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.



Kristey Andrews

Kristey is the Sales & Marketing Director of the ProGrass HomeServices division. Along with an extensive background in business, she has been helping homeowners beautify and improve their homes for over 10 years.

Latest Posts

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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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Posted: Jul 17, 2014

When Kristine was 18 years old, she knew that she wanted to study one of the various facets of design. Kristine received her B.S. in Interior Design and a Minor in Art History from Oregon State University. After 4 years of working in the Interior Design field, she decided that Landscape Design would be a better fit. While going...

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Posted: Jul 15, 2014

I love summer perennials and summer perennials love sun. If you have a sunny location not too close to the roots of large trees, many perennial plants will give you a great color splash. While some shade loving perennials like Hosta and Astilbe provide color as well, most like sun, good soil and plenty of water.

Building a nice perennial bed takes time. Many of these plants do spread, but it will often take 3-4 years to really fill in. It is often...

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Posted: May 21, 2014

Lawns provide us with oxygen to breathe, so we need to help them breathe by aerating the soil.  All lawns become compacted over  time and this reduces root growth.  The process of aeration will open the soil to allow air and water to reach the plant roots.  This process needs to be done yearly because these openings will close or become filled with organic material within six months. 

The process of lawn aeration is to...

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Posted: Apr 7, 2014

Every spring the same thing happens.  We wake up from a long winter's nap and then just walk away.  Rule number one is “don’t forget to make your bed”.  It is a common horticultural fact that when you mix rain and sun with soil, you will get weeds and moss.  It happens every time. 

Making your bed should be done every year around this time.  If you do it properly, it will look great and you will impress your friends....

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Posted: Mar 19, 2014

I have to say this has been the worst winter for grass. I have been out looking at lawns all day and even the healthy ones look poor. The combination of this winter’s cold dry weather, then snow and ice have turned most lawns into what looks like an old head of lettuce that was left in the fridge too long.

Grasses that started out as brown, dead patches are now a slimy mess. While some of this will decompose, it should at least be raked a bit and seeded. In some severe cases,...

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Posted: Feb 14, 2014

Yes, I did find myself in line yesterday buying a dozen Valentine’s Day roses for my lovely wife.  And yes they were red, the traditional color.  Red is my favorite color of rose because it is one of the few reds that I can actually see, as I am a bit colorblind.  The intense red color of a rose is always a crowd pleaser. 

Many of my customers ask about growing roses in their back yard.  Often because they enjoy the look of a vase of long stems on days like today.  My common...

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Posted: May 16, 2013

With this weather who knows what to do with watering? Just a week ago it was 88 degrees and dry, now it is cool and raining. Yesterday I was telling people to just turn on the sprinklers and let them run but now I am not too sure. No one has the easy answer. This time of year I tend to keep my system off and run it only when I feel it is needed. I keep my water use pretty lean. Here are a few simple guidelines that I use this time of year.

  • If it rains enough to allow water to run...

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Posted: Apr 1, 2013

Yesterday the battle against the lawn dandelion and other weeds began again for this year. Every year around this time, the first yellow flowers open. They are quickly followed by the puffy seed head and then by other weeds like clover. Fighting weeds never stops. It must be part of the long list of things to do like dusting and changing motor oil. Its not fun but it must be done. I know many people will toss in the towel and just let things go. This is not a good idea. As weeds get larger and reproduce,...

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Posted: Feb 4, 2013

Yes, it's that time again. The season moss begins to grow and spread in western Oregon and Washington. Oh wait, that's pretty much every season !!!  Well actually between February and May moss growth is at its peak and can spread up to an inch a week.  Moss tends to grow on everything from lawns to glass.  I have seen old cars with moss growing on the windshield.  Any plant that can do that is pretty tough. 

Because moss is a green plant it does need some light.  Cool wet conditions along with a little...

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Posted: Jan 3, 2013

Ground cover plants like Sedum, Vinca, Ivy, St. Johnswort etc. all need some care.  Often ground covers are ignored and allowed to grow wild.  This will always result in puffy, brown ugly stem growth.  If you have beds with ground cover plant that are over 3 years old here is what you should do in January or February.

  • Shear them down by 50% or more to remove the old puffy growth.
  • Trim the edges to contain the area.
  • Rake the area hard to loosten and remove old leaves and...

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Posted: Aug 3, 2012

Well, we should be getting some hot weather any minute.  I can feel it.  So far this year we have had it pretty easy.  Watering demands have been pretty mild but watch out.  Heat is on it's way.  If you have been watering well, things should be fine.  If you have been watering on the light side, your landscape will be crispy next week.  One thing to keep in mind is that it only takes 3/4 of an inch of water to give your landscape a good soaking and prevent drought damage.  But, it will take 3-4 to bring it back if...

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Posted: Mar 6, 2012

I love spring snow. I was surprised this morning when I got up and saw the beds and rooftops all covered in white.  The snow of spring is never a problem for plants.  The cool temperature is buffered by the high humidity and soil moisture.  It never damages plants.

To me it is a reminder that it is still winter and also how lucky we are here in western part of the northwest.  While much of the northern states are still frozen we have budding trees, flowering bulbs, and growing lawns.  What a mix.  How...

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