Design · Installation · Maintenance
Servicing Portland Metro Area
Residential & Commercial
Eco Maintenance, Pruning, Weeding, Tree Care
Whether it’s a year-round maintenance or a one-time cleanup, our master gardeners and arborists use proper techniques to promote long-term plant and soil health. We use all electric tools and no pesticides / herbicides.
What is a Food Forest?
More Harvest · Less Work
On a conventional farm, whether it is in an apple orchard or a lettuce farm, you often see rows of evenly spaced plants of the same height. Yet in nature, plants grow all different sizes with many varieties of species. You often see short trees under tall trees, tall shrubs under short trees, short shrubs under tall shrubs, etc.
A food forest mimics a natural forest to create an ecosystem for effective food production. One arrangement of a food forest can be tall nut trees, dwarf fruit trees, berry shrubs, supportive herbs, vegetables, edible ground covers, mushrooms.
This compact layering of plants maximizes sunlight and nutrient utilization to create higher yield with less land. It also creates a habitat where the plants, insects, fungi, and bacteria interact and benefit from each other. Such a balanced system leaves no room for weeds, attracts beneficial organisms that minimize pests, increases water retention, and restores soil nutrients.
We offer many varieties of food systems, including perennial vegetable gardens, medicine gardens, herb gardens, fruit tree guilds, or a combination of the above.
What is a Native Ecoscape?
Restore Habitats · Less Maintenance
Native plants take the least amount of time and money to maintain, simply because they are already adapted to the climate and soil conditions of their region. They also don’t need fertilizers or pesticides.
Native plants attract butterflies, birds, pollinators, and beneficial insects by providing food and habitat for them. They help restore plant and animal habitats in your local ecosystems. Some native plants can also be used as food and medicines for humans.
We carefully select and install plants that thrive in the particular microclimate of your yard. We pair plants together that have beneficial relationship to each other. This creates a resilient ecosystem, an ecoscape, that requires less maintenance once established.
We offer many varieties of native ecoscapes, including butterfly gardens, bird gardens, meadowscapes, woodlands, rain gardens etc. You can also combine native ecoscapes with food forests to create your unique homestead.
Regenerative Ecological Practice
Our landscaping philosophy and practice
The term “regenerative” describes systems that replenish and reproduce their own sources of energy and materials. For example, in a forest, plants are eaten (repurposed) by animals. The “waste” from animals gets further repurposed by worms, fungi and bacteria into nutrient dense soil, which is then repurposed by plants again.
Hardly anything is “wasted” in this regenerative system. The energy and materials are instead moved and transformed from one part of the system to the next, and eventually spiral back to the originator.
This spiraling regeneration is in direct contrast to many conventional / industrial processes. Even ones labeled “green”, “sustainable”, “eco-friendly”, “organic” still operate in one direction – consume then dispose. At best, these processes produce zero negative impact – zero carbon – doing no harm.
However, zero negative impact is not enough. We need positive impact. We need to recapture carbon, reverse climate change, and restore our crippled planetary system. Regenerative Ecological Practice can do just that.
Regenerative Ecological Practice (REP) is the process of learning, designing, creating, and facilitating resilient systems using the patterns that already work well in nature – systems that replenish and reproduce renewable resources, systems that persist and evolve without much external intervention, systems that nurture all of their inhabitants, etc.
We know REP works, because many natural systems of our planet have persisted for tens of millions of years with the same principles. For example, the Amazon rainforest persisted for 50 million years.
Humans (especially indigenous people) have also been using REP for landscaping and farming for tens of thousands of years. Only in modern times, had it been replaced by degenerative practices that deplete soil nutrients, waste water, pollute the environment, destroy wildlife, and exacerbate climate change with constant application of petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides.
REP, on the other hand, regenerates soil and water, recaptures carbon, and revitalizes the planet again. Fortunately, REP is having a come back recently. You may have heard it as different terms – permaculture, agroecology, agroforestry, system thinking, holistic design, resilience design, etc. A big part of SymbiOp’s mission is to fully utilize REP in our landscaping services and spread its knowledge further. Click here to read more about why REP is better than sustainable or organic practice.
We use all electric power tools or hand tools in order to reduce our carbon footprint, air pollution, and noise pollution.
Our methods are natural and organic. We try to minimize invasive procedures and promote long-term health of the plants and soil. We don’t use pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides that might harm you, our community, or our planet.
Consultation, Design, Installation Process
Professional Standard Customized to Individual Needs
Most of our projects take place in 3 stages: Consultation, Design, Installation.
At the consultation, our lead designer will walk through your property with you, assess the conditions of the land, understand your needs/goals, and help you visualize what’s possible. We will then send you an estimate for the design. After that, we will be able to tell you how much the design will cost.
During the design, our team of designers will develop your vision further, layout the elements of your backyard ecosystem, and create a detailed installation plan. We will work with you to find the best materials and methods within your budget constraints. Depending on the project, your final design document can include architectural drawings/plans, plants attributes/benefits, ecosystem functions and how you can interact with them, and more. It will also include an exact cost estimate, if you choose to hire us to install the design. You can of course hire someone else, or do it yourself.
Our installation will be conducted by our team of experienced installers, lead by one of our installation leads. This team will finish your project in a professional, timely, tidy, and safe manner.
Throughout the installation, our lead designer will also come on-site to assure everything is done correctly. Whenever you have any concerns, you can talk to the installation lead or the designer directly, email us, or just call us during our business hours.
If you also decide to hire us for year-round maintenance, we will try to assign workers that already worked on your project, since they are already familiar with the design.
Recent Residential and Commercial Projects