• January 02, 2015
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Lifetime warranty Part (1)

Hi folks! Lets discuss our lifetime warranty. First off it is most unheard of for a landscape company to offer this type of service. It is my philosophy that if we are going to be in business for as long as I can foresee then we might as well partner with our clients, prove to them that we are good for your word, after all we are only as good as the folks that we surround our self with....Our incredible clients!

Here is how it works, when we install a complete landscape, or any part of a new installation , new lawn, sprinkler system, retaining wall, water feature, new plants. If you allow us to maintain your property on a landscape maintenance agreement we will warranty that installation for the life of the maintenance agreement.

When we are visiting your site weekly we can watch and observe and detail your ever growing and changing landscape, make repairs and corrections before the grass, plants and hardscapes are often as I have experienced too far gone to remedy without a new installation.

Why is this a benefit to you? Look at what we as consumers pay for stuff, new cars how long is the warranty? How about your house? For most of us (the house) is our single greatest investment and really there is no warranty because I don’t really have the expertise to maintain all of the systems in the house and I have never seen a builder offer this in our area.

If you are having a company maintain your landscape already it costs you nothing to have us do it on warranty, make repairs, suggestions on how we can improve and guarantee our service to you. I can even add an extended warranty onto an already existing landscape if you switch your service to Westside Landscape, your landscape will improve and not decline for the life of the landscape as long as we are maintaining your property.

We are the landscape experts, have the experience and are here to attest that we will install your landscape product properly and if you will trust us to maintain your yard we will be there for a long time ( I’d use the word forever but how long is forever? ) to trouble shoot, fix and back up the original installation for as long as it takes.

Another benefit (TIME) when we sign a new maintenance customer the main reason that they have us maintain their lawn is because they realize that they do not have the time to do it properly. Think about it, what is your time worth? especially in Oregon with 4 different seasons to deal with and the problems that can arise from not visiting your landscape weekly.

Remember the leaves you forgot to rake that killed the grass, the lawn you didn’t mow for a month cause you were out of town on business or just too tired to get to it, or the sprinkler heads that are all broken and spraying the wrong way making your lawn look more like the surface of the moon, full of dead spots and craters? OK...you get where I’m going.

Enough for now, in the next couple weeks I will write part 2 of this blog and discuss how much should it really cost to have a service like this.

Thanks, Tim...

  • January 02, 2015
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Lifetime warranty part 2 what is it worth?

I have come up with these 3 Landscape business categories of service based on my 27 years in the industry discussing the pros and cons of landscape maintenance, compare the three and see if your landscape maintenance company falls within any of these categories.

  • First category is the startup companies, and there are many new small one man bands each month that are out mowing and blowing, putting bread on the table, nothing wrong with that but most of these companies will not be here this time next year. They have the capabilities to handle 8 to 12 clients and that is about it due to the many different scenarios that limit these small start ups from staying in business. Of course they do not carry industry licensing, liability insurance and often do not have their vehicles insured. Expect to pay the minimum amount per month for these companies and receive similar service.
  • Second category are the companies that have managed to weather the tide of business in the first year or two. They start to learn the game of taxes, inflation, overhead, and insurance( although in my estimation only about 20% to 30% of these companies are up to date on their insurance and most are not licensed. Problem is these companies are usually running at a deficit most of the year for many reasons mostly due to lack of oversight (management). When these companies start to grow they find it very difficult to manage that growth including purchasing of new equipment, balancing payroll, invoicing and accounts receivables. What usually happens is that the owner is overwhelmed with the growth and size of the business and the quality of service ends up suffering as does the promise to deliver services on a specified day of the week (route) When this happens it is the first indication that the business is being stretched and will most likely suffer reputation damage that eventually leads to downsizing or collapse.
  • The third category are companies that have a solid reputation built over many years of servicing clients with their main advertising emphasis being by word of mouth. These companies are solid in the community, are up to date on all licensing, insurance, bonding and do not have a negative report from disgruntled customers that follows them around on the internet. In this day and age you can inquire about any company by searching the internet, also a good place to start is the Landscape contractors licensing board of Oregon www.oregon.gov/LCB/contact.us.shtml

I have taken the time to make these comparisons of the landscape industry prefacing my discussion about what a lifetime warranty could be worth to a client who contracts with Westside Landscape to install and maintain their landscape project.

Cost of landscape maintenance to the client ( that’s you) is relatively the same for each of the categories mentioned, obviously a quality company that offers warranties and carries the proper licensing and insurance will cost more than the smaller operator with less overhead and operational costs, but not always, I have often received feedback from unhappy folks and experienced how much they paid for a very poor uninsured service.

Example the cost of weekly service from the startup company could run approximately $80.00 to $100.00 per month for a year around weekly full service maintenance program for an average size lot in a sub division. The cost for the same service category from the category three company will run about 20% to 30% more, a bargain if you consider the fact that they will most likely show up on time, with some consistency, when they say so and you don’t have to worry about the liability of an injured employee because they will have liability insurance.

Westside Landscape is one of a few companies in this category, the price of our service may or may not be a little more but as many of our clients have learned is well worth it, now let’s talk about the lifetime warranty.

I was just at a clients observing a crew replacing some arborvitae that had died, we were replacing them under the original installation warranty, front and back yard, sprinklers, grass, plants, lights etcetera. The problem is they choose not to use our company to maintain their landscape using a second category company with no insurance or licensing there for not eligible for the lifetime warranty. I noticed that the new sod lawn that we installed was nice and green but had been invaded by the noxious weed/grass called poa-annua. Ok you ask, meaning what?

Point is the client paid about $3,000 for the new sod lawn portion of the installation and in the next 2 growing seasons the lawn will be completely infested with the noxious grass due to the fact that the mowing company does not clean their mowers between lawns, spreading the seeds of this noxious weed to other lawns on the service route with no eradication program and no way to remove the infestation, only option is to start over because this noxious grass cannot be sprayed out once it has completely infiltrated the lawn.

Under our lifetime warranty when this grass begins to show in your new sod lawn we cut it out and remove it by hand and re-seed the spot with the same grass seed that was sowed in the grass at the sod farm. This is just one example there are many others from proper plant care, sprinkler systems, fertilizer treatments, water features you name it.

For example- if the client paid $3,000 for the new lawn, had hired us with the lifetime warranty at a cost of $30.00 per month more than the category one contractor or about $360.00 more per year to maintain their landscape they would not have this grass infestation problem saving them about $2,000 should they decide to replace the lawn within the first 3 to 5 years.

I understand that our service is not for everyone, but I learned a long time ago that it would be futile to try and landscape the entire earth so I focus on servicing clients that appreciate our service forming a niche among clients that are willing to pay a little more and value the fact that we are going to do what we say to protect their landscape investment at their personal property.

  • January 02, 2015
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Your Project

Now that winter is coming to a close, spring will be just around the corner. I have been busy this month and have met with many of our current clients and future clients looking to upgrade or install new landscaping at their property.

The past couple years have been slow, the folks that I am talking to are ready to break out of their hunkered down situation and take on that long awaited landscape project.

The Your project site on our web site is a place to showcase some of our new projects, your projects.

Let’s talk about your project. It is very important to me that I take care of you as a client from start to finish. communication is so important when working with people and I do the following to make sure that our communication is always clear and precise.

  • Pricing through proposal- the cost of the project is outlined in detail by proposal. I recently bid a job and the owner handed me the competitors bid, there were some problems with their bid, many of the details were not outlined and the services were run together in the same sentencing and paragraphs, it was very difficult to tell what was being offered and at what price. When you receive a proposal from us you will have each installation service itemized with a price, this is the only way that you will know exactly what you are getting for your money.
  • Contract- the LCB of Oregon spells out exactly what needs to be in a landscape contract, again the more detailed the information the less likely there is for problems during the installation phase of the project. Search LCB Oregon, when at the site click on Avoiding Landscape Problems/Choosing a Landscape Contracting Business
  • Supervision- according to the LCB any employee or person installing landscape on a person’s property must be licensed by the State of Oregon, if not they must be directly supervised. I accomplish direct supervision by personally visiting all of my installation projects daily, we also have a production meeting daily and at 6:00 am you will find me at our property teaching and going over in detail our daily tasks for that project.
  • Guarantee- to me this is the single greatest asset that a quality company has to offer, their Warranty! If they are not able to stand behind it, why would I as a consumer want to do business with them. Westside Landscape offers the best warranty in the business, in fact we are the only company in our area that I know of that offers a lifetime warranty on many of our services.
  • Value- many people shy away from our company because they think that we are too expensive, I can tell you that this is just not true! I have repeatedly priced both commercial and Residential projects in both installation and maintenance and I can tell you that many of our clients are shocked at what they have been paying for some very shoddy work and many times from an unlicensed or uninsured contractor.

Thanks again to all of you folks out there that make Westside Landscape a success because without you were just another contractor.

Tim Barnes,
Westside Landscape
590 Greenwood Rd

Independence, OR 97351

  • January 02, 2015
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DIY - Proper soil balance using fertilizers and lime

This is a rather boring subject but oh so important when it comes to your lawn and plant health. As a landscaping, gardening and yard care provider I am constantly observing how our accounts are looking, we take random soil samples throughout the year to determine the status of your properties for our fertilizer program. As a landscape yard maintenance provider I also visit and drive many hours a week to inspect and observe our accounts, it’s important to me that we be consistent so I end up in just about every area of town from South Salem, to Keizer, West Salem to Dallas, Independence and Monmouth, weekly.

In this article I will discuss the balance of your soil in relation to how you fertilize your lawn. As a landscape maintenance company we are on a year around seasonal schedule with our applications, there are just certain treatments that should be done at certain times when the soil is just right, from temperature to saturation levels it is all a very complicated science that I’m sure some of you don’t have time to try to figure out, so let me try and simplify.

 

Soil PH

Soil PH is a range of numbers from 0 to 14 that is designed to judge the amount of acid vs. alkalinity that is in the soil. Optimum PH for clay soils in our region would be about 6.5, most lawns will be in the 5.5 for very heavy clay to 6.5 for the more sandy loam that in this area can be imported from the Willamette river bottom.

Lime

If you soil test you will get a print out and usually a recommendation for how much of the elements that are needed to bring your soil into balance, you can go to the OSU extension site and they will provide you with a list of laboratories to send your sample http://extension.oregonstste.edu/catalog

As a rule I will apply about 50 pounds of product per 1,000 sq ft per year on most lawns. I use Calpril, it is priled and more readily available to the plant, straight Lime or Dolomite is a powder product and difficult to spread uniformly, this is why the Calpril was developed however there is only about 35% of the actual Lime available within a 50# bag. Dolomite in the powder form could take years to work down through the soil thus the reason for the pelletized forms of Dolomite as mentioned, and unlike most nitrogen fertilizers the Dolomite moves much slower through the soil.

Products - trade name: Calpril (Calcium Carbonate) 100% organic, will begin to break down immediately. You can also find other products with Calcium in them, I went to Fred Meyers and Lows and they have a product called Sweetener or sweet, it is basically the same product as the commercial grade Calpril only in smaller #20 pound bags, so you end up paying a little more for the product, as with any retail store. Another good source is the agricultural stores, Ag west supply in Rickreal, Wilco farmers in Stayton, or Coastal farm in Albany will have a much better selection of fertilizer and carry the Calpril product in 50# bags.

Fertilizer

The main function of fertilizer is that it adds Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium along with other minor nutrients to the soil. the little chewy things called microbes break up and avail it to the small roots and nodes of plants, the plant then absorbs the nutrients in through the root system and thus feeding the plant. We use mainly granular fertilizers, I have tried using liquids and have had some results and will talk about that in a later article.

When fertilizing for grass I use a 50% slow release fertilizer for most of the season, you can also use the same fertilizer for plants, it’s all about the same, in fact most lawn fertilizer that is slow release will have more available Nitrogen for the plant at a lot less cost, you know how marketing is, so Rhododendron food is relatively the same as lawn food.

Always turn the bag over and read the label, take for example an off the shelf brand of fertilizer from Lowes, Fred Meyer or the local garden store, and it will tell you the following. The first % of N listed is the most readily available to the plant usually called ammoniacal nitrogen or water soluble nitrogen. Next is the slow release nitrogen called Sulfur coated Urea or just Urea nitrogen these are the slower release nitrogen’s, then followed by the water insoluble nitrogen that can be in any form also slow release. I have all of my fertilizers mixed at a local AG house, with the amounts of N P and K plus micro nutrients based on the different soil types that we have in our clients lawns.

Products- Scotts is a good brand, also Lilly Miller, to be honest you as a retail consumer don’t have a lot of choices, of course if you E-mail or call me I will sell you a 50# bag of fertilizer at my cost if you want to pick it up at our shop.

Confusing? Yes I know and I haven’t even touched on the micro nutrients or application rates, who says that gardening and lawn care is not a science?

Year around application schedule example

February – apply Lime product at about 50 pounds material per 1,000 sq ft. most yards about one or two bags

April or May - first application of fertilizer at 1 pound of actual N per 1,000 sq ft ( see next blog about application rates)

June or July - second fertilizer application.

September - third fertilizer application.

November - last and final fertilizer application for the season, the most important application of the year.

Tips

  • Remember the difference between the slow release and fast release for lawn fertilizer, learn to decipher the percentages.
  • Lawn fertilizer, as long as it does not have a herbicide in it, works excellent on plants also.
  • Turn over the bag and study the label don’t just buy the best name brand look at what is inside, this will save you money and you will get used to reading the percentages.
  • Schedule your lime treatment for about February of each year, or anytime if you forgot.
  • Don’t over fertilize, you really can’t put on to much Lime but you can hurt your lawn if you over fertilize, more on this in next blog.

Upcoming blog, Fertilizer application rates and procedures, and Organic fertilizers...

Tim Barnes,
Westside Landscape

590 Greenwood Rd
Independence, OR 97351
Phone: 503-585-9517
Mobile: 503-991-0285
FAX: 503-606-0439

  • January 02, 2015
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Landscape and Yard Maintenance troubleshooting, discussion ideas...

The following are discussion topics that you may be interested in, I have line item'd some discussion topics, please feel free to e-mail me with your questions about a specific problem or issue that you may need some help on, or give me feedback on your property and its condition. I offer this free to anyone, and value your feedback.

LAWNS

  • Grass - soil compaction.
  • Grass - fertilization, how too and where to buy products, how to calculate amounts, proper application equipment.
  • Grass - aerify VS thatching, should I do this, and what is the difference?
  • Grass - proper overseeding, what type of grass should I use?
  • Grass - Crane Fly, what is it and how to eliminate and manage.
  • Grass - different kinds of grass, specifically Poa- the grass with the white seeds, crab grass, velvet grass the fuzzy grass, bent grass the small, compacted matte grass that tends to develop and grow out in circles.
  • Grass - elimination of weeds in grass, types of sprays and how to spray, types of equipment.
  • Grass - mowing and edging, proper equipment, recommendations on where to buy.

PLANTS

  • Plants - proper drainage, how to create drainage and air space for saturated roots.
  • Plants - soil testing, what to look for, how to amend, what type soil do I have ?
  • Plants - native plants, what is the difference?
  • Plants - how to properly plant a new container plant.
  • Plants - what to expect after planting, how to feed the lant for optimum growth.
  • Plants - fertiizer, what kinds, blends, ecetera.
  • Plants - transplanting, how to dig the root ball, proper ools.
  • Plants - condition, why is my plant looking sickly, what can be done?
  • Plants - Trimming, what season? what to do after blooms? proper equipment.
  • Plants - were to buy, can I save money buying semi wholsale?

This is just the beginning of a long list that I could most likely write out for hours, please feel free to e-mail me with questions, I would love to try and help you with your specific landscape challenges..

Sincerely, Tim...

Tim Barnes,
Westside Landscape
590 Greenwood Rd
Independence, OR 97351

  • January 02, 2015
  • 0

Poor Soils Creating Problems

As I write this we are currently replacing 3 lawns within a half mile of each other, with a dozen or more waiting for lawn restoration. The reason is that these clients lawns and plants have deteriorated over the years due to the heavy, poor quality clay soils. This season the crane fly larva has also had a serious effect on the lawns due to the fact that most lawns become saturated and hold water. In a wet year like we are in the crane fly larva will hatch and lay the eggs in the next couple of months in the lawn, develop into larva and start eating the lawn next year in the early winter/spring because poor quality soils don’t drain and this is the optimum habitat for the Crane Fly Larva. Most likely if you have a builder installed lawn, or wet poor draining soil, you have larva in your lawn to a certain degree right now, look for the giant looking mosquito flying around and then dig out a piece of your lawn soil to see if there are any worms ( larva ) in the soil.

When we replace a lawn and install new shrub areas I will create a mix of soil by adding in specific amounts of sand, compost, topsoil, fertilizer, bonemeal and other goodies to ensure that your roots in plants and lawns will go deep and not rot due to poor draining, wet soil, this will also encourage the crane fly to move on to your Neighbors wet, poor draining lawn....Sorry Neighbor.

As a professional landscape maintenance provider it is my job to specifically diagnose the problem with your yard plants, trees and grass, and recommend how it can be remedied. When I look at specific situations it most always comes down to the roots.....remember the old saying that it is the Root of the problem, in the case of plants and grass it’s all about the soil that they are growing in, and how the roots react to that soil.

The next piece of the pie is Landscape Maintenance, after the initial installation it’s time to put the effort into the new landscape, this is best done of course by Westside Landscape ( see Lifetime Warranty ) but if you should choose to do this yourself you will need to do 2 things. First get educated, for starters you can read my web site, there is also a lot of other good information online, and when you find something I don’t know or am just plain wrong on, please by all means send it to me so I can learn also.

The second is to prepare to put in the effort. I see a lot of projects and most are a combination of lack of knowledge and lack of effort. As for the effort thing I can’t blame most folks for slipping here, I really don’t like working in the yard, I have an acre yard around my house and if I didn’t have a full time crew to maintain it I would most likely sell this place and not deal with it, the last thing I want to be doing is working in my yard on one of the few nice days or weekends that we get here in Oregon. So there you go, hire a professional, we will make it look fantastic, I guarantee it!!

Tim Barnes

  • January 02, 2015
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Sprinkler Systems Part 1

I have recently added a new section to the web site called Watering Schedule where you can go to get my opinion on how we adjust the controllers that we maintain. However in this blog I want to discuss and explain the different quality of sprinklers and what to look for when purchasing replacement parts.

When we install a sprinkler system I put a 5 year warranty on all of our projects and lifetime if we maintain them, problem with a lot of the folks systems is that they have purchased product from Home Depot or Lowe’s big box stores. Not that there is anything wrong with that but the equipment that they sell is not to the standard of a professional system and will not last nearly as long. Many of the landscapes built in the last 10 years were installed by either the builder or a less than professional landscape company that was paid very little by the builder to install the sprinkler system and although most unfortunate you the homeowner are having to deal with the problem.

Difference in quality - Most of the professional products that you see in the big box are Rain Bird. They are the largest producer of sprinkler components in the world. They also have different quality lines that they use in the big box, in other words they produce a watered down version of sprinkler components different than commercial quality products. Another not so well known company Hunter Industries produces a higher quality better researched product than Rain Bird and although I use both Rain Bird and Hunter I prefer the Hunter product to Rain Bird for a variety of reasons, smaller company, more dollars to R&D, better representation from the manufacturer are just a few good reasons why I use Hunter.

As a professional landscape contractor, I bid a lot of projects, some I land and some I don’t, and yes I get under bid by unqualified people all the time, but I have yet to find a competitor that will come right out and say they will give you a 5 year warranty, let alone a lifetime warranty on a new sprinkler system. Then again when it comes to business that is pretty much par for the course, trick someone into selling them that good (Cheap) deal, cut corners where they can like buy parts at the big box, bury all of the mistakes in the dirt, especially if they’re not looking. I mean come on who is going to dig up a sprinkler system and check it? Isn’t the landscape company supposed to know what they are doing?

I see a lot of competitors advertising this and that, best thing since sliced bread, our customers tell us we are great, we won an award for being Eco Friendly...Whatever that means as if a landscape company is not already at the top of the Eco food chain? Honestly, I have always said that you can tell them whatever you want but in the end of the day you still have to do the work, make the client happy and do what you said you were going to do.

Quick links

www.hunterindustries.com

www.rainbird.com

As always, Thanks...

Tim Barnes,
Westside Landscape
590 Greenwood Rd
Independence, OR 97351
Phone: 503-585-9517
Mobile: 503-991-0285

  • January 02, 2015
  • 0

DIY - Sprinkler Systems Part 2

Let’s talk about how to do some system adjustments and trouble shooting. As a professional landscape company one of the tasks that we cover is sprinkler system maintenance. This usually is included in all of our commercial accounts and some residential accounts (many residential properties choose to do this themselves) the following is a check list of tasks that should be completed each spring.

Spring start up

  • Turn on the back flow device and check for leaks, be careful when you put your hand in the box, watch out for spiders!
  • Open up the valve box and dig out the dirt that the gophers have filled it with, run the valve manually by opening the air bleed screw or by turning the solenoid counter clockwise, check the wire connections making sure they are secure.
  • Run the system either by the controller or manually at the field valve and use flags or some form of marking to indicate a problem with the head.
  • Use a shovel and if the head is cocked or has been run over by the mower a few too many times, dig it up completely and re-set it so that it is level and in the proper place.
  • Check for proper spray pattern from the nozzles on pop up heads Rain bird 1800 or Hunter Pro Spray, possibly Toro 570 and maybe even an old Irritrol sprinkler head, they are all about the same in form just not in quality.
  • Gear driven rotors like Rain Bird 3500 or 5000, Hunter PGP or PGJ (by the way the Hunter PGP is the best selling longest lasting sprinkler ever, I installed them over 25 years ago and they are still running in many commercial projects.
  • Check the rotation of the head by turning on and watching it, usually if a head is not turning it is a throw away.
  • On rotors check the spray pattern this can be adjusted at the nozzle using the key on Hunter or screw driver on Rain Bird to adjust the set screw to open up or close the spray length (not to be confused with direction)
  • Rotor direction of rotation on both the Hunter or Rain Bird or K-Rain or equivalent big box sprinkler is easily done with a screw driver or sprinkler tool.

Trouble shooting suggestions

  • Check the nozzles in rotors if they are older the nozzles can wear over time and open up putting out to much water thus affecting their coverage, replace as needed.
  • If the system has low pressure you most likely have a leak somewhere, if not visible after a few minutes water will work its way up and you can trace it from that direction. If you have low pressure and no leaks there could be a problem at the valve.
  • If a valve is stuck on, or water won’t turn off even with the controller off, you may have a rock stuck in the valve, or debris that is blocking the diaphragm from closing down. Turn off the water at the backflow device so that you can open up the valve, be careful don’t lose the screws.
  • If the controller is on and the water won’t turn on check the connections at the wire nuts on the valve, or the solenoid could be faulty, replace with new.
  • In older landscapes some plants will overgrow an area blocking the sprinkler, either trim the plant or move the head to ensure consistent coverage of the area.
  • Over the years landscapes will evolve, thus the sprinkler system will need some tweaking, do this by adding or moving heads that are not covering properly.
  • Upgrade to a new more modern, capable controller giving your more control over your system.
  • One of the best investments you can make is to add a rain sensor, this small device will shut down the system in the spring and fall with premature unexpected rains, saving money, elevating compaction in grass and root rot in plants.

Of course you could just skip reading all of this and forget it and call us, we will go thru your system and get you up and running in no time.

Tim Barnes,
Westside Landscape
590 Greenwood Rd
Independence, OR 97351
Phone: 503-585-9517
Mobile: 503-991-0285

  • January 02, 2015
  • 0

Lawn Borders and Edging

I have recently done a few proposals for the folks out there with the issue of lawn border and edging coming up lately for some reason. Some of the questions that the folks have is what product to use, where to install the border, how to install? All good questions, the following is my opinion on the subject.

As a landscape installation and maintenance professional, I find that the reason people want a lawn border out of some kind of synthetic material is that they think that it will be easier to maintain, some of the folks also just like the neat clean look that it can create and with the right product this can be achieved; however it will not cut down on the overall maintenance of the lawn.

In most cases I find that a lawn border if not properly installed is more of a nuisance and just another item in the landscape to maintain. The lawn still needs an edge put on it, a border will not stop the grass or plants that you are trying to maintain from overgrowing an area, and more often than not I see lawn borders that have been smashed by the mower, nicked by the edger, broken or worn in some way with just another item to fix in the lawn, so in my opinion it is not needed.

I also do not like synthetic stuff in the lawn, I like it natural and with some practice on the old weed eater, or blade edger (that by the way I would never use a power blade edger as they are way too dangerous!) you will master the art of edging without the need of a lawn border.

So save yourself some time, on installation and maintenance of the lawn border and just learn to properly use an edger or better yet hire us to maintain your lawn so that you can spend your precious weekends during the summer traveling, visit friends or relatives, or just doing nothing instead of trying to manicure that lawn.

Thanks again, you guys are the Best!!

Tim Barnes,
Westside Landscape
590 Greenwood Rd
Independence, OR 97351

Phone: 503-585-9517
Mobile: 503-991-0285
FAX: 503-606-0439
www.westsidelandscape.com

  • January 02, 2015
  • 0

Why should you trust Westside Landscape?

The word that comes to my mind when I think of a close friendship is trust, throughout history many a man has had a hard time with his character, you know the one that involves saying one thing and doing another. And yes I can admit that I have been guilty of this a time or two in my life, just ask my wife, or, ah, no, actually let’s not go there.

So why would you trust Westside Landscape as your professional landscape provider? I have heard many different comments over the years, here are some examples: We look like a bigger company so we must be expensive? I hired another larger company and received horrible service, they overcharged me and I did not get what I paid for. My last landscape provider never returned my calls, or the owner told me that it would be fixed and I haven’t heard from him since!

For starters we are definitely not expensive, if we were I would most likely not have so many word of mouth customers. I do know that some of my competitors will high bid when they are busy, in other words they will put out a lot of bids with real high prices because they can only do so many jobs within the growing season, or they know that eventually they will get one of their high bids and make a killing.

I have never bid this way, I always bid to cover my overhead and make a percentage based on a very consistent formula that I have developed. When you consider the types of warranties that we offer I can guarantee you that you will not find a better landscape installation team anywhere in the Salem area that works as hard and as well together as we do.

As for a larger company yes we are larger than a 2 or 3 man team and this is a huge benefit for you. Service is the number one problem that I hear in the industry, we do this very well, when you as a client have a challenge on a project that has been completed recently or in the past we will have a technician check out your problem usually the very next day, if not I will always give you a time and day that we will be by to look at and repair your project. Smaller companies with less resources do not have this luxury of service, it takes a lot of infrastructure and organization to take care of people and that is what we specialize in. In fact we spend time talking about every one of the clients that we serve at least once per week.

The other guys - Trust is huge with me personally and I have made many a mistake and learned a lot of lessons over the years with the main lesson being that if you burn a customer once they will tell a lot of people about it and you will lose their trust forever. If I go out of my way to go the extra mile and take care you, I know that you will be thankful and feel comfortable about letting your friends know that you would recommend us for another project. This is my goal, this is what makes me feel good about myself, because I like to sleep well at night and if you are happy I am sleeping well!

And yes there are companies out there that try all kinds of maneuvers to get you to sign the bottom line on a contract and yes they just love to take your money and either not finish the job or they try to cheap the job when you are not looking. I can’t even begin to tell you of the horror stories that I have heard, and the projects that I have had to come behind and repair you could count on many hands.

This is why I spend a lot of time writing details about who we are and what we do. I have nothing to hide, I feel that if I can put this information out in the public eye, on the web site you the folks will have as much ammo as possible to help you make a quality decision about spending your money with Westside Landscape.

Trust is not something that just happens and when it does it happens over a long period of time. Trust is the well earned reward of quality relationships leading to repeat business and long lasting, trusting friendships.

Thanks again to all of you who help give Westside Landscape our quality reputation, it is you our client that in the end are the judge and the jury, and without your support I could not be writing this blog.

Tim Barnes,
Westside Landscape
590 Greenwood Rd
Independence, OR 97351

Phone: 503-585-9517

Mobile: 503-991-0285
FAX: 503-606-0439

  • January 02, 2015
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Sprinkler System Winterization

Now that the rains are here you should have your sprinkler system controller in the off position, for those of you that have a moisture sensor it will have turned off your controller, however make sure that you manually turn the controller to the off position for the winter.

Backflow device - winterizing your backflow is important, blowing it out is not, the ground does not freeze in the Willamette Valley, east of the mountains yes but not here, if the ground were to freeze it would only be for a very short time and not any deeper than an inch or two. Your device should be at least 12 inches in the ground or deeper so this is not a concern to me and more of a myth than a rule.

Winterizing backflow and system - turn off controller, go to the backflow that is located near the meter on your property and open the box, if you have a separate gate valve that isolates the device turn off the gate valve. Turn off the two inline horizontal what I call butterfly valves to the vertical position, next take a small Shorty standard screwdriver and open up the 4 little ball valves within the device so that if there was a freeze the water would push out the holes and not freeze the device.

Lastly if you want to go the extra mile here, place an old towel or some insulation on top of the valve as an extra measure of precaution, this may be overkill but will not hurt, finish by placing the lid back and you are done for the winter.

If this procedure is not in your repertoire then just give us a call, get on our list and we will shut you down for the winter.

Warranty - if we are not maintaining your property but installed your sprinkler system you may want to get on our list. We will winterize and spring start up for a fee, check the system, fix broken heads so that you are ready for the season. For our maintenance clients if we installed your system we would most likely have you on a lifetime warranty and you will already be covered for this service

  • January 02, 2015
  • 0

Myth - lawns are bad for the environment

There has recently been a national negative push by some environmental groups to campaign for stricter rules regarding the use of fertilizers on lawns which has led to the actual outright ban of lawns in some municipalities.

I have researched the subject and find that it is overblown with most of the hypothesis incorrect. The following is my opinion of how lawns are beneficial to your property and the cities that are built around them. The area that is most affected right now in the United States is the Great Lakes Regions due to the already high Phosphorus content in their soils, and this is where most of the data is formed. Although there are some problem water bodies and soil areas, most of the country does not have a Phosphorus problem. So why is it all of a sudden bad to have a lawn?

When you buy a bag of fertilizer from the store do not read the manufacturers slogan on the front, that is meant as a marketing tool so that you will buy their product. Always turn the product over and by law there must be a label that states exactly what is in the bag. You will see 3 numbers that are enlarged at the top of the label or on the bag this is what is called the NPK. Nitrogen is the first one, Phosphorus is the second and Potassium the third number, for example a lawn fertilizer has the numbers 25-5-10.

Here in the Willamette Valley we have for the most part just the right Phosphorus content in the soil. As you move up to the hill areas where grapes are grown the phosphorus becomes less in the soil as are the soils on the Oregon Coast.

Myths

It has not been proven that phosphorus from a bag of fertilizer actually seeps down through the soil table and into water bodies.

It has been proven that the major contributor to phosphorus runoff is from decomposing leaves, sticks, lawn clippings and other plant based organic matter that is not collected and removed. These will break down and cause phosphorus runoff.

So why have government agencies rushed to blame our nice green lawns as the culprit that must be removed? I will let you figure out the answer to this one, it could have some kind of politically motivated agenda (just my opinion)

Positive Lawn facts

  • With all of our paved streets and driveways lawns will actually cool your property significantly compared to other ground covers, plants, bark, gravel, etcetera.
  • The amount of Oxygen that is produced is significantly more than the same area that is planted with plant material due to its density as a ground cover.
  • Lawns mostly eliminate erosion and runoff acting as the ultimate ground cover, in fact lawns are a type of water purifier as water moves down through the soil table.
  • Lawns increase air quality by acting as a filter especially along streets where cars are constantly moving the dirt, dust and air around.
  • Lawns help to reduce noise levels in driveways and along streets.
  • Lawns are soft and create an excellent outdoor living and play area.
  • Lawns are GREEN, isn’t that what everyone is talking about is green and how to be green, can you get any greener than a properly fertilized, weed free lawn? If so please let me know.

Possible negative lawn facts

Lawns use too much water. Does a lawn use too much water or could it be that the homeowner puts too much water on the lawn? With today’s professional water systems and our short water period of about 3 months per year?

Lawns use too much fertilizer. Again is it the lawns fault that the homeowner uses too much product?

Higher maintenance. Actually in my opinion a lawn is less maintenance. You have one plant with 3 requirements - water, feed and cut. Having a yard full of plant materials of many varieties all have different needs so if you have many plants you need much knowledge on how to maintain all of those plants as well as different tools to maintain. Also factor in mulching, trimming, staking, feeding, watering, cultivating and some talking to as some of my clients do.

Ok, you can see that I am a huge lawn advocate, and in fact I think that a lawn is the greenest most beautiful piece of the landscape. The current trends are another lame idea that certain folks out there are attempting to pick on because if sounds good or politically correct.

If you don’t agree with me please send me a mail so we can have a healthy debate, I surely have something to learn somewhere on this subject.

Tim.........