Our Expert's Blog

Looking for yard and garden tips, landscape designs, home improvement how-to's, and other information on maintaining your home inside and out? Check out the ProGrass Home and Landscape Experts' Blogs. Our team of ProGrass home and landscape experts offer accurate, timely information and give you an opportunity to join in the discussion!

Steve Varga

Steve is the Chief Horticulturist for the landscape improvement division of ProGrass. He has been helping gardeners with all aspects of landscape care and development since 1984.


 

Latest Posts

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Posted: Jan 9, 2015

Plant Focus plant choice from ProGrass chief horticulturist, Steve Varga. Plants available at GardenWorld Nursery in Hubbard, Oregon. Visit www.gardenworldonline.com.

Hellebore plants are perennial and produce long-lasting bloom in November that remain for up to three months. The blooms come in many colors and rise up above the plant so they are very visible at a time when nothing else is blooming. Their leathery, evergreen foliage can grow up to 18 inches tall and spreads up to 24 inches. They grow slowly and look very natural in...

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Posted: Jan 8, 2015

Lighting has come a long way from the old incandescent bulb. LED (light emitting diode) is becoming the mainstream lighting system for the future. While they have been around for decades, they have just recently become affordable. The development of the LED is now allowing homes and businesses to keep the lights on much longer for a fraction of the cost in electricity.

Keep in mind that LED is a bulb, not a fixture. Some manufacturers make them “all in one” and some allow you to change the bulb. Almost all fixtures now have an LED equivalent replacement bulb...

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Posted: Jan 8, 2015

Want to save 5% - 15% on your heating bill this winter? Install a digital, programmable thermostat. By setting it 10° - 15° cooler while you’re sleeping, you can realize savings of up
to 1% per degree! Just make sure your setback period is for 8 hours or longer.

To see those savings continue during the summer months, simply reverse and keep your house 10° - 15° warmer while asleep or out of the home.
The programmable thermostat will bring your home back to your ideal temperature before you awaken or return home, eliminating any discomfort.
...


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Posted: Jan 8, 2015

Dark clouds, short days and leafless trees for 6 months. Winter landscapes in the Northwest can be nothing but brown stems. Landscape plantings in our area have changed over the last 30 years from conifer (evergreen) to deciduous. This change in plant choice has been a style rather than a need. Because of this, the green and more colorful winter landscapes have turned to brown. Not only that, but the increase in deciduous trees and shrubs has added a lot of mess to winter...

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Posted: Jan 5, 2015

Many trees and shrubs have lichen on their branches, which causes concern in the winter when they tend to be more visible. Lichen is often gray, red or yellow, stiff and papery. It tends to grow on older limbs on the inside of plants where it is more shaded. Lichen is made up of algae and fungi living together as one organism and often grows on rocks. While you may not appreciate its looks, it will not cause any problems for the plant host.

...

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Posted: Jan 2, 2015

Want to add instant curb appeal to your home’s exterior? Update your front door. With so many new styles and colors available on the market today, the possibilities are endless. Here are some relatively easy and inexpensive ways to give new life to your old door:

  • Replace your old hardware. Is your hardware rusty, outdated or doesn’t match the style of home you have? New hardware such as door handles, kick...

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Posted: Dec 8, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cyclamen is a great fall color plant that likes to grow in well drained, sheltered areas. They will slowly spread by seed and do best on slopes or banks that get plenty of light, but should be protected from direct sunlight in summer. Cyclamen bloom in the fall. A large number of blooms...

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Posted: Dec 8, 2014
 

As days shorten and nights become cooler, this is the time to ready your home for harsh weather. With a little preparation now, you can relax in your cozy home during the winter months. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your home is safe and secure from the elements.

Here are a few tips to get your home ready:

• Check For Peeling Paint

It’s important to check your home’s exterior for peeling or blistering paint. Both are signals that your existing paint is failing...

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Posted: Dec 8, 2014

The holiday season is upon us and everyone at ProGrass Home and Landscape Improvements would like to thank you for your business this year. Now that the season for cool wet weather, short days and interior greenery is upon us, many people ask me how to take care of holiday plants and trees. It is actually simple. Here are a few tips to keeping your tree green and the poinsettias colorful.

• All trees need water. When Christmas trees are cut off from the root, they still need to absorb water....

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Posted: Nov 4, 2014

Red thread is like it sounds, a lawn fungi that produces long filaments of red. These hyphae are the damaging part of the disease, that within the few dark morning hours, cause damage to grass blades. Often after morning dew dries up, the red is gone and just a 4 inch brown spot is left. This fungus is common in the fall and spring and often infects rye grass. It can’t be controlled with fungicides and will pass in time. While the damage looks bad, it is only short term and with proper fertilization, the grass will grow back. 

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Posted: Nov 4, 2014

It happens even to the best landscapes. Over the years, barkdust, roots and soil erosion will slowly cover sprinkler heads. Then all of a sudden some plants die from lack of water. This will happen and it can be difficult to find these heads once they are covered. If you have any dry areas or heads that look low like the head in the top photo, be sure to contact our sprinkler department to have them replaced and raised to look like the one in the bottom photo. Fall is a great time to identify these problems before winter erosion covers them completely, making them very difficult to find...

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Posted: Nov 1, 2014

Foundation vents provide airflow to prevent winter moisture from causing rot and mildew under your home. Because they are set very low, these vents often trap soil, mulch, leaves and water. Getting water and debris in these vents, will cause rot and water flow into your crawlspace. ProGrass offers concrete vent protector installation for foundation vents. We will dig out the soil, place drain rock and install a concrete protector that will keep out wind, water and barkdust.

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Posted: Oct 31, 2014

Debbie Brooks has always had a passion for gardening and design. She melded the two interests in 1986 when she began her career as a Landscape Designer and has since gone on to create outdoor living spaces in Seattle, Southern California, and the Portland area. Her focus in design is spacial planning; she is able to take the elements her clients want and position those elements into the landscape so they work in a functional manner.

Her designs consist of patios, covered...

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Posted: Oct 15, 2014

Sempervivum tectorum (Hens and chicks). Read more about why this is our plant choice this month. 

Posted: Oct 15, 2014

I've been preventing weeds for years, but this stuff grows like crazy! 

 

Posted: Oct 8, 2014

Are you considering a move?  Below are some tips from Becki Unger and Gina Hosford of Team Unger Real Estate. 

What is a good way to determine my home's value?

There are several ways to determine a home's value. You can pay for an appraisal of the home for about $500.00, or you can ask a real estate broker to provide you a CMA (Certified Market Analysis) based on sold, pending,...



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Posted: Sep 11, 2014

A popular refrain among homeowners is, “I love my home, but there's just not enough space. Let's move!” I myself am guilty of it. With a little creativity and planning, it is possible to create more storage and stay in the home you love. Check out a few ways to maximize your space:

Murphy Beds:

The Murphy bed, also known as a wall bed, fold down bed, or pull down bed, is a bed that's hinged at one end so it can be folded up and stored vertically against a wall or in a closet. Personally, I think this is a great...

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Posted: Sep 10, 2014

Imagine this scenario. You just had a long busy day. You need to relax. What are your choices?

1. Watch TV in a dark room

2. Sit in the house in a chair

3. Take a nap on the couch

4. Relax on a patio with your favorite beverage

5. Light a fire in the outdoor fireplace and enjoy the glow

6. Have friends gather in the outdoor bar seating area for snacks and good conversation

I know what I would pick. Make this the year to improve something! Change something! Now is the time for something fun! When it comes to...

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Posted: Sep 10, 2014

So you have decided to get a professional landscape plan drawn up by ProGrass. What type of plan do you need? You don’t know? Most people are not well versed in the terminology or use of a professional plan. There is a huge difference between a sketch on a piece of paper and a professional scale drawing. Would you buy a home that was designed on a sketch pad? Here is a primer on shopping for a proper plan. There are two main types:

Concept detail shows how the finished wall, fireplace, cooking area or sitting area will look. This is a critical plan for anything...

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Posted: Sep 10, 2014

Landscape drainage problems are common. Almost every property has a poorly drained area. Every spring our phone rings off the hook with questions on what can be done. A standard French drain, consisting of perforated pipe and gravel in a trench, is the first step. All too often this is the only step by many of our competitors or homeowners. Once full, the water in the pipe must go someplace. In the past, water could be disposed of in the roof drain pipe of a building or simply out to the street. Most cities no longer allow this.

A newer solution involves the use of a dry well...

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Posted: Sep 4, 2014

Quinn Randall heads up our Botanical Impressions division of ProGrass. With over 20 years of experience, she uses her passion, knowledge and design skills to create wonderful urban landscapes. With a BS in Environmental Planning and Management, she is well equipped to take care of your plantscaping needs. Quinn has a critical eye for detail and a genuine desire to exceed expectations. 

Below, Quinn answers some basic questions about Botanical Impressions.

What are...

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Posted: Aug 29, 2014

Considering a new deck? Have you looked at Trex? Mike Hladky, Trex Account Manager for Oregon and Hawaii, addresses some common questions regarding Trex composite decking.

What makes Trex such a great product?

Trex was built upon green principles and values. Using innovative materials and sustainable processes, Trex hasn't felled a single tree in all their years in business. Most of Trex's products are made almost completely from recycled materials, saving 400 million pounds of plastic and wood from landfills each year. Trex recycles its factory runoff...

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Posted: Aug 22, 2014

Are you considering refinancing your home to do a large-scale home improvement project? Here are some answers to some common questions from our friend Dan Jackson, of Mountain  Vista Mortgage.

Should I refinance a home improvement project?

Refinancing your current mortgage can be a viable option to fund your home improvement project. A good estimator to determine what monthly costs would be...

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Posted: Aug 7, 2014

Jeff Egli is general manager of the ProGrass HomeServices division. He brings 30 years of experience in home remodeling and renovation to our organization. Jeff began his career in 1984 when he went to work for his father's construction business. There he honed his craft, learning to produce a quality product from the ground up. In 1992...

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Posted: Jul 30, 2014

Vida Shore is the principal designer of Vida Shore Design. She is of Canadian and South American descent, and draws her design influence from her years of international travel. Through her extensive travels, Vida found herself inspired by the idea of marrying light, spatial relation, color, and practical comfort. Driven by this passion, she started her formal design career in Los Angeles working with renowned designer Windsor Smith. Her extensive experience led her to launch her own...

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