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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!

Garden Walls: 4 Things You Should Know Before You Build

Also known as ‘retaining walls’, garden walls can make or break a yard – literally…

If you’re thinking about selling your house, garden and retaining walls are a great way to boost the curb appeal and value of your home.

They draw the eye into the garden and give the appearance of a major landscaping design with relatively little effort.

They can be a DIY project, for the adventurous gardener, but if a retaining wall is needed to maintain the integrity of the garden structure, it’s always wise to call in a pro (or risk disrupting the flow of runoff and flood every lawn on the block!)

Whether to boost the appeal, or to improve your garden for your own enjoyment, a garden / retaining wall might be just the addition you’ve been looking for.

What Is A Garden, Or Retaining, Wall?

A garden, or retaining wall, is a concrete or stone, for lack of a better word, wall. They are used in a variety of ways in landscaping, including creating raised beds, an elegant border, or to help with soil erosion and drainage.

While similar, a garden wall is more about creating raised beds and upping the look of the landscape , while the retaining wall is more functional, to deal with uneven ground levels and slopes.

Why Should You Have Garden Or Retaining Walls?

Walls serve a practical, as well as aesthetic purpose. A solid retaining wall is designed to hold back the pressure that the soil exerts when there are two different ground elevations in a garden.

A slope might not be what you want in the garden, so the wall acts to break up the two elevations. The stability of the soil and more elevated portion of the garden is ensured by the solid stone or concrete wall, which takes the bulk of the pressure being exerted by the soil.

Garden walls are more about design: they typically aren’t as tall and are used more to create divided garden areas and beds, rather than to deal with slopes or elevations. They can be created in curved designs, which are very elegant and can enhance your flower beds and other divided garden areas immeasurably.

Materials Used In Garden Walls

Whether you opt for stone or concrete, most walls products are mortarless these days, which makes garden walls a project that the DIY landscape gardener can undertake (with caution.)

You can also opt for a combination of concrete and stone, such as where you use natural stone for steps or for the caps / coping; you or your hardscaper can create an elegant design that will last for years.

Concrete forming technology has resulted in concrete wall products that have the look and feel of natural stone, available in a range of textures and colours.

Concrete is lighter than natural stone, making it possible to build a wall without the extensive use of machinery, though it does require a level base, which might take some effort to dig down to create, to prevent the wall from shifting down the road.

Concrete wall systems are designed for easy tongue-and-groove interlocking installation and the new designs allow you to create curves that are still smooth and consistent.

One of the biggest pluses to concrete, particularly if this your first attempt at building a wall, is that is relatively inexpensive, compared to natural stone.

Those points made, natural stone has a beauty to it that is unmatched in other products.

The stones are different shapes and sizes, so they take more creativity to fit together tightly to build the optimal wall, but the result is gorgeous. Natural stone is stronger—and consequently heavier to work with—and requires less effort during the leveling process, as most natural stones aren’t perfectly level to begin with.

You may need some machinery to bring in natural stone and it is much harder to create a curved, consistent look. But when a natural stone wall is put together, with flair and design, it’s a sight to behold!

Should You DIY Your Wall?

The short answer is: Probably not.

Building a retaining wall to deal with unequal ground levels without the help of a professional CAN be risky. You want to be sure that you aren’t interfering with run-off patterns. Drainage that isn’t planned properly could end up seeping into your—or your neighbour’s—basement, among other risks.

Like what? Foundation erosion, drowning plants and trees, wood rot on decks and other garden features, pests and so on!

Building a garden wall, which is far more about creating a design that you want for your yard, is much simpler and can be done with a little design help from your local garden centre. With it, you will soon have a new focal point in your yard and a new area to grow flowers, plants and trees.

Concrete or stone, DIY or professionally installed, consider garden or retaining walls when you’re planning your landscaping changes: they can add a real dimension of visual interest to your yard, helping it to make it an oasis for you and your family to enjoy!

4 Useful Tips for Pool Landscaping – More than just a fence

Pool Landscaping is more than just a pool and a fence!

You want the area around your pool to be clean and safe, but there’s no reason why it has to look unpleasant.

An inground pool is THE focal point in a yard, so the surrounding features should enhance it and blend beautifully.

If you’re thinking about putting in a pool this spring, think ahead not just to the pool itself but on the landscaping / hardscaping that will surround it, so that you can include it in the budget.

Consider Your Space

This is the kind of landscape project that benefits from a drawn design—so you can get a sense of scale and how the project will look when it’s completed.

  • A good design will draw from your home and the existing landscape. Do you have a preference for clean lines or are you into very ornate styles? The design style in your home should extend to the outside area, so that it creates a seamless flow.
  • Do you have colour schemes that you prefer? A lot of natural greens, browns and shades of stone? Or do you prefer strong, vibrant florals? Contrast is ideal so if you’ve got a deep blue pool, keep the stonework lighter, or vice versa.
  • The pool already requires some level of maintenance so you have to consider how much time you want to spend dealing with the landscape that surrounds it, particularly during prime swimming months. Focus on plants, trees and layouts that suit the level of time commitment you want to make.
  • Look at the grading of the ground around your pool, if it is already in place, or if you’re planning one, make sure that drainage has been factored into the design. (More on this later!)

Walkways Around The Pool

There are so many options: Cement, interlocking pavers, flagstone or stone tiling, to name a few. The pavers are a superb way to create pathways to and around the pool and a pool deck, allowing space for sunbathing or sitting poolside with a cocktail in hand. Durable and easy to install, pavers don’t require mortar, so they make an economical option too. Different colours and shapes are available, which allow you to design a pool area that matches your style.

A very popular design style is to use pavers or interlocking stone on the walkways and pool deck and then switch to natural rock and boulders, intermixed with small evergreens, tall grasses and mulch or decorative stone. It’s a clean and easy to maintain look.

Landscaping Around The Pool

If you’re planning on having trees near your pool, you need to consider those that will not have a far reaching root structure.

Look to species that will not ‘shed’ a lot of leaves and branches into the pool (and consequently, the pool filtration system!) Some people choose to have trees to create some shade for part of the day, or even as a windbreak, depending on your land’s elevation and how much wind flow your backyard is subjected to. Evergreens are a good option for both aesthetics—that oh so Canadian look and feel—and ease of maintenance.

For flowers and plants that are placed close to the pool, consider garden containers. Flower beds are lovely but unless you have set the pool on an incline and the flower beds on the downstream side, a heavy rainstorm could leave you with mud draining directly into the pool. You can, of course, line your walkways with a small edge, which will keep the flowerbeds close but still protect the pool. Make sure these drainage considerations are part of your design plan, from the beginning!

The types of trees, flowers and plants that you choose should be consistent with your hardiness zone and the look you are trying to achieve. It may be that a tropical paradise is your heart’s desire, 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. Ideally, your floral landscape will consist of a variety of plants that will bloom throughout the ‘swimming season’, to ensure a pleasing aesthetic.

One advantage of adding green plants, grasses and bushes near to the pool area is that it gives the impression of the pool being an integrated, natural part of the space; more like a chlorinated (or salt water!) pond, than a pool.

Other Accessories

Lighting around the pool area, accenting certain trees, ornamental grasses or the walkway around it make all the difference come nightfall, in terms of the look of your garden. It also ensures the safety of anyone venturing out after dark.

And don’t forget the patio furniture! Because what’s a pool if you can’t luxuriate beside it on a comfortable chaise longue or under the wide shade of a beautiful umbrella?

With all these tips in mind, you can get to planning the ideal pool escape to enjoy for years to come. Got questions, call us today for some friendly landscaping advice.

Outdoor Projects: Hiring Qualified People Is A Must

You’re not sure whether you need a gardener or a landscaper or perhaps an arborist, for an outdoor project that you’re planning? This post will walk you through the ins and outs of each role so you can make the right choice.

In the not so distant past, if you wanted to do some work to the garden or exterior of your home that was a little bit beyond your DIY skills or just something you didn’t want to take on personally, you would call up your local ‘handyman’ contractor to take up the project. But here’s the thing: hiring a generalist for a specific project is not usually a good bet. They just don’t have the background or skills to do it right the first time. This can lead to significant downstream costs if the project needs to be repaired or re-done at a later date.

The roles of gardener, landscaper / hardscaper and arborist are actually quite different and each one is suited to very specific tasks; a well trained professional will be knowledgeable and experienced, leaving you with project results that will last. No one is an expert in everything, particularly where bylaws and regulations are concerned, so you’re always best to pick the professional, based on your needs and their training, expertise and knowledge.

What Does A Gardener Do?

A gardener is adept at planting new flowers, trees and shrubs—provided you have a plan for the design of your garden (see the landscaper role, below!)—watering, feeding, fertilizing, mulching, composting, grass cutting, hedge trimming and the like. If it involves the care and maintenance of your outdoor space, a gardener is the right person for the job. They can help you to maintain a beautiful, healthy lawn and garden throughout the seasons and prepare your garden for the winter season, including protecting sensitive plants and shrubs, raking leaves, trimming or pruning and the like.

What Does A Landscaper / Hardscaper Do?

Landscapers / hardscapers also do most gardening tasks and most landscaping companies are happy to provide you with a maintenance package for your garden, but their true talents lie in designing a garden that works for you, taking into account where you live and what plants, trees and shrubs are best suited to your climate zone, the uses of your garden, and other considerations.

If you want water features, ponds or if you have drainage issues around your home, a landscaper / hardscaper can fix these with contouring, grading and leveling of the ground and the addition of additional drainage, where necessary.

Hardscaping, which includes things like walkways, driveways, paved areas, solid water features and stairs, is done with the impermeable materials. Never hire anyone other than a qualified hardscaper to build a retaining wall or a landscaper to design the physical layout of your garden unless you really love spring floods seeping through your or your neighbour’s foundation because you’ve interrupted the run-off pattern. Without adequately planned drainage, you can find yourself with not only flooding but foundation issues, soil erosion, plant / shrub drowning, wood rot on porches and decks, pest infiltration and even sinkholes!

What Does An Arborist Do?

The technical definition is that an arborist is someone who is a professional in arboriculture: in the management and study of trees. The term trees, in this case, includes shrubs, vines and other wood perennials. An arborist is focused on individual or small groups of trees, rather than forests—which are managed through forestry and silviculture.

Arborists are knowledgeable in all things about the trees: different pests, infestations, signs of ageing and decay in a tree, best pruning methods, planting distances and so on. They should also be knowledgeable on the local bylaws in the areas within which they practice. For example, planting distances to power lines, regulations concerning the pruning or removal of trees, or the protection of trees in a construction zone. Most municipalities are very strict in the management of trees, so before you consider planting or pruning a tree on your property, make sure that your arborist is up to date on the laws.

Is There Such A Thing As An All-In One Professional?

If you’re still wondering why you wouldn’t just hire an all round landscape company to do a bit of everything or ask your arborist to trim the hedges a little while they’re dealing with an ageing tree, the reason is quite simply that it’s a waste of their time and your money. Hiring an arborist to do a little gardening is something like hiring a hazmat team to sweep your kitchen floor. A little bit of overkill, don’t you think?

In Summary:

Do you need your garden maintained, hedges trimmed, lawn fertilized, weeding and other similar tasks? You need a gardener.

Do you want a risk assessment done on a damaged / ageing tree, tree removal or the trimming of trees, including knowledge about the local bylaws on this topic? You need an arborist.

Do you want to build a retaining wall in your garden, install interlocking stone / brick, figure out drainage or ground leveling or design a garden from scratch? You need a landscaper /hardscaper.

With these roles in mind, think about the projects that you want to undertake in the next year and ask for referrals from your local garden centre and always check their references!

5 Ways You Sabotage Your Lawn and How to Fix It Now

From dog marks to grubs to fertilizer burns, it’s easy to repair a damaged lawn…

Like with most things, the best defense against a damaged lawn is prevention, but when it comes to lawn care, even the most diligent green thumb can end up with a burnt out, unattractive lawn.

These are the top 5 issues we see with damaged lawns on a regular basis:

  • Over-fertilization, resulting in burnt or bare patches
  • Urine damage from pets, also resulting in yellow, bare patches
  • Insect and critter damage
  • Weeds, including dandelions and crabgrass
  • Lack of moisture

Over-fertilization And Pet Urine Damage

This kind of damage causes patches of burnt out lawn, where the grass has died and thinned out, or bare patches where there is basically no lawn left. There are two ways to tackle the problem in the specific patches: seeding or sod.

For seeding, you need high quality topsoil and grass seed, and you need to know the kind of soil you’re working with.

Step 1: Mow the whole lawn, paying particular attention to the areas you plan to re-seed

Step 2: Rake the soil areas that you want to re-seed

Step 3: Spread the grass seed according to the package instructions and roll the area to ensure that the seeds have good contact with the soil

Step 4: Add a layer of topsoil to the areas. This will help protect the seeds from blowing away or being picked up by birds and insects, while they germinate. It also helps to retain moisture, which the seeds will also need to effectively take hold.

For sod, preparation is key.

First off, plant your sod right away.

Step 1: Rake and prepare the damaged areas, lowering them to about 10-15 cm, below your lawn grade so your new sod will be level with the rest of the lawn.

Step 2: Remove weeds and clumps of clay.

Step 3: Till and level your topsoil (your finished topsoil should be an inch below the sidewalk curb.

Step 4: Install the sod in a staggered brick pattern if covering a large area, or in patches for spot repairs. Make sure edges are snug but do not overlap.

The sod needs to be watered frequently throughout the first season, and it will take a few weeks for the roots to truly take; Be patient!

Insect damage

Damage from insects occurs in two ways: from the insects themselves and from the birds and small animals that prey on the insects. Very often, lawn damage that is due to insects isn’t immediately visible, such as when the lawn is growing in the summer, but come the following spring, the damage may be very easy to spot.

Watch out for evidence of small animals, like raccoon droppings or a proliferation of skunks or birds congregating in one area of your lawn: these are signs that you’ve got grubs or other insects infesting your lawn. If your infestation is heavy, It will be hard to miss the quantify of torn grass resulting from these critters’ nightly grub hunts. They do provide a form of free pest control, but it’s at the cost of your lawn!

Pesticide bans in Ontario have made it difficult to deal with this type of infestation so your best bet is a thick healthy lawn and the easiest way to achieve that, again, is to re-seed or sod the affected areas, as described above.

It’s important to really work the ground, removing all the old sod, and keep an eye on re-seeded areas to make sure that weeds don’t take root.

TIP! A well-watered, appropriately fertilized and overseeded lawn is less likely to have issues with grubs and insects (and weeds, for that matter) simply because they’re more robust and can withstand the insects better, from the root upwards.

Weeds be gone

Issues with weeds like dandelions and crabgrass are similar to those of insects: they’re more likely to invade less healthy and bare areas of your lawn where competition for water and nutrients is less, and again, pesticide bans have made them more difficult to manage.

A healthy lawn will block out weeds before they can gain a foothold, so really the true solution to weed problems is prevention.

Unfortunately, once you have weeks, there’s no magic cure. You simply need to pull them by hand or by raking them from the root, then fix the lawn with seed or sod. After that, you can keep them at bay with a thick, healthy and well maintained lawn.

TIP! Don’t over-mow your lawn! A good lawn mower will have adjustable cutting heights so be sure to set it at the highest level: you want to be taking off no more than a third of the grass blade, each time you mow. Too short and the weeds will have an opportunity to invade!

Lack of moisture

The single biggest threat to a healthy lawn is lack of moisture. Without it, the grass roots will be shallow and easily disturbed, to say nothing of their inability to get the available nutrients in the soil.

How can you tell if your lawn needs moisture—before it turns brown, that is? Step on it. Does the grass retain your footprints or does it bounce back? If the former, you need to water. If the latter? Good job watering!

If you have any questions about seed, sod or anything else green thumb related, pop by the store or leave us a comment, below…

Polymeric Sand – A How to Install Video

Although we’ve written about Polymeric Paver Sand in the past, seeing how someone does it just makes the job a little less stressful. One of our vendors produced a video that will make it easier for you to install the polymeric sand successfully along with some great tips on getting the best results possible.

Here is a breakdown of the video just in case you don’t want to watch the whole thing.

0:30 – General explanation of the function of Polymeric Sand
0:50 – Choosing the right sand
1:10 – Tools required
1:34 – Installation of the sand
2:45 – Removing old sand
5:00 – Wetting the sand

Enjoy the instructional video!

If you have any other questions about the installation of polymeric sand, please feel free to contact us by email or by phone and we will be more than happy to help you out.

Image Source: Necessories-Kits

Gearing for Streetscape Mississauga 2013

April showers bring May flowers. Yes, it is that time of year that gardens wake up seemingly overnight from their winter slumber and transform into lush green and colourful landscapes.

Do you have a garden that you always thought was worthy of a magazine cover? Well now you have the chance. Streetscape Mississauga is a city-wide, summer- long garden and beautification contest that features entries from both residential and small business. Established by the city together with Mississauga’s four horticultural societies to encourage beautification and conservation, to showcase and raise awareness of innovative garden styles, and to celebrate the creativity of the residents of Mississauga.

But what if I’m a beginner? How can I compete with experienced gardeners?

All are welcome to participate – from novice to seasoned gardeners. Many past winners have been beginners and the judges are looking all types of gardens from traditional to alternative. Entries will be judged on visual appeal, design, general maintenance and originality.

Not only are bragging rights on the line, but prizes including gift cards, one year’s membership to one of the city’s horticultural societies and a commemorative plaque!

Throughout the month of July, specially trained volunteers from the horticultural societies will make their rounds to judge every entry. So make sure your space is in tip-top shape!

Gardening is about experiencing the outdoors and turning your passion into something creative and beautiful.  Try your hand at it and see what comes up! And remember to have fun!

For more information on dates, judging classes, contest rules and tips – visit the Mississauga Streetscape website or call: 311

Sell your Home Faster: A Primer on Flagstone

Flagstone and Natural Stone Primer

Flagstone or Natural Stone can add character and charm to your landscaping that can be the envy of your neighbourhood. In fact, I’m 99.9% positive that you have at one time or another have seen or walked across a flagstone patio or walkway in Mississauga or any other place in Toronto.

In fact, some people may install flagstone for more selfish reasons. Re/max Agent Jennifer Lagtapon says that “if you want to sell your home faster, adding flagstone to your landscaping can only add to the curb appeal and make that first impression last”. She also told me that ‘curb appeal’ is something you need to focus in on, because buyers will form their strongest and most influential opinions before they even step out of the car.

Whether you want to sell your home or just make your house look great, here is a little primer on flagstone (aka natural stone).

Background on Flagstone or Natural Stone

Right now, the biggest trend in landscape design is the use of flagstone. It is a key component of nearly if not all luxury and/or upscale homes. In fact, increased competition and international trade has made flagstone an affordable product for all homeowners in the Greater Toronto Area. Flagstone in the GTA typically comes from Northern Ontario, but nowadays it could come as far away as India and China. Aside from new construction, using flagstone is also excellent way to face-lift any pre-existing concrete applications such as verandas, porches, walkways, entranceways, patios and steps.

Types

Although there are many types of flagstone in the marketplace, there typically two types that you will see in the Greater Toronto Area: Square Cut and Random Cut.

  • “Square Cut” flagstone is either composed of limestone, sandstone or granite. Sometimes, you will also find square cut flagstone imported from China and Turkey, but are still suitable to the Canadian climate. The stones are symmetrical in shape and produces a tile effect.
  • “Random Cut” flagstone has attributes that are associated with the area in which it was removed and as a result, the more specific or unique the stone is, the higher the cost of the flagstone. This is why most of “Random Cut” flagstone within the GTA is usually sourced out of Northern Ontario to help keep costs under control. The stones are asymmetrical shape and produces a natural and rustic look.
Square Cut Natural Stone
Random Cut Natural Stone

One other very important consideration is to look for the durability of the flagstone. Not all imported flagstone is meant to withstand the extremes of a Canadian weather and as a result, you may be disappointed by the time next season comes around.

Color

The various colors of flagstone is determined by the binding materials that are part of its natural formation and region. For example, if iron oxide is a dominant binding material, the flagstone will have a reddish tint. Some flagstone colors include black, white, brown, orange, red, gray and gold, and even lighter colors such as lavender and pink. To create a unique look, flagstone also gives you the option or choice to use uniformly colors or mix and match complementary colors.

Installation

Square Cut flagstone is meant to be installed onto an existing concrete structure such as a patio or stairs using mortar. The difficulty of the installation depends on a number of factors such as size of the flagstone, the pattern or design you want to create and even the number of stairs you need to build. It is similar to installing floor or wall tiles in your home. You will need spacers for joints, string lines and levels to create that perfect clean look. Square cut flagstone can also be installed on a gravel or limestone base in the same manner that you would install interlocking pavers. Unlike interlocking pavers, joint sizes can vary (1 cm, 2cm or 1/8 inch, ¼ inch, ½ inch) and will need to be filled in with a grout or mortar cement.
Random Cut flagstone with its ragged edges opens up the possibility of installing on nearly any surface such as pre-existing concrete, limestone or gravel base, and garden areas. Compared to square cut flagstone, installing random cut flagstone is a simpler task because absolute precision is not necessary. If you are installing on a gravel or limestone base, the base will need to be compacted just as if you were installing interlocking pavers. The space between the joints will be uneven and will have varying widths and these imperfections will give your space a rustic character. The joints for random cut flagstone can be not only be filled with mortar cement, but also with wide joint polymeric sand, soil, and decorative plants such as moss.

For even more information on flagstone, please contact us and we will be more than happy to help you out.

Protecting your Interlocking Pavers – Tips on using a sealer

protecting-interlocking-pavers-using-a-sealer

If your neighbor is able to keep his driveway or patio looking brand new and vibrant, chances are he has used a Paving Stone Sealer. Paving Stone Sealers minimize or eliminate the porosity of most stone. If the stone is left unsealed, it will be most certainly be prone to certain types of damage such as
oil, salt, rust, harsh pool chemicals, colour fading from UV rays, dirt, and even autocare products.

Although applying the paving stone sealer isn’t difficult, having the right equipment to do it makes it simpler and easier to manage. Here is a list of the most essential and necessary equipment:

  • Paint Roller (thick nap) or Pump Sprayer
  • Rubber Gloves (throw away)
  • Goggles (you really don’t want this stuff in your eyes)
  • Work Pants (don’t care if you get sealer on it)
  • Work Boots (if you get this stuff on your sneakers, they will be ruined)
  • Pressure washer or hose with nozzle

In addition to having the right equipment for the job, here are some professional tips before applying, applying and using the paving stone sealer to keep that fresh and new look for your interlocking stones:

1. Remove all oil, grease, dirt

You can use the proper cleaners or use a power washer/hose with nozzle and allow the surface to dry for 24 hours before applying the sealer. If you are using a power washer, keep the angle at a shallow angle to minimize the loss of joint sand.

2. Removing efflorescence

Allow 30 to 60 days for the efflorescence (whitish salt) to escape from the stone. If the efflorescence is still visible, use efflorescence cleaner to remove it and let it dry 24-48 hours and then sweep the paving stones with a stiff bristled brush.

3. Keep water away

If you get water on the surface or on the roller while applying, a cloudy spot will form on the paving stone surface. If you sweat a lot, consider wearing a hat or headband to keep the sweat from dripping onto the sealer.

4. Watch the weather

Keep your eye on the weather as you do not want to apply the sealer below 10 degrees, or when there is a chance of rain (surface must be dry for at least 24 hours).

5. Increase durability

You can increase the durability of the surface when you apply the sealer in two thin coats than one thick coat. This will also reduce the possibility of the paving stone surface turning white.

6. Prevent streaking

For surfaces being sealed for the first time, apply a second coat by rolling in a cross direction than the first coat to prevent streaking. Allow first coat to dry prior to second coat application (drying time dependent on sealer brand). Allow sealed surfaces to dry for 24 hours before using. This will be more apparent on large flat surfaces such as flagstone.

6. Cleaning your tools

You must clean the tools immediately after the application. If you use a solvent-based sealer, use a lacquer thinner to clean the nozzle, canister and hose of your pump sprayer.