fbpx

Landscaping for Form and Function: Making the Most of Your Space with the Elements of Design

Ultimately your landscape should be an extension of your home, a place to relax and destress. With a little planning and intention, you can match the elements of design to your personal goals for your garden and landscape. Creating a landscape you can use, enjoy, and relax in are all important things to consider. An appropriately planned landscape design will match the elements of designs with natural and architectural features of your home, and enhance the beauty of your landscape, increasing your quality of life. These days home can become much more than where you relax and rest. Home is now where you work or where your kids go to school and it’s important to maintain your landscape in a way that it reduces your stress level. With landscape renovations, you can regain the ability to relax and recoup at your home while adding value to your property.

Before you hire a landscaping company it’s a good idea to take an inventory of your personal goals for your landscape. You will also want to address any trouble spots, structural, visual and environmental issues your property has like slope or drainage issues. The elements of design can serve as a tool for addressing and improving your landscape.

Line

Line can be applied in various ways to the landscape. The lines of sight from your home into your yard and visa-versa are important to consider when designing your landscape. Where your property sits in relation to the horizon line and the tree line are prominent areas that influence the overall feeling of your outdoor spaces. Lines are also important when you design the transitions between hardscapes and garden beds, like paths and walkway to greenspace and in the edging of turf areas.

Shape and Form

Shape and form are present in a variety of garden features. You need to realize that landscapes are dynamic outdoor spaces, and that plants will change shape and form as they mature. A garden will look very different the first year it is installed than after ten years in the ground. This is why maintenance and plant selection is so crucial to your landscape’s long term health, and your ability to enjoy it.
Shape and form are very critical when determining what hardscape features you want. A large deck can dwarf your garden areas. An expansive turf can make a small yard appear bigger. This is a crucial element to focus on to make the most of your existing space based on what areas you want to enhance what you want to minimize.

Direction

The direction of the sun’s path over your home is also an important consideration when assessing your landscape. Of course, you need to be aware of sun exposure for your plants, but there are other direction considerations. West and South sides of homes typically get the most sun and heat, as long as they are not obstructed by another structure or building. The North side is often a challenge in the Northwest, due to more shade and that can coincide with wet soggy soils in the winter. It is also important to know the weather patterns on your property in relation to your structure so you can plan seating areas, structures and plant trees out of wind patterns and sun exposure properly.

Direction in the landscape has to do with the way you and your family move through your space. If you are designing an outdoor eating or entertaining area it’s important to make your indoor kitchen accessible easy to transition between gathering when you need inside your home and taking it to your outdoor space. Recreation areas also need to be placed in a way to minimize disruptions between play and rest. For example, it’s best not to install a basketball hoop near a calming water feature. Or a dog run that will get muddy in the winter adjacent to a formal seating area. Again, every property is unique and skilled landscape designer will have experience to consider all the directional needs of your landscape.

Texture

Texture can play off in both your garden and hardscapes. The types of plants you choose can have a light or heavier texture depending on their color, leaf density and size. In the hardscape, using smooth concrete will give an elegant formal look, whereas rough natural stone feels more rustic and organic. Texture can give the illusion of movement and help to break up harsh lines by softening the transitions between plants and structures.

Color

This is where the preferences of the homeowner really come into play and an opportunity to be creative! Some people prefer more neutral colors when it comes to plants and more formal areas for outdoor seating, while others get excited by vibrant and contrasting colors. It really is a personal opinion. Landscapes that look well balanced have a consistent application of either similar or vibrant colors that maintain visual interest throughout the property. You should also consider how plants change throughout the seasons. To have a vibrant landscape you can add color by choosing plants that bloom at different times and during different seasons. As we go into fall, trees with fall color get the spotlight for visual interest, but you don’t neglect using plants that bloom in the spring and summer.

Value

Every garden has that one darker corner or large tree that shades the space. Value can be attributed to the way the light lays over the landscape depending on the time of day or your plant palette of lighter or darker plant foliage and flowers you prefer. You can lighten up areas and draw attention to them by installing up lights on trees or water features. The value of your plants will also change throughout the seasons. In Spring, gardens have a bright new look of fresh new foliage on trees and shrubs. Once you make it to Fall, trees morph into fall color, evergreen leaves are settled into a deeper green in contrast to the new growth you observe in Spring.

Space

Defining your space and the space between your property and neighbors is a frequent request. This goes hand in hand with creating privacy between neighbors. The right fencing or hedging can help you define your outdoor space to screen away close-by windows, and things like work spaces or recycling/garbage containers.

As long as your garden and landscape functions for your needs there really is no hard and fast rule when it comes to design elements in your landscape. A good landscape designer will work with you to create the design that makes your personal aesthetics with functional details to create a true oasis to complement your life and help your house feel like home.

Contact us today to begin your landscape renovation this Fall.

Ideas To Keep Busy – Part 1

Keeping Busy and #StayHome

As we’re being asked to #StayHome, parents and families are looking for fun ways to keep kids busy. We found a few fun ideas from Growing A Jeweled Rose to help keep kids busy in the garden. We’ve selected our favorites and listed them here. If you try any of these, please post your photos or if you have any other ideas, please share in the comments below. As adults, some of these look fun to us too, so don’t feel like you can’t participate if you don’t have kids at home.

installation

If your kids are a little older and/or are ready to help in the yard, here are a few ideas we found to help keep them busy helping you

Debris Clean- Up
One thing you can do is to clean up your yard. This means removing leaves, twigs, branches, dirt and other items that have accumulated over the fall and winter months.   There are some common issues in Clark County & Portland Metro, so if you’re seeing bare batches, there are a few issues you could be facing.

Make it fun – make it a race to gather debris and bring it to the compost pile. Use a stopwatch (or app) to time them.

Composting
Collected leaves, cuttings, spent foliage and other debris will decompose and create nutrient rich humus for amending your garden. Adding organic compost can be a great way to improve the condition of your soil. Composting also helps to improve water retention, airflow and can improve the strength and feel of the soil. The debris in your yard, such as leaves, plants, grass clippings and even kitchen scraps (not animals) can make great compost. You’ll need to turn it frequently to speed up the decomp process.

Make a game for your kids by having them take turns turning the compost. Time them and have them pass the turning tool around to all of them.

Fall is a great time for Landscape add-on’s and Renovations.

Have you been wanting to freshen up your space and give your backyard a new feel?  Perhaps you’ve thought of transforming your backyard into an entertainment space, perfect for hosting get-together’s and even Holiday events if the weather is right. Below, we selected six renovation ideas to spruce up your landscaping and get your backyard ready for anything.

1. Adding Hardscape

Looking to add texture to your backyard design? Adding hardscape will greatly increase your backyard’s appeal and usability.  Hardscape design can be simple, like a river rock path meandering through your greenery. Or you can choose to be bold and do the entire backyard in natural stone slabs., pavers or something entirely different. There are endless design options you can create by choosing natural stone, pavers, bricks, river rocks and more. Our Professionals at Frontier Landscape can help you design outdoor spaces that are truly your own.

Adding hardscape can also create a kid and pet friendly play space. 

2. Build a Retaining Wall

Do you have a sloped backyard? Building a retaining wall, or a tiered retaining wall, can create depth and add character.  Kick your design up a notch by adding flowers, plants, shrubs, or even a couple of trees.

3. Design a “Native” Landscape Area

In Washington, we have many different colorful trees and shrubs that add texture and form to your Landscape. You might try a Red Dogwood or Ninebark for year-round color. Planting a Native Garden keeps us in touch with the flora around us.

4. Create a Natural Outdoor Space

Do you find lush trees and cascading waterfalls relaxing?  You can use natural rock slabs to create a waterfall and river that re-circulates through your yard.  Plant trees that give a home to birds, and add bird feeders throughout your backyard.

While you’re at it, add a hammock for relaxing at the end of a long day for when the season rolls back around.

5. Add a Garden or Planter Boxes

Ready for some garden to table living? Starting your own edible garden with fruits and veggies can be very rewarding.  You can start big or small, depending on what your outdoor space will allow. Planter boxes are perfect for creating an area for fruits, vegetables, or herbs to grow without compromising on space. This can be rather seasonal depending on your location and winter temperatures. But… once you have the Garden or Planter Boxes, you can rotate “off-season” with color/flowers that work well when your edibles do not.

Our final thoughts on renovating your backyard:

Add some personal touches!  Maybe some outdoor sculpture with an artistic flare…Consider adding lighting (pathway lights, twinkle lights or tiki torches), a fire pit, or maybe even a bocce ball court.  Personal finishing touches will bring your backyard renovation together and make it the perfect place to relax and welcome friends and family. Have fun and make it your own!

Whatever your backyard renovation dreams or desires are, we want to be a part of them!  Contact US!  or visit our contact page to schedule an appointment with our Frontier Landscaping Professionals. Start making your backyard dreams a reality.

Contact US to schedule an appointment!

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.

7 Design Elements of a Healing Garden

sanctuary garden entrance with decorative gate

 

 

Did you know that interacting with nature provides healing benefits to your body and mind? It’s true. Research has shown that within minutes of moving outside, positive changes occur in the body, such as lower blood pressure, decreased heart rate, reduced stress, and improved mood.

 

A recent community project at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center has inspired us to revisit the specific elements that can bring a sense of rest and healing to a home landscape. Having a place to unwind, relax, and recharge is a gift, especially if you live a busy life on the go.

 

The Sanctuary Garden, by Christopher and Tricia McDowell, highlights seven design elements of a peaceful space. Whether it’s for just one corner in the yard or a whole property transformation, using these strategies makes it easy to refresh yourself with restful time outdoors.

 

Enhance Your Garden Entrance

 

Use a naturally-styled pathway, hedge, steps, or fence to make entering the sanctuary feel special. This boundary can be soft or firm, depending on the level of privacy desired.

 

natural hardscapes pathways English garden style

 

Use Soothing Waters

 

A water feature doesn’t have to be elaborate to evoke a relaxing feel. Even a simple rock bubbler provides pleasing sounds and visual appeal. For larger spaces, a pond or waterfall puts nature’s beauty just steps away from your door.

 

 

Color Creatively

 

Will you be spending time in your sanctuary in the early mornings or evenings? Use low-wattage or LED lighting to set off plants and decorative features to their best advantage when natural light is low. Create beautiful shadows and draw attention to subtle colors and textures of your flowers and plants with discreetly placed lights.

 

low voltage lighting LED lighting outdoor landscape

 

Provide a Resting Place

 

Whether it’s a single bench or a suite of comfortable garden furniture, pick a spot or two that invites visitors to sit down and stay a while. Consider adding an outdoor bookshelf or blanket box to make it easy to kick back and relax.

 

 

Mimic Mother Nature

 

There’s no better guide to design than Mother Nature for a sanctuary garden. Use natural materials in combination: rocks and boulders, ornamental grasses, wood, shrubs, and flowers. Have a favorite hiking spot or viewpoint? Bring a few elements home with you. You might pair trees and wildflowers, boulders and water, or rocks and ferns to create the feel you love.

 

natural water feature landscape installation

 

Add Pleasure With Garden Art

 

Accent the natural beauty of your space with an art piece that enhances the mood you’d like to set. Consider colorful ceramic pots, a wind-powered sculpture, or a playful statue to complement the style of your home and continue it in the sanctuary.

 

glazed ceramic pot water fountain planter

 

Invite Beautiful Visitors

 

Provide habitat and features to attract birds and butterflies. Using native plants often pays rewards here, as they are conditioned to thrive in the local environment and offer a suitable home to your neighborhood birds. Add a birdbath or feeder to encourage visits from your favorites.

 

element of a healng garden butterfly on plant

 

 

Not sure what to plant? Talk to our landscaping team. We have decades of local experience and will give you our best tips for plant materials that fit your level of interest and design aesthetic.

Following two, three, or all seven of the design principles above will bring you closer to having your own healing sanctuary. The Frontier Landscaping team would be happy to talk to you about the vision you have and how to effectively make it a reality.

“Getting away from it all” might be a lot closer than you think! Call (360) 574-8979 or send us an email to arrange a consultation 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.

 

 

spirea-japonica-golden_elf

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

CALL US!

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