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Exteriorscapes’ Cameron Scott to serve on jury for Portland: Northwest Natural Street of Dreams

July 29, 2011

Friday, August 5th, Cameron Scott, Owner of Exteriorscapes, in Seattle, WA will be serving as a judge for Portland’s Northwest Natural Streeet of Dreams. This year’s street of dreams is putting the emphasis on Green Building. Check out the link to see the houses and if you want to talk to Cameron in person he will be at the summer block party the night of the 4th.

Exteriorscapes’ Water Features on Houzz!

July 15, 2011

Check out the online article “35 Fabulous Fountains” on Houzz’s website for two Exteriorscapes’ designed features and more.

Irrigation – Can Save Time and Money

July 8, 2011

By Patricia Lenssen, RLA, ARCSA AP
Exteriorscapes LLC

Automatic irrigation is a popular topic when the sun finally comes out and the garden needs water. At first, it seems like irrigation is a luxury, but it can actually help you to save water. Hose nozzles and portable lawn sprinklers are easy to purchase and require no installation, but you will never know exactly how much water you are using or if it’s being applied in the right places. Standing in the garden after work holding the hose can be a great stress reliever, but if you are ready to let an irrigation system do that work for you, and you want to know how much and where you’re watering, an automatic system may be right for you.

There are two main categories of systems available – spray systems or drip systems. Spray systems are laid out with rigid pipes 18”-24” below grade and have nozzles above ground or nozzles that pop up out of the ground and spray either streams of water or water mist. Drip systems are made up of small flexible tubes just under the surface of the soil. Water emitters are punched into the line and slowly drip/trickle out water either right above or below the ground, depending on whether you are using an in-line or micro emitter system.

The choice can be a tough one, but here are some pros and cons that might help you decide.

Spray Pros
• More rigid and longer lasting than drip systems.
• New micro-stream heads (such as the Hunter MP rotator) are around 30% more efficient than regular spray heads, cutting water use and run-off associated with older spray systems.
• Requires less day to day maintenance. Problems are easier to identify and fix.

Spray Cons
• Function best with an irrigation clock, which can be expensive, but can also do things like detect rainfall and reduce water output, run several zones from one control location and programmed for daily, weekly or monthly variations. It’s easy to shut off some zones when plants are mature and no longer need regular irrigation.
• More difficult to change the layout and zones if plant types or other garden features change.
• Water loss is greater due to distribution above ground (sun, wind).

Drip Pros
• Most efficient of all types of irrigation systems.
• Can be set with battery operated timers which are inexpensive and hook right to the hose bib.
• System is quiet to run.
• Easiest to install by homeowners – less digging required.

Drip Cons
• Tubing is flexible and tends to shift around and work up to the surface – so maintenance is required to re-set the lines. Take care when digging and weeding to not slice drip lines.
• Emitters can clog easily and need to be flushed periodically.
• It is difficult to see if the emitters are not working if they are underground.

Some maintenance is unavoidable with automatic irrigation. Any system must be winterized in the fall and started up again in the spring. Checking for leaks and overspray are essential to achieving water savings. A professional will be able to help you get started or can take care of all of the ongoing maintenance for you. Being aware of your garden watering is an essential part of being in touch with the landscape – whether you decide to water by hand, or automatically. As water becomes more and more scarce and regulations tighten up on how much water you can use on your landscape, we will all have to do our best to save water and be efficient.

And REMEMBER, watering your garden consistently in the first three years is essential to establishing a healthy garden but be patient…we like to remind our clients of the following rule for plant establishment: first year – sleep, second year – creep and third year LEAP!

Good luck and happy watering.