What Is "Custom" Landscaping?

by Ben Bowen

Here at Ross NW Watergardens we describe ourselves as "custom residential landscape contractors" (and sometimes I throw "high end" in there too). I am guessing that the residential, landscape, and contractor parts of that description are pretty clear. But what does "custom" mean? Isn't every landscape custom? 

What Custom Landscaping Is

Custom landscape design and installation means a bunch of things to me. But I believe it involves a few key elements: 

   This pebble relief adorns a slate patio in SW Portland.

 This pebble relief adorns a slate patio in SW Portland.

  •  It is tailored to your life. This means that when we have a landscape consultation, one of the things we discuss is how you will use the area in question. It is not enough to just make it green, or even beautiful. Your landscape has to work. If you want a patio, we will ask: "A patio for what?" Our landscapes are not "one size fits all."
  • Custom landscapes have style.  I have a landscape style that I have developed over the years. But my style is the not the important thing. Your style is much more important. You may not even be sure what your style is, but we will find it with you and then bring it to life. It's similar to the difference between going to a restaurant and having a personal chef. We are like a personal chef for your yard (does that make sense?)
  • "Custom" is in the details.  A great landscape does not consist of "broad strokes", or major elements. The details that make up, or adorn, the major elements of your landscaping are what will define it. For example, not every slate patio is a great or custom patio. The stone chosen have to blend well with your style and your home. Proportions and shapes must be carefully considered. Joints must be consistent. Most landscapers cut the stone with a saw, creating an unnatural sharp edge. We take the time to hammer chip those edges, making it blend seamlessly with the uncut edges. There are details like this in every facet of your landscape plan. A custom landscape gets them right.

Why Choose Custom Landscaping? 

Simply put, it's better. A custom landscape will look better the day it is finished. You (and your neighbors) will be impressed with the results. Cars will slow as they drive by.

I have been taking pictures of this Ross NW Watergardens' landscape for several years. It looks better now than ever.

The true superiority, however, becomes clear over time. You will have a landscape that beckons you to use it. All the little details will make themselves known over time. You will sit down by the fire pit and realize, for the first time, that if the patio were smaller you would be burning your knees. And then you look around and see that if the patio were bigger then the planting beds would be too small, too small for the trees that make it feel like you are in the woods.

The quality materials will look even better with age. Plants will mature and "fit" where they are. Stone collects moss. Steel edging and brass lights get a weathered patina. As the seasons go by you will see how different parts of the garden get to shine. 

Does that sound like the landscape you desire? Please, contact us today. We will take a slow walk around your yard and see what we can do for you and your landscape.