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How To Create Privacy In Your Garden

As the poet Robert Frost said: “Good fences make good neighbors.” We like to say: “Privacy makes GREAT neighbours.”

We’re not talking about building an English style walled garden with a secret doorway—though that would be lovely! When we say privacy, we’re talking about ways you can create spaces in your suburban backyard that go beyond standard fences.

Many neighbourhoods in Mississauga and beyond are designed in rows of two story, single family homes. That means that unless you’re at the end of a row, you’ve got neighbours who can see into your backyard on three sides. Your ideas around creating a private backyard oasis will be marred slightly if every time you sit out, you can see your neighbour in their bathroom, looking back at you!

In other words, fences will only get you so far: you need some other garden creations to create some legitimate privacy for yourself and your family.

Assess The Space You Have To Work With

Your first step in creating some privacy is deciding where you want it most and where it makes sense for your garden. Depending on the size of your garden, which way it faces and how much sun you get, there are different ways you can proceed.

Toemar has a handy checklist you can use before starting any project.

For A Small Garden, A Great Option Is A Living Wall

When you don’t have a lot of space for garden beds or even potted plants, creating a vertical garden, known as a living wall, will help you get some plants growing AND create some privacy. This is also a great option if you live in a condo or apartment to separate your patio from your neighbour’s side.

Planting edibles and perennials that bloom throughout the season in a vertical garden is ideal use of the space, while still giving in to your green thumb. If you place it in such a way that the plants get the sun they need, you can then create a space for yourself in the shade beside it! Add a simple shade awning, using your wall as an anchor, and you’ve got a little private space to lay on the chaise and snooze on a sunny, summer afternoon.

A Pergola With Vines, For Shade And Privacy

If you have more space in the garden, it’s nice to create a patch where you can set up seating or a dining table, to really enjoy your outdoor space to the maximum, without ruining the sight lines in your garden.

A pergola set up on a deck or on some flagstone can be enhanced with flowering vines, or even grape vines, grown through the lattice like “roof”, so that you have shade and privacy in one natural looking setting.

This can also be a perfect set up if you have a hot tub, to ensure that you can sit and soak without being peeped at.

A Gazebo Can Give You Privacy And Bug Protection

With the solid roof of a gazebo, you can eliminate the second floor viewings of your lunch spread as well as create a decent amount of shade. If you set up your gazebo on the corner of a deck, adding lattice on two sides can help create even more privacy.

The other advantage to a gazebo is the ability to add netting and a door, which makes dining al fresco more enjoyable, and an evening drink with fairy lights decorating the ceiling will be mosquito free.

Outdoor Curtains

You’ve probably seen people who have added gauzy, flowing curtains to the sides of their porches, giving them more privacy while still letting the breeze flow through. You can take that same idea to your backyard by adding them to your pergola or gazebo, if you have a side that is particularly exposed to the view of others.

If you don’t have the space for a pergola, another option to leverage the beauty and privacy of flowing curtains is to create moveable frames for them: this way, you can put them where you want in the garden, in effect creating a privacy wall, and you can move it around if you want to, depending on the position of the sun.

Lattice And Vines Keep A Balcony Cool And Private

If you have a small deck or balcony that you don’t use because of the way you are on display when you sit there, a simple fix is to add lattice with climbing vines intertwined throughout, positioned on the sides where you have the most ‘visibility’. The light still comes through but you can sit out and enjoy your morning coffee in peace, with a little shade to protect you from the heat of the sun.

For A Large Yard, Plant Some Trees

It’s a solution that takes time to grow up, but if you have a good sized yard, a large, leafy deciduous tree or two  will help create shade and privacy throughout the spring and summer months. The only downside is the raking you’ll have to do come fall, but jumping in leaf piles is a time honoured tradition worth preserving!

However you create your space, always be mindful of what you want to use it for and how much space you have to work with. The winter is a great time to start planning for next spring, so that by summer, you’re able to enjoy your backyard to the fullest.

Tips For Landscaping Around Your Hot Tub

Hot tub sales are through the roof these days, and with so many of us spending more time at home, it’s no wonder. Retailers are hard pressed to keep up with the demand these days. One of the reasons is that, unlike swimming pools, you can make use of the steamy waters of your hot tub year round.

If you’ve got a tub already or are getting one installed, you need to consider the landscape that will surround it, when it comes to positioning and views. It’s important that the immediate area around your hot tub be clean and safe, but it doesn’t have to be concrete and ugly!

After all, a hot tub in the backyard becomes a focal point just by virtue of its size so a little bit of planning and design will make it stand out in the right ways.

Consider Your Positioning

If you haven’t already installed your hot tub, consider the positioning of it from a couple of perspectives:

  • How far is it from the back door? If you’re going to have to shovel out a long path in the snow to get to it, you might decide it isn’t worth the effort, in January. To get maximum use of the tub, it should be within a reasonable proximity from the back door of your home for an easy dash!
  • Avoid placing it in the middle of your yard: it will become TOO MUCH of a focal point. Hot tubs integrate best into the landscape if they are more off to the side.
  • Covered or not? Many people choose to put a hot tub under a gazebo or overhanging deck, in order to provide some privacy and also to protect the area around it, to make it easier to access in all weather.
  • Look at the view. Unlike a swimming pool, where you are more often swimming laps or just fooling around, a lot of time in the hot tub is spent sitting back, relaxing and looking outwards. So what will you be looking at? The compost pile and garbage cans or a beautiful wall of blooms and grasses?
  • Consider who will be viewing you while you’re in the tub. By placing it near a privacy wall, or in a spot where you can create privacy, you can avoid your nosy neighbour peeping over their fence at you while you’re trying to relax!

Walkways Around The Hot Tub

Some people choose to integrate their hot tub into their deck, so while the tub is still above ground, you walk into it, as you would a pool. It’s pleasing to the eye but it’s a bigger project. If that’s not in the cards, it’s important to consider what the pool will be set on and what will surround it.

Cement, interlocking pavers, flagstone or stone tiling, are just a few options for walkways and areas around your tub. The pavers are a superb way to create pathways to and around the hot tub, allowing space to get around it for cleaning and maintenance, as well as making a clear path to have access even in the winter. Durable and easy to install, pavers don’t require mortar, so they make a good economical option too. Different colours and shapes are available, which allow you to design a hot tub area that matches your style.

You can also consider landscaping around the hot tub, with tall grasses, bushes and so forth, which have the added advantage of creating some privacy. After all, your enjoyment of an evening soak might be dashed a little if your neighbours are able to peer over at you!

Landscaping And Hardscaping Around The Hot Tub

If you’re planning on having trees near your tub, look to species that will not ‘shed’ a lot of leaves and branches into the hot tub. Even though you’ll use a cover when it’s not in operation, it can still rain a lot of leaves from the time you set up to get in and when you exit your tub! You also don’t want trees with root structures that could impact the flat surface you have created for your hot tub.

All that said, having some foliage can create a little shade, which makes your tub usable even in the midst of a fully sunny day, as well as to create a windbreak and some privacy for your enjoyment of the tub. With both of these functions in mind, evergreens are a good, low maintenance option.

If you want more plants and colour around your hot tub, container gardens, set at different levels are a good choice: you can move them if you need to but they can also be set at different heights for a variety of a view.

The types of trees, flowers and plants that you choose should be consistent with your hardiness zone: recreating the tropical paradise from your last vacation might be the goal, but the reality is that you can’t plant palm trees in Mississauga. You can, however, use a textural mixture of stone, rock, garden pots, grasses and shrubbery to create a truly luxurious ambiance.

Container gardens around your hot tub will also allow it to blend into the landscape more, rather than standing out. It really depends on the look you’re going for, but this type of landscaping will still give you the access you need to maintain and protect your hot tub, all year round.

Blending the materials from the rest of your garden design into your hot tub design is the best way to keep flow and a cohesive look. For example, if your garden patio is made up of elegant stone, you want to keep that up around your hot tub. Most hot tubs are set up on a concrete pad, to ensure they stay level, but there’s nothing preventing you from integrating the same stone from your patio right up to the level of the pad, to keep it out of sight.

Other Considerations

Lighting around the hot tub is an important consideration: you don’t want a spotlight on you while you’re in it, but you need to be able to get to it safely, any time of the day or night. After all, a late soak after a long day might be just what the doctor ordered, but not if you trip on the way to the tub and hurt yourself!

However you design the space around your hot tub, make sure that the maintenance panel is accessible at all times, whether through a trap door section of the deck or enough space around the tub, particularly near that panel. You don’t want to have to tear apart your design so repairs can be made!

With all these tips in mind, you can get to planning the ideal hot tub escape to enjoy for years to come.

Interlocking Pavers For A Pulled Together Look In Your Mississauga Garden

If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.  ~ Anatole France

Are you a landscaper looking for the perfect way to add some class to a design? Or perhaps you’re a homeowner looking for ideas to make your garden look stylish, and while you’re at it, the value you of your home? Either way, interlocking pavers are the perfect way to accomplish these goals.

The contrast that interlocking pavers provide, whether as a patio, a poolside design, or a pathway in your garden, makes everything else in your green space stand out! Concrete pavers are durable and come in different colours and shapes, to enable you to create intricate designs and patterns that are pleasing to the eye.

History Of Paving Stones

Yes, they have a history! “Interlocking pavers were invented by the Dutch after World War II, when brick, their traditional paving material, was in short supply. Billions of the chunky blocks found their way onto European roads, and many of the originals are still in good shape despite 50 years of traffic.” (Source) What a testament to their durability!

Why Use Pavers?

Part of the value of interlocking pavers is that they are very durable but also because, unlike poured concrete or asphalt, they can move independently and are less likely to break or crack. They aren’t susceptible to damage from ice or tree roots and if any of your pavers ever ends up being pushed up or out of place, you need only remove that one, fix the ground below and replace it!

Interlocking Pavers Are Easy To Install

The genius is in the interlock design itself, which allow for relatively simple  installation, without the need for mortar. That said, it’s one thing to lay pavers for a small path through your secret garden; it’s another to use pavers to create an entire driveway. For a larger project, we would recommend using a hardscape expert who can lay them down perfectly.

In addition to an expert installation, your hardscaper can help you ensure that you’re not creating water runoff problems. Water will wash off and away from concrete pavers, as it would on any paved surface. Ensuring that you’ve planned for runoff from larger installations is essential.

So without mortar, how do the pavers remain in place? The strength of the lock and a very valuable extra: polymeric sand. Spread over the final laid pavers and into the spaces between them, polymeric sand creates a solid―but pliable―joint between the pavers.

With the sand in place, you simply need to moisten it to create the bond that will help prevent weed growth between the pavers, stave off insect erosion and be resistant to traffic, cleaning and so on. Plus it’s environmentally friendly, so there’s no downside to using polymeric sand to finish off your interlocking paving project.

Interlocking Pavers Are Easy To Maintain

  • Being made from concrete, they can stain, so if you’re using pavers for your driveway, and a vehicle leaks some oil, remove these stains as soon as possible. That said, pavers can be washed, swept and kept tidy with minimal effort.
  • Keep them weeded. While the polymeric sand will keep most of the weeds at bay, it’s worth pulling any strays that get through, right away!
  • Thanks to their durability, you will likely have your pavers in place for a long time. Do you want to keep your pavers looking new? A sealant can help.

Paver Projects To Consider

There are so many lovely ways you can use interlocking pavers to improve your outdoor space:

  • Accents, like a walkway or path, rather than the entire patio area of your backyard, is one option. It adds some different texture to your yard, creating a break in the green space for the eye, which makes your flower beds and other beautiful blooms shine!
  • Terraces, creating the look with elegant patterns from your interlocking pavers. If you want an easy to clean space where you have your outdoor dining, interlocking pavers are a good choice. A well planned design can look natural and inviting!
  • Steps, which creates a pretty design for your steps, rather than standard concrete. This is a project that you can add to your plans when you’re redoing your front walkway or porch.
  • Driveway, getting away from poured concrete, which can be very slippery when wet or icy, particularly, if it’s on an incline, or asphalt, which isn’t aesthetically pleasing.

Homes in Mississauga, particularly newer ones, lend themselves beautifully to the look of interlocking pavers, both at the front of the house and in the back. You can create paths and walkways that enhance your outdoor space, and the value of your home, with a minimum of effort.

Can’t Wait For Summer? Break Out The Patio Furniture And The BBQ NOW!

At the first signs of Spring—buds on the trees, tulips waving in the breeze—Ontarians are out of hibernation, sporting sandals and shorts and ready to soak up the sun.

The best way to enjoy the outdoors this Spring, Summer and early Fall is to build yourself a backyard oasis that you can enjoy with minimal upkeep.

START By Cleaning Up!

Whether thanks to the winter weather or ice storms, there’s always some clean up to do in the Spring to bring your garden up to drool worthy status.

  • Weed the garden beds
  • Remove any fallen debris / autumn leaves
  • Seed / sod your lawn after prepping the soil
  • Trim the hedges
  • Take out the patio furniture and wash it all down!

OUTFIT Your Outdoor Cooking Space With Necessary Herbs And Spices!

Eleven of them, to be precise. Not that we’re being copycats here, but there are in fact eleven excellent herbs that flavour up cooking for all tastes, that you can grown in containers near your patio.

Having your own stock means no rushing to the store to buy a great big bunch of something, when all you need is a few leaves to complete your recipe. Some of these herbs are more susceptible to being eaten up by bugs and animals, so just keep that in mind:

  1. Mint
  2. Basil
  3. Parsley
  4. Sage
  5. Cilantro
  6. Chives
  7. Thyme
  8. Rosemary
  9. Bay leaf
  10. Dill
  11. Coriander

Container gardening is a great way to grow some (or all) of these lovely herbs and has the advantage of being moveable. You might find that at certain times of year, the bees are loving your edibles, so you might want them slightly further away from your eating area. By using containers, you can move them away from the dining area, which will keep the stingers at bay.

Other plants that you shouldn’t place right next to the patio, if you want to avoid bees and wasps? This is just a sampling:

  • Cedar trees
  • Lavender
  • Flowering chives
  • Apple trees (or any fruit bearing tree, for that matter!)

CLEAN Up Your Gas Grill!

Now onto the good stuff! If you’re not the type who BBQ’d all winter long, complete with parka and oven mitts, it’s time to take the cover off your favourite grilling appliance. Spring cleaning isn’t just for the indoors!

Steps to get your grill ready for a season of delicious:

  1. Detach and clean the grates and burners. You’ll need a special brush, called a venturi brush, to really get through the burners and remove any debris left over from last season! A brass wire brush is perfect for cleaning the burners to a spotless shine.
  2. Soap and water are good for the grills, after which you can apply a little oil to season them for your next grilling session.
  3. If there is a grease build up in the base, use a hard edged spatula to scrape down to the drip pan, removing any excess.
  4. Then, remove and thoroughly clean the drip pan. Add a foil liner to make this job easier, if you haven’t do so already!
  5. Inspect the hoses to make sure nothing is frayed or damaged. That includes the hoses to and from your propane tank or to and from the house, if you’re connected directly; and check to see that the ignition is working correctly and the gas is flowing.

BETTER Still… Invest In A Pizza Oven

There is nothing better than a wood fire oven for the best, most delectable artisan style pizzas. Forget the takeout number and install one of these instead!

Easy to put together, quick to heat up… you’re on your way to pizza night with a twist. We’ve already given you the best recipe for a pizza base here, so this time, let’s look at some variations on toppings that you might not have thought of! Sure, we’ve all had our share of pepperoni, or all-dressed pizzas. Some of us even go for a little pineapple and ham… but what about chicken tikka pizza? Or how about goat cheese and blackberries with a dash of honey?

Chipotle cajun shrimp pizza anyone?

  • 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 chipotle chile adobo (canned)
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 ounces blue cheese or goat cheese crumbled
  • Chopped green onions, or try chives for a less intense onion flavour, and chopped cilantro for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Toss the shrimp with the olive oil, seasoning, brown sugar, chipotle chile and adobo sauce in a bowl. Let it sit for a 30 minutes in the fridge.
  2. Sear the shrimp in a medium hot pan for 3 minutes per side. NO MORE as they will continue to cook on the pizza.
  3. Get out your prepared dough and spread your favourite base sauce on the pizza. Adding a little of the cajun seasoning to your sauce, will bring it all together.
  4. Spread a layer of cheddar cheese, then your shrimp, then a little more cheese.
  5. Bake in your oven until the cheese is melted and gooey and garnish with the onions / chives, cilantro and blue / goat cheese.
  6. EAT!

Now that you’re set to enjoy your backyard oasis, enjoy every moment you can: Canadian Spring and Summer is fleeting!

What’s Hot In Backyard Design in 2018 [6 Tips to an Amazing Yard]

Aiming for a new look for your outdoor oasis? Check out what’s hot in backyard design!

You might be looking for some of the latest and greatest gardening and landscaping ideas to make your space just that little bit more special. If so, you’ve come to the right place! The following are unique design concepts that are currently topping the gardening charts…

Landscaping With Edibles

Most of the time, people plan their landscaping to include an herb and veggie garden separate from their florals and other more ornamental landscaping, but the trend now is to mix and mingle the edibles with the decorative.

It’s a perfect way to keep the edibles front and center, and in some cases, the florals can help protect them from insects. Marigolds, sunflowers and lavender are just three examples of ornamental plants that can help protect your veggie plants from pests!

For extra fun, investigate and try your green thumb at growing a new veggie this year. Cucamelon, anyone? They are a cucumber watermelon hybrid that grow more or less like cucumbers do but are smaller, with a tinge of sour. Perfect for pickling.

Planning For Climate Change

Global warming is here to stay, so gardening in sustainable ways that match the current trends in weather makes sense. In our neck of the woods, designing your landscape to handle more water from wetter winters and more heat from drier summers is the best way to go.

Drought tolerant, low maintenance plants, good water drainage and decks that are properly treated to avoid wood rot are just a few of the ways you can improve your landscape with the environment in mind. Another big trend is planning for less lawn and more garden, including raised or multi-level beds, more natural looking mixes of tall grasses and foliage and even adding wildflowers, that are hardier and more resistant to changes in the environment.

If you don’t already have a rain barrel, get one! They come with spigots, so you can fill your watering can and hydrate your favourite flowers and plants without using municipal resources. Makes sense, right?

Keeping It Real. Your Garden, That Is…

For a few years, the trend in landscaping was about bigger, better and more. The fancier your back yard was, the better. These days, the trend is towards a more natural, rather than stylized, design. Following the flow of a garden and working with its existing qualities, rather than imposing large, expensive, and unnatural additions that don’t add any calm to the space.

Invest instead in high quality craftsmanship, rather than elaborate and overdone designs. That concept has never been out of style! If you want to create a long retaining wall along one edge of your garden, you can! Just make sure you blend it into the existing landscape by using natural stones and high-grade materials for a project that is done well the first time!

Another great option is to go for an eclectic design by mixing your old landscape with something new. No need to raz down the whole backyard to change things up! Just look at what you can and want to preserve in your current design and develop a plan that works around it.

Enhance Your Calm With Water

A great way to add value and calm, without being over the top, is to consider a water feature. It doesn’t have to be huge or complicated: even a standalone fountain can make a big impact without being ostentatious.

Surrounding your water feature with compatible plants and rocks keeps it natural looking.

Add Comfort And Chairs Further From The Back Door

Gone are the days with those old plastic webbing flip out chairs that left awful marks on the back of your legs and weren’t that comfortable! Worse still, you couldn’t leave them out for even one season without finding them deteriorated and raggedy by autumn. Now you can have a sofa, loveseat, chairs and swings, all in gorgeous weather resistant fabrics that will make you want to stay outside for hours, all summer long. Add an outdoor pizza oven, along with your grill, and you barely need to venture inside after June 1st!

An interesting trend is the idea of putting a deck and the eating area further away from the house, getting away from the traditional deck that comes straight off the back. It creates an island, as it were, in your yard, which you can surround with lush plants, an arbour or container gardens. If you have a pool or other visual feature in your yard, this can be a great way to enhance it!

Making Outdoor Play Space For EVERYONE

Sure, you can have a swing set for the littles, but how about a bocce or boules court for the ‘big kids’? All the studies say that North Americans aren’t active enough, so if you have the room, setting up a space for badminton, or bocce, will get friends and family coming to your house for the weekend barbecue, more often than not! After all, it’s nice to sit on the outdoor furniture and sip a cocktail; it’s even better to beat Uncle Lenny at a rousing game of horseshoes!

Whatever trend suits you, have a lot of fun in your garden this upcoming season by planning it now! You’ll be ready to roll when the warmer weather is here to stay.

Looking For Calm? Plan A New Water Feature In Your Garden

Adding a water feature to your backyard is a wonderful way to create another layer of serenity in your quiet space. The tranquil sounds of water bubbling, the sunlight glinting off the surface… all intended to enhance your calm.

If you want to add your water feature this spring, for a summer of enjoyment, you should start planning now!

What Kind Of Water Feature Do You Want?

There are several questions you need to ask yourself:

  • How big a feature do you want? This depends on the size of your yard and your existing landscaping. You don’t want the feature to become overwhelming. Balance is everything!
  • You also need to decide why you want a water feature? If it is to enjoy the sound of running water, you’ll want to place it not too far from seating areas and you’ll want an option that runs, like a waterfall, rather than a standing pond.
  • What type of feature would suit your current landscaping?
    • Pond
    • Waterfall
    • Stream
    • Fountain
    • Some combination of the above?
  • How much budget you want to set aside for this project? With water features, ‘you get what you pay for’ is a true statement. If you skimp up front, you’ll have more maintenance issues downstream.

Features Of Different Options

Pond — A pond, whether inground or above, including fish or not, is a beautiful addition. You can add a waterfall, to get more of the sound of water effect. Either way, a pond is lovely but it is also space consuming so you need to have a big enough yard to accommodate a pond without risking that someone is going to fall into it because it’s taking up too much space! Consider also, if you have a sloping area in your garden, how a waterfall would look, with a pond at the base, making positive use of the natural grade of the ground.

Ponds are build with a pump to ensure that oxygen levels are adequate for maintaining fish and plants. Your setup will also include a filtration system, which removes debris and other matter that might throw the pond out of balance. While a pond isn’t expensive to maintain, the initial cost might be a consideration, particularly if you want to add a waterfall to your feature.

Placement of an inground pond is particularly important if you want to avoid flooding your garden! A low spot that will already be taking the bulk of the spring run off might overwhelm the pond, in terms of water and chemical balance. Another consideration is what trees you have around the pond. Overhanging deciduous trees can look romantic until you end up spending a lot of time cleaning the leaves out of the pond.

Pondless Waterfall — As stated above, you can include a waterfall with your pond, but if you have small pets or children and are concerned about their safety, a pondless waterfall is a great option! The waterfall is designed to flow into a rock and gravel basin, which by way of a pump, is cycled back up and down the waterfall without pooling.

Utilizing natural elements, like boulders and rocks, to create your waterfall allows you to place it in your garden, almost as if just appeared there one day! A waterfall can also spruce up a space that is otherwise less visually appealing, like a standard retaining wall. Double it up with a waterfall and now you have a focal point to enjoy!

Stream — If you really want to create an interesting focal point and have the space for it, you could use a stream as a way to connect two separate features. For example, you could have a waterfall that is connected by a tiny stream to a pond. With the addition of foliage and rocks, the whole water feature can look very natural!

Fountain — If space is an issue, a fountain might be the perfect solution. An above ground fountain creates a gorgeous focal point in a garden. You can do anything from a traditional stone fountain or bird bath in the middle of your yard to a modern spherical waterfall fountain feature on your deck.

Just be sure to match it to the style of your home and garden. A focal point that doesn’t blend well with the surroundings isn’t a plus. If you use smaller, self-contained fountains, you can place several of them in your garden, surrounded by flowers and foliage, so that they almost seem part of the landscape.

Water gardens — A water garden is a space where you cultivate water plants. This could be a watertight container or a group of them on your deck, or set amongst other foliage in the garden. Lotus is a great example of a beautiful flower that blooms in water. Water lettuce and canna plants are other options.

Make A Water Feature Part Of Your Larger Landscaping Project

If you were planning to revamp your landscaping this spring, including a water feature in the plan from the beginning will be a lot easier—and less expensive—than adding it in later. Having to grub up some of your newly planted flower beds to make room for the pond isn’t ideal!

Whether you’re planning to DIY your project, or hire a professional to get it done, visit your local garden center for advice and information to make sure that your water feature project is a success you can enjoy for years to come!

5 Gorgeous Landscaping Tips & Images To Inspire You

With frigid weather and blowing snow, thoughts turn to green gardens filled with beautiful flowers, greenery and patios with cool drinks. What are your spring plans? January is the best time to start, because spring will be here before you know it, and the best landscapers & hardscapers in Mississauga book early.

At Toemar, we make planning easy with these five basic steps:

  1. Do your research including both style and functional design. For example, it’s just as important to make sure your pathway placement is right for the look as for usage and avoiding water accumulation
  2. Set a budget. This is the bottom line: what you can afford to spend on your project will dictate the extent of your plans. This might seem like an obvious statement but it’s always interesting how every spring, people have BIG projects and haven’t given a thought to how it will be paid for. If you need to meet with the bank, now is the time…
  3. Draw out your plan. Sketch out what plants, walls, or other ornaments you will want to add. Don’t forget to include measurements, including grade and slope, where it impacts the project. It doesn’t need to be exact, that’s your landscaper’s job, but it will make it much easier for your team to quote and to make sure everyone is on the same page
  4. Pop by Toemar, and talk to us. Together we can see if your plans match your budget!
  5. If you are going it alone, order everything you’ll need in advance, so that when spring arrives, you’re ready to go. If you’re worried about storing the supplies, talk to us. We’re experts in that area

Toemar has a useful planning tool that you can use to create the landscaping project you’ve always wanted.

It includes lists of items you’ll need and how to measure to ensure that you’re getting an accurate plan of what you want to accomplish. Our planning tool is help you turn a dreary January afternoon into a beautiful space you can enjoy with family and friends come May!

If you need some inspiration, here are a few beautiful examples of completed landscaping projects that you can accomplish in the spring and enjoy all season long.

Pool Area Landscaping

The right landscaping can turn a pool area into an oasis in the city. The trees create shade (in Mississauga, imagine lovely pines or junipers instead of palm trees) and that sense that you’re in another world. Strategically placed seating areas create a welcoming ambiance for neighbours to catch up and enjoy a little downtime.

pool-landscaping

Source: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/450430400212043953/

A Romantic Landscape

Imagine your backyard looking like a quiet English country cottage. Whimsical and romantic, this design below, is quite easy. Toemar is carries a wide variety of pebbles and pavers, plus all the materials to stabilize this kind of design, like limestone and landscaping material. Add climbing vines, plants and trellises for a final touch.

romantic-landscaping

Source: http://www.countryliving.com/gardening/garden-tours/g1432/landscaping-ideas/?slide=6

Walls, Steps And Spacing In Your Landscaping

Adding rocks and boulders to create walls can take a large yard and add some smaller, more intimate spaces to enjoy and decorate with perennials, annuals and greenery of all types. Each season, we receive a large shipment of rocks from local quarries and yes, we DO deliver!

walls-landscaping

Source: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/450430400213276450/

Looking to save on groceries this year? Or perhaps reduce chemicals in your diet. Why not  create a gorgeous kitchen garden with raised beds? A well-planned old-fashioned garden will provide visual interest and edibles all season, and is a source of wonderment for children. Preparing the right kind of soil is key, especially if this is the first time you’ve turned the earth over. Adding a garden path makes watering and weeding easier. Just remember to fence it off, or create a smaller second garden for the rabbits!

spacing-landscaping

Source: http://www.countryliving.com/gardening/garden-tours/g1432/landscaping-ideas/?slide=7

Adding stone steps leading up to the front of your home can completely enhance the front view and landscape. Surrounding those steps with

elevated plantings is welcoming and visually interesting. This image below uses a combination of hidden garden walls, pavers and natural boulders (all available at Toemar.) This is one of the fastest ways to amp up your home’s curb appeal and therefore its resale value…

curb-appeal-landscaping

Source: http://www.countryliving.com/gardening/garden-tours/g1432/landscaping-ideas/?slide=13

Patios For An Outdoor Living Landscape That Wows

Living in Mississauga means living through winter weather for a good third of the year, but the way see it, it’s all the more reason to capitalize on the outdoor living options of your home, for as long as you can!

Creating a patio that is both private and inviting is not difficult, but it does require some planning so why be satisfied with the four months Mother Natures gives us?

Expand the seasons by adding both light and heat sources in early spring and late autumn. Faux faur throws over your patio furniture will create immediate warmth and ambience and an outdoor fireplace or chimenea is a lovely focal point.

patio-landscaping

Source: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/450430400211905917/

For Landscaping That Is A Little Out Of The Ordinary

Imagine creating a space in your backyard that looks like the entrance to a secret garden. It’s every childhood fantasy come to life! In other words, the landscape you choose doesn’t have to be fussy or precise. Instead, it can be a little wild, creating a little scope for the imagination! Where does that path lead?

garden-landscaping

Source: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/450430400211946078/

However you plan your landscaping, whether front or back yard, poolside or just a place to put up your feet at the end of the day, all it takes is a little time and effort. The results will be well worth it!

10 Wonderful Ways To Create Some Backyard Privacy & Enhance the Space

Living in modern Mississauga subdivision can feel a bit like living in a fishbowl. This is doubly true if you’re in a new home with neighbours sharing a yard on every side. And while it’s nice to wave to John while you’re outside at the BBQ, sometimes it’d also be nice for John not to know the details of your dinner every night!

Urban sprawl continues unabated, and many of us live in very close quarters with our neighbours. What’s that old quote? “Good fences make good neighbours”? So said Robert Frost in his poem Mending Wall. Well, it’s true.

Creating spaces in your backyard to maintain a level of privacy is a great way to enhance the space and make it feel more friendly and inviting.  Here are 10 ways to create some backyard privacy:

1. The Obvious Choice: A Fence

A standard wood fence is a good option, particularly if the point of the fence isn’t just privacy. If you need to keep your pets and kids safe from traffic, a solid wood fence is just the ticket.

A fence need not be aesthetically unpleasing either! If your neighbours will agree, you can you can trim it with lattice across the top, or at end points, where you can add some creeping vine or other greenery that will travel along and fill in the gaps a little.

If you’re not using fencing to keep people in the yard, you don’t have to cover the full length and breadth of your yard. Instead, use panels of fencing judiciously and in places where it will provide the maximum privacy. Surround it by bushes and grasses to break it up and make it look more natural.

This is a great option if you’ve sitting on a larger track of land (lucky you!)

2. A Natural Fence Made Of Hedges

Privet and other evergreens like cedar are a great option to have year round coverage in your backyard. Running them along property lines makes a clear divider without being harsh on the eye, from a landscaping point of view.

The advantage to well planted privet is that it provides excellent coverage with a minimum of fuss and bother. You have to watch that you don’t end up with too much weed and other plants popping up under or through the hedges, but on the whole, they are hardy and useful. The downside is that unless you plant it full grown, it will take a few years before your new hedge is doing its job.

3. Trellises And Pergolas

Placing a pergola over your patio area, or a trellis in the right spot, doesn’t destroy the sightlines of your garden but can shield you from the prying eyes of the two-story house right next door. You can enjoy the breeze and sunlight while still maintaining privacy.

Adding climbing flowers or vines give a more natural feel, blending the addition into the garden more subtly.

You can also do like the Europeans and grow grape vines over the pergola. When the grapes begin to grow they hang down and the look is enchanting. Ditto for wisteria, although grapes last longer. Just be aware that, if you plant purple grapes, they will stain the deck below.

4. Put Up A Gazebo

A gazebo has a lot of advantages. It provides shade and some privacy and if you get one that actually has window netting and a door, it will be a perfect reprieve from mosquitoes in the summer!

Eating outside isn’t always pleasant, thanks to bees, mosquitoes and other flying creatures, but a gazebo can create a space that will allow you to enjoy your picnics in peace.

Why not trim one side of the gazebo with lattice to provide more privacy? Or line the entire gazebo with bug mesh, so that when Rolf comes to visit your eldest daughter in a rainstorm, they can dance and sing around the gazebo without bug bites.

5. Vertical Gardening

This is a popular idea, particularly in smaller gardens where raised vegetable beds and other planting areas are more difficult to add, and it’s a useful solution for those who love to garden, but find themselves with an urban backyard the size of a postage stamp.

Build hanging planters on a wall of rods, which you then fill with vegetables, herbs and flowers. You’ve got an instant privacy wall and more space in the garden for a patio. Win-win!

6. Multi Level Gardens

By using raised beds at different levels, you can plant taller bushes, grasses and trees at the highest levels and use retaining walls to make a natural divider. By placing these strategically behind a terrace or seating area, your privacy is ensured.

Just make sure that you consult an experience hard-scaper before doing this yourself, so that you don’t upset the elevation and disrupt run-off patterns.

7. Outdoor Curtains

Who doesn’t love this trend? Each year we see more and more front-yard patios curtained off on the sides, and it’s beautiful.

We suggest that you take the trend into the backyard too.

Whether you have a pergola or a back deck, outdoor curtains are a great way to keep the breezes flowing and prying eyes out.

Even better if they’re hung on moveable frames, so you can place them where you want them and perhaps out of the path of a strong wind. White curtains always look best and provided they are machine washable, should look great throughout the warm season.

8. Potted Gardens Around The Patio

Particularly for a large yard, it’s sometimes easier to create a space within the space and protect one small part of the garden. Place potted plants, bushes and trees around a small raised patio or terrace in one corner of the yard, so as to maximize privacy when you want to sit and read or chat with friends, without having to figure out a way to create privacy over a vast expanse.

Another great option is to add trellis panels to planters and position them strategically to ensure maximum coverage

9. Privacy Screens For Smaller Spaces

If your “garden” is more like a tiny space out the back of your house or even a balcony, you can still add planters with lattice and climbing vines to create division.

Another great option is a privacy screen. You can buy these or make one from reclaimed shutters, and it has the advantage of being moveable. When the sun turns or your neighbours come out on to their open patio, you can set it up in such a way as to give a little privacy without putting in a permanent structure.

10. Shade Trees For Larger Spaces

In larger gardens, creating privacy and shade can be accomplished by strategically planting deciduous trees. You get a natural screen protection with the leaves and branches from other multi-level homes near you. And in the winter when the leaves have all fallen, you can have streaming sunshine for your home. Planting deciduous trees is a longer term project, but well worth it in the end.

However you enjoy your garden and green spaces, a little bit of privacy can go a long way to making these places another part of our home. Places where you can entertain or just relax after a long day. Plan your garden privacy this winter so that come the spring, you’re ready to go!

Backyard tranquility: Landscape with Waterfalls

Backyard water features are becoming more and more popular, year after year. Who wouldn’t like the soothing aquatic sounds and the sparking quality as the sun light reflects off the trickling water. Big or small, birdbath or a koi pond, there is something for everyone and making a splash in your garden this season can be both easy and inexpensive.

Consider these questions:

How big do I want this feature to be? What type of shape? Cost?

It would be difficult to install a waterfall feature that flows into a large pond if you do not have the adequate space. Be honest with your limitations and consider the space, shape and balance before committing to a design. Also, consider your wallet. Cost can be a big factor when considering the type of pond you want to build. There are many inexpensive options – ready-to-install kits found at your local home garden center, professional landscapers and DIY resources found online.

Pond vs. pondless?

A pond is a beautiful living thing. An established ecosystem works with Mother Nature to provide food, shelter and safety to the wildlife living in its waters or around it. A pump circulates the water to ensure adequate oxygen levels for healthy fish and plants. A filtration system is also needed to remove debris and organic matter, and to maintain a stable, biological balance in the pond. Once established, a pond is all-natural, low maintenance and will run year-round. However, the initial cost and operating costs could be far greater than the pondless option.

A pondless waterfall works very much like a regular pond except after the hole is dug; it is then lined with rock and gravel and filled with water. The water is then circulated from below the rocks by a pump and is cycled over and over. Similar to operating an outdoor swimming pool, the water feature will not be operational for parts of the year. Pondless water features allow you to have the benefits of a waterfall without the presence of pooling water which may be a safety concern for parents of young children and small pet owners.

Research online, visit gardening centers and home and garden shows for ideas. Weather you choose to make this a weekend project or hire a professional team, this will surely be a beautiful addition to any backyard.

Come in and check out our simple, no digging, pondless backyard waterfall called Colorfalls.

For more free landscaping advice, please contact us and we will be more than happy to help you out.