Our Landscaping Portland, OR Guide 

Portland is known as a gardener’s paradise – there’s a wide variety of plants that thrive in the Oregon region. Take a walk through virtually any of Portland’s neighborhoods today, and you’ll see how serious these home gardeners are about their landscape designs. 

Whether you’re already a seasoned Portland gardener, or you aspire to become one, our complete landscaping Portland, OR guide is the right place for you: 

We’ll show you how to design a landscape that will be awe-worthy, easy to maintain – and inviting to both people and local wildlife! 

What to Plant in Portland, OR: Best Plants for a Portland Landscape Design

The phrase “best plants” is a highly subjective one. It’s about finding the combo that works for you, compliments the rest of your existing garden, and requires as little maintenance as possible. 

On that note, native plants are always highly recommended and worth considering when creating the perfect Portland, OR landscape design. 

Here are some of our suggestions! 


Trillium is a fascinating woodland plant – and of our personal favorites, too. While it varies in height and the color of its flowers, which can be deep red or white, there’s one striking characteristic that makes this “trinity flower” universally recognizable: 

The symmetry of threes – three petals, three leaves, and three sepals – that gives it a remarkable appearance. 

The plant is relatively easy-going – once established, that is – but can be particular about the growing conditions. Generally speaking, they prefer partial to full shade and rich, moist, but well-drained soil. 

Cascade Penstemon

This variety is a semi-evergreen perennial ground cover with trumpet-shaped, deep blue to purple wildflowers that bloom from late spring to summer. The lovely-looking flowers are a welcome addition to any wildlife-supporting landscape, as they’re known to attract hummingbirds, too! 

The plant reaches up to three feet, and is very easy to grow, tolerating both full exposure to sun and partial shade. It’s more tolerant of moisture than other Penstemon varieties. At the same time, it’s also considered drought-tolerant – although it does better with regular watering.

Sword Fern 

Sword Fern, a dense, evergreen ground cover, has long become a staple in Portland landscaping for a multitude of reasons – and the plant’s sturdiness and tolerance to poor soil conditions are only a part of it. 

This fern is recognizable for its bright green, sword-shaped fronds and thrives in both full sun and dense shade, as long as it’s given a proper amount of moisture. Mature plants are highly drought-resistant, though, and require minimal care. 

Furthermore, it serves several purposes, preventing erosion when planted on hillsides – and acts either as an ornamental or an understory plant. 

Yellow Monkey Flower 

The so-called Monkey Flower is generally considered extremely variable. It takes many forms, but its disproportionately large, 20 to 40 millimeters long, tubular flowers are what give it a distinct appearance. 

The bright yellow flowers, which form from spring to summer, from March to August, feature bilateral symmetry, with the lower “lip” that usually has reddish-brown or purple spots. The leaves are round to oval, often coarsely and irregularly toothed or lobed. 

It’s an excellent choice for natural landscaping, rain gardens, and wet places in general. 

Chinese Dogwood

Cornus Kousa is a slow-growing, small- to medium-sized deciduous tree that grows up to 30 feet in height. It forms a beautiful, layered branching pattern, and a rounded form once it’s matured. The peeling bark gives an attractive mottled appearance to fully-grown trees, too. 

It’s an Asian cousin to the native Dogwood variety, but most landscaping experts prefer it due to the resistance to disease and pests. It’s a tree for all seasons that blooms with white to yellow flowers in the early summer, produces berries, and has reddish-purple to scarlet fall leaves. 

Let’s Talk Sustainability: Tips for Creating a Low-Maintenance Portland, OR Landscaping Design

When your neighbors look at your backyard, they see the attractiveness and beauty of the design. When you look at it, though, you see more than meets the eye: 

You know the water, electricity, time, and resources that the daily maintenance consumes, the lack of native plants and the “alien” ones that replaced them, and even the chemicals that go into it.

Let’s work together to change that, and ensure that you like what you see! 

The popularity of low-maintenance landscaping designs is on the rise; it’s one of the most popular requests Portland landscaping professionals get. 

And to show you that you can have an awe-worthy garden without wasting time and resources on maintaining it, we’ve compiled a list of tips for creating a low-maintenance Portland, OR landscaping design

Go With the Flow

Once you get to know your yard a bit better – the environment, the micro-climate, the sunny and shady areas, and the condition of the soil – you can have a detailed map of what goes where. 

That brings us to the motto of sustainable, low-maintenance landscaping: 

Tune in with the climate, and go with the flow.

One way to achieve this is xeriscaping

And despite what you may think, we’re not saying that you should go with “zero-scaping” and recreate the surface of Mars in your yard in an attempt to conserve water. Instead, group your plants with natural water conditions – and their particular requirements – in mind. 

Where there are big puddles, plant a rain garden, where the soil is bone-dry, plant drought-loving, native varieties. 

It’s as simple as that!

Ditch the Lawn  

If you want to become a real Portland OR gardener, you’re advised to go grass-free – and by that, we mean free of that water-thirsty kind seen in the conventional American lawn. If you think about it, ditching the lawn makes a lot of sense: 

The more “open” soil there is in your landscape, the more maintenance and weeding you’ll have to do. 

We’re not saying that you should go entirely artificial or pave over your entire yard. However, it would be best if you considered planting a wide variety of perennial flowers – preferably those that will attract bees, hummingbirds, and other wildlife visitors – and hardscaping elements such as patios and walkways. 

Mulch, Mulch, Mulch 

It might seem like a humble contribution in the grand scheme of landscaping designs, but in reality, mulch is crucial for the health of your garden. It’s the MVP of the landscaping design game; besides giving a unified look to your garden, it has a multitude of purposes and benefits

It provides a layer of nourishing insulation to your garden beds, acting as a protective blanket for the soil, regulating its temperature, improving moisture retention, and preventing weeds from popping up all over.

Mulch is the secret weapon for anyone who wants minimal garden maintenance! 

Final Word of Advice for Portland, OR Landscaping 

If you want to create a backyard that’s filled with lush greenery and plants that flourish year-round, opting for native plants and sustainable landscaping designs is the way to go. 

Be sure to contact our landscaping specialists today, and let them help plan your garden, assess the condition of the soil, and put together an action plan and landscape design that fits your exact wants and needs!