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Beginner’s Guide to Landscaping in Portland


Do you own a home in the Portland area? Are you looking for a fun DIY project? Have you wanted to make your yard look nicer but don’t know where to start?

In today’s post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about landscaping in Portland. You’ll learn how to plan a successful project and what you’ll need to know before starting. We’ll also share some of the best resources for learning about landscaping in Portland.

Let’s Get Started!

Landscaping is Like Remodeling… For Your Yard

Like remodeling, landscaping can have a variety of purposes, from aesthetic (think painting your living room walls a new color) to functional (like replacing a leaky roof). However, the best landscaping and remodeling projects offer both aesthetic and functional benefits. Examples include:

  • Planting trees to prevent erosion
  • Starting a garden
  • Removing trees that might fall and damage your home
  • Adding a flower garden
  • Designing a rock pathway to keep you from stepping in muddy grass during the wet winter months

What Are Your Goals?


No matter what type of landscaping project you’re interested in, the key to success is defining your goals before you start. Don’t just wing it! When it comes to landscaping in Portland, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish before you begin planning. Otherwise, you’ll end up frustrated and spending too much money on a project you don’t love.

Our #1 Tip: Start Small

It’s fun to dream big about transforming your yard into an amazing paradise. But it’s just not realistic. When planning your first landscaping project, it’s best to start small. Think about smaller projects that can be part of your bigger overall goal for your yard. By starting smaller, simpler projects you can actually finish, you’ll be able to see (and enjoy) your progress and will be more motivated to keep working on more projects!

Research, Plan, & Budget

Before breaking ground on any Portland landscaping project, you need to research, plan, and create a budget. Otherwise it’s easy for a seemingly simple landscaping project to turn into a total nightmare!

There are some great online tools to help you with your planning, like:

  • Online Garden Planner – An online tool to help you plan your yard and garden layout.
  • Plant & Garden Calendar – Find out what to plant when for the best results.
  • Landscaping Checklist – Who doesn’t love This Old House? Their amazing checklist will make sure you’re ready to start landscaping in Portland (or anywhere!).

Portland Landscaping Project Ideas

Not sure where to start? Here are a few projects that anyone can do with a bit of planning and hard work!

Build a Garden With Raised Beds


Does your family love fresh veggies? No matter how big or small your yard is, you can build a set of raised beds and grow a variety of healthy vegetables. Plus you’ll get to enjoy them all year round! It’s an awesome first landscaping project. Here are a few links to help you get started:

Install a Rainwater Collection System

Here in Portland, we get nearly 40” of rain every year! If the water in your yard doesn’t drain properly, it can damage tree roots, your lawn, your plants, and even your home itself. A great DIY project is to install a rainwater harvesting system to store rainwater for later use. You can use harvested rainwater for irrigation, outdoor cleaning, and more. Here’s how to do it:

Replace Your Lawn With Natural Plants

When it comes to landscaping in Portland, natural, native plants tend to be easier to care for and better for your yard. Ferns, evergreens, fruit trees, and other native plants require less water and care (because they’re adapted to our climate) and are better for the environment. If you’re tired of babying your lawn, think about going all natural!

Local Landscaping Projects

Do you need some inspiration to help you get excited about landscaping in Portland? Here are some amazing projects we’ve found to inspire you!

Amazing Outdoor Fountain

Entry Fountain

Natural Rock Retaining Wall

Boulder Retaining Wall - Sellwood

Japanese Zen Garden

Asian Garden / Japanese Garden

The Best Resources For Landscaping in Portland

Are you’re planning to start landscaping in Portland, there are plenty of awesome local resources for supplies, including:

  • Portland Nursery – A great overall landscaping resource guide.
  • City of Portland – Everything you need to know about landscaping in Portland, including laws, tips, and much more!
  • Portland Tool Library – Don’t buy tools you don’t need! Borrow them from this amazing non-profit.

Are You Ready to Start Landscaping in Portland

Before you start on any landscaping project, consider the impact it might have on the trees in your yard. If you have questions, contact us today! Our certified arborists will come out and offer you their advice– free of charge.

Photo Credits: Jennifer C., Rachel Kramer, Lori L. Stalteri, Juhan Sonin

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