LED lighting continues its rise as a top trend for homeowners looking to get the most out of their landscape design. While low-voltage lighting is a traditional favorite, LEDs offer their own distinct range of benefits. It’s hard to resist the serious energy efficiency, ease of control, and nearly limitless design possibilities available to reflect your style.
Whether it’s bringing the view from your windows to life, or creating an outdoor room that’s welcoming and comfortable, LED lighting is a versatile and sustainable choice to fulfill your vision.
Light with Purpose: Set The Mood
First of all, what atmosphere do you want to create around your home after dark? With the right lights, you’ll trade flat, dull views for textured visual interest that increases your sense of enjoyable living space.
“Most people don’t realize this, but the backyard is a whole new room that they haven’t explored fully,” says HGTV outdoor lighting designer Michael Sestak. “You have the option to go beyond that light bulb at the doorway.”
Romance: Inviting Natural Charm
Use lighting to create a romantic view from your windows after sundown. Gently illuminated paths and layered accent lighting around plants and rockery creates a sweet invitation to savor your yard in the evenings.
If you’re a fan of a naturally-styled landscape, use delicate lighting to play across water features. In addition, the right shade of light bulb will echo the blue tones of moonlight. Consider soft uplights into your trees to showcase their shapes and textures.
Serenity: Relax and Enjoy
If you’re busy working during daylight hours, maximize your sense of rest and comfort around the places you enjoy when you’re at home. Tasteful accent lighting in shrubs and plantings around your deck, fire pit, or hot tub creates a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy a glass of wine and good company at the end of the day.
With the wide variety of LED lighting fixtures now available, it’s easy to carry over your design choices from inside your home to your outdoor space as well. This keeps a sense of natural flow to all of the living and entertaining areas you share with your guests.
“The right lighting can take any outdoor space from invisible to inviting,” explains Kate Campbell of HGTV’s “Decked Out” series. “Adding dimmable LED lighting to railing and stairs not only adds atmosphere but also enhances safety and security – and extends the time you can spend enjoying your outdoor living space.”
Excitement: Flaunt What You’ve Got
Gardening enthusiasts, use dynamic lighting to showcase your favorite trees, shrubs and flowerbeds. Additionally, don’t be afraid to exchange perfect symmetry for more irregular placement of your lights. This gives an organic feel that naturally complements each layer of your garden. With the right lights, you’ll lead the gaze of your viewers without overpowering your beautiful plants.
Do you have dramatic trees? Emphasize their structure and foliage with uplights, which enhances their scale and creates beautiful shadows.
Power: Forever First Impressions
Effective lighting strategies for your front yard sends curb appeal soaring with a few simple tweaks. Don’t settle for basic porch and walkway lighting. Set off an interesting front door or stonework with fixtures that showcase the uniqueness of your home. This creates powerful first impressions at walk-up (or drive-by). A small yard looks even larger when you bring lighting closer to the curb. Work the perimeters of your space for maximum impact.
Frontier LED Lighting Installation Services
In conclusion, outdoor LED lighting is a great fit for homeowners who want more from their landscape. It’s an environmentally-friendly solution that saves a lot of money over the long haul. Frontier offers low-voltage and LED lighting installation for new homes as well as retro-fitting existing landscapes. Contact us for a free consultation! We’d love to help you create the perfect setting around your home. Give us a call at (360) 574-8979, or send us an email: [email protected].
Choosing the right landscaping company pays many dividends for home and business owners. Effective design and skilled maintenance increases the value of your property, supports a healthy ecosystem, and shapes outdoor spaces to reflect your style. On the flip side, a botched job can result in long-term headaches and damage. What do you need to know to sort out the good from the bad? Here are eleven of our best tips:
First Things First: Are They Legally Compliant?
The first checkpoints are the basics. Is the company licensed, bonded and insured in the area they service? This information should be prominently displayed and easy to locate on their website, marketing materials or through government agencies.
What’s The Company History?
Longevity is key. How old is the business? How long have they been operating in your area?
While startups may be full of potential, promises, and enthusiasm, there is no substitute for experience when it’s time to make critical site decisions. A seasoned landscaping company has had time to become familiar with common problems and the best-fitting solutions for their local clientele.
Community Connections: Are They Good Neighbors?
Generosity is a sign of health in a business. How is this company involved in the community? Do they participate in service projects, work with civic groups, or have a track record of collaborating with other professionals? Read more about Frontier Landscaping’s Community Projects here.
Roots: Local, Regional, or National?
Numerous studies and statistics highlight the significant advantages of working with a locally-owned business. As your friends and neighbors, local businesses have a vested interest in knowing how to serve you:
- Local business owners know you. They’re familiar with the local market’s particular needs and interests, and offer products and services tailored to the area based on their knowledge and experience.
- Every contract matters to a local business. Being available, offering personal service, and having work that stands the test of time is the foundation of their success.
- Local businesses are generous! Statistics show they donate products and services 2-3x more than national chains do to actively improve the quality of life in their communities.*
- Local businesses are better at creating living-wage jobs for your neighbors. A community diversified with local, independent businesses creates jobs for its citizens with a positive long-term impact.
- Local businesses conserve energy and resources in the form of less fuel for transportation of products, and are more likely to partner with other local businesses to grow the regional economy using regionally-sourced products and materials.
Testimonials and Reviews: What’s The Word On The Street?
A few quick stops online gives insight into the company’s reputation. Are they registered with the Better Business Bureau? If there have been complaints, have they been quickly resolved?
Insider Tip: Statistics show that people are over 50% more likely to leave a review for a business when they’ve had a bad experience than when they’ve had a positive one.**
What does this mean? Online reviews may not always provide a full picture of what it will be like to do business with a company. Ask yourself: Are negative reviews rare, or commonplace?
Also — Is there a local business that’s done well by you? Take a minute to leave them a positive review!
See what our clients are saying about us.
Size Matters: Can They Handle Your Project?
Does the landscaping company have the machinery, staff, and skill required to handle a complex landscape installation or tree service job? If you need extensive renovations or remediation of large-scale issues, can they handle all aspects competently? Are their maintenance crews available to keep up with the schedule you need?
On the flip side, is their customer service on point and attentive for small projects as well as high-end projects?
Affiliations: Is Professionalism A Priority?
Is the company you’re considering a member of established and respected trade organizations? Vetted companies understand the value of professional associations, and invest in giving back to their industries by participating in some or all of the following:
- National Association of Landscape Professionals is the national trade association for the landscape industry, representing the voice of 100,000 landscape industry professionals who create and maintain healthy green spaces.
- International Society of Arboriculture has served the tree care industry for 90 years as a scientific and educational organization. ISA is aligned on many fronts with other green organizations to foster a better understanding of trees and tree care through research and the education of professionals as well as global efforts to inform tree care consumers.
- Washington Association of Landscape Professionals promotes professionalism and education to its members and educates the public about the landscape industry.
Click here to check out our full list of professional partners and affiliations.
How Skilled Is The Staff? Certifications and Licenses
What’s the training and experience of the company staff? Licensed arborists, certified backflow testers, irrigation specialists, and certified pesticide applicators are required to put in hours of studying and preparation to get licensed, with strict continuing education requirements to maintain their credentials. A company with certified professionals is clearly passionate and committed to the highest standards of work.
What Does The Contract Include?
How receptive is the staff to questions about your installation, maintenance or tree contract? A trustworthy company isn’t afraid of your questions and will work with you to make sure you are fully aware of all aspects of the agreement you’re making when you sign. Take time to understand the details of how billing is broken down, and the scope of work that’s included.
Price Guide: Cheaper Isn’t Better
Value is getting the best service at the best price. Don’t fall prey to a landscaping company with cheap rates! The largest percentage of a landscaping contract is labor. A ridiculously low price tag translates into less time and attention at your jobsite, inferior materials, and poorly-trained workers.
A Telling Detail: Is There A Warranty?
This value-added service is a great point of comparison when choosing a landscaping company, and are required by law in some states (including Oregon). Does the landscaping company you’re considering routinely offer a warranty on their services? Are they willing to stand by the work they have done?
Now that you know what you need to know, it’s time to find the answers!
Most of this information will be readily available on the company’s website, where you should also be able to examine photos of their work. Take time to scroll through and get a feel for their values, style, and capabilities.
With a little research beforehand, you’ll have a list of qualified, competent companies to provide excellent service for your needs.
Frontier Landscaping offers expert, reliable service for installations, maintenance, as well as comprehensive tree services. Ready to talk about your needs? Give us a call at (360) 574-8979, or send us an email: [email protected].
*Civic Economics – Andersonville Study of Retail Economics.
**A Survey of Customer Service from Mid-Size Companies – ZenDesk.com
It’s easy to call for tree service when you notice one of your trees doesn’t look well, but did you know that a tree that appears healthy can actually be on the brink of failure, too? This month we’re highlighting some key insights from our in-house expert, ISA-Certified Arborist* Greg Irwin.
As a specialist in risk and hazard assessment, Greg’s mindset is always, “safety first”.
He shares, “Often homeowners don’t realize there are hidden hazards that have a higher potential to happen when a tree looks good, because there aren’t outward signs of illness or damage. A tree can look nice and healthy to an untrained eye and still fail (or have main sections fail) based on growth structure, attachment, and the way it has been previously pruned in the past.”
Several tree species are prone to failure because of their particular growth habits. If you’re unfamiliar with the risk factors, it’s more likely you’ll face long-term failure issues in main sections of your tree.
These towering beauties can harbor hidden danger when they’re allowed to establish without regular, skilled maintenance through pruning and having their canopy contained. They commonly form poor attachments, one of several genetic issues naturally occurring in the species.
While these issues aren’t preventable, they can be successfully controlled in a variety of ways if addressed when the tree is young (5-10 years old). Taking action early on eliminates future headaches and also causes less stress and effects on the tree.
Red Sunset Maple
Red Sunset Maples are a favorite for their consistent, dramatic fall color. However, due to an all-vertical growth habit, it’s not uncommon for a weak attachments to become a high failure risk in mature trees. Like the flowering pear, early identification in young trees is critical to allow proper diagnosis and treatment. A certified arborist like Greg is rigorously trained to examine the multiple factors that come into play in each case and make the right call for safety and the health of the tree.
The mighty Cupressus × leylandii tops Greg’s list as the #1 evergreen that he and the Frontier Tree Service crews see split apart or even uprooted entirely due to winter failure–more than any other tree in the area.
Again, the main problem arises from genetics with this tree’s growth structure: vertical, very tall, and heavy-limbed. While the root system is wide, it’s also shallow and prone to retaining a lot of water (pushing the roots up to the soil’s surface). As the tree gets larger it doesn’t take a lot to tip it over. Yikes!
There’s good news, though. Young Leyland Cypress trees do well when they’re retrained as hedges. With early intervention and consistent maintenance, retraining reduces risk of failure around your home. The Leyland cypress performs well in this role, as it’s hardier than arborvitae and will flourish as a robust screen through its maturity.
Attachments aren’t the only issues that can play a role in tree failure. In landscapes with a high water table, tree roots can be forced up towards the soil’s surface instead of spreading out and away. With heavy wind, the entire tree may be uprooted due to this instability.
It’s important to note that root issues like these are a leading cause of tree failure. The trained eye of a certified arborist like Greg takes multiple aspects into consideration when assessing risks and hazards around your home.
Greg reminds us, “every tree in every location is different. We always diagnose case-by-case to determine the need.” Pruning and cabling are two common solutions when a tree is able to be recovered.
Pruning, which has several definitions, essentially involves removing plant parts to improve the health, landscape effect, or value of the plant. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service emphasizes the importance of skilled pruning:
“The old idea that anyone with a chainsaw or a pruning saw can be a landscape pruner is far from the truth. More trees are killed or ruined each year from improper pruning than by pests.” (You can read more in-depth on pruning here.)
Cabling assists the tree in supporting itself during inclement weather, can strengthen a weak crotch, or raise lower hanging branches to the desired height. Like pruning, there are multiple approaches to cabling.
Greg states, “Cabling needs to be done by someone with experience. There’s a lot to know: where to cable, how to position, what type of cable to use depending on the calculated size/stress load so you know whether or not what you’re using is strong enough.”
If it’s been awhile since you’ve had your trees evaluated for these hidden hazards, give us a call to set up an evaluation. Greg and team will perform a thoughtful, thorough examination to save you from headaches and failures with the best knowledge and resources available. We are licensed, bonded, and insured, and are committed to using best practices set forth by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).
ISA certified arborist, Greg Irwin
*Why Hire a Certified Arborist?
An arborist, by definition, is an individual trained in the art and science of planting, caring for and maintaining individual trees. Arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees and are trained and equipped to provide proper care. Certified Arborists are individuals who have achieved a high level of knowledge and experience and pass a comprehensive examination developed by some of the nation’s leading experts on tree care. Certified arborists must adhere to a stringent code of ethics and continue their education to maintain their certification. Learn more about certified arborists and tree safety at Trees are Good and ISA.
Hardscape design is one of the most exciting topics a homeowner can dive into. What is it, exactly?
In a nutshell, hardscape design encompasses the placement of non-living elements of a landscape: walkways, patios, fences, lighting, retaining walls, arbors, rocks etc.
Effective hardscape design adds function, greater enjoyment, and value to your home. For over 28 years we’ve been in the business of solving unique landscape problems. We know how to provide creative solutions to transform your outdoor spaces, and can guide you in renovating the ordinary into the perfect. Check out these recent samples of projects that have been fun to work on:
Hardscape Design for a ‘Home Away from Home’
These avid travelers presented us with an interesting challenge. Could we ‘naturalize’ a look around their comfortably-sized RV, which they keep securely parked in front of their home?
A direct approach, blending hardscape design with horticultural elements, was the answer.
- Low-profile lighting, a custom concrete pad, and fencing provide needed structure and privacy.
- Attractive groupings of native plantings is laid out in harmony. As the plants grow up and mature, they’ll provide additional screening, softening the RV surround with a naturalized feel.
Hardscape Design Trifecta: Yard, Garden, Patio
These homeowners won big with a hardscape design that accomplished three things at once:
- A raised garden bed made of retaining wall blocks is sturdy, accessible, and ideal for supplying their kitchen with fresh herbs and edibles.
- The gravel surround and dry creek bed act as natural dividers for the different uses in the new yard, and also reduce thirsty lawn space without sacrificing it completely.
- A handsome paver patio allows this family to extend the hospitality of their home.
Hardscape Design on a Dime: Gravel Paths and Pathways
Inexpensive and multi-purpose, gravel paths pair nicely with a variety of border elements, and their texture can be quite pretty when set against a lush lawn or garden.
Pictured below: Gravel dressed with bricks and pavers combine for a decorative approach in lawn and gardenscapes, while a simple partnership with 6×6 pressure-treated timbers provides instant, well-drained access to service areas alongside a home.
Feeling inspired? Our expert team is ready to help. Let us transform your outdoor space with a creative hardscape design that adds function, increases enjoyment, and adds value to your home. Let’s Get Started!
Spring brings sunnier days and the promise of warm growing weather before too much longer. As you envision enjoying a bounty of flowers and home-grown veggies, consider the ways a thoughtfully-designed retaining wall can materially increase your decorative and functional garden space.
Retaining walls remain one of our top residential installation projects due to their versatility in function and style. Besides the traditional benefits of terracing (for homeowners dealing with a steep gradient in the yard), a handsome retaining wall can be a simple key to bringing fresh inspiration to an ordinary landscape.
An interesting bed filled with colorful flowers adds visual appeal and an upscale feel to your yard. Plantings can be tailored to attract hummingbirds, butterflies, or used as a cutting or vegetable garden. Bulbs, shrubs and trees can also be combined to offer striking arrangements with evergreen interest year round.
Enhanced Outdoor Living
Bring fragrant, eye-catching blossoms closer to eye- and nose-level around outdoor seating areas so you can readily savor their scent and beauty throughout the season.
Improved Yard Definition
Retaining walls function as natural dividers to separate your edible garden from recreational yard space in a natural way. Keep herbs, fruits and veggies growing close to the kitchen, while leaving the yard available for summer play.
Convenient Raised Beds
Retaining wall blocks make ideal raised bed frames and can be installed as a convenient quick-start for an easily maintained garden. An added benefit: blocks act as heat sinks. The soil within will warm sooner each spring and also keep warm longer in the fall than a traditional garden.
A recent installation in Vancouver, WA.
An unstructured lawn space was transformed through the addition of an inviting outdoor living area linked to a gardening area featuring a raised bed made of blocks. The patio, pathway, dry creek bed, and gravel surround are interspersed with hardy native plants for a natural feel.
Retaining Wall Design for Small Spaces
Frontier collaborated as part of the WALP* team delivering expert treatment for a postage-stamp sized “yard” in this display during the Clark County PUD Home Show on April 21st-24th. Retaining walls are relevant in a range of sizes and shapes, from small accent beds like this example to large-scale ornamental features in a yard or patio area.
Get a Bid
Frontier Landscaping builds all types of retaining walls, working with you to determine the right materials and composition to achieve the look you want and functionality you need.
Give us a call. We’d love to work with you and bring more enjoyment and usability to your yard and garden this season.
*We’re proud to be members in good standing of the Washington Association of Landscape Professionals: committed to professionalism, integrity, and continuing education in our industry.
What a beautiful time of the year with the rhododendrons, magnolias, camellias, forsythia and other spring flowering plants reaching their peak of beauty. There are a few April garden tasks one can do to keep the garden looking its best this season. Remember what is accomplished early in the season will help cut down on garden maintenance the rest of year.
Now is a good time to give some attention to the lawn. The application of a spring lawn fertilizer will perk up the lawn and improve overall color and appearance. If needed, get one that includes moss killer. Most lawns could use aerating now, and, if necessary, a thatching. Applying new grass seed fills in the lawn and deters moss and weeds. Use about one pound per 300 square feet. Call Frontier today to find out how our landscape services can make having a lush, beautiful lawn.
FRUITS & BERRIES
Local garden outlets have their finest selection of fruit trees and berry plants this time of year. All types of fruits and berries do best when planted in full sun – consider a small back yard orchard this year!
Amazingly, it’s time to get the vegetable garden underway in earnest. Plant perennial vegetables like asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish now. You can plant cool weather veggies: peas, carrots, beets, greens of all sorts, cauliflower, cabbage and more. Wait until later this month to plant beans and corn. Don’t put in warm weather crops like tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and peppers until next month.
If you missed the fall window for planting spring flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils, you needn’t miss this opportunity to plant summer-flowering bulbs including dahlias, gladiolas and lilies. Mix bulb fertilizer, processed manure and peat moss into the soil and check the instructions for proper depth.
TREES & SHRUBS
There is still time to plant trees, shrubs, perennials and other plants. Rockery perennials and hardy annuals may also be planted at this time.
April and May are ideal for pruning or shearing evergreens such as junipers, conifer and cypress. However, if you cut back into bare branches it can be difficult or impossible for the plant to regrow. Optimize your evergreens with an expert pruning by Frontier Landscaping’s team of professionals.