10 Water-Saving Tips for a Dry Summer

We’ve had a pretty dry year here in the Portland-Vancouver area. Here at Frontier, we are taking steps to save water and we recommend that you do the same. Here are our Top 10 Tips for saving water this summer.

Saving Water

  1. Water when it’s cool

Save your watering chores for the evening or early morning. This reduces evaporation dramatically and helps plants stay more hydrated for longer. It also prevents any leaf burn that can happen when water droplets on foliage reflect sunlight.

  1. Only water at the roots

Keep your hose or sprinklers close to the ground. Plants drink water through their roots so there is no reason to ever water their foliage. By only adding water at the soil line, you will reduce waste via evaporation and increase water intake.

  1. Add mulch to planting beds

Mulch (in the form of bark chips, straw or yard clippings) will do wonders for saving water. Apply a thick layer of mulch to planting beds and around trees to keep them cool and lock in moisture. It slows evaporation and insulates against high temperatures. With the added bonus of keeping the weeds down!

  1. Keep your grass a little longer

The next time you cut your grass (or have it cut), consider raising the blade a bit. Keeping your grass a little longer will help preserve moisture and allow your water to go farther. Keep it long to keep it green!

Saving Water 2

  1. Water Deeply

Plants benefit the most from long, deep watering that are less frequent. We recommend watering most plants once or twice a week. New plants might need more but most established plants do well with that schedule. It even helps them by encouraging deeper root growth!

  1. Install Smart Irrigation

Irrigation has come a long way! Now you can go well beyond just a timer. Smart controllers have sensors that adjust for the weather and surrounding conditions to make sure plants only get water when they need it. Contact Frontier to talk about irrigation options.

  1. Consider drip irrigation

Drip irrigation consists of hoses (drip tape), with small holes at intervals, that lay right on the ground. The water drips out slowly onto the soil. This is a very efficient way to water plants because the water goes directly where it is needed.

  1. Water Twice a Week 

We recommend watering no more than twice a week for lawns and established plants. The key is to water deeply each time. Lawns, trees, shrubs and established plants all do well with biweekly watering. Note: Areas with clay, sand, sloping yards etc may change how you can water your lawn and plants.

  1. Keep it Clean without Water

Avoid using water to clean off driveways and sidewalks. Use a blower or broom to save water and keep your spaces clean and clear. If you need a helping hand, the Frontier Maintenance team is ready!

  1. Amend your soil

Healthy, nutritious soil will hold water in proper amounts. If you have too much sand or (more likely) too much clay, plants can struggle to form healthy roots that take up the right amount of water. By adding compost and other amendments to your soil, you can increase the efficiency of your plants’ water intake.

Need more help with your landscape? Contact us today.


10 Ways to Conserve Water in the Home and Yard

water efficient fixtures help to conserve water

Water conservation is an increasingly critical topic in today’s world, where freshwater resources are becoming scarcer due to factors like climate change and population growth. Saving money is an essential benefit of water conservation too. Fortunately, there are numerous ways individuals can contribute to water conservation efforts right in their own homes and yards. Here are some tips to conserve water and reduce your environmental footprint:

Fix Leaks Promptly: Leaky faucets, toilets, and pipes can waste significant water over time. Check for leaks often and repair them promptly to prevent water waste.Monitor your monthly water bill so you notice any spikes in water use when there shouldn’t be any.

Install Water-Efficient Fixtures: Replace old, inefficient toilets, showerheads, and faucets with water-efficient models. Look for products with the WaterSense label, which indicates they meet high-efficiency standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Take Shorter Showers: Cutting down on shower time can save gallons of water each day. Consider installing a low-flow showerhead to reduce water usage without sacrificing water pressure.

Conserving water in your landscape is essential for both environmental sustainability and cost-effectiveness. Here are some practical tips to help you conserve water in your yard:

Harvest Rainwater: You may think we already have enough rain here so why harvest rainwater? Our summers are dry and hot, making a supplemental water supply helpful. Rainwater harvesting systems, including rain barrels and cisterns, offer an eco-friendly solution.


drought resistant plants that conserve water


Choose Drought-Resistant Plants: Opt for native or drought-resistant plants adapted to your local climate. These plants require less water to thrive and can withstand dry conditions better than non-native species.

Group Plants with Similar Water Needs: Arrange your plants based on their water requirements. Grouping plants with similar watering needs together allows you to water more efficiently and avoid overwatering or underwatering specific areas.

Mulch Garden Beds: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or shredded bark, around plants and garden beds. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, suppress weed growth, and insulate plant roots from temperature fluctuations.

Water Wisely: Water your landscape during the early morning or late evening to minimize evaporation and reduce water loss due to wind. Use automatic drip irrigation systems or soaker hoses to deliver water directly to the root zone of plants, minimizing runoff and waste.


adjusting your sprinklers help conserve water


Adjust Sprinklers Properly: Ensure your sprinkler system is efficiently adjusted to water plants and lawn areas. Avoid watering sidewalks, driveways, and other non-vegetated areas, and adjust sprinkler heads to prevent overspray and runoff.

Sweep, Don’t Hose: Instead of using a hose to clean driveways, patios, and sidewalks, use a broom or rake to sweep away debris instead of turning on your hose. This simple switch can save gallons of water per minute.

Need help with water conservation in your landscape? Give us a call for a free estimate, and we can see where you could make changes to conserve water.

Why is Fall the best time to fix your yard?

Fall is an ideal time to fix your landscape with the cool weather. Now that the kids are back in school and have finally picked up their bicycles and soccer balls, you can finally see what your landscape needs without all of that clutter.

  1. Did that pretty Maple tree you got as a house-warming gift shrivel in our hot summer? Plant new trees or shrubs to fill the gap.
  2. Do you get squishy shoes when you go out to the mailbox all winter? Anticipate and resolve drainage problems now, while making the solution beautiful too!
  3. Want a new vegetable garden? Get a jump-start on installing or changing your irrigation, and be ready to plant as soon as it warms up next spring.

Whatever your project, fall is the perfect time to call us.

Summer Shrubs get Stressed

Tree planting services in Vancouver, WA.

This plant sails through our seasons!  Nandina domestica Gulfstream, courtesy Great Plant Picks, is Shaun’s favorite

Hot, dry weather and bright sunlight causes plants to sunburn and wilt. Plants shut down until the cool weather returns and there is enough water to encourage growth again.   Shaun Schmitt, Construction Manager at Frontier Landscaping, loves planting trees and shrubs in the fall, where the cool temperatures and free irrigation help plants settle into their landscape. “When plants are going into dormancy, there is less stress, and plants can put their effort into growing stronger roots instead of trying to flower.” His new favorite shrub, the trouble-free Gulfstream Nandina, has a compact shape, and requires little maintenance.   Its solid green color is enhanced by bronze new leaves in spring, and changes to copper and gold in the fall. Let our construction team give you a stress-free fall.

Winter Wet isn’t Here Yet

Dry creek bed, drainage solution, solving water problemsNow is the perfect time to solve those drainage problems, before soils become too water-logged to work on. We had an astonishing 45 inches of rainfall last winter, making it the second-wettest winter recorded. For a smart, long-lasting solution, think about installing a dry creek-bed. These stylish drainage solutions work hard, can be planted with locally-adapted plants, and can absorb even the largest volumes of water. Schmitt says, “French Drains can become plugged up with silt and bark-dust over time.” When the creek-bed is installed properly, it slows down the erosion-causing deluge and allows the water to percolate into the ground responsibly, instead of into storm drains or your neighbor’s garage. Then, all you need to do is add beautiful plants for a year-round show! Download this Oregon Rain Garden Guide for some great planting suggestions. Check out examples of our recent work, as seen on the Parade of Homes!

Get the Jump on Spring

sprinkler systems in VancouverWant the juiciest tomatoes next year? Convert that unused section of lawn to a drip-irrigation watered vegetable garden. Dreaming of the lushest lawn, or want to surprise your spouse with beautiful new maple tree? Add new lines to protect your investment. When you make these changes now in the off season, you’ll be ready to go in the spring. Leave the math to us, and we’ll work out the most efficient water-saving layout for your new garden. The best time to plant a tree is ten years ago, and the best time to install spring irrigation is today.   Call our Construction Department to schedule a visit now!


Simple Landscaping Reminders for Fall

Simple Landscaping Reminders for Fall

The crisp fall mornings remind us that the hard-working summer garden has earned its winter rest.  Sweeping the front walk and gathering leaves is a quiet exercise in mindfulness, and lets us gather our thoughts for the season ahead.  Even though we enjoy our mild weather late into November, we can get occasional freezes and should clear out the irrigation system to prevent cracked pipes.  As Halloween nears, ensuring you have a well-lit paths and driveways will make a cheerful and safe approach.  And don’t forget to do some minor pruning to remove any broken branches or those that crowd and cover paths. These simple landscaping reminders for fall will ensure you have a problem-free winter.

Winterizing irrigation is quick and easy

residential irrigation Vancouver WA

We’re lucky here in the Vancouver area to enjoy long stretches of cool, autumn weather, and we typically don’t get the long hard freezes that cause problems.  However, it’s always wise to unhook your hoses from the faucets, and add a little extra insulation to any pipes that are exposed.  Bring any tender plants in pots up to the porch for extra protection, and buy a bale of hay for extra insulation in the garden.

Plan on shutting down your irrigation system.  Even if you drain out your sprinklers, some water remains and can still freeze and crack your pipes, causing costly and unsightly repairs.  To minimize your risk, call a professional to blow out any remaining water using the right-sized equipment.  We schedule sprinkler winterization from October through early December, but now is a great time to get us on your calendar.

Throw some light on it

It’s also the perfect time to check on your outdoor lighting. Make sure paths are clear and well lit to greet you when you come home from work, and are safe when you have an armload of groceries. For convenience and to save energy, flood lights should be set to come on automatically when you arrive. Properly designed lighting colors and intensity give your home a cheerful welcome.  Using LED lighting for landscaping makes sense, saving energy, and lasting longer than traditional lights.  October is also a great time for stargazing, so a lighting expert can help you determine how to highlight only the areas you need to be safe without being overly bright.

Fall Maintenance Pruning

All the tips for Summer Tree Care still hold true – cut back shrubs after blooming, and prune fruit trees when they become dormant because it’s easier to see where to prune when the leaves drop.  Unfortunately, we’ve also had a prolonged period of drought, so you may have had some branch die-back on a variety of trees and shrubs on your property.  Now is a good time to have a Tree Hazard Risk assessment done before the winter storms come. We’ll look for damaged and overhanging branches, weak branch-joins, and insect or fungal diseases that impact the health of your trees.  Selective pruning can also open the canopy and make trees more resilient to winter storms. Get an expert to assess your landscape before it becomes a bigger problem.

Frontier Landscaping provides exceptional customer service.  Schedule an appointment with our seasoned and reliable crew today.

Four Strategies for “Set It and Forget It” Curb Appeal

curb appeal front yard makeover lawn loss dry creek bed native plantings Clark County WA


Investing in curb appeal is a triple win: it establishes beauty you can enjoy every day, creates an irresistible invitation to potential buyers, and adds tangible value to your home. Here are four of our best strategies for maximizing the impact of your home’s first impressions.

Get Green and Clean (and Stay There)

First things first: proper landscape maintenance works wonders. Green lawns, pruned shrubs, and weed-free flowerbeds surrounded by a fresh layer of bark dust are straightforward ways to create a manicured, attractive atmosphere.

curb appeal - manicured lawn, curved pathway, entrance

pathway mulch lighting native plantings curb appeal


If you’ve been complacent about keeping up the landscape, take another look at your reasons. It’s highly likely that the solution you need is simpler than you think.

Too short of time? Hire a maintenance crew to handle these regular tasks for you. Frontier’s maintenance agreements can be customized to offer support that’s tailored to the needs of your landscape.

Trying to save on water? Earth-friendly drip irrigation allows you to add water where it’s needed. Sprinkler systems with rain sensors keep the sprinklers quiet on the days Mother Nature takes care of watering the landscape.

Tired of overgrown or outdated plants? It’s hard to be motivated to maintain plants you don’t like. Upgrade to plantings that make sense for you and working with them becomes a treat instead of a burden. Consider fresh ornamentals to attract birds & butterflies, double-duty beds that are decorative and grow edibles, or native plantings that need little attention to look good.

manicured garden with flowers, pathway and bench frontier landscaping


Highlight with Hardscaping

Hardscaping refers to the non-living elements of your landscape design. Adding dramatic boulders, understated accent rockery, or a focal point like a dry creek bed brings contrast and texture – things that are fundamentally appealing to the eye.

curb appeal residential-installation-dry-creek-bed-accent-rockery-boulders-plantings-bark

Rocks and boulders will look sharp for the long haul and won’t die out, need pruning, or suffer from hot summers and cold winters. Dry creek beds do triple duty by reducing lawn care, providing excellent drainage, and looking gorgeous across all four seasons of the year.


Take Advantage of Native Plantings

Native plantings keep your property looking sharp without needing much tending at all. Because they are perfectly suited to the water, light, and soil conditions of the local environment, they can thrive on their own once established. Pick the right plants and you can even stop or reduce irrigation after the first two years–things will keep growing for you to enjoy, naturally.



Dwarf spirea ‘Golden elf’

One way to make upkeep even easier is to feature dwarf varieties of your favorite native plants. They’ll be beautiful but won’t cause headaches by sprawling out of control as they mature.

Light With Purpose

A few mindful changes in your front yard lighting go a long way to creating a ‘wow’ impact. Do you have an interesting front door, pathway, or stonework? Add fixtures that play up the uniqueness of your home and accentuate its curves and angles.

low voltage lighting LED lighting outdoor landscape

Mature trees become dramatic centerpieces with the addition of uplights to emphasize their structure and foliage.

Make the Call

Are you ready to update or reinvent your approach to curb appeal? We’d love to discuss your goals and can offer expert insights to help create a look you’ll love for years to come.

Call (360) 574-8979 or send us an email to arrange a consultation today.

Additional Resources


Miles Parade of Homes front yard lawn irrigation flowerbed installation curb appeal