Bear Creek Landscaping: Meeting All Your Needs

Bear Creek Landscaping offers a complete range of landscaping services to commercial and residential property owners in the greater Seattle and Bellevue areas. Led by the artistic sensitivities and old-school work ethic of general manager Mike Clifford, who’s been in the business for nearly four decades, our company boasts the wealth of knowledge and experience needed to create what we regard as the secret to the ideal modern landscape: a harmonious union between the natural and built-up components of our surroundings.

Having completed thousands of projects over the years, we’ve seen it all. We’ve created man-made lakes on multi-acre estates, designed landscapes for large ranches and tackled many projects with unique challenges, such as the renovation of an historically valuable property that required 50,000 hand-made bricks. We’ve been a regular exhibitor at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show and our designs have won awards and other accolades, including participation in the Street of Dreams luxury home showcase event. Our work has attracted clients from afar afield as California, Arizona and Mexico.

Despite such accomplishments, we still adhere to the philosophy that no job is too small. As a result, part of our business is straightforward maintenance, driven by a belief that attention to detail is as important to landscaping as great design. And we thrive on small projects, whether it’s revitalizing an overgrown backyard, staging a home for resale or installing single landscape elements such as decks and patios, retaining walls, fountains, driveways, irrigation systems or outdoor kitchens. It all comes down to one motivating factor: a desire to unlock a landscape’s potential.

Deep local roots

The foundations of Bear Creek Landscaping were laid back in the 1970s when a young Mike Clifford began earning money mowing lawns and raking leaves as a middle school student living in Seattle’s Green Lake district. A love of nature and the outdoors eventually led him to the study of horticulture and later the pursuit of a degree in architectural design. One of Mike’s early goals was to be able to apply to smaller-scale residential environments the same principles of landscape architecture normally reserved for larger commercial projects like golf courses and shopping malls.

Today a strong work ethic remains one of the fundamental tenets underlying our approach to business. The goal is to work hard and efficiently in order to reduce both a project’s cost and its impact on our client’s lives. Of course, to do this you need to know exactly what you’re doing. In that regard, our real strength is a deep knowledge and experience when it comes to designing and building most projects traditionally associated with external environments.

We know gardens

Naturally this starts with the garden. Nothing adds more beauty to a landscape than perfectly manicured trees, plants bursting with colorful flowers or a lush, weed-free lawn. Add in a variety of contrasting leaf textures and a pleasing palette of color that maintains its appeal across all four seasons and you have living art. This is particularly true in the Pacific Northwest, where the absence of climate extremes and lots of rain adds up to a wide range of creative freedom.

But capitalizing on this potential requires an extensive body of knowledge, which is where Bear Creek’s nearly four decades worth of experience, local knowledge and background in horticulture can be an invaluable resource for those who appreciate nature but just don’t have the time for a degree in plant ecology. This holds true for property owners starting from scratch, as well as those struggling over what to do with the overgrown jungle of trees and shrubs they inherited when they first purchased their home.

Our strengths lie in our deep understanding of how and why plants thrive. We know local soils. We understand the region’s microclimates. We know what plants require in terms of water, sunlight, drainage and nutrients. We know that putting the right plant in the right place is critical to every garden’s ultimate survival. This means we have the ability to come in, assess a property and know which plantings will likely thrive, and which ones are best to avoid.

This extensive plant knowledge is what allows us to explore creative boundaries with confidence. Drawing from a rich repertoire of form, texture and color, our designs tap into the region’s botanical potential to create gardens that provide year-round beauty and match the style of existing structures, but that also remain mindful of the practicalities of maintenance and the long-term sustainability of the vegetation.

Our Unique Plant Orphanage

A unique enhancement to the gardening side of our service is our own private plant nursery. Purchased in the mid-1990s, Bear Creek oversees a four-acre plot of land that is home to hundreds of different plantings in all stages of maturity. Besides being a great way to recycle valuable trees and shrubs that have been cast off for various reasons, the nursery allows us to provide clients with immediate and dramatic results. Often the addition of one or two mature plantings is all it takes to dramatically improve a tired landscape. Having our own stock gives us the opportunity to present clients with a wider range of such options at a more affordable cost.

We also believe that a beautiful garden design must feature an appreciation for the role played by time. In this case, it’s imagining what a work of art will look like not just when it’s immediately completely, but many years into the future. Our knowledge of plant selection is once again key in that regard. But equally important is maintenance. We know what do to keep a landscape continually looking its best. We also know how to design gardens in ways that require minimal attention from property owners short on time.

Beyond the garden

But creating beautiful green spaces is just one part of what Bear Creek has to offer. We’re also experienced and highly skilled in the design and installation of most external hardscapes. This includes driveways and paths, decks and patios, fences and other barriers. It includes water features such as fountains, ponds and waterfalls. We also design and build outdoor kitchens, sport courts, sheds and pools. If it’s an external landscape structure, chances are we’ve built it.

Partly because of this experience we know how to design built structures so they blend in with existing landscape elements. We’re familiar with the details that are necessary to ensure durability and functionality, not to mention building code standards. We’ve also accumulated an extensive knowledge of the sometimes-intimidating range of material options associated with many projects — from the variety of wood and composite materials available for decks, to the bricks, rock, stone and poured concrete options on hand for features like retaining walls and pathways. This extends to having developed good relationships with and knowledge of local suppliers, which helps us get the best materials at the best price.

Bringing it all together

In the end, what really sets us apart is how all these deep backgrounds can be brought together to yield added value that can’t be easily found elsewhere. The most obvious example is our understanding of how gardens and hardscapes can be combined to conjure up new levels of richness in environments on almost any scale. This involves knowledge of how fences, patios, decks, terraces and other built structures can be integrated with gardens to facilitate foot traffic, enhance privacy and create attractive spaces in which homeowners will want to spend their time.

The ability to develop plans that incorporate a consistent style throughout every component of the landscape is another byproduct of our extensive knowledge baser. This includes easily overlooked details such as what plants have the best leaf texture or branching patterns to complement the architecture of a home or other existing structure, or what types of hard materials offer the best fit with a given style. Certainly, the architecturally diverse neighborhoods of greater Seattle and Bellevue have been prime habitat for rounding out such experience. Contemporary, craftsman, art deco, cape cod, colonial, Asian, old-world Mediterranean, pueblo — you name it, we know it well.

When you are ready to start on your project, contact us by phone or email and we’ll be happy to make your vision come to reality.