Planting A Shade Garden

plants in a shade garden

Although we love our sunshine in the Pacific Northwest, there are many amazing plants that can be grown in full shade. Using a little creativity, you can transform a shady space in your landscape into a thriving shade garden.
Shade comes in various forms, ranging from light to deep shade. Really look at the light conditions of your garden to figure out the type of shade it receives, as this will influence the plants that will thrive there. Also keep in mind that when the foliage of deciduous trees is gone, the shade garden will be more exposed to weather.


shade garden of plants in various shades, colors, and textures

Shade gardens can offer an extensive palette of foliage colors, textures, and shapes. Consider incorporating a mix of shade-loving perennials like hostas, ferns, and astilbes. These plants bring visual interest and thrive in the cooler, shaded corners of your garden.


Shade Garden Plants for the Pacific Northwest

flowering shade garden plant

  • Hellebores (Lenten rose)
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Pacific Trillium
  • Brunnera
  • Bergenia
  • Hosta
  • Bugbane
  • Siberian Bugloss
  • Oakleaf Hydrangeas
  • Sweet Box
  • Gold Dust Plant
  • Oceanspray
  • Sword Fern
  • Astilbe
  • Hetz’s Japanese holly
  • Toad lily

Regular maintenance is key to a thriving shade garden. There are some tasks that are slightly different from those required of their sun-loving counterparts.

  • Keep an eye on moisture levels so the plants are receiving the right amount of water but not too much. Leaves that remain wet after water for long periods of time in the shade can get fungal diseases. Avoid watering in the late afternoon.
  • Prune any overgrown plants and remove any diseased foliage promptly.
  • Mulching is important for a healthy shade garden. A layer of organic mulch helps retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate the soil temperature. It can also help with drainage to avoid overly wet conditions.

A shade garden can be a wonderful space for relaxation and an eye-catching addition to your landscape. Let our experienced team help you design and install a shade garden. Call for a free estimate today!

Creating a More Edible Landscape

Creating a More Edible Landscape

Edible landscaping is an exciting way to transform your outdoor space into a sustainable food source. It combines the beauty of traditional landscaping with the practicality of growing fruits and vegetables in your own backyard. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the ways to create a more edible landscape, from creating a garden bed to planting fruit trees. By doing so, you’ll have a unique and beautiful landscape that will also provide you with a delicious and nutritious bounty.

Choosing the Right Plants for Your Edible Landscape

Creating an edible landscape is a fantastic way to make the most of your outdoor space while promoting a sustainable, environmentally-friendly lifestyle. One of the most critical aspects of this process is choosing the right plants for your needs. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a newbie to this concept, here are some tips for selecting the best edible plants for your landscape.

Choose Both Perennial Plants and Annuals:

Perennial plants are those that come back year after year without the need for replanting. Choosing these plants for your edible landscape will save you time, energy, and money in the long run. Perennials like asparagus, rhubarb, and fruit bushes are great options for edible landscaping. Once established, these plants will provide a continuous harvest for years to come.

Edible annuals include your favorite veggies like lettuces, kale, tomatoes, and eggplants, or you can even run beans up a trellis.

Herbs and Edible Flowers

While planting rows of vegetables in a garden plot is one way to create an edible landscape, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. You can incorporate edible plants into your front yard landscaping or add them to flower beds and borders. Plants like nasturtiums, violets, and herbs like lavender and thyme are beautiful and edible.

Incorporating Raised Beds and Containers for Vegetables and Herbs

Raised beds and containers are a great way to add more edible plants to your landscape without sacrificing aesthetic appeal. These options also offer more control over soil quality and can be placed in areas where traditional in-ground planting isn’t possible.

When selecting containers, it’s important to choose ones that are large enough for the plants to grow and have good drainage. Raised beds should be built with untreated wood or other materials that are safe for growing food. These can be designed to fit your available space and can even be elevated for easier accessibility.

Once you have your containers or raised beds in place, consider filling them with a high-quality soil mixture and adding compost regularly. This will help ensure your plants receive the necessary nutrients to grow strong and healthy.

Maximizing Space with Espaliered Fruit Trees

Creating a More Edible Landscape

If you want to incorporate fruit trees into your edible landscape with limited space, consider using espaliered fruit trees. Espalier is a technique for training fruit trees to grow flat against a wall or fence, saving space and creating an attractive feature in your garden.

Espaliered fruit trees require a little more effort and patience than regular fruit trees, but the rewards are well worth it. Using this technique, You can grow various fruits, including apples, pears, peaches, and plums.

Choose a tree with a strong central leader and remove any competing branches. Plant the tree near a wall or fence, then install wires or a trellis system to support the tree as it grows. Prune the branches regularly to encourage lateral growth and maintain the desired shape.

One of the benefits of espaliered fruit trees is that they produce fruit earlier than traditional trees. You can also harvest fruit more easily since the tree is trained to grow flat against the wall or fence. Espaliered fruit trees are also easier to care for, as pruning and spraying can be done more efficiently.

In addition to maximizing space, espaliered fruit trees can enhance your garden’s aesthetic value. They can be used as a living fence or a decorative feature that adds interest to your landscape. They also provide a source of fresh fruit that you can enjoy throughout the growing season.

As a full-service landscaping company, we can help handle your maintenance needs, address landscaping issues, and complete projects. Call us today at  (360) 574-8979.

Unleashing the Tropics: Growing Tropical Plants in Your Pacific Northwest Garden

Growing tropical plants in the Pacific Northwest can be rewarding and exciting for gardeners looking to add a touch of exotic beauty to their landscapes. While the region is known for its cool, moist climate, many tropical plants can thrive with proper care and attention.

Unleashing the Tropics


One popular tropical plant that can be successfully grown in the Pacific Northwest is the Mandevilla. Known for its vibrant trumpet-shaped flowers, Mandevillas add a splash of color to any garden or patio. These plants prefer full sun and well-draining soil. Growing them in containers that can be brought indoors during the cooler months is recommended in the Pacific Northwest.


Another tropical plant that can thrive in the region is the Bougainvillea. With its stunning bracts in vibrant shades of pink, purple, and orange, Bougainvilleas create a tropical paradise feel. They require full sun and well-drained soil, making them ideal for the Pacific Northwest’s long summer days.


The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, commonly known as the tropical hibiscus, is another tropical plant that can be grown successfully in the Pacific Northwest. These plants are known for their large, showy flowers in various colors. They prefer full sun and well-drained soil, and like the Mandevilla, they can be grown in containers brought indoors during the winter.

Japanese Banana

Consider growing the ‘Musa basjoo’ or Japanese Banana for a unique tropical touch. While it may not produce edible fruit in the Pacific Northwest, the lush foliage of this plant adds a dramatic element to any garden. It is important to provide winter protection by mulching heavily around the base of the plant or wrapping it in burlap to shield it from frost.

Canna Lilies

Unleashing the Tropics

Canna Lilies are another tropical plant that thrives in the Pacific Northwest. Canna Lilies add a tropical flair to gardens and containers with their vibrant blooms and striking foliage. They prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil.

Dinosaur Food Plant

If you’re looking for a large architectural plant, the Gunnera manicata, also known as the Dinosaur food plant, can be a great choice. This plant features enormous, umbrella-like leaves reaching up to six feet in diameter. It prefers moist soil and partial shade, making it suitable for our Pacific Northwest climate.


Agapanthus, also known as Lily of the Nile, is a tropical plant that can add elegance to gardens in the Pacific Northwest. With its tall flower stalks and clusters of blue or white blooms, Agapanthus creates a striking display. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil.


When it comes to tropical palms, the Fan Palms and Windmill Palms are suitable for the Pacific Northwest. These palms can tolerate cooler temperatures and can withstand some frost. However, it is important to protect them during severe cold weather.

Elephant Ears

Colocasia, or Elephant Ears, are tropical plants that can thrive in the Pacific Northwest. Known for their large, heart-shaped leaves, Colocasia adds a bold and tropical touch to gardens. They prefer full sun to partial shade and moist soil.

With proper care, attention, and protection during colder months, it is possible to grow various tropical plants that add a sense of paradise to gardens in the Pacific Northwest.

Frontier Landscaping can install the beautiful landscape you’ve always wanted. Our expert landscaping installation/construction team will guide you through every phase of the project, from the design process to installing high-quality hardscaping elements, irrigation systems, plant material, and clean-up.

The Best Flowering Vines for the Pacific Northwest

Flowering Vines

Are you looking for the perfect flowering vines to add beauty and style to your Pacific Northwest garden? With so many options, it can take time to choose the right ones. Fortunately, there are some amazing flowering vines that are perfectly suited to the Pacific Northwest climate and will thrive in your garden.


One of the most popular flowering vines for your Pacific Northwest garden is clematis. These long-lasting and easy-to-care-for plants are a favorite among gardeners. Clematis come in a variety of colors and sizes so that you can find the perfect plant for your landscape. Their delicate petals look stunning in the spring and summer months, and they can provide your garden with a beautiful climbing accent. Clematis are well-suited for nearly any type of soil, so they’re also easy to maintain. Consider adding this flowering vine to your garden to bring beauty and charm to your landscape.


Honeysuckle is one of the most popular flowering vines for your landscape in the Pacific Northwest. With proper care, this flowering vine will give your garden a long-lasting display of colorful blooms and fragrance throughout the growing season. Beautiful, fragrant flowers attract pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds. Honeysuckle can be trained to climb up walls, trellises, or other structures, providing a burst of color and scent to any outdoor area. When planting honeysuckle, make sure you choose a spot that gets plenty of sunlight and has well-draining soil. You can also trim and prune this vine to control its growth and maintain a neat shape.

Black Eyed Susan Vine

For a unique flowering vine to incorporate into your landscape, Black Eyed Susan Vine is a perfect choice. This species of Thunbergia is an excellent addition to the Pacific Northwest garden. It thrives in warm summer temperatures and is known for its lush green foliage and bright yellow, daisy-like flowers. It is an annual vine, growing up to 20 feet long, and provides an impressive covering on any trellis or fence. Its long, sprawling vines are full of fragrant blooms, attracting hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators. The Black Eyed Susan Vine is also drought-tolerant, making it a low-maintenance option for gardeners looking for easy-care flowering vines for their landscape.


Jasmine is a beautiful and fragrant flowering vine for your landscape. It has a delicate, star-shaped flower with a heavenly scent. In the Pacific Northwest, several varieties of jasmine grow well in our area.

A beautiful addition to your landscape, jasmine is an excellent choice for a hardy and fragrant flowering vine. Jasmine vines need full sunlight and well-draining soil to thrive. Regular pruning is necessary to keep your vine blooming during the warmer months. Jasmine attracts hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden.

Passionflower Vine

One of the best flowering vines for your landscape in the Pacific Northwest is the Passionflower Vine. This easy-to-care-for and fast-growing vine boasts unique other-worldly, star-shaped flowers ranging from purple and blue to white and yellow. The Passionflower Vine is a very hardy vine, able to withstand extreme temperatures and difficult growing conditions. It is an excellent choice for those looking to add color and texture to their garden and offer a privacy screen.

Climbing Roses

Climbing roses can bring your Pacific Northwest garden to life. You can have beautiful blossoms and fragrances while also attracting pollinators. Climbing roses can be planted next to a patio and grow over an arbor, trellis, and other supports.

Flowering VinesSome varieties of climbing roses to consider include:
Arborose Quicksilver – has lavender blooms and a sweet fragrance. A wonderful climbing rose, it also has disease-resistant foliage.

Don Juan -This red rose produces blooms up to 4 inches and is fragrant. Don Juan is one of the better climbing roses.

Lady Banks – is a popular yellow rose that can grow up to 20’ feet tall. This climber prefers well-drained soil and needs sturdy support. A thornless variety, Lady Banks received an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

How to Use Flowering Vines in Garden Design

Flowering vines are a great addition to gardens in the Pacific Northwest, adding a pop of color and texture to your landscape. Vines can climb walls and fences, twine around trellises, or trail along the ground, creating an interesting and eye-catching visual.

Using flowering vines in your garden design is an excellent way to add color, texture, and scent to your landscape. Frontier Landscaping provides quality landscape installation and landscape maintenance services to keep your yard looking beautiful year-round. Give us a call today at (360) 574-8979.

Adding Texture to Your Landscape

Adding Texture to Your Landscape

Adding Texture to Your LandscapeAdding texture to your garden is a great way to make it stand out and look unique. By incorporating plants with various textures, you can create an eye-catching display.

From grasses to shrubs and succulents, many plants are spiny, peeling, or feathered in texture that can be added to your landscape.

Perennials for Texture
Perennials are a great way to add texture to your landscape. They come back year after year and can give your garden a unique and beautiful look. Perennials come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and can be used to create any garden design.

Consider plants such as:

  • Sedum
  • Elephant Ears (Bergenia)
  • Sword Fern
  • Wild Ginger
  • Allium
  • Astilbe
  • Santolina Chamaecyparissus
  • Lamb’s Ear
  • Yucca
  • Sea Holly

Ornamental Grasses for Texture
Adding ornamental grasses to your landscape is an easy way to add both texture and movement to your yard.

For those looking for year-round interest, ornamental grasses offer great value as many varieties can remain standing throughout the winter months. Their airy habit can soften a landscape and act as a backdrop for other plants in the garden.

When selecting ornamental grasses, consider the size of the mature plants and the amount of sunlight they will receive. Some varieties can reach heights of 4-6 feet and require full sun, while others stay relatively low in height and prefer partial shade.

  • Deschampsia
  • Carex
  • Orange Sedge
  • Northern Sea Oats
  • Black mondo grass

No matter which type of ornamental grass you choose, cutting back the foliage at least once a year is important to keep the grass healthy and encourage new growth. This task is best done in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.

Shrubs for texture
Shrubs are a great way to add texture and depth to your landscape. Whether you’re looking for evergreen shrubs, flowering shrubs, or low-maintenance varieties, many options give your garden year-round texture and interest.

Popular shrubs to include:

  • Red twig dogwoods
  • Japanese holly
  • Evergreen huckleberry
  • Oakleaf hydrangea
  • Smokebush

No matter what type of shrub you choose, be sure to research it thoroughly before planting. Each type of shrub has different requirements for light, water, and soil, so you want to make sure you pick one that will thrive in your garden.

Adding Texture to Your LandscapeTextural Trees
Trees are a great way to add texture to your landscape. They can provide privacy and protection from harsh winds and intense sunlight.

Try the following trees:

  • Raywood’s Weeping Arizona cypress
  • Pacific Madrone
  • River Birch
  • Hinoki false cypresses
  • Thunderhead Japanese Black Pine

When selecting trees for your landscape, consider the mature size of the tree, as well as its growth rate. Think about where you plan to plant the tree, such as an area with direct sunlight or a more sheltered location with dappled light.

Need help with your landscape design or pairing plants with your hardscapes? Call us for a free consultation at (360) 574-8979.

Creating a Drought-Tolerant Garden

Creating a Drought-Tolerant Garden

If you’re looking to reduce your water consumption, there’s no better place to start than your own yard. Whether you’re planting annuals or putting in new shrubs and trees, there are plenty of drought-tolerant gardening tips you can follow to create a beautiful garden with less water.

Drought-Tolerant Plants for the Garden
The best plants for low-water gardens are xeric plants (from the Greek word meaning dry) which are hardy and do well in dry climates. These plants have developed over time to be drought tolerant and use less water than traditional garden varieties.

Deodar Cedar
Norway Spruce
Smoke Tree

Arbutus unedo ‘Compacta’
Mugo Pine
Pacific Wax Myrtle

Sweet Potato Vine
Fountain Grass

Another option is drought-tolerant ground covers like creeping thyme or purple sage. These types of plants will not only make your garden look lovely but will help conserve water as well!

These plants will still need to be watered during dry spells for the first year or two until they become established. Once established, these water-thrifty plants will save you time.

Keep your soil in check with mulch
Compost and mulch are two of the easiest ways to retain moisture in your garden. A layer of mulch can cut down on water consumption by up to 50%. Compost is also an excellent addition to any soil because it will increase the amount of organic matter present in the soil. Organic matter increases the water-holding capacity of soils and improves nutrient availability. These two materials will both help you create a beautiful garden that won’t need much watering!

Creating a Drought-Tolerant GardenPlant closer together
Plant trees and shrubs closer together to provide shade and reduce the need for watering. Put large plants in the center of your garden, or place small plants around them to offer them some protection from strong winds.

Use Stones for Visual Interest
Using stones is one way to add interest to your garden. Stones are natural materials that are found in nature and can be used as focal points in your landscaping. They can also be used to create paths throughout the garden as well as act as barriers and even create shade around plants that need to be protected from the sun.

Dry Creek Beds
You may want to consider adding a dry creek bed to your drought-tolerant landscape. A dry creek bed is a type of garden design that mimics the natural environment by including rock or gravel as pathways and raised beds where plants can be planted.

Install a Water Feature
Installing a fountain in your drought-tolerant garden can actually help reduce water consumption. Typically fountains use about 3 gallons of water per hour. A typical backyard fountain can use up to 300 gallons of water per day. If you are using an electric pump then the cost is more as well. An aerating fountain only uses 3-5 gallons of water per hour. This type of fountain recycles the same amount of water over and over again without ever recharging the reservoir tank with new water.