It’s Time for Lime, Portland!


If you live in the NW, specifically in the Portland area chances are you have acidic soil. Acidic soil is a measurement of the PH of the soil. Ideal PH for lawns is between 6-7, with 7 being neutral. A PH level below 6.0 indicates acidic soil and causes important nutrients to become bound up in the soil making them unavailable to the grass. As a result your lawn will slowly die. You’ll notice a loss in color, reduced growth and the appearance of different mosses growing into the dead areas of grass. Moss loves an acidic soil and our moist, temperate conditions with consistent rains are the perfect home for invading mosses.

Applying lime helps to balance the PH level in the soil. First a soil sample should be taken to determine the PH. This will help you know how much lime to apply and how many times it will need to be applied. To do this soil samples, preferably 3-5 from different areas of the lawn, can be brought to a government or independent soil testing facility for the most complete results. An at home self-test kit or PH probe can also be used. These can be purchased at most garden centers or anywhere that sells gardening plants and supplies. Again it is preferred that several areas of the lawn be tested to help get a full profile of how the lawns soil is behaving.

Once it’s determined that the soil is acidic it’s time to apply the lime. Lime comes in a powdered form and pellet form. Both are useful in increasing the soils PH. The powdered form can be a bit messy to apply but will work just as effectively as pellet form. Once you’ve purchased the lime, simply fill your spreader and set it to apply the lime at the appropriate rate as indicated in the instruction manual for your spreader on the package of lime. Simply walk back and forth spreading the lime in horizontal rows until the entire area is covered. 

 Generally the rule of thumb is the 100 pounds of lime spread over 1,000 square feet will raise the soil PH level by 1 point. An application of more than that is not recommended. If your soils PH test indicates that it needs to be raised more than one point than several applications may be needed, preferably at least a month apart, with continual testing with a probe. Aeration of the lawn in recommended prior to applying the lime as this helps the lime contact the soil more thoroughly.

Both Fall and spring are good times to apply lime to your lawn, however, wait for a dry day to administer the lime. Moist grass encourages the lime to stick to the blades and not getting into the soil where it’s needed. After application water the lime in for further penetration into the soil. When putting in a new lawn an application of lime to the topsoil is a very good practice in our area, simple follow the instructions above and then repeat as needed every 3 to 5 years. And most importantly enjoy your lawn!

Keep those Cards and letters COMING…Portland!


Dear Pat,

Can't work outside, now, without giving every neighbor around here a tour. The key word is "gorgeous" from just about everybody. Today I conducted two tours while trying to manicure the side of the house.

Even my Post Office letter carrier left a note in the mail this morning:

"Your yard is GORGEOUS!! And from what I can see through the fence, I'm sure the back yard is, too!…Kristan"

I guess it's a good problem to have. 🙂


Hey Portland, Grow food NOT Lawns!


“Grow food not lawns” is the new mantra for the Portland area. The planter box is a great way to do just that! Whether you have just a couple boxes gracing your front lawn or an entire backyard plot like this client in North Portland, the planter box is all the rage this year in our area.

Keeping vegetables and flowers contained and relatively pest free the planter box is much more convenient and easy to use than traditional garden rows planted directly in the soil. Soil amendments and the soil itself can be tailored much more easily in a planter box.

For instance carrots and root vegetables require a looser sandy soil to produce a larger healthy root vegetable. Conversely tomatoes need a more acidic loamy soil with good drainage that has more organic matter present to turn out an award winning juicy tomato! Using separate boxes the soil types and amounts can be tailored to that specific vegetables optimal needs. 

Furthermore the specific watering needs can also be more readily tailored. As well as locations with more exposure to sun for longer periods or for shorter periods of time as the specific vegetable, fruit or flower requires are easier to customize. Virtually any area, whether it be a small apartment or an estate sizes yard can be custom fitted to your specific needs and desires with the addition of these boxes.

PLANTERBOXES2Contact Pat at Exstream Landscaping for a free consultation and get started on your way to feeding your family this summer!

Kind words are ALWAYS appreciated!

I've had 5 people stop by from the neighborhood today really excited about what they're seeing done here.
The pathway is stunning, and they remarked on how beautiful it looks. Jaw dropping.
Two households mentioned that they were interested in having work done…one on their entire backyard, the other on the front yard. I think they were serious (I used to work with one guy, and I know he's sincere…he lives on the corner property down the street from me…he hates his sloping front yard, too, and liked the idea of a natural retaining wall). Both couples like the natural look; the one was especially interested in raised beds for vegetables 
Miguel is really something; such a conscientious and hard worker.


It’s not too early to think about spring!

We change to daylight savings time on March 9th appreciably longer and will be getting longer still. This means warmer weather and yes, you guessed it, the growing season! Make this year your year of produce Portland! 


With some simple additions and changes to your current landscape you can be harvesting your own fruits, vegetables and berries. This not only lowers the cost to feed your family but also adds nutrition you wouldn’t normally get, In fresh from the vine, berries and fruits from your own trees! Simple to grow and beautiful in the garden this year’s crop is ready for planting NOW! 

We currently have plums, apples, pears, cherries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and grapes in loads of varieties available for planting. Fruiting plants also have the advantage of being extremely cost effective especially in terms of the food that they produce.

Exstream landscaping can help you plan your new edible landscape as well as installing it!  The month of March is the time to plant for harvest all summer and fall long. In addition to healthy readily available food stuffs fruit trees Can be a wonderful addition to your home’s garden in many other ways. Fruiting trees have a beautiful abundance of spring flowers to add to your yard as well as offering shade during the summer months and gorgeous fall colors this autumn! Also, the planting of fruiting trees adds to the bio-diversity of the Portland area’s canopy, giving our area a cleaner healthier environment!

Should I put fire in my Portland Landscape? ABSOLUTELY!!!

Fire in the landscape?  You BET!
From fireplaces to simple fire pits a fun and unique landscaping element is just gaining popularity in Portland.


This is a formal brick wood burning fireplace that can be purchased as kit!

Complete with instructions the photos below show the ease with which this beautiful formal fire place comes together.

Creating a beautiful and useful landscape element.


This natural stone fire place is made of split basalt and uses natural gas or propane to fuel its fire.

Surrounded by a paver patio this area allows for entertaining, cook outs and a fun gathering place to keep warm on Portland’s cooler nights while enjoying your outdoor living space!



These simple fire pits can be put together in a weekend and come in a variety of colors and textures.

Surround them with a paver patio, gravel, or even grass. Put in some benches and you have a fun evening at home roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories!



A great fence ALWAYS makes a good neighbor: Landscaping ideas for Portland

Fencing comes in all sorts of varieties. Here’s an example of just a few.


This is a solid privacy fence with a Catalina lattice top. This fence was put in solely to create privacy for the residence while using their paver patio. Made of cedar and finished with a clear sealer this fence is both beautiful and admirably servicing its purpose by creating the privacy the owners were looking for while entertaining.


Here’s a good example of a solid privacy fence mixed with a screening fencing made with 2X2 pieces of cedar. This fence is topped with a Japanese type of cap for an added flair. These clients had a desire for privacy in their side yard but wanted a more open screened feel for the back piece as their yard backed up to a protected naturalized area with a beautiful view. This fence will keep your pets in while keeping other animals out and allowing for both privacy and access to the beautiful view!


This is an example of a “Good Neighbor” fence. This fence is typically found between two homes that are close in proximity. This fence provides privacy to a lesser degree than the solid fence due to its alternating fence boards. However, it’s importance is in delineating property lines as well as keeping children and pets in and unwanted animals out. This fence is called good neighbor because the same face can be seen from either side, this makes the fence attractive and appealing to both neighbors.


This fence is a modified version of a split rail fence. These types of fences are used primarily to delineate property lines, create barriers between yard usage areas and as decorative pieces. Simple in design these fences can be made of numerous different materials and configured many different variations to suit the client’s needs and aesthetics.


Fencing isn’t limited to just fence boards, many different types of materials can be used. For example this beautiful screen put in for privacy is made of mahogany lattice stained two tone to compliment the home owners style. Corrugated metal, logs and wire are just some of the materials that can be used to add flair and interest to a fence while also serving a purpose. Fences serve many purposes from privacy to keeping pets in and unwanted animals out to utilitarian chain link to delineate property lines.

The only limit is your imagination!