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Privacy behind your plants instead of a fence!

Want privacy but dont want a fence? Consider a living screen. There is a whole host of plant materials that can be used to create a living fence.

Most fences need upkeep and dont last nearly as long as well-chosen plants. Also, typical fence materials are limited in height by municipal codes to heights of 6 feet (plus 2 feet of lattice on top) where plant materials aren't restricted at all.

Now theres just the decision of what type of look you want!

Decisions, decisions

When creating a screen, decide whether you want a formal hedge that requires trimming or an informal, un-clipped one. Informal screens require much less work.

Another decision youll have to make is to choose evergreen plants, which keep their leaves year-round, or deciduous plants, which drop their leaves in the winter when you may not need as much privacy.

There is a whole host of Plant materials used for just this purpose. Most of which are fairly low maintenance.

Arborvitae is probably the most popular plant used for hedging or screening. Evergreen is readily available, inexpensive and doesnt grow out of control. Its also easy to trim and doesnt require any special growing requirements or fertilizers.

Leyland Cypress is another popular choice. They are a little less tight and columnar but grows very quickly and very tall. Theyre also inexpensive and readily available, dont require any special care and are evergreen.

Annual trimming of formal hedges will keep them looking good. For the plant's health, taper the sides so they are narrower at the top than at the bottom so that sun reaches all parts of the hedge.

Broad Leaf evergreens

Broad leaf evergreens are another popular choice for screening. They make a nice dense screen and if properly chosen using plants that naturally stop growing at the height you want they can a low maintenance choice as well! Here are a few of the more popular choices for our area.

Laurel has a large number of different cultivars and species and is as widely used as the ever-popular Arborvitae mentioned above. Laurel is a tough plant that is quite hardy and does well in shady situations. It is inexpensive and can be found at almost every nursery or home improvement store. It is the fastest

growing of the Broad Leaf evergreens. So if youre looking for a quick solution to a screening problem, Laurel is definitely for you!

Glossy abelia grows 8 feet tall by 5 feet wide Escallonia is a large genus that has many species that carry pink, red or white flowers in summer and fall. White escallonia can grow to 6 to 15 feet tall and has smaller growing cultivars such as C. F. Ball.

Ceanothus, often called California Liliac, is another genus with many species and cultivars, it is fast-growing with white or blue flowers. Its very drought and pollution tolerant. It has been used with great success planted along highways and off ramps. It does best with little or no summer watering. Ceanothus Victoria has dark green leaves and reaches 12 feet.

Of course, most any plant could be made into a hedge or a screen to create privacy. Consider planting a mixed screen of some your favorite plants.

Rhododendrons, Camellias, Euyonomous and Pieris. Add in some coniferous

plants for texture like Hinoki Cypress, Syrocket Juniper or Western Hemlock. Use your imagination and have fun with it!
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Fire Pits & Fireplaces

The Pacific NW has really seen a boom in the sought-after fire pits and fire places trend in the last few years. Who doesnt like the ambiance of a warm crackling fire, in your own back yard!

At Exstream Landscaping we offer the casual atmosphere of a fire pit; reminiscent of camp fires, roasted marshmallows and glowing faces or the more formal look and feel of a fire place.

Fire pits create a more social atmosphere allowing for seating around a full 360 degrees. Paired with a seating wall and pergola this would create the maximum allowable social atmosphere. Fire pits also typically cost significantly less money as they dont have a need for additional structures like a chimney.

Fire places only face one way and arent portable so they offer a less social atmosphere but do offer a more cozy, intimate and romantic feel. When paired with an outdoor kitchen and housing a pizza oven, fireplaces can really add to both the look and functionality of your outdoor environment in a way that a fire pit cannot.

Here in the NW we have an abundance of natural raw materials from which to build. From indigenous slate and Flagstone to Basalt other local stones we can create a natural look for your outdoor oasis. If its a more formal look your heart desires you can choose from a plethora of man made materials. Belgard products as well as Western Interlock offer a whole host of beautiful products for you to choose from!

You can also choose wood burning or gas for your fire pit or fire place. Gas is easy, convenient and environmentally friendly. If available in your area. If you dont have gas availability then log or wood burning will be a significantly less expensive option.

Whatever you choose, Exstream Landscaping can help create the landscape of your dreams just give us a call at 503-654- 1953 and lets get starting on your outdoor environment TODAY!

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Pavers are the new driveway trend

Pavers have become popular for use in sidewalks, patios, walkway and pathways, but driveways are where they really shine! Made of concrete, pavers come in wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes, patterns and textures giving you choices to create a unique driveway to compliment your home and landscape.

Pavers are manufactured to high standards, creating a strong product that can actually make a stronger driveway than poured concrete or even asphalt. And unlike concrete or asphalt when repairs are needed its as simple as removing a paver and replacing it with a fresh new one. When concrete or Asphalt crack or split it can be a costly and lengthy repair. In fact, most paver driveway repairs can be made by you, the home owner, in just a few minutes! No extra cost to hire someone for repairs.

The pavers that are used for driveways are usually interlocking, which both speeds installation and strengthens the surface. Additionally, Paver driveways do not require a curing time like concrete and Asphalt do. The rainy weather here in the Northwest wont impede the installation of your new driveway nor will you have to wait to use it! Most pavers also offer more traction when wet than poured concrete, which is a big plus in our NW climate. Properly installed and maintained, a concrete paver driveway can be expected to last 25 to 50 years!

Finally, Concrete paver driveways require very little maintenance. An occasional sweeping or hose rinsing will keep them clean. If weeds find their way through the surface, just remove them as soon as they appear. If tree roots or settling damage a section of the driveway, it is easy to remove the affected pavers, fix the underlying problem, and put the driveway back together! Call Us for your FREE quote

at 503-654- 1953 and get the stylish new driveway of your dreams!

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