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- Get Answers to your Landscaping Questions -

John Sullivan - Lead Designer, Olympic Landscape
Welcome and thanks for visiting.
I'd like to hear from you with any questions you have about landscape design, plant selection, or anything else related to landscaping. Please post your questions below.

John Sullivan - Lead Designer, Olympic Landscape

Ask John a question





Questions For John

    Alice from Sequim
    February 23, 2016

    Wish I had a large home for you to landscape but a senior living in small mobile home in Sequim. I've made my yard low maintenance by removing all vegetation front and side yard, smoothed out surface, added stabilization materials and rock. Left border next to mobile to add plants. Want a nautical theme in front yard with drift wood fence, perhaps fluffy white/yellow grass or something like that, old anchor, oar, life preserver, small pillars with seagulls and other nautical items plus rustic sturdy wood bench. Can't afford a lot - ideas for picking up nautical items or plants?? Thank you.

      John
      March 17, 2016

      Hi Alice Every now and then I get a question that stumps me. I like the idea of grasses mixed and matched for a 'dune look'. If you've got room, and sun, a Rugosa Rose would be good; also a NW native rose - Nootka Rose. Also, keep the rock in flat areas but if you could do a little mounding that would be good. As far as artifacts with a nautical theme - I'd suggest maybe trying second hand stores, antiques shop. Etc. Best of luck

    Tricia from Spanaway, WA
    February 23, 2016

    I have a small lawn that is mostly bark and rock. My problem is WEEDS! I have aggressive weeds that constantly pop up. I have pulled them, sprayed them and even tried a home remedy of vinegar and baking powder. Having tried every weed and vegetation killer in the market I am at a loss at what to do about these weeds. Any suggestions?

      John
      March 17, 2016

      Hi Tricia - Without knowing what species of weeds you have, it's difficult to make a diagnosis, but I suspect you have Horsetail grass (Equisetum). If that is the case, you will not ever be able to completely eradicate it. Do a Google search for equisetum. A professional weed spray company may be able to help you slow the growth and to some extent control it. A full-line retail garden center (not a big box store) might be able to identify it if you take in a sample and they might suggest some control ideas. If it is not horsetail, they should be able to identify your specific weed. Take them a sample of the weeds

    Christina from Auburn
    August 13, 2015

    Hi John. When would be the best time of the year to put in a new lawn? I want to add 6" of soil to my back yard and put new lawn in and while I am at it, install a sprinkler system. I was thinking spring time. Christina

      John
      August 14, 2015

      Fall and spring are both excellent times to install new lawns as they are both times of the year when rainfall helps keep the seeded areas uniformly moist. Because you will be installing a sprinkler system, the need for seasonal rainfall won't be a big factor.

      It’s best to do grading and topsoil work in drier conditions, so fall might be a better choice, before the existing ground gets saturated and the new soil isn’t too wet.

    Tiffany Cameron from Puyallup
    April 22, 2015

    I just bought a house in a new community with a very small yard. The backyard is basically nothing but a steep slope and the majority of space is being taken up by a deck. We didn't take up the builders offer to landscape the backyard because all they would have done would have been to lay mulch down everywhere. I am at a loss as to what to do since the whole area is a slope. Any ideas or is mulch the best way to go?

      John
      April 24, 2015

      Congratulations on your new house!

      Plantings on slopes should be designed keeping in mind maintenance; there are any number of low-maintenance plantings ideal for this situation. Plantings should be layered, lowest in front, shrubs low to taller in back, and it's nice add a few accent or shade trees. Without seeing the area, it’s hard to be more specific. Mulch should be applied after plantings to help retain moisture but should not be a permanent finish.

      If you want to access the area with a path, there are design solutions for that, too. Stone or timber steps and gravel paths could be fit into the scheme if the slope is not overly steep.

      You might take us up on our offer of a no-obligation site visit for a little mini-consultation.

      John Sullivan

    Bea Batey from Tacoma
    February 28, 2015

    I had sod put down in our backyard in late November 2014. After all the rain, it has become mud around the entire outside by all plantings and by the house...and has muddy patches everywhere (so much so that I have to take the dog out front to do her business). Will it eventually (this spring) return to life or will I need to have it redone?

      John
      March 2, 2015

      It sounds like it will need to be over-seeded. Rake the soil with a lawn rake to rough up the soil, apply fertilizer and lime, and re-seed. If the underlying soil is heavy clay-like or compacted, even if you installed a topsoil layer, you may have difficulty getting it to dry out. Shady location make the situation worse. Foot traffic or even dogs running on the area exacerbate the problem. Try over seeding the lawn - best time to do this is from about now until May 1.

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