May Garden Chores

Summer bulb collage - canna dahlia gladiolus begonia lily
The month of May brings longer days, warmer temperatures, and plenty of opportunity to get outside and work on your may garden chores. Whether you’re just getting started in gardening or have years of experience, there are essential garden tasks that should be tackled in May.


  • Pruning – May is ideal for shearing evergreens such as junipers, conifer and cypress. Azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons can also be pruned back to eliminate frost-damaged branches. Remember that cutting back into bare branches or cutting new flowers off before bloom can harm your plants or stop growth, so use care. Want help? We assist with pruning and maintenance for gardens of all sizes. Learn More About Our Pruning Services.
  • Fertilizing – New shrub, tree, and rose plantings will benefit from treatment with fertilizer; remember to water well after application.
  • Flowers – Hardy annuals are safe to plant now, but wait to plant more tender annuals (impatiens, geranium, fuchsia) in the ground until nighttime temps stay up over 50 degrees. All summer-flowering perennials, bulbs and shrubs can be planted now, as well as chrysanthemums for fall color. Have fun!
  • Veggies – Be sure your soil warmed up before you move less-hardy veggie starts into the garden. Having a hard time deciding what to plant in a limited garden space? Check out design ideas featuring retaining walls.
  • Watering – Now’s the time to make sure that your irrigation system is working so that you’re prepared to meet the needs of your garden. Schedule an appointment with us to prep, prime, install, or repair before things heat up this summer. More About Frontier’s Spring Start-Up Service.
  • Lawn Care: De-thatch, dig out perennial weeds or spray, aerate, and overseed with grass. In some cases, applying a thin layer of fine soil helps as well. Call us for more information and guidance on lawn care. Short on time? Let us handle it for you. Check Out Our Maintenance Services for more information.
  • Weeds / Pest Control – Get aggressive and eliminate weeds before they go to bud and seed. Mulching is a great way conserve moisture and prevent weed seeds from germinating; try using hemlock or fir. Eradicate slugs with bait or traps. Clearing vegetation near your garden helps. Examine the lawn for damaged turf; wet or waterlogged areas are particularly susceptible to hungry crane fly larvae. Recovery is faster when issues are caught early.
  • Spring Yard Clean-Up Services – You may be overwhelmed with your landscape debris and growth and need a seasonal overhaul. Frontier Landscaping can remove unwanted yard debris, weeds, and prune trees and shrubs to help bring your yard from eyesore to wow!

Hardscape Design Ideas: Innovation and Transformation

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’

hardscape design around 5th wheel RV padThese 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

Hardscape design 3-in-1: 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.
hardscape design ideas - gravel paths and pathways

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 Garden Solutions: Retaining Walls

edibles terraced retaining wall

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.

Manicured Look
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.

Retaining Walls Collage May 2016 Blog

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.

Raised garden bed from retaining wall blocks

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.

patio design for small spaces
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.

Retaining Walls

Retaining Walls

retaining wallsRetaining walls control erosion, create terracing, sculpt the landscape and provide ‘hardscapes’ with year-round appeal – all at the same time!

Sure, retaining walls look like simple stacked stone, block, timber, brick or concrete. Yet in reality good retaining walls are carefully engineered systems that wage an ongoing battle with gravity. They restrain tons of saturated soil that would otherwise slump and slide away from a foundation or damage the surrounding landscape. Flat-topped walls also make inviting spots to sit, create more planting possibilities and increase usable yard space by terracing sloped properties.

Along with sloped landscapes where water runoff causes hillside erosion, ideal locations for a retaining wall include spots downhill from soil fault lines and where the downhill side of a foundation is losing supporting soil or its uphill side is under pressure from sliding soil.

Although retaining walls are simple structures, a casual check around your neighborhood will reveal lots of existing walls that are bulging, cracked or leaning. That’s because most residential retaining walls have poor drainage, and many aren’t built to handle the hillside they’re supposed to hold back.Retaining wall Battleground WA

Such walls have to contain enormous loads; for example, a wall 4 feet high and 15 feet long could be holding back as much as 20 tons of saturated soil. Double the wall height to 8 feet and you’ll need a wall that’s eight times stronger to do the same job. Any wall that will be holding back a significant load is best left to a professional and any wall higher than 4 feet requires an engineer’s approval.

Frontier’ Landscaping’s installation team enjoys creating attractive walls using materials that suit a homeowner’s tastes and making them valuable landscape features. However, their No. 1 goal is to build you a solid retaining wall that performs its job excellently and that will go the distance. We can help in all aspects of your wall-building project including design, grading, excavation, drainage and wall construction.

Frontier Landscaping installs retaining walls, water features, patios and other landscape features throughout Clark County, Wash., Vancouver and the Portland Metro area.

A Closer Look: Re-evaluate the yard

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

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

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

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

Our Team: Meet Chris!

Last month, we told you about some of the team members at Frontier Landscaping. We gave an overview of our departments and some of the hard working men and women that keep our company running. In case you missed it, you can read it here. This month, we wanted to focus on one member of our landscape maintenance team as we welcome back this familiar face. In his own words:


Chris PeppersChris Peppers

I grew up in a large family as the youngest of seven kids. I started working for my family’s tree business, when I was quite young, which later transitioned into the family landscape business. I have well over 25 years of experience in the industry. I believe I was 16 when I was put in charge of my first landscape crew.

Though I have tried to escape and explore other paths, I seem to choose to keep returning. Whether it’s a passion or a way to make a living, I love working with plants, maintaining a beautiful stand of turf, and caring for the environment. My philosophy is that landscaping is the first impression we see and often the last impression as we leave a property. It is an important aspect of our lives and the communities in which we live.

I returned to Frontier, on October 1st of 2014, as the Maintenance Operations Manager. I previously served as Maintenance Operations Manager at Frontier from 2003 through 2010. I am excited to return to Frontier Landscaping and look forward to working with you. My duties start with customer service and also include management of the maintenance department, site inspections, crew supervision and support and enhancement sales. Most importantly, my job is to ensure that our operations support Frontier Landscaping’s Mission of providing a quality landscape experience and professional service that exceeds expectations, develops and energizes team members to meet personal and career goals, and actively participates throughout the community.

We are so grateful to have Chris Peppers back on the Frontier Landscaping Maintenance team! Thanks for coming back to us Chris! We are looking forward to a wonderful year in 2015.