Laying the Groundwork for Success in Business
Just like investing in your home’s landscaping to improve its value, we invest in our business. We did our groundwork by having our Third Annual Staff Retreat in Sunriver, Oregon along the sunny Deschutes river. Our employees and their families enjoyed four days of planning and development, rest and relaxation.
We chose ‘Growing Forward’ as our theme to focus our planning efforts. Bill Arman from the Harvest Group provided business insight and inspiration. We worked on goals and long-range planning to ensure we can provide the services you need. To deliver top-notch service and ensure you get the very best experience, we discussed quality and improvement, as well as customer service and communication. Employee support and retention, and of course, training and safety are the foundation of any solid business.
We take great pride in being able to take the time to refresh and refocus our business every year. And besides, there was great fishing and golf. Check out more photos from our retreat on our Facebook page!
Did you know that interacting with nature provides healing benefits to your body and mind? It’s true. Research has shown that within minutes of moving outside, positive changes occur in the body, such as lower blood pressure, decreased heart rate, reduced stress, and improved mood.
A recent community project at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center has inspired us to revisit the specific elements that can bring a sense of rest and healing to a home landscape. Having a place to unwind, relax, and recharge is a gift, especially if you live a busy life on the go.
The Sanctuary Garden, by Christopher and Tricia McDowell, highlights seven design elements of a peaceful space. Whether it’s for just one corner in the yard or a whole property transformation, using these strategies makes it easy to refresh yourself with restful time outdoors.
Enhance Your Garden Entrance
Use a naturally-styled pathway, hedge, steps, or fence to make entering the sanctuary feel special. This boundary can be soft or firm, depending on the level of privacy desired.
Use Soothing Waters
A water feature doesn’t have to be elaborate to evoke a relaxing feel. Even a simple rock bubbler provides pleasing sounds and visual appeal. For larger spaces, a pond or waterfall puts nature’s beauty just steps away from your door.
Will you be spending time in your sanctuary in the early mornings or evenings? Use low-wattage or LED lighting to set off plants and decorative features to their best advantage when natural light is low. Create beautiful shadows and draw attention to subtle colors and textures of your flowers and plants with discreetly placed lights.
Provide a Resting Place
Whether it’s a single bench or a suite of comfortable garden furniture, pick a spot or two that invites visitors to sit down and stay a while. Consider adding an outdoor bookshelf or blanket box to make it easy to kick back and relax.
Mimic Mother Nature
There’s no better guide to design than Mother Nature for a sanctuary garden. Use natural materials in combination: rocks and boulders, ornamental grasses, wood, shrubs, and flowers. Have a favorite hiking spot or viewpoint? Bring a few elements home with you. You might pair trees and wildflowers, boulders and water, or rocks and ferns to create the feel you love.
Add Pleasure With Garden Art
Accent the natural beauty of your space with an art piece that enhances the mood you’d like to set. Consider colorful ceramic pots, a wind-powered sculpture, or a playful statue to complement the style of your home and continue it in the sanctuary.
Invite Beautiful Visitors
Provide habitat and features to attract birds and butterflies. Using native plants often pays rewards here, as they are conditioned to thrive in the local environment and offer a suitable home to your neighborhood birds. Add a birdbath or feeder to encourage visits from your favorites.
Not sure what to plant? Talk to our landscaping team. We have decades of local experience and will give you our best tips for plant materials that fit your level of interest and design aesthetic.
Following two, three, or all seven of the design principles above will bring you closer to having your own healing sanctuary. The Frontier Landscaping team would be happy to talk to you about the vision you have and how to effectively make it a reality.
“Getting away from it all” might be a lot closer than you think! Call (360) 574-8979 or send us an email to arrange a consultation today.
While midsummer is marked by long evenings, BBQs, and time spent outdoors, it’s also a critical time to check up on tree health after a season of intense winter distress. The consequences of a prolonged cold season can be quite serious and aren’t always recognized from the ground unless you know what to look for.
Greg Irwin, Frontier’s ISA-Certified Tree Service Manager, shares: “After an abnormally long winter and short spring, we’re observing excessive rapid growth and full flushing of foliage on many trees. Our top recommendation for most situations is to have trees trimmed for thinning and perform crown reduction for weight issues, structure and balance.”
Winter Distress: What to Look For
Trees That Look Abnormally Full
In years when winter is unusually cold, long, and intense, trees’ dormancy periods are extended – sometimes as much as a month to six weeks longer than average. When the severe winter is followed by a short spring, the result is a near “shock mode” of explosive foliage.
Look over your trees during or just after a rainfall. Do you notice them hanging atypically low, sagging down further than normal? This heavy bowing is likely the result of extra weight from an excess of foliage.
Trees Encroaching Heavily on Other Trees & Shrubs
Are you observing significant encroachment of your trees on other trees and shrubs, even if you had them pruned last year? Clearance issues are common as branches hang low over houses, driveways, and sidewalks.
Bending, Bowing, and Breaks: What’s At Stake
While cabling and bracing can offer partial solutions, the increase in foliage after a prolonged winter puts even small limbs at risk of breaking due to extra weight, on almost any tree species. While larger limbs won’t break, they may bow out so far that they can’t be cabled and will have to be removed.
For large tree sections or limbs that were previously compromised or had beginnings of decay, rapid growth and the resulting excess weight can increase the stress on poor attachments tenfold. Healthy trees are at risk, too, as the weight alone can cause breakage for many ornamental varieties.
Birch trees are particularly susceptible due to their growth habits. If bowed limbs are not straightened up and cabled promptly, they may fail entirely.
Hidden Issues in Healthy-Looking Trees
While bowing and sagging are easy to identify from the outside, other problems remain hidden and can catch you with troubling surprises later.
When a short spring and warm summer follow an extended winter, the speed of new growth can do quite a number on your trees from the inside out. As the growing season progresses, an abundance of internal suckers can create an environment that seriously affects the health of your tree overall.
Additionally, an exponential increase in new leaves means that autumn cleanup is going to be markedly more work than a more typical year as the litter layer dies and falls off. While this isn’t hazardous, a good pruning treatment is smart. Left unchecked, the amount of leaf drop can be doubled in volume, which means twice as much work to clean up later on.
Rescuing Your Trees From Winter Distress: What To Do Next
Call Frontier Tree Service to schedule services for your trees. Our highly-trained ISA-Certified arborists will expertly evaluate your situation and make the very best recommendation for the health and safety of trees around your home or business.
ISA certified arborist, Greg Irwin
“For the 2017 season, our top recommendation for most situations is to have trees trimmed for thinning, as well as perform crown reduction for weight issues, structure and balance.” – Greg Irwin, ISA-Certified Arborist and Frontier Tree Services Manager.
Frontier Tree Services include:
- Ornamental pruning
- Tree, shrub, and stump removal
- Cabling and Bracing
- Risk Assessment
- Diagnosis & Treatment
- 24/7 Emergency Tree Services
Call (360) 574-4125 or send us an email to arrange a consultation today.
Learn more about proper tree care by visiting the Frontier Landscaping blog.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Front yard makeovers offer high potential for impact. A great design boosts curb appeal, property value, and can be enjoyed every single day.
In 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 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.
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.
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. 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].
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.
Hardscapes are composed of the non-living elements of your landscape design. These may include walkways, patios, walls, arbors, fences, lighting, and more. When a hardscape is developed to express a natural design aesthetic, it’s fun because the ‘hard’ pieces (gravel, rocks, and boulders) often play off of nature’s ‘softest’ elements: spongy ground covers, textured bark, and water.
Rocks and Boulders
Does the thought of hauling huge rocks into your yard seem a little strange? It’s not unusual for clients to give us a raised eyebrow or two when we assess their design goals and suggest bringing in boulders and rocks.
Truth be told, natural hardscape designs almost always include accent rockery. Think about the views you encounter when out on a hike. Elements are rarely standing alone: it’s a combination of rocks, grasses, trees and water that work together to create nature’s beauty.
In the installation below, a backyard water feature moved from ordinary to enchanting when we mirrored the composition of Mother Nature.
Fir trees cleared during the home’s construction were repurposed to create this stream, fed by a custom pond above. The strategic placement of large boulders and accent rocks brings power and definition to the piece, maximizing its beauty in the landscape.
Slate and Flagstone
Hardscapes have a few workhorse elements, and slate and flagstone are longtime favorites. These materials are available in myriad colors, shapes, textures, and sizes. While a formal look calls for a tight “jigsaw” style perfect fit of pieces, a charming transformation occurs when we stretch out to 2-4 inches of space between each.
Taking cues from English gardens, these pathways and patio have been spaced widely to allow hardy groundcover to grow in around each piece of stone. Irish moss, Corsican mint, and Blue Star creeper all shine when put to use in this way.
If you’re considering a naturalized area for seating or dining, keep in mind that flagstone is more textured and makes for a bumpier surface for your tables and chairs. Larger pieces with wider bases will allow you to sit more comfortably.
Paver-style stones can offer natural texture in conveniently standardized sizing, typically 18×18 or 24×24 inches. Considerations for slope, drainage, and planned use in your landscape will all play a part in determining which material is best for your project.
Get Your Look
After nearly three decades of residential and commercial installations, we’re still energized by the process of finding the “just right” balance of hardscaping and plantings for our clients. Are you ready to trade a monotone view for natural beauty around your home or business?
Call (360) 574-8979 or send us an email to arrange a consultation today.
Further Reading on Hardscapes:
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, 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Curb appeal is a big deal to home sellers and homebuyers, but the thrill of a great landscape isn’t exclusive to folks on the move. If you’re comfortably settled and like your location, landscape renovations give you the opportunity to reinvent the look and feel of your home without buying a new house.
When you’ve lived in your home for a few seasons, you’ve had time to realize what works well and what doesn’t in your landscape. You’ve seen the places in the yard that are problematic. Do any of these sound familiar?
- Lawn and driveway spots that fill with puddles
- Sun beating down (or wind roaring through) bare spots in the yard
- No outdoor seating or inviting recreation areas
- Overgrown shrubs and trees that bend or break under the weight of winter weather
- Sickly or moss-invaded lawn
- No privacy
- Boring views
A landscape renovation is doubly gratifying when you’re solving irritating problems and adding beauty and function to the home you love. Here are three approaches to getting a refreshing new house feel without packing a single box.
Out With the Old
Are existing plants or shrubs sick or overcrowded? Are they unattractive? Maybe they’re simply too high maintenance for your busy schedule. Getting rid of overgrown plantings creates a clean look, encourages healthy growth of what’s left, and helps control pest problems.
Update and Upgrade
Decks and Patios
Has a weatherbeaten deck or concrete patio caused drainage issues for way too long? Exchange it for a paver patio. New eco-friendly materials are available in more colors and shapes than ever before. They’re great for controlling runoff and can enhance the overall look and feel of your home by complementing its style.
To take full advantage of all pavers can offer, choose a product specifically designed to allow gaps and drainage. Mutual Materials offers a variety of Eco-Priora® and Eco-Stone® options that can be laid in attractive patterns for patios, driveways, and pathways.
Lawn and Plantings
When garden beds are new, it’s easy for excited homeowners to overplant. However, what started as a pretty riot of color can become a tangled, stunted mess as plants compete for the space they need in maturity. Updating your plants by thinning and pruning significantly improves their performance and health over time.
Consider exchanging labor intensive exotic plants for native specimens. They’re naturally adapted to the climate and require little assistance to grow and thrive. Adding pollinator-friendly native plant material is another way to offer an environmentally positive benefit to your local ecosystem.
Instead of replacing your lawn, redo it. Green spaces play an important part in maintaining 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 clean water benefits.
Shrubs and Trees
If your shrubs and trees have been left unattended for their first few seasons, it’s not too late to retrain them for better function and safety. With timely intervention and consistent maintenance, retraining reduces the risk of failure around your home. After all, a well-kept hedgerow is much less likely to buckle and break during the winter time than an overgrown one.
Before and after pruning: Leyland Cypress / Cupressus × leylandii
Example: Leyland Cypress
The mighty Cupressus × leylandii has the unfortunate distinction of being the #1 evergreen that Frontier Tree Service sees split apart due to winter failure. While the problem is based in the tree’s genetics, young Leyland Cypress trees do well when retrained as hedges. Hardier than arborvitae, they make excellent screens as they grow to maturity.
Irrigation technology has come a long way. Nowadays, remote timers and high-efficiency systems offer the most cost-effective and environmentally conscious solution for watering your property. Replace an old ‘spray and pay’ sprinkler system with efficient drip irrigation and a rain sensor to shut off sprinklers when it’s raining to save water. Click to learn more about Frontier Landscaping irrigation services.
While the first years in a new home can be preoccupied with settling in, as time goes on it’s natural to want to more fully express your style on the exterior as well as within. Basic landscapes don’t usually include the richly textured details that take a landscape from ordinary to breathtaking. If you’re ready to really enjoy your views from indoors and out, consider adding structure and depth with one or more of the following pieces:
Are you ready to update your landscape’s look? Frontier Landscaping Inc was established in 1988 for the purpose of providing customers with a full-service landscape experience. We specialize in high-end residential landscapes, but we’re available for projects of any scope and size. Contact us today to talk about transforming your landscape with an attractive, inviting look and feel.
Fan the flames of inspiration by visiting our photo-filled Ideabooks on Houzz – the #1 site in the world for home and landscape renovation ideas:
Rain gardens are growing in popularity as drainage solutions for environmentally-conscious property owners. These carefully-designed landscapes add more than beauty to their surroundings. They are proven to have a significant impact in reducing the flow of contaminated water from urban areas to wetlands, streams, lakes, and other natural waterways.
Installing a rain garden is a powerful way to directly contribute a positive impact on the environment surrounding your home or business.
Why Do Rain Gardens Matter?
As communities grow and develop, buildings, roads, and rooftops replace native habitats. During times of precipitation, the original flow of water through the enviroscape is disturbed. Instead of being naturally filtered through pre-existing forests and soil, stormwater now flows at a high rate over hard surfaces and carries man-made pollutants with it. Erosion and increased flooding become problematic.
Additionally, the higher flow rate of water and contaminants that result from development cause real problems for regional aquatic life and water resources. However, rain gardens offer an exciting array of solutions.
- Slow erosion and alleviate flooding
- Decrease pollution and waste.
- Clean runoff naturally
- Reduce the workload for wastewater facilities
- Can be created in public and private spaces of any shape and size, including businesses, residences, or public spaces
What Is A Rain Garden?
Rain gardens are bowl-shaped depressions in a landscape that collect and clean rainwater runoff from hard surfaces nearby, like driveways, roofs, parking areas, and patios.
They are designed with special soil mixes that allow speedy absorption of water — usually a combination of sand, topsoil, and compost. This amended soil filters runoff and also supports a variety of plant growth.
Note: Rain gardens are not permanent ponds. They are sized to allow temporary pooling after rain. In a well-designed garden, all water passes through very quickly, typically from one to two hours (maximum of one to two days) after a storm. This prevents stagnation and mosquitoes.
Photo: WSU Extension
There are a number of ways water can be diverted to a rain garden through a landscape. It may be that one approach works well for a back yard/patio area, but a different one is more effective for dealing with runoff issues in the front.
Design Features of a Rain Garden
Soil is where it all begins. Reworking the ground to provide the right blend of soil, sand, and compost is critical to having a healthy rain garden. Absorption, drainage, and filtration all rests on getting this foundation prepared correctly.
There are three planting zones in a rain garden:
Zone 1 The wettest area, at the bottom of the rain garden. Important to install plants in this zone that can handle “wet feet” for several hours at a time.
Zone 2 The sloped sides of the garden, which may become wet from time to time. These plants provide stability and prevent erosion.
Zone 3 The perimeter of the rain garden, with the driest soil.
Since rain garden design is based on earth-friendly practice, using native plantings to fill out the three zones makes a lot of sense. Native plants create a nourishing habitat for local wildlife, birds, butterflies, and other important pollinators.
Photo: Washington State Department of Ecology
“Plants and soil work together in the rain garden. The plant roots and soil organisms build soil structure, create channels and pores to soak up and filter water, and improve nutrient and oxygen availability necessary to support an abundance of life. While plants help the rain garden absorb stormwater, they also create an attractive landscape for your yard and neighborhood.” — WSU Extension, Rain Garden Handbook for Western WA
How to Know If A Rain Garden Is Right For You
A rain garden may be a good fit for you if you answer “yes” to the following questions:
- Do you want to improve the landscaping and appearance of your property?
- Would you like to directly reduce the amount of pollutants reaching groundwater and storm drains in your community (as well as wetlands, streams, and other natural waters)?
- Would you like to reduce flooding, prevent sewer overflows, and erosion in streams by absorbing runoff from hard surfaces?
- Is providing habitat for beneficial insects and birds important to you?
- Would you like to be responsible for recharging local groundwater by increasing the amount of water that soaks into the ground on your property
Let’s Get To Work
Frontier Landscaping offers professional expertise and support for residential and commercial clients committed to environmentally-conscious landscaping. While the best time for testing soil drainage and groundwater levels is in late winter months, we are available to walk you through the planning process for a rain garden at any time of year:
- Site assessment & testing
- Garden location
- Soil amendment & excavation
- Planting requirements
- Design aesthetic
- Maintenance goals
- Compliance with city/county regulations
- Long-term success
Call (360) 574-8979 or email us to get started on your path to a cleaner, greener future.
Additional Reading: Washington State Extension Rain Garden Guide
VANCOUVER, Wa. , Dec 28, 2016 — The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) is pleased to announce the addition of Frontier Landscaping as a participant in the NALP Safe Company Program, sponsored by CNA Business Insurance.
The Safe Company Program is a new safety initiative developed by NALP. The goal: to assist landscape and lawn care companies in their efforts to provide a safe work environment.
Participants sign the Safe Company Pledge that commits them to maintaining an active safety program within their company. Professional companies make safety a priority. They take an active role through safety training and investigation and documentation of job-related injuries. They are expected to comply with all OSHA postings and other regulatory requirements. Additionally, participants pledge to participate in the NALP Safety Recognition Awards Program.
“At Frontier Landscaping, we have a long history of employing highly-skilled specialists. These team members consistently devote hours of study to maintaining their professional certificates. Continuing education is important to all of us. Participating in the new NALP Safe Company Program is an exciting way to continue demonstrating our commitment to safety and best practices in our industry.”
For more information about the NALP Safe Company Program, visit landscapeprofessionals.org, call NALP at 800- 395-2522, or email [email protected].
Regular safety meetings are one important way the crew at Frontier Landscaping demonstrates our team’s commitment to delivering the very best responsible, reliable services to the Clark County and Portland Metro communities we serve.
More About Frontier Landscaping
Established in February 1988, Frontier Landscaping, Inc., is a multi-award winning company providing landscape, maintenance, and tree care services for residential and commercial properties throughout SW Washington and the Portland Metro area.
- National Association of Landscape Professionals
- Washington Association of Landscape Professionals
- International Society of Arboriculture
- Building Industry Association of Clark County
- Vancouver Downtown Association
- Washington State Farm Bureau
Certifications and Awards
Best of Clark County 2016
“Albina Fuel Award – Outstanding Corporate Partner” from the Vancouver Downtown Association (VDA)
More About NALP
The National Association of Landscape Professionals represents an industry that employs nearly 1 million landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care professionals who create and maintain healthy green spaces for the benefit of society and the environment. For more information, visit LoveYourLandscape.org.