Our Backyard Refuge

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.

3 Durable Retaining Wall Materials

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.

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.