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Landscaping for People and Planet

Ecological Landscapes

  • Food Forest, Garden Bed
  • Native Ecoscape, Ecolawn
  • Butterfly Garden, Rain Garden
  • Regenerative, Permaculture

Beyond Green / Organic

  • Reverse Climate Change
  • Restore Habitats / Wildlife
  • Low Maintenance, Save Water
  • No Pesticide / Herbicide

10+ Years of Experience. Licensed (#9913), Insured, Bonded.

Certified Professional for the Backyard Habitat Program.


Design · Installation · Maintenance

Servicing Portland Metro Area
Residential & Commercial

Food Forests and Garden Beds

We use Regenerative Ecology to create edible ecosystems that are more resilient and productive than conventional methods. See our edible ecoscapes and raised beds.

Native Ecoscapes and Ecolawns

A backyard native ecosystem helps restore habitats and wildlife. It requires minimal maintenance. No need for fertilizers or pesticides. See our native ecoscapes and ecolawns.

Trellises, Arbors, and Hardscapes

We use repurposed or up-cycled materials for positive environmental impact and a back-to-nature look. See our relevant projects.

Conventional / Traditional / Commercial Landscapes

Our plant expertise can also make traditional landscapes more maintainable and beautiful.
See our traditional landscapes and commercial landscapes.

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 · Minimal Maintenance

Humming Bird and Red-flowering Currant
Humming Bird and Red-flowering Currant

See Our Native Ecoscapes

More team bios coming soon!

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 little to no 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 ultimate low maintenance 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.

Conventional vs Green vs Sustainable vs Restorative vs Regenerative
Bad Land Management vs Ecosystem Restoration

More team bios coming soon!

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.

More Healthy Practices

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.

We use Greenworks electric tools.

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 can often give you an exact quote for the design right there and then. If you decide to hire us, your consultation fee will be credited to your later invoice.

During the design, our team of designers will develop your vision further, engineer the details of your backyard ecosystem, and finalize the exact cost and timeline for the installation. 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.

More team bios coming soon!

The 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, or just call our office during our business hours.

If you also decide to hire us to do regular maintenance, we will assign workers that already worked on your project, so as to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.

Portfolio

Recent Residential and Commercial Projects

Pre-2020 Showcase #5: Edible Cul-de-sac Islands with an Herb Spiral

This project was for a newly-wed couple with a baby on the way. They were tired of the cookie cutter landscape that are often in new housing developments. Nestled in a quiet cul-de-sac, the landscape features a unique herb spiral bursting out the seams with perennial vegetables, berries, and beneficial plants and habitat for insects, …
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Pre-2020 Showcase #3: Three Food Forests for three Restaurants

When their garden could no longer keep up with the demand for three restaurants, the owners of reached out to see what could be done in making the grow show more productive, unique and requiring less overall labour. We took the approach of showcasing many incredible local farmers and letting them handle annual production, perennializing …
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Happy New Year! Miscellaneous Edible Landscapes, Rain Gardens, and Nativescapes in 2020

Here are a few pictures of small projects we have done this year. We usually like to showcase big projects on separates posts, but it made more sense to bundle up the smaller projects into a single post. 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, including the workers at SymbiOp. At the same time, we …
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*Ladybug on Common Yarrow Photo By Hélène Rival 

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