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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Tired of overgrown or outdated plants?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.

 

 

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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

Front Yard Makeovers Gone Wrong

residential front yard installation - sod

Front yard makeovers offer high potential for impact. A great design boosts curb appeal, property value, and can be enjoyed every single day.

Frontier Landscaping Houzz Pro Clark County WA Portland OR Metro AreaIn 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 lawn loss dry creek bed native plantings Clark County WA

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.

Wrong plant wrong location dead boxwoods

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.

infographic tree growth over time

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 broken in snow and trimmed for hedge

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].

Front yard landscape design

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.

Rescuing Your Lawn from Winter Distress

Lawn under snow

 

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

 

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. 

Red thread lawn disease red thread lawn disease

 

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.

Pink snow mold in lawn

 

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

 

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.

Frontier Landscape insect remediation in Vancouver, WA. crane fly larvae in lawn

 

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

 

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.

 

How lawn aeration works

 

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.

 

Lawn maintenance services

 

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.

The Truth About Going Green with Hardscaping

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

 

Going green with Eco Priora Gray Mutual Materials permeable paver drivewayWithout 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.

 

Mutual Materials permeable pavers

 

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.

 

Miles Parade of Homes front yard lawn irrigation flowerbed installation

 

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:

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!

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Let’s Design Your Dream Landscape…With Houzz

Find Frontier Landscaping on Houzz

 

 What is Houzz?

Houzz is a website and online community designed to put meaningful resources in the hands of homeowners ready to make change.

It started as a side project by a couple frustrated with their remodeling efforts. They couldn’t find the tool they needed to make communicating their ideas easy. They used their frustrations to build the solution they needed. Now, the Houzz community numbers more than 40 million people worldwide.

Frontier Landscaping is a proud member of the Houzz Pro community. Now it’s easier than ever to collaborate. With Houzz, it’s a breeze to explain exactly what you have in mind. Planning your dream landscape has never been more convenient–or fun!

 

Use the Houzz app to connect with Frontier Landscaping Vancouver WA

Inspiration On The Go

On the Houzz website or mobile app, you have access to photos, articles, and product recommendations. You can browse specific portfolios, or by general category. It’s designed for convenience: the site displays perfectly whether you’re on your phone, tablet, or web browser.

Look at real-world examples and ideas for your side yard, patio, fire pit, or outdoor lighting. You can ask questions or initiate a discussion about what you see. Pin down exactly what you like with regards to style and materials.

 

houzz ideabooks frontier landscaping vancouver wa

“Ideabooks” are photo albums filled with ideas. Browse them for inspiration. Save photos you like to your own Ideabooks as you go. Additionally, if you see something that you have a question about, you can ask and get answers, right in Houzz.

 

Collaborating Is Easier Than Ever

After you’ve decided on the look, feel, and products that you want to bring into your home, you can share them them directly with us on Houzz. We can give feedback and build on your ideas while literally being on the same page.

Best of all, this gives your project a head start. Instead of spending our first few meetings trying to figure out what you want, we already have a good idea of what you’re looking for.

How To Use Houzz

how to find frontier landscaping vancouver washington houzz

  • Write a review. Reviews are the best way to help others connect with the qualified professionals they need. Do your fellow homeowners a favor. Let them know what it’s like to work with us.
  • Start browsing! Save photos you like to your own albums. When you’re ready to meet, you can share your ideas with us directly.

Whether you’re updating or building, Houzz is an excellent place to get inspiration for what you’d like to do–and then get connected to your local pros to get it done. Join the community! We are looking forward to collaborating with you. Start Now

 

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