Landscaping Team

March 26, 2015

Plants for Portland LandscapingA good Portland landscaping team isn’t finished with a project until the client is satisfied. Our Northeast Portland client had worked with another design company that did not provide the installation work. She searched online and found Landscape East & West’s stellar reviews and got in touch with us for a complimentary in-home consultation. It was during this meeting that I learned more about the client’s wants and needs, lifestyle and budget. My landscaping team walked the client through the entire landscaping modification process to ensure that we addressed all her concerns and updated the design according to her preferences.

Shannon, the homeowner, had this to say about working with our team: “We were impressed with Landscape East & West’s professionalism, how they put together the proposal and how they were able to work with the design we had and make tweaks that would work better for our needs. They weren’t the least expensive option, but we chose them as our installation team because they were very thorough and we felt confident that they would do a professional and legit job that would last for years. We’ve already talked to Landscape East & West about a few new projects because we felt so confident in the work they did.”

The Project

Our client was experiencing drainage problems, a lack of visual interest and a deficit in usable space. The homeowner wanted more than just a yard with a patch of grass. In October 2014, our Portland landscaping and installation team set out to convert the space into a flood-free zone that the client could enjoy and admire throughout the year. You can see a before photo below:

Portland Landscapers Before Photo

The Challenges

Whenever it rained, all the water that poured off the roof ended up in the client’s backyard because the downspouts pointed toward the ground and there wasn’t a stormwater connection. The result was a muddy yard and the risk of water damage to the foundation and finished basement.

While the client loves flowers, she’s mortally afraid of bees. Our Portland landscaping experts had to find plants that brightened the yard, but didn’t attract bees.

Even though the space was small, our client wanted to make the most of it by converting it into an outdoor living space that she could use in all weather conditions.

The client had this to say about her new design, “I used to hate going into the backyard because it used to be a weed-infested nightmare filled with bees. Now we’re so excited to enjoy our new backyard just in time for summer!”


Portland Landscaping Company Before PhotoAfter:

Portland Landscaping After Photo

The Solutions

  • Water rerouting: Since our client’s property didn’t connect to stormwater drains, our Portland landscapers altered the home’s downspouts so they diverted water into rain gardens in the yard. This solution solved pooling issues and reduced the amount of stormwater runoff that ends up in local watersheds.

Portland Drainage Solutions

Portland Landscaping Drainage Solutions

  • Plants that do not attract bees: We chose plants that are attractive to humans, but not the bees. Our team also planted flora that blooms in the winter and early spring, when bees are not active. The plants that we used for this project included:
    • Forsythia: A shrub with beautiful variegated foliage
    • Artemisia: An aromatic shrub
    • Roman chamomile: An aromatic plant that’s drought-resistant
    • Bamboo: Gives interesting texture to a landscape
    • New Zealand flax: A plant with long, strappy leaves that makes a nice focal point
    • Planted carex (sedge grass): An ornamental grass that does well all year round in Portland rain gardens

Portland Landscaping Design

Plants for Portland Landscaping

We also love to use these plants in our Pacific Northwest projects.

  • Add a deck: Landscape East & West installed a small cedar deck outside the backyard door that serves as an attractive transitional space between the home and the rest of the yard. A covered cedar pergola shields the deck and the homeowner from showers. We also used horizontal screens made of cedar to keep the A/C unit out of sight. See before and after photos below:

Portland Deck Design Before

Portland Deck Design After

  • Create more useable space: Our client felt that she wasn’t using the landscaping around her home to its full potential. By making the garden space smaller, we were able to add a parking area in front of the homeowner’s detached garage. A modern cedar fence with a sliding-barn door gate added extra privacy. We also removed the grass in the yard and replaced it with pavers to create a patio. See after photos below:

Portland Landscaping Gate Design/Build

Portland Patio Design

More from the homeowner: “Landscape East & West also made good suggestions about the parking area we wanted. The original design called for pavers, but that was too expensive. Nic was able to very quickly come up with a less expensive option that also made more sense. They did more than we expected! Our house was built in 1909 and its original rafter tails are in good condition. Nic came up with the idea of matching the rafters to the woodwork of the pergola – it blends seamlessly with the new space, which is much more modern looking.”

Portland Pergola Design

See an idea that you like? If so, schedule a complimentary in-home consultation with Landscape East & West to see how we can recreate it at your home.

Nic NelsonNic Nelson is the Senior Landscape Design Sales Consultant at Landscape East & West. He has a B.A. in Landscape Architecture from University of Oregon and has been practicing landscape design and construction in the Portland area since 2007. He enjoys blending the artistic side of landscape and outdoor living space design with the opportunity to build things and problem solve through the construction process.