Archive for materials for raised beds

Mud Free Dogs-Dog Friendly Landscape Designer

Options for Dog Friendly Landscaping in Portland Oregon

In my years working with my clients designing dog friendly yards, I’ve come up with many strategies to prevent my client’s dogs from bringing the outside in.  In the summer it might be a stick which you can easily throw, and in the fall; it’s a few leaves. But here in Portland, Oregon, winter and spring means mud. And mud is not so easy to stop at the door.  So is it even possible to have a mud free dog in Portland, Oregon?  The solution starts with your  experienced dog friendly landscape designer.

Mud Free Newfoundland Dogs

Cedar chips are recommended by dog friendly landscape designer

Sweet puppy Luna napping in the cedar chips

The changes we made to the landscape for Jackie and Kurt in Tigard have saved hours of grooming and large dog bathing.  Their Newfoundlands are now clean and free of mud and can come in to the family room and hang out with their humans. This was a side benefit of their Landscape Design in a Day.

Their old house comes with huge magnificent old Douglas Fir trees and lots of shade. Where there was shade, there was mud. Prior to installing our landscape design, the dogs could not come into the house at all because they were extremely muddy. I was hired to design a new entry and garden for the front yard and to provide garden coaching for the backyard. No one was talking about having mud free dogs. They could not imagine it enough to ask for it.

It’s my job to solve landscape problems for the entire family. Kurt and Jackie used my special cedar chips to create a mud free woodland “floor” in their Douglas Fir Forest. It’s beautiful even now, ten years later, the dogs are clean and poop is easy to scoop even in the winter.

cedar chips for dog play yard in Portland, Oregon

Elana and her brother play in a cedar chip yard just for them and are mud free.

Play Yard for Rhodsesian Ridge Backs

Cedar chips also worked well for another client with two large dogs, Rhodesian ridge backs. We created an enclosed area with plenty of room to rough house, so they were very happy in their new play yard.  They didn’t track mud in the house (which made their guardian and my client happy) and other spaces around the property  now have a far more aesthetically pleasing garden design. Heads up: If you have 2 large dogs who love to wrestle and chase, the cedar chips will eventually hill up in  some areas and you will need to rake it out to keep a flat play space for the pups.

Raised Beds Create Running Paths for Poodles Back Yard

round wood edging defines cedar chip path in Portland, Oregon

The short wood edging provided enough to keep two standard poodles down the right path.

Yet another family had full sized standard poodles. Poodles are smart and they have a lot of energy.   Many times, dogs (and the landscape plants) benefit from having clear paths installed to circle around and around and around. It’s a lovely way to  play chase and get lots of exercise without the hard impact on their hips and backs that concrete or pavers do.  A simple 12 inch raised bed can often be enough to point the pups in the right direction and build their running patterns. Once the plants fill in,  most pups will stay on the paths and keep their feet mud free. In this scenario, you may need to protect your plants for the first growing season with a temporary barrier like a short wire fence or use plants that are either tough enough to handle tromping or can slightly repel the dogs because of smell.

Plant Tip:  Hardy Geranium leaves (Geranium macrorrhizzum) smells like cedar if bruised.  Dogs will play near by happily but don’t walk or lie in it because of the smell.    I would never use plants with an odor that would hurt or cause discomfort to a dogs sensitive nose.

Hardy geranium and sword fern are two of my favorite dog friendly landscape plants for Portland Oregon.

Sword fern and hardy geranium in a raised bed work well for a dog friendly planting.

Creating landscape designs for dogs and their guardians is a joy and one of the perks of my profession.  Read more ‘Protecting Your Yard from Your Pet and Your Pet from Your Yard’ on Houzz for an interview with your dog friendly landscape designer Carol Lindsay written by Gwendolyn Purdom. And make an appointment for your own dog friendly landscaping!


Long Lasting Wood for Raised Vegetable Boxes

Raised veggie bed from juniper wood

Juniper wood in the garden.  Photo by Sustainable Northwest Wood.

I have clients who only want to build their raised vegetable planters once.  Juniper wood is a great resource for gardeners who want their raised beds to last forever. Juniper wood can last 30 to 50 years in direct contact with moist soil!


Why Use Juniper?
Because Juniper is a hardwood, it is insect and rot resistant, and doesn’t require any special chemical treatments, its longevity is unmatched, outlasting redwood and cedar beds by decades. Though indigenous, Juniper has become an invasive species throughout Central Oregon, threatening grassland habitat and destroying the ecosystem.

Pre-built Options
Restoration Juniper Project (video from OPB) is a company that builds lasts forever planter boxes out of Juniper wood.  It’s a triple win because:

1.  Uses strong wood from the invasive juniper species and sales of Juniper wood helps restore threatened native habitat in Central Oregon.

2.  Profits support Growing Gardens, a local non-profit, that teaches children and families how to feed themselves by building gardens and providing support during the learning process.

3.  Wood can last 50 years so you only build once.

JuniPlanterGrowing Gardens recently unveiled a DIY planter box made from Juniper, JuniPlanter. In support of the Restoration Juniper Project, they’ve designed a kit that can be built in under an hour by DIY-ers. These boxes are not inexpensive, but they are made to last. The JuniPlanter has more than one model, but as an example, one of the boxes is $450.

This is a better investment for a person who knows they are going to be gardening for a long time, rather than someone just starting out.

Build Your Own
Sustainable Northwest Wood
Finding the Juniper wood and building your own would be another option.  I talked with Ryan of Sustainable Northwest Wood (SNW) in SE Portland, Oregon. Here are two options Ryan suggested for building an 18″ high 4′ x 8′ raised bed:

1.  Make your box 18” high using three 2” x 6” (would take 9 boards).  Each board at current prices would be $10.00 each so it would cost you $102.75 for the juniper wood for one planter at 4’ wide by 8’ long. They have a corner piece you buy for $12.75 that you can cut to create your corners so you only need one.

2. This option cost more when using 6” x 6” wood.  You will need 9 boards at $28.00 each. The cost for one juniper wood planter will be $252. You won’t need a corner piece because the 6 x 6 is strong enough for corners and the whole planter is heftier and better for sitting on.

Ryan’s Construction Tips:

  • Pre-drill all holes.
  • Use stainless steel lag bolts to use for fasteners.

Designing three Landscape Design in a Days per week, raised planter boxes go in every one of my designs.  Everyone wants them! Materials we prefer to use include:

  • Corrugated sheet metal with wood supports
  • Livestock water troughs
  • Stacked rock
  • Wood
  • Recycled concrete rubble

Schedule your Landscape Design in a Day consultation today with Carol.