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Make Your Garden Accessible with These Adaptive Gardening Solutions

Adaptive Gardening Solutions

A garden can be a great source of physical activity and mental stimulation. Still, if you have health issues or disabilities, you may need to adjust your garden before digging in the dirt. Read on to learn how to modify your garden, so it’s accessible and enjoyable.

Raised Beds

Raised beds are an excellent way to garden for people who have limited mobility or can’t bend over—these need to be at a comfortable height for seniors and disabled individuals.

Adaptive Gardening Solutions

Add potting benches to allow people sitting in wheelchairs to reach over the bed without having to climb onto it. The bed height should be 24 inches for someone seated in a wheelchair and 30 inches for someone who will stand while gardening but has difficulty bending and reaching.

Containers

Gardening in containers is adaptable to indoor and outdoor gardening. Containers can be placed on patios or porches or along walkways. You can also move them so they get enough sunlight.

Vertical Gardening

Climbing plants are fantastic in the garden and can add privacy or disguise a view. They can also provide visual interest year-round, depending on the selected plants. Make sure you are growing the right plants for the right height and can reach them at maturity. For example, consider growing up if you cannot bend down to harvest cucumbers.

A trellis can be placed in a raised bed, container, or the ground. Make sure plant stakes are not sharp and not a tripping hazard.

Some Plants suitable for vertical gardening are:

  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Squash
  • Clematis
  • Jasmine
  • Rose

Clear and Even Paths

Ensure all paths and walkways are wide enough for someone in a wheelchair. Avoid any slopes or edges that may cause someone to slip or fall. Use a rake to level the soil, especially near the seating area. Be sure that paths have a slight slope so water can run off and prevent slipperiness. Brush hard surfaces with a stiff broom to remove moss.

Adaptive Gardening Tools

Gardening tools come in a variety of sizes for a variety of abilities and situations. If you have difficulty gripping tools, look for larger handled tools or consider adding or modifying existing tools.

These are some of the adaptive gardening tools you might find helpful:

  • Kneeling benches or garden scooters can reach plants lower to the ground.
  • Arm cuffs go around your forearm and attach to various tools to help extend reach and increase leverage and grip. The tools available for attachment are trowels, forks, and cultivators.
  • Telescopic garden tools have an extendable reach, so you can rake or prune by lengthening the handles, even if you are in a wheelchair.
  • Grabbers to pick up debris like a giant pair of tongs.
  • Hand seed dispensers are simple and plastic for those who have difficulty gripping small objects.

Let us know how we can help make gardening more accessible for you. We create raised beds, seating areas, pathways, and patios depending on your unique needs. Contact us today!

Using Landscape Lighting to Create the Perfect Outdoor Oasis

Landscape LightingLandscape lighting can add atmosphere and ambiance to your outdoor living space and make it easier to navigate at night. However, where exactly should you install landscape lights? Here are some tips on how to use landscape lighting to create the perfect outdoor oasis and save energy at the same time.

 

 

Landscape LightingConsider LED lighting

Landscape lighting is a great way to make your outdoor space feel safe, inviting, and romantic.

There are many different types of lighting fixtures that can be used in landscape lighting projects.

The most commonly used type is LED lighting. They have an incredibly long lifespan compared with other lighting options.

Landscape lighting is used to help accentuate your home’s exterior and make it look more attractive. Placing landscape lighting in front of your house can help highlight what you consider to be your home’s most valuable features, like a beautiful garden or a breathtaking view. It can also be used as an additional security measure if you live in a neighborhood that has lots of foot traffic or break-ins.

Lighting Your Patio
If you’re looking for a way to spruce up your patio, consider adding landscape lighting. This will create the perfect space for entertaining during summer evenings, and it’s also an excellent way of ensuring safety in your garden by keeping intruders away at night.

There are many different types of lights that you can use, so start by deciding what type of lighting you want: spotlights, wall packs, or lights on poles. You may also want to think about how many light fixtures you need and what color bulbs would work best to create the right ambiance.

Landscape LightingLighting for Driveways, Walkways, and Steps

The driveway and walkways are typically the first areas people see when they pull up to a home. The light from these areas can be used to help you create a feel for what is waiting just inside.

Lighting up your steps is a great way to create an inviting pathway and can even be used as a safety feature. If you have children or pets, it will help them see where they are going at night.  When picking out bulbs, choose ones that mimic natural daylight so people don’t feel uncomfortable when they are outside after dark.

Landscape LightingLight Up Your Focal Points

If you need more of a focal point for your landscape lighting, consider using lights on trees or shrubs that line your walkways or use accent lights in between the plants in your flowerbeds.

Put up spotlights that focus all their attention on one tree (or any other part of the yard) to create a focal point and a tranquil atmosphere. They provide a focused beam of light on a certain area, but they don’t reach far into the surrounding area.

Floodlights: These lights typically have an oval or circular shape and cast light over a wide range. You may want to use these on a house’s exterior if you want to illuminate it at night, but they can also be used on landscaping features.

There are also lights for your water features that can be beautifully lit at night.

Let the Frontier Landscaping team install your landscape lighting. We’ll help you find the types and styles of lighting that create the atmosphere you want surrounding your home. Installing the right lighting in the right place in your yard can increase its beauty and functionality. Contact us today!

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.

Plants for the Drought-Tolerant 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.

Trees
Deodar Cedar
Norway Spruce
Smoke Tree

Shrubs
Arbutus unedo ‘Compacta’
Ceanothus
Mugo Pine
Pacific Wax Myrtle

Perennials
Lavender
Rosemary
Echinacea
Hebe
Sweet Potato Vine
Fountain Grass
Daylilies

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.

Japanese Garden Design

Incorporating some traditional elements of Japanese gardening into your garden space can help promote calmness and tranquility in your daily life. Many elements of Japanese garden design can help you achieve peace and relaxation.

Japanese gardens can contain zen gardens, statuary, water features, lighting, and more. Pick your spot with an appropriate space for the garden size you want to create. Think about focal points like fountains or statues in strategic locations to draw the eye or act as transitional areas from one area of interest to another part of the garden.

Plants for the Japanese Garden

Trees in Japanese garden design are usually pruned into shapes that reveal their architectural form. Ponderosa pine, Thuja plicata, Rocky Mountain juniper, and of course Japanese Maples are just some of the trees that work well in a Japanese garden design. Suitable shrubs for this type of garden include Oregon boxwood, witch hazel, and hydrangea. Some flowers can be used as a ground cover or to create a border around your garden; these include lily-of-the-valley vine, azaleas, and trilliums. Consider using an assortment of sedums and irises as they thrive in shade environments.

Bamboo

materials also include bamboo plants because bamboo symbolizes strength and peace in Japanese culture. It is important to use these elements because they help to create tranquility within the space by helping people relax through various senses including touch.

Bamboo fencing can help create garden rooms and block unsightly views. If you plant bamboo, only choose a clumping variety, so it doesn’t get out of control and become invasive.

Water Features

All elements blend in a uniquely Asian style in the Japanese garden. Japanese blood grass, stone pagoda lantern, and moss-covered rocks can surround a water feature like a fountain or a pond.

Zen Style

This Japanese Zen garden design features raked gravel or sand around stones, representing ripples of waves around islands. This can be done in a large or small format. It is easy to maintain and can promote contemplative thought.

Stones and Statuary

Stone lanterns shaped as zen pagodas or other Japanese symbols can add Japanese style to a small garden. Rocks are key components of this style of garden because they represent the relationship between earth and water, which is an important part of Japanese culture.

Let us know how we can help incorporate elements of Japanese garden design into your landscape. Contact Us Today!

Create a Hummingbird Garden

If you love attracting hummingbirds to your garden, why not consider creating a garden for them? Hummingbirds are amazing to watch and fun to attract to your outdoor space.

There are a few key elements to keep in mind when attracting these winged beauties to your landscape.

Eliminate Pesticides and Add Favorite Plants

To make your yard safe and inviting to these charming birds, eliminate pesticides and add native and hummingbird-friendly plants and insect-pollinated flowers. Our winged friends can eat insects in midair, so a pesticide-free and healthy garden is essential.

Hummingbirds prefer to nest near a ready supply of nectar and other food. You can encourage them to nest in your yard by maintaining shrubs and small deciduous trees for a protected place to rest and obtain cover.

The best way to create a hummingbird garden is to provide a wide variety of plants that produce nectar-rich flowers that are bright in color and tubular in shape. This is the fun part of the hummingbird garden!

Hummingbirds are attracted to bright red and orange flowers but will visit flowers in other hues after they find out about your garden. The following are a few plants that hummingbirds like.

  • Columbine
  • Lupine
  • Phlox
  • Red Hot Poker
  • Honeysuckle
  • Salvia
  • Flowering Currant
  • Crocosmia
  • Petunia
  • Monarda
  • Abutilons
  • Penstemons
  • Fuchsia

Water for Hummingbirds

Along with a nectar source, hummingbirds also like a supply of water. Their baths can be brightly colored and shallow, featuring a mister, dripper, or even a fountain.

Traditional bird baths tend to be too large for their tiny bodies. As a result, you’ll want to choose shallower bird baths when trying to attract hummingbirds to your garden. If you’d like to use a regular bird bath, you can add gravel or rocks to the bottom of the bird bath to create a shallow area.

When adding a mister, whether connected to your bird bath or not, try to position it next to a plant with leaves. Hummingbirds will rub their bodies against wet leaves to bathe.

August Landscaping Tips

August is a maintenance month for landscapers and gardeners. It is time to ensure your landscape is well-watered, weed-free, and looking good heading into fall. Below are a few of our August landscaping tips.

Plant Fall Perennials
Are you looking for more colors to carry you into the fall? Plant your fall perennials to keep your garden looking fresh.  Chrysanthemums, sedums, Japanese anemones, and echinaceas are excellent choices.

Harvest Herbs
Many herbs should be harvested this month to use during the coming year. Although most herbs are fresh and fragrant for many months, they often hit their peak in late summer. Harvest in the early morning after the dew dries but before the day heats up. Herbs can be dried or frozen or incorporated into recipes.

Weeding
Both annual and perennial weeds will start producing seeds now. If left unchecked, these can become extremely difficult to eliminate. The best time to weed is right after rain when the soil is still moist. If there is no rainfall, water your garden the night before you start weeding. You can pull weeds by hand or use a hoe. Just be sure to remove the entire plant including the roots.

Deadhead
Continue to deadhead annuals for more blooms. Consider adding a few more annuals to make it until fall.

Fertilize Containers
Container gardens will require fertilizer this month. One handful of fertilizer is equivalent to one tablespoon. Containers may need extra watering to look their best on hot days.

Watering
Be sure to keep evergreen trees and shrubs hydrated along with young trees and other plants. Sections of lawns that border driveways and sidewalks may need more water due to the added heat of concrete. Make appropriate adjustments to your irrigation system depending on the weather during the month.

Top Pacific Northwest Native Plants For Your Garden

Native plants are always a great addition to the landscape. They require less water and create shelter and food for wildlife while looking good at the same time.

Gardening with native plants can create a healthier and more beneficial environment for everyone.

Landscaping choices affect the populations of birds and the insects they need to survive.  If your garden has no native plants, it becomes an ecological desert for pollinating insects that are essential to our survival.

Native plants are adapted to our environment, so keeping them alive year-round may not be as difficult in the long term as more cultivated plants.

Here are some of the top native plant picks for our area:

Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa)
Pacific bleeding heart, of course, has pink heart-shaped blooms. This native plant grows easily. Hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers. The leaves emerge from the ground from February to March, and it starts to bloom in late March. It grows up to 2 ft. It can spread and does well in moist shade.

Showy Milkweed (Asclepsias speciosa)
Showy milkweed is a unique addition to any landscape. It has round pink flowers in a ball shape that attract pollinators. Showy milkweed does best in the open sun with moist, fertile soils and low competition from taller plants.

Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum)
Sword fern has toothed leaves and brown spores underneath. It does well in the sun or shade. Most plants reach 4 – 6 ft. Fiddleheads or small fronds emerge in the spring. It is used as a ground cover and can adapt to a wide range of soils and conditions. The Sword Fern can also prevent erosion by stabilizing soils in hilly areas.

Western trillium (Trillium ovatum)
This spring perennial flower grows to about 1- 1.5 ft. It can grow in partial shade to full sun and tolerates wet soil. The flowers go from white to pink as they fade. Wildlife enjoys eating the seeds.

Common Camas (Camassia quamash)
Camas is a well-known native flower that attracts pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds in the spring. The bulbs are planted in the fall. Camas is drought tolerant and does best in full sun. These beautiful plants grow 8 to 28 inches tall and 6 inches wide.

Broadleaf Lupine (Lupinus latifolius)
This top-notch, drought-tolerant evergreen perennial has blue-violet flowers in spring. Lupines are perfect for the back edge of a bed. These plants can grow between 2 – 3 feet tall and up to 3 feet wide. Lupines grow best in full sun and well-drained soil.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow is a low-maintenance native herb that benefits the ecosystem. It has small, flat-topped heads of flowers at the tops of the stems that attract native bees and other pollinators. Yarrow is drought tolerant and likes the full sun. They are also great as a cut flower. These plants grow up to 3 feet wide and 2 feet across.

Top Pacific Northwest Native Shrubs For Your Garden

If you are looking for a way to use fewer pesticides, less water, and create shelter and food for wildlife, then native shrubs may be a great addition to your garden.

Some Benefits of Native Shrubs

  • Native shrubs are adapted to our environment. This means keeping them alive year-round may not be as difficult in the long term as more cultivated plants.
  • They don’t require as much water and can also reduce rainwater runoff and even erosion in the landscape.
  • They provide nectar, pollen, and seeds that serve as food for pollinators and other animals.
  • They conserve water because they are adapted to our area.
  • They do not require fertilizers and require fewer pesticides than lawns.
  • Native plants do not require mowing. Excessive carbon is created by lawnmowers and other gas-powered equipment and can contribute to global warming. These plants actually remove carbon from the air.
  • Native plants provide shelter and food for wildlife.

Some Top Native Shrubs for the Pacific Northwest:

Red-flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum)

This shrub really brightens up your garden in early spring. It is a favorite of hummingbirds. Other birds also enjoy the berries, but they are non-edible to humans. Red-flowering Currant grows upright to between 3 – 9 ft. tall.

Oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor)

Oceanspray has cascading, creamy-white flower clusters and an arching habit. It is also known as Ironwood due to the strength of its wood. It can range from 2- 20 ft. tall. Oceanspray is drought tolerant and likes the sun. It blooms in June and July.

Tall Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium) 

Oregon Grape, the state flower of Oregon, has attractive foliage, yellow flowers, and blue “grapes.” It can be used as a hedge plant and is evergreen. Oregon Grape can get up to 6 ft. tall and 3 ft. wide.

Red-osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea or Cornus stolonifera)

This fast-growing shrub has year-round interest. Its red twigs are pretty, followed by leaves of reddish burgundy. The white flowers are sometimes present with the white berries. Birds are attracted to Red-osier Dogwood. It likes fairly wet soil and can grow in full sun from 3 – 18 ft. tall.

Pacific Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus)

This native shrub has year-round interest. Pacific Ninebark has glossy leaves and puffy white flowers that turn red in the fall and then to yellow seeds. The leaves turn reddish-brown. In the winter, the branches have peeling reddish-colored bark. This shrub can be planted in the sun or shade. It grows 10-15 ft. tall and is attractive to butterflies.

Indian Plum (Oemleria cerasiformis)

The Indian Plum is attractive to birds such as cedar waxwings and is also eaten by mammals. It grows as a multi-stemmed shrub to between 5 – 20 ft. tall. You need male and female plants for fruit. The bittersweet small fruit ripens in the fall and can provide winter feed for birds and other wildlife. It is one of the first shrubs to flower in the spring (February). It attracts bees and flies as pollinators.

Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii

Mock Orange has white fragrant flowers in the summer. A hardy shrub, it can be planted in full sun or part shade. Birds are attracted to this shrub, which can also be used as a hedge plant. The flowers attract moths and other pollinators. It grows from 6- 15 ft. tall.

Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

This native evergreen shrub not only has a fun name but is also attractive to birds and insects.  Kinnikinnick is low maintenance and has pink hanging bell-shaped flowers that bloom in the spring. The red berries appear from July and last through winter. This plant prefers sun and well-drained soil but can also tolerate some shade and soil variation. Kinnikinnick is used as a groundcover and grows up to 3 ft. wide.

Salal (Gaultheria shallon)

Salal is also known as Oregon wintergreen and is an evergreen native shrub. Salal can grow to over 6 ft tall in the shade and 3 ft. in the sun. It has urn-shaped flowers that are white to pink in color and bloom in April and May. The edible (but mealy), dark-purple berries ripen from July to September. As a common forest understory shrub deer and elk eat the leaves mostly in winter. The berries are eaten by birds and squirrels and the flowers attract hummingbirds.

At Frontier Landscaping we can help you design and install a native plant garden or incorporate more native plants into your existing landscape. Give us a call for a free consultation at (360) 574-8979.

It’s Time For A Spring Yard Clean-Up

If your garden looks more like an urban jungle this spring, there are tasks you can do for a spring yard clean-up.


Just like your house may need spring cleaning so does your yard. There are several spring yard tasks to complete this time of year.

Yard Tasks For Spring

Remove Yard Debris

First, remove yard debris like tree branches or twigs that may have fallen over the winter. Rake up leaves that may be covering your lawn from fall or blew in during heavier winds. This winter and spring we have had wind, hail, snow, rain, and sunshine, sometimes all on the same day! Your landscape may have taken a beating.

Get a Head Start on Weeds

The weeds are starting to emerge or maybe they never left for the season? Getting a head start on weeding can help you prevent a bigger problem later in the year. Debris removal of weeds is important so they don’t reseed themselves and regrow.

Add Fresh Mulch

Adding fresh mulch as a top layer in planting beds will instantly help spruce up the look of your yard and help your plants retain more moisture this summer. Mulching also helps keep weeds from taking over before you can pull them by cutting off their light source to grow.

Prune Your Plants

Prune back trees, shrubs, and plants to enhance the plant health and appearance of your property. Remove deadwood on plants and look to see if there are any shrubs or trees that may need removing.

Remove any dead growth on perennials and consider dividing them if they have grown large enough. Consider dividing bulbs or larger perennials. By dividing perennials you can add more interest to other parts of your yard for free.

Add Soil Amendments

Adding compost or fertilizer to the soil around your plants is also a good idea to keep your garden looking healthy for the season. A well-cared-for landscape can also increase your property value and may prevent trees and other plants from failing health later on.

We Can Help With Your Spring Yard Clean-Up

Frontier Landscaping offers not only seasonal yard cleanups but also land and brush clearing and debris removal for properties that may have been reclaimed by nature with extensive weeds and blackberries. When our team has finished with your yard clean-up, your property will be ready for any new project or space you wish to create this spring!

If you are feeling overwhelmed, need a one-time service, or regular landscape maintenance you can count on Frontier. Call or email us today for a free estimate on spring clean-up! (360) 574-8979 or [email protected]

Landscape Drainage Issues Flooding Your Thoughts?

Solutions to Help Problem Areas of Your Landscape

We get our fair share of rain in the Pacific Northwest, so it’s not uncommon to have some drainage issues with your landscape. Adding a rain garden or a dry creek bed are great drainage solutions that can even enhance the look of your landscape.

Water drainage problems in your yard decrease property value and can lead to costly water damage to your house and other structures, as well as plant and turf damage. With a little planning, you can alleviate your drainage issues to protect not only your yard but also your home.

How to Check Your Yard for Drainage Issues

Pay attention to where the trouble spots are in your yard. Are there slopes that could be leveled out, mulched, or other materials added for draining? Is there an area with runoff from the driveway or gutters?

To get a rough idea of where the problems lie, take advantage of heavy rains to watch what happens to the water. Does it gush from the gutter and flood your flower bed or pool below your deck? Is there an area in your yard that becomes a swamp – or that remains swampy all year? Lawns and plants will die and/or become susceptible to disease and pest problems if they’re not able to dry out.

Does water run across the driveway or into the street during a hard rain or, worse yet, soak areas around your home’s foundation? In some cases, the grade was not established correctly and did not take into account that the ground should slope down and away from the house.

Level a sloping yard. To avoid incoming water, the ground should always slope away from your home in all directions. Locate the high and low points of your home and use extra soil to slope the yard away from your house. Melting snow and rain will flow away from your home.

Landscape Drainage Solutions

Native Plants

Choose native plants that prevent flooding in your yard. Native plants can help to prevent soil erosion while also allowing rainwater to drain more efficiently. Some selections for our area are Slough Sedge, Western Columbine, and Pacific Ninebark.

Mulch

Using mulch in your garden can prevent water from flowing toward your home. In garden areas, grade away from your home and fill with a few inches of mulch. This will help keep soil in place and hold in rainwater. If mulching near your home, make sure the mulch is at least six inches from your siding to avoid moisture wicking and rotting of your home’s exterior.

Rain Garden

Consider planting a rain garden. Rain gardens are the perfect solution for curbing erosion and improving water quality. They collect rainwater and water that runs from your gutters and downspouts, creating runoff and filtering it away from your house. They are often created in shallow, landscaped depressions, which helps to naturally absorb rainwater in the ground.

Dry Creek Bed

Install a dry creek bed to provide attractive and functional relief, especially if your landscape has standing water.

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. This drainage solution can be a nice addition to the look of your landscape by using different-sized rocks, boulders, and plantings.

French Drains

French drains are the most commonly used means of collecting, conducting, and discharging water. This is a trench filled with gravel, sand, or rock (depending on application) and containing a perforated pipe that redirects surface water and groundwater away from an area. The perforated (“weeping”) pipe also allows small amounts to seep into the ground along the way.

Frontier Landscaping has years of experience designing and implementing features that effectively carry water away from problem areas. Our expert installation team will determine the best place to collect excess water, the best method and route to conduct it, and an appropriate discharge point. We do the clean-up, too! Give us a call today!