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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Front yard makeovers offer high potential for impact. A great design boosts curb appeal, property value, and can be enjoyed every single day.
In the Pacific Northwest, it’s no surprise that a long winter spent poring over design ideas on Pinterest, Houzz, and HGTV, has many homeowners deciding to pull the trigger on landscaping projects during the warming days of spring. It’s one of our favorite seasons of the year.
However, after nearly three decades in the landscaping business, we’ve observed two types of projects that will inevitably keep us running at full speed while the sun is out: designing and implementing yard makeovers, and doing repair work and damage control on makeovers gone wrong.
While we’re glad to help solve headaches, we’re even more pleased when we can prevent them from happening in the first place. With that in mind, here are the three top mistakes we see time and time again. A little time spent in education and planning now will ensure your project is on the right track for success.
Front Yard Makeover Mistake #1 – Overplanting
One of the realities of putting in new plants is that you must leave room for each piece to grow to maturity. This can be tricky because young plantings are small and may not seem like they are making the statement you hoped for when they first go in the ground. It’s tempting to cheat on the recommended spacing so you get a fuller effect from day one.
Don’t do it! Overplanting causes multiple problems: labor-intensive maintenance, limited success of the plant material, and a higher likelihood of failure.
For example, if a 5×5 shrub is planted in a 3×3 space, it will need to be pruned continually to maintain its boundaries. Being short-circuited from reaching full size will also prevent it from doing what it’s supposed to do in the landscape (bloom as well, get as tall, etc). A crowded growth habit can easily turn into an unwanted ‘thicket effect’ — a haven for pests and diseases.
Don’t fall into overplanting in an attempt to produce a mature garden look as soon as your project is finished. Having the foresight and self-control to leave space in the landscape for healthy growth is the key to making it easy to maintain your yard’s beauty in the long term.
Front Yard Makeover Mistake #2 – Planting in the Wrong Location
Beautiful trees, shrubs, and ornamentals can turn into money thrown down the drain when they are planted in the wrong location. Just because something might look good in a certain position in the yard does not mean that spot is well-suited for it. Color and texture are excellent to consider, but soil, water, and light are the factors that should trump all when it comes to placement in your yard.
Do your homework: check soil quality, know how wet/dry/sunny/windy the location is, and double-check the compatibility of each tree, shrub, or flower with the other plants you’d like to place nearby. Pay close attention to mature height and width. For example, as a young tree grows and spreads, it will provide shade to a larger area, changing the amount of light available to plants nearby.
Check in with a knowledgeable local source to get specifics on how various plant materials perform in your specific microclimate. There may be a big difference between the promises of a stock issued plant label from a big box store and the actual performance of the plant in the soil, water, and light conditions of your neighborhood.
Front Yard Makeover Mistake #3 – Underestimating Tree Size
A healthy, beautiful tree (or several) can be one of the most rewarding components of a front yard makeover. Trees act as visual anchors in design, provide shade and shelter, offer habitat for birds and wildlife, and can be enjoyed by family members for decades.
On the flip side, poor planning with trees opens the door for danger and destruction as the years go on. The most common issues nearly always arise from underestimating the size of the mature tree.
For example, while a line of trees planted in a median strip between the sidewalk and road may seem a pretty way offer privacy and sound screening, a buckling sidewalk and protruding tree roots in a few years may saddle you with a costly extraction if they grow larger than you anticipated. Taking the time to confirm mature size of the trees you’re using is always worthwhile.
Another classic example comes from the Leyland cypress and English laurels which are familiar sights throughout the greater Clark County and Portland Metro area. If you have one of these giants on your plant list, keep in mind that they frequently need significant intervention. These trees grow large very quickly and aren’t strong enough to withstand winter storms if they’re top heavy and then weighted down with snow or ice.
Leyland Cypress. Weak and messy, they perform well when consistently maintained. More info: Frontier Tree Service
The good news is you can virtually eliminate the danger of failures like these by committing to a consistent maintenance schedule for the trees you’ve planted. For example, both Leyland cypress and English laurels make excellent hedges for screening when regularly pruned to maintain healthy attachments and growth habit. Whether you’re inheriting trees or planting new ones, a consult and maintenance plan with Frontier Tree Service‘s ISA-certified arborists will ensure your success.
Now that you know what not to do, check in with Frontier Landscaping to explore all of the things you can do to make your front yard makeover a dream come true. Whether you have questions about plant material, soil testing, or tried-and-true methods for local success, we would love to help you put together a yard that will yield beautiful rewards for years to come.
Give us a call at (360) 574-8979, or send us an email: [email protected].
When sketching your front yard makeover ideas, remember to think for the long term. Leave space for plantings to grow up and fill out. Double-check that the materials you’re choosing will have compatible requirements for light and water. Account for regular pruning and maintenance to keep your trees safe. These three keys ensure an attractive mature landscape for years to come.
In a year when winter has been particularly long, cold, and wet, it’s not unusual to enter spring with a distressed lawn. The high pressure produced by intense winter conditions creates a lot of opportunities for pests and diseases to move in and cause problems.
Here are a few common issues we observe in the Clark County and Portland metro area. If you’re seeing bare patches, brown patches, or circular patches of pink or white, you may be facing one of the following:
Red thread, or Laetisaria fuciformis, is an opportunistic lawn disease. Its name comes from thin red strands this fungus sends out from the tips of infected grass blades. If your lawn and soil isn’t well drained, a wet winter can throw the door wide open for problems due to this infection. Prolonged exposure to moisture is the primary cause of red thread in unhealthy turf.
From a distance, you may notice circular patches of pinkish grass ranging up to 8 inches in diameter. It’s important to take a closer look to see if ‘threads’ are present, though, as there are similar symptoms that result from other kinds of issues.
The good news is that red thread does not destroy grass roots and crowns. There is potential for full recovery if you commit to thorough treatment. The best way to ward off future infections of red thread is by conditioning your soil, providing good drainage, and sticking to a proven, consistent maintenance plan.
Pink Snow Mold
Pink snow mold, as its name implies, is associated with extended snow cover. Like red thread, it’s caused by a fungus, Microdochium nivale. Pink and white foamy fungal spores sit on top of infected grass blades, creating pink circular splotches across the lawn. In a prolonged wet and snowy winter, it can result in severe damage to turf.
The road to recovery begins with skilled thatching and aeration. Committing to best practices for fertilization, drainage, snow management, and pest control is the key to keeping damage from snow mold to a minimum, whatever future winters may bring.
Crane fly infestations are notorious for their potential to kill an entire lawn. While adult crane flies swoop and fly around the yard, it’s the eggs they lay down that spell serious trouble. Crane fly larvae (also known as ‘leatherjackets’) are 1-inch long and tan or grayish white in color. The hungry larvae wreak havoc on turf as they feast on grass roots and crowns.
Look for patches of damaged grass that may appear to grow together and spread. Peeling back the soil will reveal whether crane fly larvae are to blame. While a healthy lawn can handle a medium population of larvae, a teeming infestation means it’s time to call for help.
The encouraging thing about battling crane fly is the potential for treatment and full recovery. The crew at Frontier Landscaping has generated impressive results for lawn restoration and would be happy to work with you to save your lawn if you’re dealing with an outbreak this year.
Maintaining healthy turfgrass is the #1 way to prevent future pest and disease issues!
Lawn Rescues and Revamps
In the moist Pacific Northwest, especially after a very wet winter, it’s not uncommon to have problems show up if your soil and grass haven’t been regularly maintained for optimal health.
If you’re in need of treatment, the Frontier Landscaping crew is expertly qualified to help you back to a thriving, healthy lawn. The process we have developed through years of local experience consistently produces successful, healthy turf.
Aeration is a generic term for exposing soil to the air by removing plugs of soil from the turf. The openings created by aeration help water and nutrients move more easily through the soil.
While it’s common practice to leave soil plugs in a lawn after aeration, the crew at Frontier Landscaping has determined that the most successful lawns are created when we pick up and dispose of the hardened plugs. This additional step allows topdressing to better penetrate the new holes in the soil, enhancing the entire aeration process overall. While it is a greater effort, this step has consistently shown itself to be an effective key to helping sick lawns bounce back quickly and look better than ever.
Additional benefits of aeration:
- Limits fertilizer runoff
- Improves ability to absorb water
- Slows buildup of thatch
- Builds strong root system and layer of topsoil
Frontier Landscaping recommends aeration once each year for all lawns to maintain great health.
Reseeding and Fertilization
Once soil has been aerated, ¼ to 1 inch of rich soil conditioner is applied. This mix works down through the new holes left by aeration and sets the lawn up for improved future drainage.
Why does this matter? Good soil texture promotes healthy turf. In turn, healthy turf is significantly less susceptible to disease.
Once soil has been treated, your lawn will be ready to be reseeded and fertilized. It’s not uncommon to see new grass emerging within a month of completion.
Intense seasons of wet weather can result in significant pest and disease pressure on lawns, especially if the grass isn’t robust and healthy to begin with.
If you find yourself facing ugly bare spots, remember that many issues are treatable if caught in time. Give us a call to learn about treatment options for your lawn. We’ll help you through and are happy to design a custom care plan for the future based on the specific needs of your landscape.
Ready for a winter lawn rescue? Call (360) 574-8979 or send us an email to arrange a consultation today.
We enjoy working with homeowners who want to use ‘green’, earth-friendly practices in their landscaping. After all, making decisions about land and water use in environmentally responsible ways feels great.
However, we’ve realized that there are some common assumptions about “going green” that are not always on target, particularly with regards to hardscaping. With that in mind, we’re glad to share what we know to help you avoid missteps.
With a little understanding, you can be confident that your results will be in line with your goals for a beautiful, sustainable landscape.
Going Green with Pavers
Without question, pavers are hugely popular for creating patios, pathways, and even driveways.
Hailed as earth-friendly heroes, they’ve moved into the top spot over concrete for two reasons: they’re available in a wide range of beautiful materials, shapes, colors and sizes, and they are marketed as a solution to handle runoff faster and more responsibly than concrete.
This is true if you use the right paver, but often some drainage is still needed.
While they do allow some water through easily, if you really want to guarantee these benefits in your landscape, you must choose a truly permeable paver for the job. Standard pavers are hard packed with sand and compacted gravel beneath them and product inbetween.
Permeable Pavers Pro Tip
To be sure your patio, pathway, or driveway gets the full advantages pavers can offer, choose a product specifically designed to allow gaps and drainage. While pretty versions of these materials used to be few and far between, innovators in the industry are now offering solutions that are beautiful to look at and effective. Locally, we partner with Mutual Materials to offer a variety of Eco-Priora® and Eco-Stone® options that can be laid in attractive patterns for patios, driveways, and pathways.
Hardscaping and Lawn Loss
Replacing turf lawn with hardscaping is another trend where it’s easy to get tripped up. Hardscaping is dramatic, beautiful, visually interesting, and requires less water use and less maintenance that keeping a lawn. It’s easy to assume that getting rid of the lawn is the right answer.
On the other hand, as more and more property owners are replacing trees and grass with hardscaping on the West Coast, it’s becoming clear that lawns have significant earth-friendly advantages of their own.
Green spaces and trees absorb heat and clean the air with their intake of carbon monoxide, two of the primary reasons the Pacific Northwest enjoys such high air quality and a temperate climate. Foot for foot, a healthy lawn will outperform even an eco-friendly paver patio with superior drainage and its clean water benefits.
Lawn Loss Pro Tip
Plan for balance, not elimination. Even a small yard can be designed to keep a percentage of everything: lawn, beds, plantings, and hardscaping.
Remember that nearly every element of your residential or commercial landscape can be designed with environmental responsibility in mind. Our expert team loves working with home and business owners to use the best practices available.
Learn More About Going Green In Your Landscape: