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Irrigation Blowout

The leaves may have only begun to turn in color, yet frost is on its way and it’s time to schedule an irrigation blowout!

While our winters are typically mild, we often experience cold weather conditions marked by below freezing temperatures. During periods of freezing weather, frost penetrates the soil, compromising your irrigation system’s pipes and components. If water remains in the system, pipes and parts will expand and crack.

Before the first freeze, we highly recommend blowing out your irrigation system to prevent costly repairs next year.  This should be done every fall to protect your investment.

sprinkler blow-out

Prices are determined by the number of zones (or stations) in your system.

Call us at 360-697-3215 or 253-530-0788 or email info@northwestcl.com or fill out this form to schedule your irrigation blowout.

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.

Our story in the Kitsap Sun

Every person, every place, every business has a story. We haven’t yet shared our story in writing, in part because it’s still unfolding. As we approach the ten-year mark of our doors being open for business, it’s time for us to look back, look inward, and do the work of crafting our story.

Colby & Meeshka Brand in the Kitsap Sun

We started this company in October of 2009, when the recession was in full swing. We didn’t know it at the time, but hindsight has shown us that it was a brilliant time to start a business. Colby recently had the opportunity to talk with the Kitsap Sun about the challenges and lessons learned from this endeavor.

His video interview is featured in the online version of this article.

We’re incredibly honored that Colby had the opportunity to contribute to this timely conversation. This experience is the motivation we needed to think about our story and just how important it is to where we’re headed. All good stuff.

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Elite Crete Interior Concrete

It’s been a very, very busy 3 months since our last blog post in July. On a personal level, we’re moving house! We’re feeling stretched to the max, getting our new space ready while still minding the details involved with taking care of our clients, yet we’re incredibly grateful for the possibilities that lie ahead.

So what have we been up to?

Remodeling our new home has given us the opportunity to try our hand at interior concrete, working with a product manufactured by Elite Crete Systems. Colby’s been eager to learn interior flooring first-hand after seeing it when he attended World of Concrete, an industry event dedicated to all things concrete.

Gray Elite Crete interior concrete floor

Interior concrete flooring w/ Elite Crete. Colors used were Charcoal Pearl over a Light Gray base, with Titanium accent.


He installed this product in three different rooms, getting better and gaining confidence each time. Next up is the floor of our office, and it will be the biggest floor that we’ve tackled yet.

We hope to offer this interior concrete service and product to customers in the future. Progress photos of the concrete floor in our office soon to come… watch this space!

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Brown Spots in Lawn

new lawn no brown spots

This is what a brand new lawn looks like from hydroseed. To keep a lawn looking this good, what’s required is: healthy soil, good drainage, consistent mowing, consistent watering especially during drought periods, fertilizer 3-4X per year, and sunlight.

Wondering what’s up with the brown spots in your lawn?

Even if your lawn has irrigation, it’s common to see brown spots this time of year. They occur for a number of reasons. Here are some examples we’ve encountered at maintenance clients’ sites over these hot and dry summer months:

  • An irrigation head is watering an area covered in thatch, and as a result, water doesn’t absorb into the soil.
  • The irrigation system was mapped in such a way that coverage is low in areas that are now brown.
  • The nozzle shoots water out too far and lawn areas closest to the head aren’t being hit.
  • The nozzle is clogged or a head is misaligned.
  • The lawn is on a slope and water drains too quickly.
  • Droppings from nearby trees create acidic conditions in the soil, causing the lawn to brown.
  • If a lawn is over a drain field, there may be too much sand in the soil causing water to drain too quickly.

Some solutions to fix the brown spots in your lawn are easier and less costly than others. Give us a call or send us an email for an estimate to rehabilitate your lawn.

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Our Backyard Refuge

Colby and I have been living in our home together since fall of 2010, about a year before we got married. It’s almost embarrassing to admit that we – two people who own a landscaping company – just finished landscaping around our home last month. I use the word “finished” loosely, because concrete forms and rebar lay where a concrete patio will one day be poured. We’re working on two concrete projects as I write this, and, as always, those come first!

kitsap county landscapers

Dicentra spectabilis aka Bleeding heart was the first plant I ever fell in love with in our own garden.

It’s without exaggeration that I say the experience of having a landscape has transformed my life. If the day starts to feel too demanding, I step outside to listen to the sound of our water feature and watch as birds fly from surrounding alder trees onto our emerging lawn to nibble on grass seed. I take note of how much my Gunnera has grown from the day before (not much), and look for signs of pink buds on my Weigela (yes, they’re there!). Without a doubt, it’s therapy and a refuge from the stresses of life.

our backyard refuge

Birds love to bathe in our water feature. And we love to watch as they dunk and shake!

This is our trade, so naturally I can’t help but reflect on some things that I’ve known for some time, but have now had the chance to observe in our own landscape.

  1. Birds love grass seed, and they will invite all their friends to the party on a new lawn. After hydroseed is sprayed or a lawn renovation has been done, a reserve of grass seed is necessary to have on hand. There are a lot of grass seeds on the market. For our region, it’s best to go with a blend that’s 70% perennial ryegrass, 30% fescue.
  2. Features can – and ideally, will – perform multiple functions. Large, decorative boulders anchor the soil of our raised beds in place, function as a border between our water feature and patio, and offer a place to sit. And they look good, too.
  3. A garden is never done. We planted the beds around our entry a few years ago, and last month I edited out a few shrubs that were intentionally planted too closely together. I also swapped out a trio of Hostas for one Daphne. We plant lovers change our minds about what we want in a certain spot, and why not?
  4. Harmony achieved through foliage color is soothing to the eye and the senses, and can be more gratifying than interesting blooms. Seeing the combination of chartreuse, deep green and blue brings me inner peace. Dramatic, yes, but true!
  5. Nature creates conditions that we constantly have to work against. Here, specifically, I’m talking about the algae that’s forming on the rocks of our water feature. We’ll go with an environmentally friendly solution so that we can continue to feel good about the birds bathing in it along with the frogs that keep me up at night!
garden design kitsap county

Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’ aka Black Lace elderberry is a stunner. Here in our front yard bed, it’s planted with Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’ aka False spirea.

Considering all the beauty and moments of delight our landscape has brought to us, I can’t believe we waited this long to give ourselves the gift that we give to our clients. We’ve always put everyone else’s landscaping needs before our own! One thing is for certain, when we finally leave this home, I won’t make this mistake again. In fact, I’ve already started a list of trees and plants that I want planted in my next garden.

Are you in the planning stages of your dream landscape? Call our office at 360-697-3215 or send an email to info@northwestcl.com to set up an appointment to meet with an estimator.

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Community Service Day

This was our second time volunteering our time and labor at Chico Salmon Park in Bremerton. Just like last year, we had a great time! An added bonus was being fed homemade cookies made by one of the park’s regular volunteers.

Chico Salmon Park Bremerton

L to R: Chico Salmon Park’s John Mikesell, Josh, Byron & Domingo

We constructed a small split rail fence, installed pipes for better drainage and laid mulch provided to the park by Asplundh.

community service

Byron and a park volunteer hold the rail steady as Domingo and Josh secure it.

The park’s committed volunteers have done an amazing job creating a welcoming park where visitors can watch the salmon run in the fall or simply take a stroll and learn about native plants. The transformation that we’ve seen here over just a few short years is remarkable.

community service

Domingo and Byron spread mulch.

We look forward to returning to the park this fall to view salmon on their journey to spawn! If you’re interested in volunteering with Chico Salmon Park, keep up with them on Facebook and sign up for one of their monthly work parties.

Check out more photos from our Community Service Day here.

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

2016: Our Year in Photos

2016 was a very good year for us thanks to our clients, our skilled and growing team, and an improved economy.

As the year comes to an end, we’re feeling a little nostalgic about all the great moments that marked 2016, and want to share some of them them here with you. After all, it’s moments like these that define who we are and what we do.

Here are some the year’s most unforgettable moments in photos. Cheers!

Two landscapers volunteering at Chico Salmon Park

In January, we volunteered our time and labor at Chico Salmon Park. For this community service day, we cut up fallen debris, helped to create better drainage, pulled ivy, and trimmed down blackberries. It was a productive day for a good cause. If you haven’t yet been in the fall, it’s a great place to watch the salmon run.

Planting annuals in Kingston

Sisters Meeshka (co-owner) and Shauna (Office Manager) spent a day in the field planting annuals at the entrance of White Horse HOA in Kingston. Our planting practices always include amending the existing soil with organic compost.

Outdoor space in Kitsap County

This concrete project in Poulsbo was our first to include a custom outdoor fireplace thanks to Dan’s Custom Masonry. Here, you see Roman Slate stamped concrete colored to complement the materials used for the fireplace. Thanks also to clients Tim & Cathy for being such a pleasure to work with.

Stamping concrete in Poulsbo

This was a hot summer day spent stamping concrete, working for amazing clients Tammy and David. Finishing and stamping concrete is hard work and requires excellent team work and the ability to perform under pressure. We’ve got a great crew!

NWCL water feature

In the photo above, Elias (Landscape Construction Foreman) and Colby (co-owner) are focused on completing the construction of this custom water feature for wonderful clients Billy and Kurt in Manette. We used our favorite rock here, High Cascade Granite.

Chickens in Bremerton

There’s a first time for everything! We chicken-sat these three beauties for Billy and Kurt while their back yard was under construction. Here they are amidst black mondo grass and swordferns, enjoying their new landscape.

Silverdale landscaping

This summer we installed a new landscape to complement a new sign at the Windermere office in Silverdale. It was such a fun project!

Brothers in front of NWCL trailer

Brothers Elvis (Maintenance Technician) and Byron (Maintenance Lead) are all smiles, even after a long day working in the rain.

Thank you card for Recap 2016

One of the cutest thank you cards we’ve received. This is why we do what we do!

Progress of landscaping and concrete in Silverdale

Work in progress! Our favorite projects allow us to showcase our concrete and landscaping skills. For this stunning Erlands Point property, we installed new garden beds, dramatic boulders and new plantings, along with a 5-column water feature and decorative concrete borders. Many thanks to Jerry & Julie for trusting us with your landscape and for being such great clients.

Toro Lounge party picture

There’s no better way to close out a successful year than with a holiday party. A big thanks to Toro Lounge in downtown Bremerton for their excellent food and service.

We hope 2016 was a great for you as well. Happy Holidays and we wish you all the best in 2017.

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

New Commercial Landscape Maintenance Sites in Poulsbo

We recently secured two more commercial landscape maintenance sites in Poulsbo. We’re thrilled to add them to our portfolio. Both locations are in a high visibility area and receive a lot of foot traffic throughout the day, so give us a honk if you happen to drive by!

commercial landscape maintenance poulsbo

This site features many shrubs and hedges that our client has requested to be neatly sheared 2 – 3 times per year.

commercial landscape maintenance poulsbo

Our skilled maintenance technicians regularly trim plant material off of walkways and parking lots for our commercial landscape maintenance sites. We also blow the parking lot on every visit, removing unwanted landscape debris.

commercial landscape maintenance kitsap county

Are you a property manager or office manager for a commercial space, or know someone who is? We’d love the opportunity to meet and provide a free consultation and proposal for ongoing commercial landscape maintenance services. Call our office at 360-697-3215 or send an email to info@northwestcl.com to set up an appointment to meet with an estimator.

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Testimonial for Concrete

This is why we love working with concrete and doing what we do! Thank you to Tim & Cathy M. for taking the time to send us an email like this one. You can check out their project here.

landscaping company in poulsbo

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

 

Decorative Concrete in Kingston

Decorative concrete is a popular choice among homeowners who want to add a functional, yet aesthetic, element to their landscaping. Concrete is a versatile, durable and affordable material. When homeowners choose to “dress up” their concrete, decorative concrete offers an unlimited amount of customizing options to create a final product that is truly unique.

We offer our clients an array of stamped textures and patterns that resemble the look of natural materials. A few months ago, we wrapped up a full service landscape design and installation project that included decorative concrete.  Our client chose a stamped pattern called ‘Arizona flagstone.’ Despite the risk of cracking, decorative concrete is an attractive alternative to natural flagstone because of its long-term durability and savings in cost.

Concrete before stamping process

Forms have been placed, concrete has been poured and is ready for the stamping process to begin.

This decorative concrete patio, pathway and step connects the gravel driveway with various parts of our client’s property. Whether he needs access to his shed or staircase leading to the top floor of his home, the concrete provides easy access.

Decorative concrete after stamping process

This is what the concrete looks like after stamping has occurred.

The Arizona flagstone stamp offers the look of flagstone with varying sizes and shapes, and also the texture. There are high and low points with stamped concrete.

Decorative concrete after staining

The staining process, or post-coloring process, is complete

Antique coloring (the darker color in the photo above) adds depth and contrast to the appearance of the concrete by settling into the low points.

Concrete accent color in Kingston

The accent color selected is the lighter beige color you see here.

To further customize his concrete, our client opted to add an accent color to some of the “stones.”

Decorative concrete in Kingston

Concrete after the sealant was applied

A few weeks after the concrete was poured and finished, we applied a sealant. The sealant enhances the color and protects the concrete from surface damage, corrosion and staining, which will improve its overall performance and appearance.

Interested in decorative concrete for your home? Give us a call at 360-697-3215 or email us at info@northwestcl.com for a free estimate. We look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

3 Go-To Garden Products

Spring is here, marking the beginning of gardening-friendly Pacific Northwest weather. In our April newsletter, we highlighted three of our favorite garden products to kick start your garden as we head into the growing season. Here, we’ll dive a little deeper to tell you exactly why these are three of our go-to garden products.

1. Oly Mountain Fish Compost

oly mountain fish compost

Oly Mountain Fish Compost photo courtesy Peg Tillery/WSHG magazine

We use Oly Mountain Fish Compost everywhere in the landscape: to amend existing soil before planting, as a thick layer of mulch for insulation and to retain moisture, and on top of the lawn as a topdressing before overseeding. There’s good reason for it too. Healthy soil is the key to a healthy, resilient garden.

Oly Mountain Fish Compost is an odorless organic compost and soil additive that’s high in organic matter and beneficial nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium. It also improves soil structure by making the soil more porous, facilitating better drainage and allowing plant roots to receive necessary oxygen. Lawn roots and plant roots, in turn, are able to grow deeper and stronger resulting in a hardier landscape.

2. SUPERthrive 

SUPERthrive

Josh captured here planting annuals at White Horse Golf Community HOA.

We don’t put plants into the ground without first soaking their root balls in a mixture of water and SUPERthrive. If we don’t have it on hand, then we don’t plant. That’s how significant this product is to us.

SUPERthrive is simply a vitamin and hormone supplement that assists in the development of healthy root systems. Incorporating it into your planting routine (and then watering your newly planted plants regularly with it) can result in faster, more robust growth. That said, the application for which we find it the most beneficial is to mitigate shock. Plants experience stress, or shock, when jostled out of their pot or home in the garden bed. This can lead to limited flowering, change in leaf color and even increase their chances of disease. Help your plants adjust to their new home with this supplement. SUPERthrive can help prevent and treat those symptoms to ensure survival. It’s non-toxic so it can also be used in edible gardens.

3. Dr. Earth Life All Purpose Fertilizer

dr earth life fertilizer

We grew these strawberries ourselves with a little help from Dr Earth Life fertilizer.

This all purpose fertilizer could be called “plant food for dummies” because it’s so easy to use. Broadcast the pellets on top of the soil and water it in. You don’t have to work it into the soil, making it a great go-to product for gardeners who don’t have a lot of time.

It’s certified organic and provides balanced nutrition suited to a variety of plants including veggies, potted plants, trees, shrubs and annuals. The quick-release homogenous pellets contain plant nutrients that continue to feed for several months after application. Dr. Earth Life promotes disease resistance, builds soil health and is free of harmful chemicals.

We’ve tried many different products over the years, yet these remain to be three of our tried and true, go-to garden products. These products are good for earth, easy to use and will help your landscape to be resilient in times of extreme weather conditions such as drought. Pick them up and try them out for yourself!

Log into Facebook and let us know what your favorite garden product is in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

 

UW Pro Master Pruning Series

The ability to correctly prune shrubs and decorative trees at the right time of year is a landscape maintenance practice that distinguishes the skilled from the unskilled, the professional with a pair of hand pruners from the hack with a set of shears.

Pruning

Acer palmatum ‘Waterfall’ without the waterfall. Japanese maples often fall victim to the hands of the unskilled.

The desire for “natural” pruning is expressed by many of our landscape maintenance clients, and requires an understanding of selective pruning and which tools to use. Our maintenance leads and team members are expected to know correct basic pruning techniques.

As we’ve mentioned before, continuing education is very important to us. Since early January, our head maintenance lead Josh has attended UW Botanic Garden’s Master Pruner Series for landscape professionals taught by PlantAmenesty’s founder Cass Turnbull.

Each of the twelve lectures provides information on tools and techniques for pruning with better long-term results and customer satisfaction.

Pruning topics this lecture series covers include:

  • The science and biology behind tree pruning with minimal injury to the tree.
  • The right way to prune roses.
  • The “how-to’s” for making good cuts, structural pruning for trees of any age, pruning standards and crown restoration.
  • Pruning and creative solutions for the overgrown or overplanted landscape.
  • Pruning techniques and corrective pruning for commonly planted plants such as Rhododendron, Hydrangea, Callicarpa, Viburnum and Abelia.
  • Vine pruning of ornamental vines: wisteria, clematis, Boston ivy, Virginia creeper, honeysuckle and trumpet vine.
  • Specialized pruning techniques for Japanese maples, bamboo, cloud pruning of pines and tamamono shearing.
  • How to correctly shear.

In addition to attending the lectures, Josh will attend three hands-on, all-day workshops to put theory to practice. Once these pruning workshops are complete, he’ll receive a Master Pruner certificate.

Please help us root Josh on as he continues this training!

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Featured in Green Industry Pros magazine

National landscaping industry publication Green Industry Pros recently featured us as a “Landscape Industry Hidden Gem” for 2015. See the cover below.

 

2015 Landscaping Hidden Gem

 

Only 20 companies throughout the nation made the list for “outpacing industry growth by focusing on unique business tactics, standing out from the competition, and leading the charge on environmental stewardship.” This is an incredible distinction and we’re honored to be included among these notable companies in our industry!

 

Kitsap county landscaping hidden gem

 

Green Industry Pros is a reputable magazine that “keeps landscape contractors and equipment dealers on top of the latest products, trends and business strategies to help grow their companies.” Available in both in print and online, it features current news relevant to landscaping, up-to-date product reviews and draws attention to new rules and regulations that may affect the industry.

 

nwcl landscaping magazine feature

 

We’ve been reading this magazine since the inception of our business in 2009, so it’s with great pride that we announce that they recognized us as a Hidden Gem!

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

4 Benefits of an Automatic Irrigation System

Many homeowners relish the idea of reducing the time it takes to maintain their landscape, and an automatic irrigation system can definitely help in this endeavor. One of the most time-consuming aspects of maintaining a healthy landscape is having to water it by hand. What starts out as a pleasurable outdoor task can quickly begin to feel like a dreaded chore, especially if you have stretches of lawn or a lot of garden beds.

Watering your landscape can be done manually with simple tools – a hose and nozzle – or, it can be accomplished with an automatic irrigation system which requires little to no effort at all from the homeowner. In this blog post, we highlight four benefits of an automatic irrigation system.

 

Seabeck irrigation

A new irrigation system was a necessary component of this Seabeck landscape installation, which included over 13,000 square feet of lawn.

1. Water according to your preference

Installing an automatic irrigation system can be monumental for homeowners who no longer want to spend time hovering over their lawn or garden beds with hose in hand. These systems are installed in the ground and are connected to a timer box that is clock-driven. Irrigation timers allow homeowners to schedule their watering to accommodate their preferences and landscape needs. Homeowners have the ability to choose what time of the day their system starts, how long it runs for, and how frequent it turns on. These customizable options help to make this task easier to manage.

2. Water “smartly” with a smart timer

For those who want to eliminate the guessing game of when and how long to water, smart timers will do the work for you. A smart timer connects to your home’s Wi-Fi and calculates a daily watering schedule based on your particular soil, grass type, sprinkler head type, sun exposure and local weather forecast. So, on hot days it will adjust to produce more water and on rainy days it will not water at all. Over time, this daily calibration saves on water costs because it will only produce water when needed. An added bonus: homeowners have the ability to control their systems anytime and from anywhere in the world using a computer, tablet or smart phone. Brilliant!

3. Reduce hassle and waste

Are you tired of moving and adjusting your manual rotating sprinkler from one side of the yard to another? Many homeowners understand the struggle of trying to adjust manual sprinklers, targeting just the right spot, only to wind up frustrated and defeated as water ultimately hits wherever it may land. When you choose to go with an automatic irrigation system, your irrigation technician will plan your layout for optimal coverage and make necessary head adjustments once the system is installed. This results in effective watering, saving time, money and unnecessary frustration!

4. Add value

Another benefit of installing an automatic irrigation system is that it helps homeowners who plan to sell their home by adding value to their property. A landscape that is easy to maintain and convenient to water are attractive features to home buyers. For homeowners who aren’t planning to move anytime soon, the curb appeal of a good-looking landscape is a beneficial investment. It shows that you take pride in your home and creates a positive impression to neighbors and guests. 

If you are considering installing an automatic irrigation system, we’d love to talk to you about your project. Give us a call or send us an email at info@northwestcl.com and we can schedule an appointment for you to meet with one of our irrigation professionals!

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

 

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays from all of us at Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC. What a great year it’s been! Thank you to our clients, vendors and everyone who supports us.

landscaping company kitsap county

We will be closed from December 24th and opening in the new year on Monday, January 4th. Wishing you peace, joy and all the best that this wonderful time of year has to offer.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Colby, Meeshka & Team

To Rake, or Not to Rake?

There’s a great leaf debate happening. One side says that fallen leaves left alone become important habitat for butterflies, salamanders, earthworms and other creatures that are important to our ecosystem. The other side makes the case that matted leaves shade and kill lawns and ground covers, and rot perennial plants.

leaf cleanup

So which side is right? The answer depends on a person’s values, time, resources and aesthetic taste.

Our answer is biased, of course, since we offer leaf clean-up services, which are included in all of our full service maintenance contracts.

Listed below are a few good reasons why it makes sense to get rid of fallen leaves.

  • Fall leaves form a dense mat that allows water to gather around the crowns of perennials, causing them to rot. If they don’t rot, chances are likely that they’ll come up thinner and leggier the following spring.
  • Fall leaves smother lawn and ground cover by denying necessary oxygen to roots. Air circulation is necessary for your lawn to remain healthy year-round. In a matter of just a few weeks, you can be left with bare spots, and bare spots create the conditions for weeds to take hold and grow.
  • Fall leaves create habitat for good bugs and critters, but they also create habitat for snails and slugs to lay eggs. Slugs are infamous for eating hostas and other beloved plants.

Where do you stand on the great leaf debate? Log in to Facebook below and let us know your thoughts!

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

5 Plants for a Low Maintenance Landscape

A “low maintenance landscape” is one of the most common requests we receive from prospective landscaping clients. You’ve likely heard the term, though may wonder what exactly a low maintenance landscape is. Generally speaking, the goal is to reduce landscape maintenance time and costs. Though keep in mind, all landscapes will require some sort of maintenance, and if the work becomes too much to do on your own, we offer year-round maintenance programs.

One key component to a low maintenance landscape is plant selection. Native plants typically require less work than plants that aren’t local to our region. A significant benefit to native plants is that they have adapted to local conditions as well as local insects and pests. They don’t require herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides, so you can cross time spent spraying these plants off your list. There’s almost no need for them!

Also, native plants tend to be drought tolerant, so they require less watering. A lower water bill and more time to spend elsewhere is a winning combination and possibly the deciding factor when choosing plants for your landscape.

Below, you’ll find 5 low maintenance plants that do well in Zone 8 and remain attractive throughout the seasons.

1. Arbutus unedo ‘Compacta’ (Compact Strawberry Tree)

low maintenance plant kitsap county

photo credit Richie Steffen via Great Plant Picks

This beautiful and compact shrub produces orange-red fruits when in full flower from October to December. If pruned correctly, the sculptural qualities of its branching and peeling bark will be displayed. It’s drought tolerant once established and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

2. Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ (Charity Mahonia)

low maintenance landscape kitsap county

photo credit Richie Steffen via Great Plant Picks

This native, evergreen shrub grows in an upright, statuesque manner, and its dramatic leaves make for a strong focal point in the garden. It blooms in winter, exhibiting sprays of yellow flowers when the rest of the garden has faded. Charity Mahonia is drought tolerant once established and attracts hummingbirds and birds.

3. Ribes sanguineum (Red-Flowering Currant)

plants for a low maintenance landscape

photo via Pierce Native Plants

This handsome and versatile native requires little care once it’s established. Red-flowering currant is drought tolerant and pest-resistant, and is a great choice for gardeners who are experimenting with natives due to its showy pink flowers. It’s also a good species for rain garden plantings.

4. Sedum spathulifolium (Broad Leaved Stonecrop)

sedum spathulifolium

photo via The Practical Plant Geek

Native to the Pacific Northwest, this sedum offers plump, fleshy, wedge shaped leaves that grow in tight rosettes. They start off as green and turn to shades of red and purple around the edges. Its star-shaped, yellow flowers provide insect nectar and pollen.

5. Polystichum munitum (Western Sword Fern)

western sword fern

photo via UniProt

Some may find this native fern to be too common, but Western Sword Fern is a practical addition to any low maintenance landscape. It’s robust and reliable, tolerant of sun and shade, and offers a unique, glossy, leathery toothed foliage.

A low maintenance landscape takes thoughtful planning and design, particularly when selecting plants. There are many resources available to you if you’re in the planning and budgeting phase of your landscape installation, such as working with a local horticulturist or consulting with a landscape architect. We’re happy to be a resource to you as well for your low maintenance landscape, so feel free to give us a call at 360-697-3215 or email us info@northwestcl.com.

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Testimonial for Landscaping

Nothing makes us happier than receiving a thank you note like this one, from landscaping clients in Silverdale.

Thank you for your business, Nina & Thomas!

kitsap county landscaping testimonial

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

LID Certification

Congratulations to Colby for completing Low Impact Development (LID) training and receiving this certificate from WSU!

colby-brand-lid-certification

Colby proudly displaying his Low Impact Development Technical Training Program Certificate of Completion.

The WSU Extension Low Impact Development (LID) Certificate program is the first LID certificate program of its kind in Washington State. The certificate indicates that Colby has received the latest design concepts for LID practices; has a level of technical knowledge necessary to recognize design opportunities and challenges; and is better equipped to optimize LID systems.

What is Low Impact Development?

Kitsap County defines LID as “a stormwater management strategy that mimics natural drainage systems at or close to the point of generation in order to limit potential contact with pollutants and enhance stormwater quality.” In short, LID practices protect our local water quality and groundwater supply, and preserve wetland and stream functions.

To receive this certification, Colby completed four two-day courses on the following subjects:

  • Bioretention
  • Permeable Paving
  • LID for Buildings (Green Roofs, LID Foundations and Rainwater Collection)
  • Site Plannning

He also passed each subject’s test with flying colors!

To learn more about this LID certification program, click here.

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

3 Durable Retaining Wall Materials

There are many retaining wall materials on the market and the material you choose to construct yours will affect its durability, longevity and appearance. While some retaining walls are installed purely for decorative purposes, most play an important role in the landscape by preventing soil from moving or eroding. Careful consideration is advised when selecting your material.

The three retaining wall materials outlined below can be used to create straight, curved and serpentine retaining walls.

1. Landscape Block

One of the most common materials that we use is landscape block.

gray retaining wall material

Landscape block, made of precast concrete, comes in different colors and sizes, so homeowners have a variety of choices when it comes to picking the right landscape block for their project. One of the features that make this such a popular choice is the ease of installation with landscape block— installers are able to achieve evenly spaced blocks with little effort on their part. Landscape block is a sturdy, durable retaining wall material that can last a lifetime if the wall is installed correctly. This is the most cost effective material that we work with making it an attractive choice.

2. RomanStack Stone

Another material option is RomanStack Stone. The stone gets its distinctive look from a process that rounds out the edges and corners, providing texture to both sides while creating its stone-like appearance though it, too, is made from concrete. The stones are built with an interlock system that creates a strong, stable and more damage resistant wall. RomanStack Stone looks great from any angle.

roman stack stone

3. Basalt Rock

Basalt rock is one of the most popular retaining wall materials throughout the Pacific Northwest. Basalt is a dense, hard rock. When constructed properly, a basalt retaining wall is capable of withstanding a lot of weight and will last indefinitely. The stones come in different colors in a solid rectangular shape that conforms to stacked configuration, though the aesthetic of the finished product can vary depending upon the experience of the installer. Basalt retaining walls have a natural look that compliments flagstone, decorative rock and water features.

basalt rock retaining wall
Good drainage behind a retaining wall is vital to a long-lasting wall, no matter the material. We use drain rock and drain pipe to ensure that our retaining walls can withstand our region’s amount of annual rainfall. Proper drainage also reduces the amount of unwanted plant material and weeds that can grow in between the cracks of retaining walls.

There is no shortage of options for homeowners who are looking to construct a retaining wall. If you’re in the planning and budgeting stages and wondering which retaining wall material is right for your project, contact us at 360-697-3215 or 253-530-0788. We look forward to meeting with you!

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

3-Column Water Feature

This 3-column water feature we constructed in Poulsbo is comprised of varying heights of columnar basalt. This elegant addition beautifully complements an already mature landscape. Turn up your sound and enjoy!

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl8hURx3uq0&w=600h=365&rel=0]

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Lawn Renovation in Silverdale

In late June we completed a lawn renovation and landscape clean-up for clients in Silverdale. Mom and Dad both work full-time, and the whole family is active in community theatre. With little free time to spare, the lawn was neglected, shrubs had overgrown, weeds had taken over the beds, and the irrigation system needed repairs.

topdressing lawn with compost

The lawn had already been aerated and de-thatched when this photo was taken. Juan spread a topdressing of compost while Josh applied grass seed.

After the clean-up was complete, our first course of action to renovate the lawn was to aerate. Aeration, also known as core aeration, is the process of pulling up small plugs of underlying soil that had compacted over time. This creates a healthier root system because it allows proper circulation of air, water and nutrients to the soil below. Aerating results in better water and fertilizer absorption, key to a healthy lawn.

new lawn growing in from seed

This photo of the front yard lawn was taken only 3 weeks later.

After aerating, the next step taken was to de-thatch the lawn. Thatch is a dense layer of dead grass and other organic material that accumulates over time and does not decompose. It sits atop the soil surface, smothering the grass, causing shallow roots and inhibiting growth. De-thatching, or thatching, with a power rake removes this dead layer of thatch between the grass base and native soil, and encourages lawn to spread by allowing for a better exchange of air, water and nutrients.

topdressing and overseeding lawn

The back yard lawn took longer to fill in due to less sunlight. This photo was taken 3 weeks after aeration, de-thatching, topdressing with compost, and overseeding.

The lawn was now ready for a topdressing of organic compost, which we get from Vern’s Organic Topsoil. Topdressing is the practice of spreading a thin layer of compost over the lawn. Since we had already aerated and de-thatched, the compost was able to easily penetrate below the superficial layer and reach the native soil below. This is an important step in lawn renovation. Topdressing with compost enhances the quality of the soil by adding nutrients and improving soil structure.

new lawn from grass seed

This photo of the back yard lawn was taken approximately 8 weeks after aeration, de-thatching, topdressing with compost and overseeding.

One of the final steps of this lawn renovation was to spread grass seed atop the compost, also known as overseeding. We use a grass mixture that is formulated specifically for the Pacific Northwest and a spreader to apply it evenly. Overseeding reinvigorates a lawn by encouraging thick lawn growth. Bare or thin spots should always be overseeded to discourage weed growth.

lawn renovation in silverdale

This photo of the front yard lawn was taken approximately 8 weeks after aeration, de-thatching, topdressing with compost and overseeding.

With the help of a repaired irrigation system, the seed received sufficient water throughout the germination process, despite long stretches of 80-degree weather. Grass seed needs to be moist in order to germinate and grow, though you don’t want to drown seed in water. The photo above shows what the restored lawn looked like in August.

After this summer’s record high temperatures and drought, your lawn could likely benefit from lawn renovation services. Give us a call at 360-697-3215 or 253-530-0788 for a free quote!

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Poulsbo Concrete Driveway & Water Feature

This Poulsbo concrete driveway and water feature project was a collaboration between us and our client, Margaret, whose serene property in the Lofall area overlooks the Puget Sound and features a naturally-occurring stream, edible garden, flagstone patio sitting area, Japanese maple trees grown by her son, and retired racing pigeons. How’s that for interestingness?

tearing out old concrete

Before shot

After meeting with two other contractors, she chose to go with us because we specialize in both landscaping and concrete, and the combination was exactly what she needed to execute her plan.

In addition to ripping out the old and unsightly existing concrete driveway, there was a crooked concrete step connecting her porch to her front entry walkway that needed to be replaced. The materials she considered instead of concrete at the start of the project included flagstone and tile.

entry steps

Margaret and Colby discuss material options for the step. A concrete overlay was the chosen solution.

For practical purposes, she wanted an exposed aggregate finish for the driveway, but the driveway was just one part of the concrete installation. It conjoined the entry walkway that linked the driveway to her back patio. Margaret knew she wanted a contrasting, yet complimentary, finish to the exposed aggregate, yet had concerns about long-term maintenance and her close proximity to salty, marine air.

concrete walkway

The concrete step overlay was completed after the concrete walkway was poured and finished.

The consideration she put forth into selecting the right complimentary finish, texture and color is exactly the kind of involvement we appreciate from our clients. Concrete is longlasting when properly installed, and homeowners use their driveway on a daily basis. The importance of getting these aesthetic considerations just right cannot be overstated.

poulsbo concrete driveway

The concrete driveway was sealed with an industrial grade sealant to protect it from stains and marine air.

Roman Slate texture was selected for the borders of the exposed aggregate concrete driveway and walkway. Going this route—exposed aggregate for the body of the concrete with decorative borders at the outer edge—is a smart option because exposed aggregate is less costly than stamped or textured concrete, and the end result still features decorative customization.

poulsbo concrete driveway

Interesting sidenote: the shed-like structure in the back houses the retired racing pigeons.

Silversmoke was the color selected for integral coloring of all of the textured concrete, which was enhanced by powder antique release. For added contrast, liquid antique release was used as well.

stamped concrete walkway

This Roman Slate textured walkway connects the driveway to the back patio.

Early on, before some of these decisions had been made, Margaret decided that this was the perfect time to also install another water feature in her landscape. The naturally-occurring stream runs parallel with her home and the soothing sound of it is heard throughout the landscape. This new water feature has a different look, feel and sound altogether.

poulsbo concrete driveway and water feature

The splash and sound of this water feature was well considered prior to its construction.

The finished 3-column water feature is somewhat deceptive. Once erect and set in place, the grouping of the basalt columns is quite elegant. Moving them, however, is not! Particularly with an existing landscape that’s mature, with flagstone nearby already set in place. That being said, Colby and Elias enjoyed the process of constructing this water feature as it was our first one of this kind.

poulsbo landscaper

Margaret’s keen sense of plant design beautifully complements all of her hardscape features.

This concrete driveway and water feature project in Poulsbo was a rewarding experience for us because we had the opportunity to work with a landscape that has a lot of soul (yes, this can be felt), is still a work-in-progress (Margaret is already planning the next phase), and is a beautiful reflection of its owner.

Here’s what she had to say about us:

poulsbo landscaping contractor testimonial

Thank you, Margaret!

Log into Facebook and leave us a comment below!

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Inspired by… Windcliff

We made our first trip to Windcliff, Dan Hinkley’s esteemed garden in Indianola, on a hot Saturday afternoon in early June. It was a Northwest Perennial Alliance Garden Open Day. If you missed it, do not worry. There are plenty of opportunities to visit Windcliff this summer.

The road that one travels to reach this destination does not publicize the treasured garden that lies ahead. It’s shaded and nondescript, full of curves and really patient drivers who must pull off to the side so that you can get by. In a moment of uncertainty, we turned around to make a call for clearer directions. We were actually on the right track. Who says that gardening doesn’t offer the thrill of adventure?

We saw a plant with a stem that resembled a snake and one that looked like a cloud of feather plumes. The garden art on display–pods w/ etchings of a dragon’s face hanging like lanterns, frogs made of concrete wading in a bird bath–added a delightful sense of the unexpected. Visit, and you will see: a perfect view of Mt Rainier, swaths of Agapanthus, palm trees that feel native somehow, and hummingbirds fluttering and darting as they wait their turn for the feeder.

It’s a garden that transports you to another world. Dan Hinkley’s world.

Windcliff garden

This gravel road is lined with different types of bamboo, mahonia and many other interesting plants that you’ve likely never seen before.

Windcliff garden

This plant was begging to be touched!

Windcliff garden

This is one of many pods that hang at the entrance door. The detail is exquisite.

Windcliff garden

This smiling face is perfectly placed in a shallow pond.

Dan Hinkley garden

Striking contrast

Windcliff garden

Cactus will grow outdoors here in the Pacific NW in the right microclimate.

Windcliff garden

More contrast

Windcliff garden

Water or moss–which would you choose?

Windcliff garden

Rare and unusual and reptilian

The Agapanthus were not yet in bloom at the time of our visit. To witness them in their full glory is a perfect reason for us to return to Windcliff. If you’ve been to Windcliff, log in to Facebook and let us know in the comments section below what you love most about this garden.

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

5 Tips to Attract Hummingbirds

Lately, we’ve been thinking a lot about which plants will thrive in a drought resistant garden here in the Pacific Northwest and also attract hummingbirds and other pollinators. There’s nothing quite like the pleasure felt while watching bees happily buzz from bloom to bloom. It’s the very reason some of us garden!

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird, a species we see here in the Puget Sound. Photo credit Janine Donoho

Last weekend while planting in my mother’s garden I was presented with a moment of pure joy. Within minutes after digging holes for three Penstemon barbatus ‘Red Riding Hood,’ a hummingbird came whizzing by and perched itself on a nearby birch tree, eyeing the plant’s red, tubular flowers. Then it buzzed towards them and feasted on each plant while I looked on with total satisfaction.

Do you want to attract hummingbirds to your garden? If so, then read on. The hum of their wings and the sight of them zipping and weaving is such a joy to experience.

5 tips to attract hummingbirds:

1. Buy more than one feeder. Hummingbirds can be territorial about their food sources. Having multiple small feeders placed far apart from one another may attract more birds to your garden than one large one.

2. Provide nutritional balance. Place your feeders in the vicinity of nectar-producing shrubs, vines and perennials with red, orange or red-orange tubular-shaped blossoms, with bloom times that vary throughout the year. A favorite of ours that’s not red or orange is Salvia guarantica ‘Black and Blue.’ It features striking cobalt-blue flowers, and hummingbirds, bees and butterflies love it.

3. Give them a place to bathe. Place a shallow birdbath or water feature that creates a spray or mist of water near their food source. Rocks or glass stones can be added to a birdbath so that the water isn’t too deep.

4. Consistently clean your feeders. Bacteria and molds that form in feeders can be deadly, so be sure to clean and change the solution at least once a week. When temperatures rise with summer heat, it’s a good idea to clean them every four to five days.

5. Plant native nectar plants nearby. Native plants and hummingbird populations have evolved together over time, and native plants are best adapted to our climate, seasons and soil. Ribes sanguineum (Red Flowering Currant) is a gorgeous, drought-resistant native shrub, and a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies.

It may take a month or two before hummingbirds make an appearance, but eventually, they’ll come. Log in to Facebook and let us know what you’ve planted in your garden to attract hummingbirds!

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

4 Things We’ve Learned From Our 1st Vegetable Garden

We’re longtime landscapers and first-time veggie gardeners. Vegetable gardening is an undertaking that many want to try, but don’t know how to begin and become intimidated by the thought of it. Sure, we could have waited to start until we constructed raised beds for our garden, like we did here for our clients, but we didn’t. We found an open plot of land on our 1-acre lot, roughly 15-feet by 25-feet, brought in about 8 yards of Vern’s Organic Soil, spread it, graded it, and simply planted our organic veggie starts in the ground.

veggie gardening

Colby planting strawberry starts in Vern’s organic garden mix soil

We said to ourselves: let’s just do it, hoping that our vegetable garden would feel like play instead of work. We’ve probably made mistakes, but what better way to learn? We’ll pay close attention to our successes and failures, and next year’s yield will be even more bountiful.

4 things that we’ve learned from our first vegetable garden so far:

1. Organic veggie gardening from starts is not cheap. We knew that it would be an investment in our health and well-being, and that the nutritional value of produce eaten from one’s own garden is much higher than store-bought produce. Next year, we may experiment with seeds. But this year is all about building confidence!

  • Once we established a favorable subgrade, we spread organic Garden Mix soil from Vern’s. Soil is so important to the success of any garden, edible or ornamental. To us, paying the extra cost upfront for organic soil is worth every penny. We may be newbies, but our instinct tells us that we’ll reap the return on investment when it’s time to harvest.
  • We purchased broccoli, kale, and mixed greens from the Food Coop in Port Townsend, along with Seattle Tilth’s helpful garden guide for $17. The following Saturday, we headed to Bainbridge Island’s Bay Hay and Feed to purchase red leaf lettuce, peas, mint, strawberries and blueberries. Roughly $200 was spent on our organic starts and berry plants. Side note: blueberries will produce better fruit if different varieties are planted for cross-pollination.
organic vegetable gardening

Strawberries, mint, peas, red leaf lettuce and more, from Bay Hay & Feed

  • Sluggo is another necessary investment and can be found at any gardening supply store. We were a little late in applying this at the perimeter of our garden, and four of our starts were eaten up by slugs in a matter of a few days.
  • We purchased Dr. Earth’s Life, an all-purpose organic fertilizer that is the esteemed brand’s easiest fertilizer to use because it doesn’t have to be worked into the soil once applied. We thought the organic soil would offer enough nutrients for our plants, but an extremely helpful employee at Bay Hay and Feed corrected us in our thinking. She’s been gardening since she was three, so we took her advice.
  • Our vining peas need support to grow, so we purchased a metal structure to direct growth. Fingers crossed that we got the right size.

2. Maybe – just maybe – we planted our starts too closely together. A friendly gardener who checked us out at the Food Coop informed us that our broccoli starts should be spaced at least 16-inches apart. We may have been a little too relaxed when it came to planting, as the space between some of our broccoli looks like 14-inches at best. Perhaps we didn’t plan our plot well enough. Because if we were to start again, knowing what we know now, we would have planted our vining peas at the back instead of in the middle. If the damage is purely aesthetic, we can live with that.

vegetable garden

Colby watered our vegetable garden and made a rainbow!

3. Certified organic starts are not readily available at all nurseries and garden supply stores in Kitsap County. We know this because we called around. Bay Hay and Feed has proved to be our go-to for organic starts in Kitsap. Jefferson County, however, is a whole different story. We plan to take a trip to Midori Farm in Quilcene sometime this season.

midori farms

Organic starts from Midori Farms available for purchase at Port Townsend’s Food Coop

4. As with all good things, we must exercise patience. Of course, patience is required before harvest, but patience is also required to plant some of your favorite veggies. We made another trip out to Bay Hay and Feed over the weekend thinking that cucumbers would be ready for purchase. After all, The Old Farmer’s Almanac says April’s the time for cucumbers to be planted. When we got there, we were told we’d have to wait until Mother’s Day weekend. Yes, cucumbers can be found for purchase now at other retail outlets, but the experienced gardeners there want their patrons to succeed. They’ve deemed the weather too cold for absolute cucumber success. So, as hard as it is to leave space open in our garden, bare and unplanted, we’ll wait another few weeks for cucumbers.

Bay Hay and Feed

We love Bainbridge Island’s Bay Hay & Feed.

That’s the extent of what we’ve learned so far from our first vegetable garden. To any experienced and non-experienced veggie gardeners reading this, feel free to log into Facebook and leave a comment below, telling us what’s worked for you. We’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

World of Concrete 2015

World of Concrete is the concrete industry’s largest event which happens annually in Las Vegas. It brings together manufacturers, suppliers, contractors, innovators and experts to deliver a show unlike any other across the globe.

Anyone who keeps up with us knows how much we love concrete. Naturally, this show had been on our radar for quite some time. Colby made the decision last fall to attend in February, and he brought Elias, our Landscape Construction Supervisor, with him. Lucky guys!

Here are some of the concrete products they saw in Vegas…

world of concrete

Concrete seating area with fire pit

 

world of concrete

Concrete table made to look like wood

 

world of concrete

Concrete artistry at its finest

 

world of concrete

3D concrete. That’s right – it’s 3D!

 

world of concrete

Concrete that looks like wood

 

world of concrete

Permeable concrete demonstration

Colby also took advantage of the educational opportunities the show offers, and attended a class titled ‘Conquering Unexpected Cracking of Concrete Flatwork.’ During this seminar he built upon his knowledge regarding factors that can easily be managed to prevent most uncontrolled cracking.

All in all, this trip to Vegas – unlike most trips to Vegas – was an incredible learning experience. We look forward to our next trip to World of Concrete!

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

5 Tropical Plants for Zone 8

We declared on Facebook that 2015 is the year that we break out of our comfort zone and plant tropical plants. Over Christmas break, we did something we had not done in years: we took a trip to the library. I returned home with George Little and David Lewis’ gem of a book A Garden Gallery. Their book is a wealth of knowledge regarding what tropical plants will succeed here in our beloved Zone 8.

I cannot speak highly enough of this book or the gardening duo who wrote it. Little and Lewis offer this advice: trust yourself and go with what feels right. In other words, garden with your heart and don’t overthink it!

little and lewis garden

Little and Lewis garden photo credit July Hays

Their world renowned garden located on Bainbridge Island is a living gallery of tropical plants juxtaposed with concrete sculptures and paintings of their own creation. What makes tropical plants so attractive is their unique ability to transport you to another place. They offer all of the characteristics for good plant design: color, structure and texture, and yet, they are the exception in most Pacific Northwest gardens.

This year, I vow to plant at least one Musa basjoo (banana tree), and all of the plants listed below.

Here are five of my favorite tropical plants that are hardy in Zone 8:

Canna ‘Tropicana’ – It’s no wonder that it’s considered by some to be the most striking of all cannas. Its stunning multicolored foliage is reason enough to plant it, but come summer, it delights even more with orange flowers.

canna tropicana

Canna ‘Tropicana’

Rice-Paper plant – I first came across this massive, sculptural plant at the Bainbridge in Bloom garden tour in 2012. We were blown away by the impact of its large, jade-green leaves and Jurassic Park feel. It can reach 20′ in height with a span of up to 15′, so plan for mature growth.

tropical plants for zone 8

Tetrapanax papyrifer (Rice-paper plant) spotted at Bainbridge in Bloom garden tour

Elephant Ears ‘Black Stem’ – Giant, shiny, heart-shaped leaves set atop black stems that can grow up to 7′ in height. Yellow flowers produce a fragrance of papayas. Need I say more?

elephant ears black stem

Elephant Ears ‘Black Stem’ photo credit Thomas J. Walters

Banana tree – I’ve seen these growing in Costa Rica where they are massive. Here, their height and spread will reach  14’. For you doubters out there, Musa basjoo has survived winters as far north as New England and Ontario, Canada.

banana tree zone 8

Banana tree at left photo credit Joshua McCullough and Lilyvilla Gardens

Dinosaur Food – My first encounter with Gunnera was at The Bloedel reserve, and if I remember correctly, it’s planted in a bed with heathers and hydrangeas. So don’t be afraid to plant it next to more common garden plants. This is another plant much loved for its leaves, which can reach 6-8’ across.

dinosaur food plant

Gunnera manicata (Dinosaur food plant)

What tropical plants do you love that will thrive here in Zone 8? Log in to Facebook and let us know in the comment section below!

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Stamped Concrete Steps & Patio

This Port Orchard project, consisting of stamped concrete steps and a patio, was poured and finished in January. That’s right, January. True, this past January was warmer than most. But we completed this project last January. And the winter before that, we completed this one. We pour and finish concrete year-round, and the clients who are willing to take the risk are rewarded with a substantial winter discount.

Our client wanted the shape of his stamped concrete steps to be round instead of square. It was a good call; the round steps work well with the curved shape of the patio. Forming up steps such as these takes a good amount of preparation, as you can see in the photo below.

concrete forms for steps

Wood stakes support the forms to prevent them from bowing out as the concrete is poured and hand trowelled.

finishing concrete steps

The forms were removed on the same day as the pour as the concrete is still wet enough to customize. Here you see Elias texturing the concrete steps with a Roman slate texture mat.

stamped concrete steps kitsap

Below is the final product after all of the finishing and texturing was complete.

stamped concrete steps

We returned to this site the following week to pour and finish the patio. The body of the patio was stamped with an Ashlar slate stamp, while the border was textured with Roman slate.

stamped concrete steps and patio

As you can see, our client opted to go with gray concrete instead of adding integral color. Because the color of his house is light blue with white trim, we agreed that gray was the right choice. Antique coloring was added for contrast and a marbling effect. We applied more antique coloring to the border, again, for contrast, so that the border appears darker and adds definition.

If you’re looking for a concrete contractor to help you install stamped concrete steps at your home or business, give us a call at 360-697-3215 to set up a free consultation and estimate. We’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Note From a Maintenance Client

Our maintenance crew members certainly don’t expect a tip at the end of the year from our clients, but when it happens, it’s VERY MUCH appreciated.

Thank you for your business, Al & Stephanie!

landscape maintenance kitsap

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

5 Ways to Celebrate Christmas in Kitsap

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate Christmas in Kitsap County, we’ve got five ideas to help you feel that holiday cheer.

Christmas

Colby decorates the tree.

1) The first is likely already on your list – go and get a Christmas tree! Here in the Pacific Northwest, there’s no shortage of places to get one. Vendors are set up in every major shopping area, and the big box stores carry them as well. We encourage you to skip the Home Depot tree and shop local. By doing so you support the people in your community and grow your local economy. For us, there’s no place we love more than Olmsted Tree Farms. They’ve been in business since 1968 and have six locations throughout Central, South and North Kitsap, including two U-cut farms.

BHS marching band photo at Winterfest credit Meegan M Reid/Kitsap Sun

BHS marching band photo at Winterfest credit Meegan M Reid/Kitsap Sun

2) Our second tip is to attend Winterfest in downtown Bremerton on Friday, December 5th from 5-8pm. Sweet Adeline carolers will be singing holiday tunes in the street, and the BHS marching band will make an appearance as Santa arrives by fire truck at the Naval Museum at 5:30pm. Kids and adults can catch a free, horse drawn carriage ride at Pacific & Burwell, and the tree lighting in Manette happens at 7pm. Shops and art galleries will be open late, offering hot cocoa and goodies so sweet.

Christmas in Kitsap

Santa’s at The Vintage Housewife in Poulsbo on Saturdays in December.

3) Celebrate Christmas in Kitsap by – surprise, surprise – snapping a photo with Santa. Our sister Courtnee Stevenson is the owner of a brilliant home décor shop on Front Street in Poulsbo, The Vintage Housewife, where Santa will be on Saturdays throughout the month of December from 11am – 3pm. Stop by for a twofer – get some holiday shopping done while the kids get a photo with Santa. To add to all of this holiday fun, carriage rides are also available.

the brothers greenhouses

Hobbit-inspired, tiny house at The Brothers Greenhouses

4) Our fourth idea is to head to The Brothers Greenhouses in Port Orchard. If you’ve never been, Christmas is a great time to do so. Not only do they grow all of their poinsettias available for sale on site, but they’ve recently built a woodland, hobbit-inspired, tiny house, just in time for the holiday season! Tour the hobbit house, take a group photo, and shop for the garden lover in your life at their gift shop.

Winter Holiday Village photo credit The Bloedel Reserve

Winter Holiday Village photo credit The Bloedel Reserve

5) It seems that tiny is a trend for Christmas in Kitsap, as our final tip is to head over to The Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island to check out their winter holiday village. This is the fifth year that their treasured Visitor’s Center will be transformed into a miniature village comprised of handcrafted, intricately designed buildings and electric trains, sure to capture the hearts of young and old alike. This holiday exhibit is included with admission and available for viewing from December 12th – January 4th from 10am – 4pm.

From all of us at Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC, we wish you a fantastic holiday season and a very Merry Christmas in Kitsap!

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.

Email Testimonial From a Landscaping Client

It’s emails like this one from a landscaping client on Bainbridge Island that make all the challenges of owning a small business worth it. This is why we do what we do.

Thank you for your business, Kay & Tracey!

bainbridge island landscapers

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Plants & Trees for Fall Color

If you’re in search of the right plants and trees for fall color in the Pacific Northwest, this blog post is for you. Thoughtful plant design results in a garden that offers year-round interest, and fall is the season when some plants finally have their time to shine.

Horticulture consultant Christina Pfeiffer noted at a recent plant seminar I attended at the UW Botanic Gardens that garden practices can affect the quality of fall color. Applying too much nitrogen and moisture through the end of the season can retard color production and delay the onset of dormancy. For good fall color, provide moisture and nutrients early in the growing season, then allow plants a period of mild stress with less water later late in the season. In other words, just like with humans, a little stress kicks certain processes into gear that can be beneficial.

Mamamelis x intermedia 'Diane' in fall

Diane witch hazel photo credit Pacific Horticulture magazine

Here are a few of my favorite plants and trees for fall color and interest:

Diane witch hazel (pictured above) – Known for its deep red flowers in winter, its crimson red fall foliage is a showstopper. It’s classified as a shrub, though it can be pruned to have the appearance of a small tree as it can grow to 20′ tall and 10′ wide. Plant it in your woodland garden or in transition zones where unmanaged land meets landscaped areas.

Beautyberry in fall

Beautyberry photo credit Westchester NY Gardens blog

Beautyberry – I fondly remember my first introduction to this low maintenance, adaptable shrub. The sight of its clusters of small, violet-purple berries captivated and surprised me, as I’m sure it does to every other plant lover who comes across it for the first time. Its ornamental berries attracts birds, perhaps more so once there’s nothing else for them to eat. Plant it alongside sage, lavender or coneflower for a backyard wildlife santuary.

plants trees for fall color

Arthur Menzies mahonia photo taken at Bainbridge Gardens

Arthur Menzies mahonia – This tough, evergreen native offers striking foliage and yellow buds that appear in fall in preparation for winter bloom. Who doesn’t love a winter bloomer? Sprays of yellow flowers develop into grape-like, greenish-blue fruit that turn black by summer. Birds love it. Hummingbirds love it, and rely on its nectar in winter when they most need it.

Oakleaf hydrangea in fall

Oakleaf hydrangea photo credit Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

Oakleaf hydrangea – Not only does this hydrangea give you creamy white blooms in the summer, but its leaves turn a brilliant red in fall, with specks of yellow, orange and burgundy. As you can tell from the photo above, this is a fantastic plant for fall color. ‘Alice’ reaches 12′ – 15′ tall and wide, making it a great companion to a small tree. Plant it in a cluster to really feel the impact that this deciduous shrub offers.

Oxydendrum in fall

Sourwood tree photo credit Oregon State

Sourwood – We planted this tree in a client’s front yard in September when its glossy leaves had already transformed from green to a goldish-red color. Should we have returned in a week or so, its leaves at that time would have been maroon. Sourwood is a slow grower, though it will reach 30′ in height in maturity. On our walk through the UW gardens, Christina pointed out a handful of Sourwood trees that had been planted over a hundred years ago. Those old-timers were over 50′ tall and quite majestic.

Meeshka Bernabe Brand

Even though it was a rainy, Northwest day, I very much enjoyed Christina Pfeiffer’s seminar.

By now, some of you reading this may be thinking to yourself, “Why hasn’t she mentioned any Japanese maples?” There’s a good and simple reason for this. Without a doubt, they are reliable trees for fall color. However, homeowners, gardeners and landscapers alike have planted a tremendous amount of Japanese maples in our region, which puts our shared landscape at risk should a disease or insect attack them. The lesson here is that plant diversity is beneficial, and all of us should have another go-to tree for fall color as an alternative to the Japanese maple.

What are your favorite plants and trees for fall color? Log into Facebook and let us know in the comment section below!

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.

Kitsap Harvest Dinner 2014

We had a fantastic time at the Kitsap Community and Agricultural Alliance’s Kitsap Harvest Dinner last Saturday at Olympic College, filling our bellies with fresh, locally sourced food and hanging with Elise and Sam of The Brothers Greenhouses. It was our very first time attending the dinner, and now that we know just how delicious the food is on offer, we’ll definitely be back!

A variety of dishes were available for sampling – guessing, I would say over 30 – served buffet style, cooked up by local chefs. The most incredible thing I tasted that night was the clam chowder created by Jeff McClelland of Harbour Public House. My mouth is watering as I type this. It was the best clam chowder I’ve ever had and puts Ivar’s to shame. As a side note, I am so grateful that Colby and I made the choice to no longer be vegetarians. Because what is clam chowder without bacon?

Kitsap Harvest Dinner

I also really loved the rabbit. I have to admit, eating rabbit that night was slightly challenging for me as I once had a bunny for a pet when I was a little girl. But it was so juicy and so tender that my guilt was squashed by my delighted taste buds. I wish I could give credit where credit is due, so if anyone reading this knows which chef was responsible for the rabbit, please log in to Facebook and leave a comment below!

Also very excellent was Monica Downen’s chantrelle mushroom ragout. I love discovering new foods and new flavors, and while I’ve tasted chantrelles before, this dish was a party in my mouth. Was it the chantrelles or how they were prepared that was the cause of all that excitement? Or perhaps it was the mix of all the other vegetables in the dish that created such culinary dynamism? Who knows. It was so good that I went back for seconds.

Kitsap Harvest Dinner

Of course, no meal is complete without dessert. As full as I was, I helped myself to two servings of Viking Feast Ice Cream. My first serving contained all three flavors in one cup; my second serving contained only the best: pumpkin lord. I’m not sure what exactly pumpkin lord is, but I trust that the label in the picture below is correct.

Kitsap Harvest Dinner

While I was enjoying my ice cream, simultaneously, I was in a bidding war with number 65 for the Silent Auction prize of ‘Lunch with Mayor Patty Lent.’ It was a very close call. If I hadn’t gotten up one final time to ensure that I was indeed the highest bidder, I would have lost. I am so happy that I my competitive nature was with me that night, because sometime soon, I will be lunching with Mayor Patty Lent!

Though it was a short event, it was a fun and memorable evening. We look forward to next year’s Kitsap Harvest Dinner feast.

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.

Low Impact Development

Here in Kitsap County, we’ll hear a lot about Low Impact Development over the coming years due to new regulations that will affect construction, including residential construction projects. If you’re planning to build a new home, you’ll want to know what these regulations are.

So what exactly is Low Impact Development (LID)? Kitsap County defines LID as “a stormwater management strategy that mimics natural drainage systems at or close to the point of generation in order to limit potential contact with pollutants and enhance stormwater quality.”

bioswale

Captured water goes back into the groundwater supply after being filtered.              Photo courtesy SvR Design Company.

It involves land planning and design approaches with these specific goals in mind:

  • Protect our local water quality
  • Preserve wetland and stream functions
  • Encourage aquifer recharge where appropriate
  • Provide cost-effective stormwater management solutions

Since Kitsap County receives 80 percent of its drinking water from its groundwater supply, it’s critical that our water table is protected and preserved.

Now that the economy has bounced back, we’re seeing a lot of development happening in Kitsap County. What typically occurs with new development is that native soils and vegetation, along with bird and wildlife habitats, are replaced by impervious asphalt and concrete surfaces. Just think of the wetland area that’s now home to the new Safeway in Poulsbo. Or the vegetation that was cleared for the new shopping center currently under construction in Silverdale at Greaves Way and Highway 3.

permeable paving

Permeable paving is an environmentally responsible alternative to concrete and asphalt surfaces.

Asphalt and concrete surfaces result in stormwater runoff which now must be managed through design practices that reduce, treat, and infiltrate runoff through bioretention swales. Permeable paving is another major category of LID and it’s pretty remarkable to see how effective it can be. You can see it for yourself at the YMCA in Silverdale. The entire parking lot there consists of permeable paving.

Statewide Washington LID Training Programs have begun this year, and Colby is currently enrolled in WSU’s LID Technical Workshop Series and will be certified by the end of 2014. The goal of these workshops is to give designers and builders the technical education necessary to properly design, construct and maintain LID facilities.

The workshop agendas focus on:

  • Bioretention
  • Permeable Paving
  • Green Roof, Low Impact Foundations & Rain Water Collection
  • Site Planning

We’re incredibly excited that Colby is growing his knowledge about Low Impact Development and that we as a company are keeping abreast with the latest changes in construction regulation happening here in Kitsap County.

Ultimately, these measures are in place to protect our water and natural habitats by developing new areas in an environmentally responsible manner. Water is an incredibly important resource to us, our fish and wildlife, and future generations, and now is the time to protect it.

To learn more about Low Impact Development, click here.

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.

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