How Much Landscaping Rock Do I Really Need?

Landscaping rock emerged a winner of the 2020 and 2021 landscaping scene. And no wonder, from natural stone and river rocks, to pea gravel and bedding, landscaping rock looks gorgeous and provides a quick lift to a tired yard, not to mention creates the right stable foundation for your landscaping and hardscaping projects.

How to Calculate How Much Rock I Need in Cubic Yards

There are several formulas you can use, but the one Toemar recommends is the easiest and most accurate.

It’s important to know how much you need, because too little means going through the whole process twice, and too much is difficult because most landscaping rock can’t be refunded, not to mention the hassle of getting it back to the store.

You know the saying, ‘measure twice, cut once’? For landscaping supplies, we say, ‘measure twice, order once!’

First determine the area and depth you need to cover. Know the length and width in feet and the height in inches, then apply this formula:

(Length (ft) * Width (ft) * (Depth (inches) / 12)) / 27

For example, if the section of yard you want to cover in gravel is 4ft long, 6ft wide, and 12 inches deep, it would look like this:

(4 x 6 x (12 / 12)) / 27 = 24 / 27 = 0.88 cubic yards

How much does one cubic yard of landscaping rock cover?

Use this handy chart to determine how many bulk bags of material you will need to order:

landscaping rock measurement chart

Toemar’s Bulk Sand Rock and Limestone Calculator

Simply input your measurements into Toemar’s landscaping materials calculator and let us do the math for you. The calculator is located on Toemar’s homepage. If you’re using your laptop or desktop, you’ll see the green calculator icon to the right of the screen. If you’re using your mobile, you’ll see the green calculator icon overlaying the main picture…

Use this landscaping calculator for stone, sand, soil and mulch on your laptop/desktop:

calculator for landscaping rock

Mobile version of Toemar’s landscaping calculator:

how to measure landscaping rock

Work with Toemar for Your Landscaping Needs

Choosing the right amounts of landscaping rock and other materials for your project can get confusing even for the most experienced landscapers. That’s why the Toemar team works closely with both landscapers, hardscapers and homeowners to make sure they get exactly what they need in the right quantity.

If you ever have a question or concern, simply drop us a line at 905-826-3821.

What do You Lay Under Landscaping Rock?

Sometimes using landscaping rock in your project is a necessity, like limestone screening for pavers, but other times, landscape rock is used to create a beautiful, low maintenance environment for homeowners.

But for that low-maintenance benefit to last, it’s important to create a barrier between the rocks and soil that will prevent weeds from cropping up.

Landscape fabric creates an intentional weed barrier that encourages root growth beneath it because air, water and nutrients can still flow into the soil beneath.

Toemar’s weed barrier come with a 20-year guarantee, or you can use a heavy duty filter cloth type (usually this would be the best choice to line retaining walls, etc.)

How to Install a Weed Barrier Beneath Landscaping Rocks

1. Measure out how much landscaping fabric you will need by calculating the area and order.

2. Remove sod, plants, etc. and level the area as much as you can. If the space you where you are adding the rocks abuts your home’s foundation, make sure to add a slight gradient that will carry rainwater and snowmelt AWAY from your foundation.

3. Choosing a dry day, lay the landscaping fabric where you want it, and use heavy stone to secure it along the edges, so it doesn’t shift when you cover it with the landscaping stone. Make sure edges overlap any curbs or edging because it will sink down a bit when covered with stone.

4. Cover the space in your landscaping rock.

5. Trim the fabric to fall around anything coming out of the ground like pipes, etc.

Check out this video on how to what to lay beneath your landscaping rocks…

The other option is not to create that barrier, but unless you’re using many inches of material, chances are, you’ll see green weeds poking through your material within a year or two. Some people prefer this, and we support that, but it’s important to know the likely outcome of using vs not using landscape fabric underneath your rock.

In our experience, the vast majority of landscaping and hardscaping professionals use landscaping fabric as a matter of course, and this is not an area where you’ll want to cut corners.

For more information on ordering your bulk landscaping rock, visit us at www.toemar.ca or drop us a line.

How to Use Landscaping Rock in Your Yard

Outdoor Space

Landscaping rock of any kind will create the perfect ambiance for your patio or outdoor sitting space. Our favourite is to see uniform pathways extending from the central outdoor sitting/living space to various points in the yard. It creates a sense of continuity and expands the feel of the stone – whether it be sleek or more modern in design – throughout the yard, achieving a cohesive and coordinated feel to the space.

Water Features

Use landscaping rock around hot tubs, patios and pools. Smooth cut natural stone pavers go well with almost any landscape and create an instant environment of sleek modernity.

With clever contemporary designs, smooth cut pavers can be extended on pathways, retaining walls and even around sitting areas. For natural designs, large natural boulders can double as sitting areas and create gorgeous focal points for the yard, particularly if placed near waterfalls.

Water Gardens

The idea of a water garden may inspire memories of the rugged and wild fairy pools of Connemara or the graceful and elegant sun-gilded still water of a Japanese lily pond. Careful use of natural stone and water can create a water feature that captures the imagination and creates a brag-worthy oasis of calm in your backyard.

We have seen homeowners use natural stone to create water features within their pool (for example, a natural stone waterfall) or to create a stunning and natural landscape around a pool or hot tub, and even a few brave souls who simply wanted to recreate a truly stand-alone water garden on their property.

It’s worth mentioning koi ponds in this section and we offer a word of warning:

We live in Mississauga. If you plan to build a pond and invest in both koi and a winter warmth system, make sure you have a strong protection barrier that even the wiliest of raccoons can’t displace.

Be diligent! Mississauga’s most determined citizens have a relentless appetite for koi, but forewarned is forearmed.

Patio Space

There are two ways you may want to use landscaping stone in your patio project. The first is pavers. Natural stone pavers can create a striking and modern look for your yard. Having said that, it’s more natural looking than old-fashioned interlocking stone and the colours and textures blend in more seamlessly with your garden and tree-scape.

The trick to natural stone pavers is professional installation. Because they tend to be larger and flatter than traditional interlocking brick, you need to make sure your foundation is perfectly level. Uneven pavers due to levelling will stand out and interrupt the entire impression of your yard. Unless you’re a professional hardscaper or landscaper, this is not a simple DIY weekend project.

The other way to use landscaping stone in your patio design is by investing in large natural boulders as accent pieces. If you do place a few boulders on your patio, remember to place them elsewhere in your yard as well to extend the feel of your patio space and create some continuity and flow.

What Kind of Rock Can I Use Instead of Pavers?

Everyone loves pavers because they tend to be affordable, durable and can usually be installed in a day or two (ideally by a professional – read above!)

But there are so many kinds of landscaping rock out there, that there’s no need to be tied to just one.

Lockdown 2020 brought about some big trends for 2021, in particular, creativity around what kind of landscaping rock homeowners and landscapers are using in their landscape designs.

Gone are the days (the 1990s!) when interlocking pavers in geometric designs were the start and end of modern landscaping. Today landscapers take their cues from the natural landscape and mix materials, elevations and plant life to create oases that feel natural and blend into their environments.

We’ve listed a few ideas to get your imagination flowing…

River Rock: Is River Rock Good For Landscaping?

We had a client ask this the other day, and 35 minutes later, when we couldn’t stop talking about river rock, you might think they regretted asking the question, but not so – they were totally on board! River rock is, for all intents and purposes, FABULOUS.

Starting around 2016, river rock became a big deal in landscaping circles. River rocks are easy and versatile to incorporate into most landscape designs. Particularly when used as edging or to create lightly trod pathways that meander around front-yard gardens.

River rocks are a good option with children because they lack sharp edges. Come summertime, no matter how many times we ask our kids to wear sandals, bare feet rule.

Sometimes, it’s better to let your six-year-old feel the sun-warmed-river rock on the soles of their feet while they eat a popsicle; it’s the Mississauga way.

We also have several clients who have replaced their mulch with a few inches of river rock (six, to be exact) to deter determined dogs from digging. This solution not only helps their garden but can also protect the dogs as not all varieties of mulch are pet friendly.

River rock comes in three sizes at Toemar:

1″ River Rock
https://gardenbag.ca/collections/all/products/river-rock-1

Landcaping with river rock

 

1″-3″ River Rock

https://gardenbag.ca/collections/all/products/river-rock-1-3

How to measure river rocks

 

4’-8” River Rocks

https://gardenbag.ca/collections/all/products/river-rock-4-8

How to measure landscaping rock

Pea Gravel: Where Should I Use Pea Gravel?

Pea gravel is a popular option for everything from walkways and borders to your basement window well.

It’s smooth on tender feet and satisfies both style and function. Pea gravel can be used (carefully) in lieu of mulch because it’s quite light yet serves as an appropriate driveway material while creating a natural and beautiful focal point.

https://gardenbag.ca/collections/gravel-1/products/pea-gravel

As an aside, many of our clients ask (seriously):

Will my dog poop on gravel?

We’re dog people too, so we’ve got an answer to this common question.is pea gravel safe for dogs

Regular gravel can hurt your puppy’s paws, but pea gravel is rounded so it’s the perfect place for your pooch to… errrr…poop, but make sure your dog isn’t more interested in playing with the pea gravel than doing its business.

Bottom line? Each dog is different, but if it can work for your puppy, it’ll work for you too.

Flagstones: Are Flagstones Expensive?

Flagstones cost more than the average interlocking paver, but over time, the investment is worth it.

Flagstone provides a beautiful and durable surface that will survive decades. Versatility is key, because flagstone can be cut smooth and sleek – square cut, which is easier to install – or more rugged and natural looking.

Colours tend to lean towards natural browns, grays, blues and blacks; perfect for patios, pathways and porches.

The cost of flagstone is quickly justified by a few factors:

  • Unique Design (they look gorgeous)
  • Durability (decades!)
  • Easy Maintenance (seal and be done with it… for YEARS)
  • Permeability (because rain is meant to be absorbed by land, not washed onto your neighbours’ foundation)

Can you get landscaping rock or pavers delivered?

Absolutely! There are a few ways to arrange deliver with Toemar or Toemar’s bulk material branch, Gardenbag.

For landscaping rock:

If you order your landscaping rock through Gardenbag.ca, and by the square yard, depending on where you live, we will either deliver your garden bag of material for free or charge a flat fee for delivery.

Simply make sure to check our delivery areas before you order, and if you’re still not sure, send us a note via email or Facebook and we’ll respond quickly.

If you’re a landscaper, you may need more than a few yards of product. Give us a call at 905.826.3821 and we can arrange a bulk delivery (via dump truck) to wherever you need that material. This costs a bit more, but when you’re on the job, time is money, and we’re happy to save you that time by bringing your materials to you.

For pavers:

In 2020, Toemar launched its online shop which provides a quick and easy way to order your natural stone pavers.  Simply visit https://shop.toemar.ca/collections/pavers to browse the collection.

We also stock all these materials on our lot at 1005 Eglinton Ave. W (Eglinton & Terry Fox) in Mississauga should you wish to see them in person, but definitely check local covid lockdown measures before you come.

Most of the time, Toemar can deliver your pavers within 3-5 business days. Feel free to drop us a line for more information. We’d be happy to help you with all your landscaping projects!

A New Year, a New Landscaping Business? Tips to Help You Get Started

The big lesson we learned in 2020 is that, when forced to stay home, the good people of Peel region turn to their landscapers to create their ideal environment.

As a result, last year was a steady year for many landscaping businesses, so it’s no surprise that, for 2021, many of enterprising souls plan to start their own landscaping business.

Landscapers are the heart-blood of Toemar; they always have been, and with over 40 years working with landscapers and hardscapers under our belt, we’d like to think we’ve learned a thing or two about the anatomy of a successful landscaping business.

Before we begin, it’s worth saying that this industry is on the grow. There is lots of room for new companies! We can speak to this anecdotally of course; last year was off the charts in terms of demand (even if the situation meant we couldn’t always be open), but the years before Covid also saw incremental growth and an influx or new landscaping companies, the vast majority of them successful.

The numbers also prove the point. Landscaping in Canada is an $8bn (USD) industry. It employs upwards of 70k people across the country, and it’s egalitarian and diverse: No one company owns more than 5% of overall market share (as small business owners ourselves, we love this stat.)

Landscaping growth tends to follow housing industry growth and is therefore concentrated in certain places – Mississauga and the GTA being one of them.

Just because the external conditions may be right to start a landscaping business, what we’ve found is that it’s the internal conditions – your skill set, aptitude and attitude, that are the real driver of success.

There’s a wonderful quote from Bruce Pon Tip (founder of Toronto-based G Adventures (formerly Gap Adventures)) who said back in 2010, “If the economy isn’t good, you need to make your own economy.”

Ladies and gentlemen: This is 100% true, and while Bruce delivers the line quite nicely, we’ve been living it at Toemar since the day we opened our doors.

Beyond good equipment and a reliable pickup truck or two, here’s what you really need to run a successful landscaping business.

1. Willingness to Learn

No matter how much you think you know, there’s always more to learn.

In our industry, all our tradespeople work side by side and need to understand each other’s function. If you’re redesigning your client’s backyard, you must understand the physics of hardscaping, the science of horticulture and aboriculture, and the art of making those realities support your client’s vision.

This doesn’t mean you have to become an expert in all these things, but it’s important to create relationships with complementary tradespeople, and at least have a basic understanding of why you may need to call on them and what they can do for you/your client.

This often requires business owners to put their ego aside and be open to what other experts have to say, even if it may impact their project. When you’re working in the field, this is easier said than done, which is why an open-minded attitude comes in handy.

2. Support Your Team

A landscaping company will rise or fall according to the quality of its team.

If you’re lucky enough to find talented support staff, you must know how to effectively and respectfully communicate your expectations, while supporting their growth and development.

Personnel issues are going to come up. How will you handle them?

And there will be times when you will be blindsided because your team’s perspective is so far off from what you thought it was, or what you thought you’d communicated, that you will, at times, wonder if you’re living in a parallel universe.

As a business owner, it’s up to you to bridge that gap in understanding. It’s also up to you to take responsibility for how you communicate.

Something we’ve learned at Toemar is that, if someone is not receiving the message the way we’d intended it, the issue is with how it’s being communicated. So the issue is with us, not with the employee or the client or whomever.

It’s easy to blame the other person when something you’ve communicated is misinterpreted, but it’s a mistake that could cost you the trust of your team and respect of your employees. And always remember: In this industry, your team will make or break you.

3. Understand the Value of Client Relationships (Marketing)

The above header is synonymous with ‘know how to market your business’.

We didn’t want to write that because people may talk themselves out of starting their business because they think they don’t know how to market, but the foundation of marketing is simple: Build solid relationships with your clients, so that they know you, like you and trust you.

If you can do that without over-complicating it, you’re half-way there.

Speaking of complicated, having attractive social media is important to a degree. You will need a way to showcase the work your team has completed and the good results people have when they choose your company for their landscaping, but our advice is not worry about social media for now, and to focus your preliminary marketing efforts on two things:

  1. Invest in a decent website that contains lots of pretty pictures of work you’ve done and an easy-to-use contact form that includes a ‘referred by’ field
  2. Get to know your clients. Do a good job for them. Ask them for referrals. Do a good job for those referral clients. Ask them for referrals.

This is a one-two marketing punch. Your website makes it easier for your clients to refer their friends and neighbours to you. Your strong relationships with these clients will make them want to refer people to you using your website.

(And aside: Write into your contract that you will take before and after pictures of your client’s property and use these for marketing purposes. Then, take those pictures and show them to every single lead.)

Some new businesses may opt to rely on a social media account to replace the need to have a website. While this practice can yield results and be affordable, there are a few issues we see with it.

First, it’s never a good idea to build your house on someone else’s property. As your business grows, you may want more flexibility to scale your business, and your chosen network may limit you.

Second, all social media users are beholden to the terms of use of their chosen platform, and most of those terms of use are written clear as mud. If you or an employee or contractor you’ve hired to manage your social media accidentally violates those terms, your account can be suspended or banned. It doesn’t matter how much money or time you’ve spent developing it, it can disappear overnight.

This is why, in the first year or two, we think it makes sense to invest your money in your own website, and to spend your time networking, and then, if you have the resources, add social media to the mix.

4. Get a Handle on Contracts and Money

Contracts

Never, ever, ever-ever, do work without a contract.

Look, we understand that the idea of hiring a lawyer to write a 45-page document in legalease can feel like a crime against humanity, but rest assured – that kind of contract is probably overkill anyhow.

What is necessary is a statement of work, or a scope document. We recommend you keep this down to a page or two, write your terms in simple English, and make sure you’re specific about what your team is responsible for, and what are additional billable services that are not covered in the initial scope of work. It can sometimes be hard to control scope-creep, but you can control whether or not you get compensated for it.

Also be clear about your payment terms and any guarantees you may offer, and promise the client that you will not embark on additional billable services without informing them and seeking their consent. There should never be a suprise on an invoice (unless it’s a good surprise for your client!)

If you don’t want to include pages and pages of terms in your statement of work, but you feel the need to include them, you can always post them online, provide the url in the statement of work, and have a check box that client has visited that url and read those terms in full.

Finally, make sure your statement of work has a dated sign-off for both you and your client.

Make it easy for clients to pay

Most landscapers need to invest in materials before starting a project, but if you have to wait two weeks  after you’ve begun your project to get the first payment, you’re going to run into serious cash flow issues.

Our advice is to a) be clear about terms (see above) and b) set up a merchant account so that all your clients have to do is provide a credit card number at the get-go, and you can do the rest.

It may sometimes be necessary to call a client who is behind on payments, and that can be awkward as anything. Our advice? Use the term ‘money conversation.’

For example, you can say to them, “Hi John. I’d like to have a money conversation with you, can we do that?” This is allows the other person to mentally prepare, and it empowers a frank and effective conversation about money, while separating that conversation out from small talk and other conversations.

Hire a bookkeeper

When you’re a business owner, its up to you to find, mind, and grind the business.

Hiring a bookkeeper is an affordable way to keep your books and invoicing up to date and shipshape  while freeing up much of your time.

An affordable virtual assistant who is also a bookkeeper is worth their weight in gold and will do more to free up your time and help you run your business in those first few years than most other functions.

This will not only assist with cashflow, but it will also mean that, should your name be drawn for a CRA audit, your books will be available, accurate and up to date. The less stress the better!

Be Proud of What You’re Doing

Look man, if it were easy, everybody would have a corner office.

What you’re doing is hard work. It takes courage and resilience. You’re going to trip, learn and succeed, in that order. But it IS a trip, and a good one too.

When you decide to open your own business, you are choosing to take control of your own destiny and finances, you are choosing to claim your own space in this world, and you are empowering others to reach their goals and provide for their families.

Sure, it’s not always easy, but it’s rewarding, and it’s always a bit of thrill to tell someone that you run your own business. And there’s one thing that’s even better than that: That feeling at the end of a day, on the last day of a project, when your team has done an amazing job, and you take a moment to look at what you’ve done. A happy client, a happy team, and a brilliant outcome. You did that, my friend. Kudos to you.

Stats:

https://www.ibisworld.com/canada/market-research-reports/landscaping-services-industry/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/899045/revenue-of-landscaping-services-in-canada/