The Value of Local Landscape Expertise

by Ben Bowen

Landscape Advice Near You

If you want to know the weather forecast you have a couple options. You can go to the National Weather Service and get a general forecast for an area. Or, you can go to a local news source or Weather Underground and get targeted forecast from people with local expertise. If you really need to know what the day will bring which are you going to choose?

This kind of wall is common here in Portland, but unheard of in other parts of the country or world.

This kind of wall is common here in Portland, but unheard of in other parts of the country or world.

Yes, sometimes local experience is really valuable.

 believe landscaping and gardening is an area where you should seek out local advice. Why?

I spend time most days on industry forums, landscape trade websites, and diy advice forums. There is a ton of advice, information, and wisdom available. A lot of that good advice, however, is totally useless to me. Why? It doesn't apply to me as a landscaper in Portland, Oregon.

For example, I might be looking for some information on bark dust. In other parts of the country they use mulch, chips, pine straw, or even gravel. I need local help.

Considering the merits of stamped concrete? There are hundreds (or thousands) of articles and forum threads on the subject. The information is a good start. But how does it perform in your area, in your weather, poured over the type of soil you have? You may not be able to find the answers on

Looking to install sod? Here in the Pacific Northwest the most common type of lawn (by far) is perennial rye. However, RTF sod is a superior option that is quickly gaining momentum. But the chances of coming across it online is pretty slim right now. You need a local advisor.

Yes, in your community there are great landscapers, nurserymen, landscape designers, gardeners, and suppliers with large reservoirs of locally relevant information. Plant material, stone, installation methods all vary greatly from place to place. The best way to find out what works in your town? Talk to a local expert.

How To Get Local Landscaping Advice

Finding a great source of garden wisdom should not be too difficult. Many landscapers offer free consultations. Get out of the house and visit some local nurseries. I learn something new almost every time I visit one!

Prefer to stay at home? Check out the websites of some local landscapers and landscape designers. If they have a landscape blog (more do every day) it can be a great resource. Many, like us, will even answer questions you post on the blog.

Landscaping is an extremely regional craft. Basic methods and materials may be similar- but there can be huge differences as well. ake advantage of your local experts and you won't end up with the "pine straw" house in a "bark dust" neighborhood.