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.

Solving Water Problems With Dry Creek Beds

Dry creek bed, drainage solution, solving water problems

Dry creek beds provide attractive, functional relief, especially if your landscape is plagued by standing water. In the wet PNW, drainage problems are a common headache. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Floostanding water in lawnded flower beds
  • Pooling water below a deck
  • Swampy places in the lawn
  • Puddles around a foundation

Leaving drainage issues unaddressed has serious consequences, from dead lawn and plants to costly repairs and decreased property value.


The Good News

Frontier Landscaping has years of experience designing and implementing features that effectively carry water away from problem areas. Dry creek beds are star performers, particularly in sloped terrain. They work twice as hard for a landscape by running water from Point A to B, and standing alone as an attractive feature in drier months of the year.

“Even property owners with no drainage issues may choose to install a dry creek bed due to the elements of natural beauty in the way they look.”

dry creek bed with ornamental plantings as an attractive drainage solutioon


Controlling Water Flow

Dry creek beds are an excellent choice for addressing places in the landscape that are hard-hit by heavy rains.  While a flat place in the yard may benefit more from a simple lawn drain, gradients and hillsides need the water capacity and speed that a dry creek bed can provide during extreme conditions. Effectively redirecting the flow of water saves you from ongoing erosion and long-term damage.


Water-Wise Gardening

When property owners are looking for a greener way to landscape, dry creek beds play an exciting role. Different-sized rocks, boulders, and choice plantings give eye-pleasing texture to outdoor spaces, but require much less water than an expanse of lawn. While bark dust alone can look flat, a dry creek bed introduces definition and contrast. It’s aesthetically pleasing and earth-friendly — a winning combination.


Dry Creek Beds for Natural Beauty

We regularly install dry creek beds to add natural beauty to a landscape. Expertly balancing a few key ingredients (a natural shape, native plantings, multiple sizes of stone) brings a natural, organic flow to an area. The results are breathtaking in any season, wet or dry.  


Additional Considerations

No two landscapes are exactly alike, and the solution that works for one may not work for another.  While dry creek beds are particularly suited to slopes and hillsides, they aren’t usually the best choice for flat ground.

Other elements, like French drains, catch basins, and lawn drains also have a part to play — and that’s just the beginning. Frontier’s installation team has years of experience solving drainage problems for local property owners.  


French drain pipe and garden path installation

French drain pipe (L), installed as a garden path (R). 


French drains are a functional solution for flat terrain and less water. They often have a part to play in designing an overall solution for moving water in a landscape. Read more about them here.


surface water catch basin diagram


Ranging in size from 6 to 24 inches, catch basins can be square or circular. These grated drains are typically placed alongside a driveway or in a low or sloped spot in the yard or hardscaping, like a patio. This is a straightforward fix for diverting water away from wet spots. A blend of rocks around it allows the catch basin to blend in with the landscape.

From basic to beautiful, there are many combinations of elements we can put to work that provide an effective long-term solution for drainage issues in your landscape.

Ready to learn how can we help you solve your standing water problems? Call (360) 574-8979 or email us for a consultation. We’ll work with you to protect your landscape with the right drainage solution to meet your needs.

Find more inspiration for dry creek beds and landscape design by visiting us on Houzz!


A Closer Look: Re-evaluate the yard

landscape patio Vancouver, WAFall’s a great time to assess your yard and think about making changes.

Before plants go dormant and while memory is still fresh, walk around and evaluate the yard as if for the first time. What areas failed to please in the looks department this year? Are there areas that remain parched and dry, no matter how diligent you are? Take notes and photos, if necessary.There may be a spot where a prized plant has its moment of glory – then leaves its surroundings bleak the rest of the season.
Where is it bare and in need of plants? Where is it too crowded? If you can’t stand to throw perfectly good plant material into the compost pile, there are undoubtably people around you who would greatly appreciate them!

Would you like to create more shady areas – or open things up for more sun? Could you use more outdoor seating or eating areas? Need lawn or a lawn alternative? Want a vegetable patch next year?
It can be helpful to get opinions from friends, too, as to which areas need help – and which are standouts just as they are!

57We at Frontier Landscaping are all about helping you design a landscape that serves your purposes and reflects who you are – just as you like your house to do. Maybe you realize you need help maintaining it or would like an overgrown tree taken out. Let us help you take care of landscape issues now so you can reap the rewards for years to come!

Apple Pie Recipe

There is nothing better than apple pie on a fall day. Apple season is not over yet! Use up those leftover apples from your trees with this delicious classic. Enjoy!

apple pie


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons cold water


  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (8 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine

In medium bowl, mix 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).

Gather pastry into a ball. Divide in half; shape into 2 flattened rounds on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry flakier. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.

Heat oven to 425°F. With floured rolling pin, roll one pastry round into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side.

In large bowl, mix sugar, 1/4 cup flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir in apples until well mixed. Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate. Cut butter into small pieces; sprinkle over filling. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.

Roll other round of pastry into 10-inch round. Fold into fourths and cut slits so steam can escape. Unfold top pastry over filling; trim overhanging edge 1 inch from rim of plate. Fold and roll top edge under lower edge, pressing on rim to seal; flute as desired. Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Serve warm if desired.

For a pretty glazed top crust, brush this—and any other double crust pie—with milk or cream and sprinkle with sugar before baking.

Recipe thanks to Betty Crocker

Inspect Your Trees to Avoid Winter Damage!

It’s not unusual to have a cold, stormy winter for the Pacific Northwest. For us here in the Vancouver-Portland metro area, that can mean lots of rain, wind storms and maybe even some snow!

It’s exciting to think about snow days and cozy rainy nights. However, we don’t want them interrupted by unexpected power outages and costly damage to your home as the result of falling trees and branches.

broken tree branch

Many trees in Vancouver were planted several decades ago and are beginning to show signs of their age. This includes dead branches, weak spots and rotting from the inside out. They may seem ok in the light of day but, with the right winter storm, they can come crashing down. In our urban setting, this often leads to power lines coming down and- even worse- a tree landing on someone’s home.

We can all do our part to avoid these costly and dangerous accidents by assessing large trees before storm season kicks in. Frontier Tree Service provides professional Tree Hazard Risk Assessment to make sure that your trees (and your neighbors’) do not pose a threat to the neighborhood.

We can come to your home or business to check for weak spots, areas of damage, as well as any dead material that should be removed. We determine the health and safety of a given tree, to help customers decide whether or not it is in danger of breaking, falling or dying.

tree risk assessment snow

Our tree experts can give you a detailed assessment of the health of your trees and recommend any services or treatment, accordingly. We offer tree pruning as well as complete tree removal, if necessary. We also can apply hardware (cables and braces) to prevent damage and preserve the tree.

If you have old trees or suspect that they may have dead or diseased sections, call Frontier Tree Service to assess the situation and help you avoid dangerous and costly accidents later on. 1-888-544-5006


Surround Yourself with Autumn Color!

Hello friends.  September is a transitional time for the garden. We are past the hottest days of the year so it’s a good time to think about fall planting. Whether you want to transform your landscape or just add a little color, fall is the perfect time to plant! The soil is warm, the air is cool and the rains are about to return.

Add a little spunk and pizzazz to your landscape this year with one of these fall beauties! Each one enhances the color and interest of your landscape. If you want these or any other new plants in your yard, give us a call. We can discuss placement and species and help you get the right plants for your landscape.

Contact Frontier Landscaping today to discuss some new plantings in your landscape!


Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba 'Fastigiata'

This is a gorgeous ornamental specimen with distinctive fan-shaped leaves. Ginkgo is a deciduous tree with a narrow, upright growth habit and attractive emerald green foliage that turns a brilliant golden yellow in the fall.

Oak Trees (Quercus species)

Quercus ellipsoidalis 'Shooting Star'  

Many oak trees look spectacular in the landscape in autumn. Their signature lobed leaves turn brilliant shades of purple and red, depending on the species. Oak trees are reliable stately specimens for shade and as a street tree.

Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

Sweet Gum

This tall, spreading tree has spectacular autumn color. It’s broad, palm-shaped leaves turn from green to incredible shades of bright yellow, orange, red and purple- practically a rainbow of autumn hues. This tree requires some regular maintenance and pruning to stay at its best but that color display is worth it.

Compact Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus “Compactus”)

Burning bush

This showy shrub is perfect for creating exciting hedges, border plantings and more. It grows in a dense, compact form with green, pointy leaves that turn a luminous rosy-red in the fall. The cherry-red leaves light up the fall landscape and are particularly stunning when several plants are paired together.

Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

Oakleaf Hydrangea

This delightful shrub stands out no matter what! The Oakleaf Hydrangea produces large clusters of panicle-shaped white flowers in the summer. In autumn, foliage turns a spectacular mix of reds, purples and auburns for a brilliant display.

Sumac (Rhus species)


This hardy shrub has a two-part showcase every autumn. Part one: summer flowers give way to interesting spikes of reddish-purple berries that persist into the winter. Part two: large fronds of compound leaves turn from classic green to brilliant shades of maroon and crimson. Both features bring the autumn landscape to life!

Purple Smokebush (Cotinus coggygria)

Purple Smokebush

Smoky ethereal beauty gives way to scarlet brilliance every fall in the form of the Purple Smokebush. Its billowy tufts of unusual leaves have a cloudy lavender-purple effect throughout the season, with a surprise red firework display of a finish in autumn.

Burgundy Hearts Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Greswan’)


This bold beautiful bush has incredible red-purple foliage that turns burgundy as it matures. Another transformation takes place each fall as the burgundy foliage takes on a golden yellow hue. This versatile and exciting shrub makes an excellent addition to just about any landscape.

Fall is a great time for planting all types of trees and shrubs! Contact Frontier Landscaping today to discuss some new plantings in your landscape!



Call us today for a free quote on all your landscaping needs!