Benefits of Landscaping Infographic

The Many Benefits of Landscaping Infographic

 

Below is the information contained in The Many Benefits of Landscaping Infographic

Aside from basic maintenance (such as painting, flooring, general repairs etc), landscaping is the most desired renovation with 42% of Canadians planning landscaping projects in 2016 — source: Financial Post

  1. Trees and other vegetation absorb excess rainfall which helps control flooding and keeps pollutants from entering the community water system
  2. Plants and trees reduces greenhouse gases and release oxygen into the environment
  3. Great for blocking unpleasant views
  4. Improves overall house appearance

 

If you’re selling your home

  • Up to 28% increase in home value
  • Landscaped homes typically sell 10-15% faster  source: HouseLogic.com

 

If you’re beautifying your home

  • Reduces noise levels
  • Attracts bees, butterflies and birds

 

If you’re relaxing at home

  • Helps to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Provides a great place for family stay-cations!

 

Benefits of Landscaping Infographic

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Using Rocks in Landscaping

Using Rocks in Landscaping

Rocks in Landscaping – Privacy, Aesthetics & Increased Property Value

There are many reasons why people choose to use landscaping rocks in their home yard improvement projects. Most home owners are initially looking to enhance their outdoor living space and create an environment that is conducive to relaxing and for entertaining family and friends. For those living in high density neighbourhoods, it also provides privacy and helps to reduce noise. Besides aesthetics and livability, there are also sound economic reasons for embarking on a landscaping project such as:incorporating rocks into the landscape small

  • Reduction in cooling and heating costs
  • Enhanced attractiveness for prospective buyers
  • Increases the value of your home
  • Can significantly decrease time spent on yard maintenance

In addition to a wide assortment of shrubs, trees, and flowers, decorative landscaping with rocks and stones should also be a consideration as they provide both aesthetics and foundational support when used in retaining walls, barriers, as natural fences, and much more. Choosing the right rocks for your specific project is important and the geographical area you are in must also be taken into consideration.  Consulting a rock landscaping professional is highly recommended before starting any such project that incorporates these ornamental rocks. 

You can, of course, do some DIY rock landscaping but do your research first.  Since landscaping companies get big discounts on rocks and stone, oftentimes homeowners find that they didn’t actually save much money on the project and for the time invested, it might not be worth it.  Ottawa Home & Garden Landscaping & Interlock is one such company – we get steep discounts on rocks, stone and other rock landscaping materials.  If you’re located in or around Ottawa, contact us for a free rock landscaping quote.making use of rocks in landscaping

Rock Landscaping Ideas

  • Patios– Natural slate and flagstone is both durable and adds a touch of beauty to any patio. For extra durability, you can lay flagstones on top of concrete and fill in the joints with mortar. Small gravel can also be used as groundcover with larger stones as borders.
  • Walls – A variety of landscaping rocks in different sizes and shapes can be used when building garden or patio walls, as well as property line and retaining walls. Mortared walls are the best when it comes to longevity.
  • Hardscapes – Both synthetic and natural landscaping rocks make long lasting structures such as pools, fountains, and barbecue pits.
  • Groundcover and pathways – There are many rock landscaping ideas one can use when building pathways or looking for a unique solution to increase groundcover. Using gravel as a filler in your landscaping project is a great idea and they come in so many different colours and sizes that it can add a whole new aesthetic level to any pathway.

 

Rocks Used in Landscaping

Landscaping rocks come in so many different shapes and sizes that it can be hard to choose which ones will go best in your particular project. It is very important to remember that although you may like the look of a particular rock, you need to make sure that it is suitable for what you have in mind. From large granite boulders to crushed gravel, the type of landscaping rock you use will make a difference not only in appearance but also in the strength and longevity of what you’re building.

While larger rocks or boulders are great features in many rock landscaping projects, you have to make sure they can be properly supported for the area where you’ll be using them. It is always best to consult with a rock landscaping professional to ensure that you’re not purchasing or bringing in rocks or boulders which may not be suitable for your landscaping project or conducive to Ottawa weather. There are a number of landscaping boulders and larger rocks that are perfect to use as accents, ponds and water features, and even for constructing natural playgrounds such as:rock landscaping artistic use of rocks in landscaping

  • Granite Boulders – They are available in different sizes, are reddish in colour and are quite distinctive.
  • Tatlock Mining Boulders – Come is various sizes and colours such as white, pink, and black.
  • Canyon Stone – Is available in a variety of shapes and textures.
  • Large Landscape Boulders – Adds a level of aesthetic value to a project and are available in different colours, textures, and shapes.
  • Elephant Stone – These stones are full of character and have a pleasing, unique texture. It will add a distinct dynamic to most any landscaping project.
  • Cheetah Stone – If you are looking to add a little pizzazz and colour to your rock landscape, this stone is a must.

Both the Canyon and Elephant stone are also available in smaller ‘mini boulder’ sizes and are ideal for accents and rock gardens as well as in ponds and water features.

If you are planning a rock landscaping project in the Ottawa, Ontario area, there are several unique stones that can really enhance your project. Again, be sure to bring your rock landscaping ideas to a reputable rock landscaping professional before you begin. They will not only be able to tell if your ideas are suitable for the space you have available but also which stone is the best to use and why. Some of these uniquely geographical landscaping stones include:rocks in landscaping steps

  • Ottawa Riverstone – Ranges from grey to beige and is available in several sizes. They can be used in place of mulch, in between homes and in culvert areas for drainage. It is recommended that you lay commercial fabric first for weed control.
  • Ottawa Peastone – typically comes pre-set in 3/8” and has all the same uses as the Ottawa Riverstone.

Kingston landscaping stones also come in several sizes and can add a lovely touch of colour. They are available in white, pink, red, and quartz. They have all the same application choices as Ottawa Riverstone and can add a nice touch if you do not want to use regular gravel.

Rock landscaping is a great way to enhance your outdoor living space and it also adds value to your home. You can create beautiful areas for entertaining as well as natural play areas for children and in most cases, you will also significantly reduce the amount of time you will need to spend on yard maintenance. Professional landscaping is as important to the liveability and enjoyment of your home as interior renovations are. But before you begin any project make sure you bring all your rock landscaping ideas to professionals who can advise you about layout options as well as which landscaping stones or rocks will work best.

How to Install Pavers | Interlocking Stone Pavers

How to Install Pavers | Interlocking Stone Pavers

How to Install Interlocking Pavers

So you want to know how to install pavers?  First, let’s educate those of us who don’t know what a paver is.  A paver is simply a paving stone, brick, piece of concrete or tile and it’s what you see used for driveways and outdoor patios.  Interlocking pavers are a special type of paver which are also known as segmental pavers.  Interlock pavers are good for extreme weather conditions which can cause concrete to crack.

Now that we know what a paver is, let’s get on with a step by step guide on how to install pavers.

Wondering whether to go with interlock stone pavers or stamped concrete?  Then you MUST read this article written specifically for Ottawa weather.how to install pavers - ottawa interlock project

 

Installing Pavers Step 1: Plan & Check with Utilities Company

The first thing you need to do is to create a plan and then check with the utilities company to ensure that there are no pipes, wires etc in the area.  Use graph paper and create a scaled drawing of the area, making sure that you take drainage into effect.  Make sure your plan is detailed and that everything is sloping away from the house and / or any other structures. The slope should be between 1/8-1/4 inch per foot.

 

Installing Pavers Step 2:  Choose Your Materials

You’ve got the area designed and mapped out and now you need to decide on the type of paver you want as well as the color and shape.  There are many choices so find something to your liking and then calculate how many you need based on square footage of the area.  If the area is pretty square or rectangle and doesn’t have a lot of curves, you can calculate how many pavers you need pretty accurately based on square footage – but add an additional 5% to your number just in case.  If your design is a curvy or more complex, add 10 % to that figure.

 

Installing Pavers Step 3: Outline and Slope

Get string and some stakes and outline the project area exactly to specification then use the string to create the outline of the slope.  As an example of how to figure out how much to slope the area, let’s use 1/4 inch for every foot.  So then every four feet, it would drop down 1 inch.  Place these slope strings across the entire area so that you can easily see the slope at every stage of the project.

 

Installing Pavers Step 4: Excavation

Whether your paving project is a walkway or a driveway will determine the depth that you’ll need to excavate: approximately 12 inches for foot traffic and up to 18 inches for driveways depending on the condition of the ground (moist ground, for example, requires more base material).  After you figure out how deep you need to go (you can call your local building supply store for advice), add another 1 – 1 ½ inches for the sand that you’ll need to add later plus the thickness of the pavers.  Let’s say it’s a walkway you’re building, the pavers are 2 1/2 inches thick, you’re going to put a 1 inch sand layer and the base is to be 12 inches.  Therefore, the total excavation depth would be   1” + 2.5” + 12” = 15.5 inches.  Make sure that you excavate at least 12” beyond the area of the pavers to accommodate the edge restraints you’ll be putting in later on.

how to install pavers - custom interlock project Ottawa

Installing Pavers Step 5: Laying the Base

Your base material is going to be some type of crushed stone that’s irregularly shaped so that it drains well.  Only lay a max of 6 inches of base material at a time before compacting it with a mechanical plate compactor.  This step is crucial if your project is to be a success as this is your last chance to ensure there are no dips or bumps and that the slope is correct. Keep compacting every 2 inches until you’re about 3 inches from your desired height.

 

Installing Pavers Step 6: Install Edge Restraints

Edge restraints help hold the project together over the years and are usually made of plastic, steel or aluminum and are held in place with 12 inch spikes.

 

Installing Pavers Step 6:  Add Layer of Sand

Sand holds your pavers in place and should be coarse and added until the layer is between 1 and 1.5 inches deep.  Use a large pipe or piece of wood (make sure it’s absolutely straight) and run it across the sand to ensure that it’s level.  This is called “screeding”.  Make sure you don’t step on the sand after it’s been screeded.

 

Installing Pavers Step 7:  Laying the Pavers

This is actually one of the easier steps.  You’ll want to start along the straightest and longest edge at a 90 degree corner, preferably against the house or structure.  Since pavers are made from natural materials, they usually have a slight colour difference between pallets so make sure that you pull from different pallets as you move along to minimize the color differences.

You want to drop the pavers into place and not slide or kick them or otherwise disturb the layer of sand. Remember not to step on the sand – step on the pavers you’re laying and work your way out.  Don’t worry too much about gaps as you want 1/16 – 1/8” gap between your pavers.

how to install pavers - custom interlock Ottawa

Installing Pavers Step 8: Cutting Pavers

It’s almost impossible to finish a project and not require cutting some pavers.  Lay all pavers in each row and then cut the end pavers to size using a masonry saw or guillotine splitter.  Once the entire pattern is laid out, use a plate compactor (with a protective covering) on the pavers to ensure they are firmly pressed into the sand.  Do this 3 times before moving onto the next step.

 

Installing Pavers Step 9: Sealing the Pavers

To add durability and lower maintenance costs throughout the years, seal your pavers with an appropriate sealing product.  Make sure you clean the pavers before you start!  A note to add here is to always review the manufacturers installation guide before you use any product.  This is especially true for sealants!

 

Installing Pavers Step 10: Sweep

The last step is to sweep sand into the joints as this sand is what holds the pavers together.  You can use the same sand you used before or you can use finer sand for this stage.  You want the sand to be dry and you may have to do this step several times over the next month as the sand compacts.

If you’re looking for more information on interlocking stone such as the different types of interlocking stones and what customizations we can provide, check out this interlock category page here.

 

And there you have it, you now know how to install pavers!  If you’re looking for an Ottawa interlock company, you’ve come to the right place.  Click here to contact us about your next paving or landscaping job.

5 Landscaping Mistakes To Avoid At All Costs

5 Landscaping Mistakes To Avoid At All Costs

landscaping mistakes

Landscaping Tips – Avoid Making These Mistakes

Landscaping can be a daunting task for many people, which is one of the reasons it is the home improvement project that often gets left until last. When there is finally a break in the weather and it’s time to turn your attention to the exterior of your property, budgets are often more or less depleted, so it’s important to nail the landscaping process.

In many cases, many homeowners believe one way to save on the budget is by forgoing a professional landscaper. But in doing so, they’re more likely to make mistakes, which can become more costly than hiring a professional in the first place. If you are set on going the DIY route, here are five mistakes to avoid at all costs.

 

  1. Trying to do too much on your property

With all the design ideas and implementation that exists out there, remember that the outdoor living space needs to be elegant and balanced. Trying to shoehorn in all of your ideas can make the space look overdone, crowded and gaudy. In most cases, depending on your neighbourhood, it is often best for long-term enjoyment and re-sale value to go with a simple, classy design that will be the most accepted.

In addition the to your yard’s aesthetics, you must also consider ergonomics. There might not be space to add the undercover patio, garden shed AND ornate pond you had your heart set on. Function is also extremely important here. Always make sure there is enough room in between landscape features for pets, and to navigate things like wheel barrows and playground equipment, should you be considering adding to the family down the road.

 

  1. Not identifying what and where you can build on your property

Even if you’ve been living on your property for many years now and know just about everything there is to know within your property lines inside and out, things can change in an instant, especially if you live in a neighbourhood that is under development. You never know if an alleyway is destined to butt up against those fruit trees you just planted.

It would be a shame to invest money on a beautiful landscape design only to find out later that the city or services will be working in your area and damaging your new installation. It is always best to clear the most elaborate designs with the city before getting started, or at the very least learn if there are any bylaws in your area that would restrict such things as pools, over-height fences and/or free-standing structures such as sheds.

 

  1. Failing to keep the outdoor climate in mind

Landscape features that look good on television and in magazines might not be suitable for areas like Ottawa that get a lot of snow and frequently reach stamped concrete stained by ottawa weathertemperatures below zero in the winter. For example, in Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley, you should avoid the mistake of using stamped concrete. Our climate is not a conducive area for this style of landscaping. The freeze-thaw process, as well as the de-icing methods used by the city, can damage this material, resulting in costly repairs in a short period of time. And, since the concrete is generally coloured, any repairs will stick out like a sore thumb since they might not match the tint or colour of the existing stones.

 

  1. Believing you can achieve a zero-maintenance outdoor living space

While it’s true that there are some aspects to landscape design that require less maintenance than others, due to the power of weather and circumstances beyond your control, there will always be a measure of maintenance to your outdoor landscaped space. The important thing is to accept and find ways to manage the amount of reasonable time it may take you to maintain your project. A landscape design and build professional will be able to suggest materials and features that will require less maintenance overall, but you’ll still be required to, at the very minimum, pressure wash a stone walkway, for example.

backyard-paradise-ottawa-interlock-project

  1. Not building for the future

In many cases, your dream outdoor living space may have to be done in many phases over a long period of time. By building for the future, or keeping the additional phases of the project in mind, you can save yourself from having to take apart and reinstate a finished portion of your overall plan. Staying organized by pre-planning will definitely save you money in the long run.

 

Now that you know what NOT to do, here are some easy DIY landscaping tips on how to improve your space.

 

As you can see, there are a lot of factors that come into play when it’s time to address your backyard oasis. Avoid the above mistakes and you should be fine. If you need any help in any of the above areas, Ottawa Home and Garden would be pleased to take a walk-through of your property and offer some suggestions. We are a design and build landscaping firm that specializes in outdoor transformations that are carried out with the future in mind. Contact Us today for a free estimate!

Easy DIY Landscaping That Increase the Value of Your Property

Easy DIY Landscaping That Increase the Value of Your Property

DIY Landscaping Tips for Ottawa Weather

When it comes to do-it-yourself home improvement projects, taking care of your own landscaping in order to increase the value of your property can be a huge money saver.  That being said, there are many landscaping mistakes you’ll want to avoid else your DIY landscaping project might end up costing you more if you need to bring in the pros to fix your mistakes.

There are countless DIY landscaping projects out there that, when executed right, can increase the value of your property. All you need is a little bit of patience, a break in the weather, and a few tools you likely already have on hand.

Here are a few easy landscaping tips from us at Ottawa Home and Garden Landscaping & Interlock that can increase your home’s curb appeal as well as your backyard patio enjoyment.

 

Maintain Healthy, Green Lawn

diy landscaping - green lawnA well-manicured lawn is one of the best ways to instantly improve your home’s curb appeal. A nice lawn truly draws the eye and always gets and maintains the attention of neighbours and passersby. The lush colour of the lawn and the pleasing smell of freshly cut grass makes the entire property more appealing. Plus, it’s also a great feeling to walk barefoot on healthy grass or turf on a hot summer day!

While maintaining a healthy lawn is relatively easy, it does take patience, tons of water, lots of cutting, frequent fertilizing, and, depending on your location, de-mossing every now and then. It might take some trial and error, but it’s always worth the effort in the long run.

 

Installing Rock Gardens

You can create an equally appealing outdoor landscape and minimize the amount of time it takes to maintain a healthy lawn by installing a rock garden instead. Using natural stones in designated areas can bring a unique feel to an outdoor experience, and the beauty of natural stone can be endless. Rock gardens instantly improve the look of areas where grass has been stubborn to grow, or where weeds persist. They are especially attractive options in the summer because they don’t require constant watering.

Installing your own rock gardens is simple. All you need is something to smother out weeds and provide a foundation for the rocks, such as a natural burlap or plastic underlayment, and the right river rock and decorative stones to suit your budget and design preferences. We also recommend having a strong shovel and wheelbarrow on hand for this project. Along the way, you can boost the look of your rock garden simply by adding succulents and large stepping stones to the mix.

 

Designing Flower Beds

diy landscaping - garden bedTo take your DIY landscaping skills one step further, consider adding some colourful flower beds to bring dimension to your outdoor space. Planting the right seasonal flowers can be a delight for potential buyers, and it’s easier than you think to get started. For starters, use a long cord, rope or string to outline or sculpt out a space for the flowerbed. By using simple tools like a garden hose and a can of spray paint, you are able to adjust the size, shape and overall design of the flower beds before you begin to excavate the area.

Once the area is cleared, you do not need to worry about adding retaining walls or plastic edge restraints to keep the grass from migrating towards the defined flowerbed. By using a shovel or edging tool, you can maintain the bed’s outline with very minimal effort. Have you ever seen retaining walls or plastic edge restraints on a golf course bunker? No. This is because these features are not functional for the space, nor are they are all that attractive. You can save thousands of dollars from the initial cost and potential reinstatement costs of raised garden bed landscape features by following the example of your local golf course. This process of maintaining the edging of a flower bed is also time-effective, since in many cases you may only need to attend to the outline once or twice a year, or as you see fit.

 

Choosing the Right Vegetation

With your flower beds in place, it’s time to choose the right plants to suit Ottawa’s climate. Start by taking pictures of your flower bed space at different times of the day and knowing what direction the flower beds face. Bring this information with you to a local nursery. In many cases, an on-site horticulturist can provide free advice on plant species that could work in harmony with your space, saving you spending thousands of dollars on hiring a landscape designer to do the exact same thing.

Before you get started on any DIY landscaping project, always follow the bylaws in your area to ensure your project goes as smoothly as planned. This may include, among other things, having all services marked and documented before you start. For more inspiration for your future DIY landscaping projects, we encourage you to look through some of our Ottawa landscaping projects.
If you like to take care of your own landscaping, take heed not to make these common landscaping NO NOs.

9 Questions to Ask an Ottawa Landscaping Company Before Hiring Them

9 Questions to Ask an Ottawa Landscaping Company Before Hiring Them

ottawa landscaping company team

Question the Ottawa Landscaper You’re About to Hire!

Whether you are looking to improve your existing property by cleaning up the exterior, or you are putting the finishing touches on a brand new home build, landscaping is an important part of the building process. In many cases, when a project goes beyond trimming a few hedges and painting an aging fence, it’s time to call a professional Ottawa landscaping company.

Before you go and call just anyone, you should first understand that there are a lot of different types of landscaping companies in Ottawa to choose from.  And you’ll want to vet the Ottawa landscaping company you’re going to hire by asking them a few key questions.  

  1. How long have you been in business?
    Follow this question up by asking how many years of experience the landscapers have doing the specific task you are looking to have done. Keep in mind that many landscapers play on the fact that lawn cutting is considered landscaping in some areas, and just because he or she says they have been involved with landscaping for X amount of years, this doesn’t necessarily mean they have been installing certain types of projects for the same amount of time.

 interlocking back patio in Ottawa

  1. Can you design AND build the project?
    Just like there are home designers and home builders, there are landscape designers and landscape builders. There are also companies who do both aspects of the job. Make sure you know who you’re dealing with! This is important since the design and build firms know all the limitations of the designs and products, and can make fast, effective, responsible decisions without having to consult a third party (the landscape designer). The expense of hiring both a designer and a builder is usually avoidable, since many landscaping companies carry out both the design and build portions of the project at hand any way.

 

  1. Can you show me your design plans for my project?
    When it comes to figuring out a plan for your backyard makeover, a lot can be achieved by numerous discussions and tours of photo galleries, but an actual mockup of the design elements in your backyard is critical for all parties. Find out if these mockups are included in the landscaper’s quote or free estimate. Being able to see for yourself what it all looks like gives you more of an landscaping concept designopportunity to hammer out the perfect design before any trees are chopped or any holes are dug. By building for the future and keeping the additional phases of the project in mind, you can save yourself from having to take apart and reinstate a finished portion of your overall plan.

 

  1. Do you have references?
    Don’t mistake a landscaping company’s online portfolio for real references. Find out if the company is willing to share actual references with you. Contact these references only if you feel inclined, but at least find out how the company reacts when you ask for them. The last place you want to end up is on the 6 o’clock news with a horror story about how you didn’t ask the people responsible for the botched job in your backyard for references.

 

  1. Will you be onsite and involved in the entire process?
    Oftentimes when you’re talking to a larger landscaping company, you’re speaking with someone in the sales division. Things might be going well, and you’re feeling more and more like a good relationship is developing, until the day the work begins, and the person you’ve been talking to for a while is nowhere to be found. This can be alarming and disappointing, so skip this feeling from the get-go by finding out if the person you’re speaking with directly will be the one facilitating the work. Sometimes it’s obvious, but not always!

 

  1. Who is responsible for the site production while the work is in progress? What levels of communication are implemented between all those involved?
    Although this information probably isn’t critical in your decision of who to hire, it’s good information to have and it might narrow down your choice. You’ll want to make sure you’re kept up to speed on the project and that the person responsible for the work in progress is someone you feel you can trust, someone who can make good, honest recommendations, and someone who sees your vision.

 

  1. Are you and your employees insured, and how many workers will be on site?
    Basic homeowner’s insurance doesn’t always extend to trade workers. You need to make sure that if an accident occurs on your property, you are not on the hook for any damages, to people or the property itself.

 

  1. Will you be using sub-contractors for any aspect of the project, and are they insured?
    Likewise for sub-contractors. Some landscapers have to outsource some of the more niche elements of the job, like when they require technicians to wire up patio lighting or install a water fountain, for example. Find out everything you can about the sub-contractors who will be showing up for the project.

 

  1. What is your preferred payment schedule?
    In many cases, your dream backyard may have to be worked on in a few phases over a long period of time. Depending on the scope of your project, the landscaper might require a down payment for materials. Also find out how long the plan will in fact take, since many landscapers get busy. You’ll want to make sure the payment schedule gels with the construction schedule so all parties win at the end of the day.

 

ottawa landscaping company

Landscaping can be a fairly substantial investment, which is why a lot of time and energy should be spent on looking for a skillful, trustworthy Ottawa landscaping company to suit your needs. Fortunately, deciding on the right company is the hardest part. Once that decision is made, it’s time to sit back and watch as your outdoor living space dreams come true!

To find out more about the landscaping process or to discuss your dream backyard, please contact Ottawa Home & Garden at 613-833-2645. We are an Ottawa landscaping company who has been serving Ottawa and surrounding areas since 1999.

Poolscaping Services in Ottawa

Poolscaping Services in Ottawa

poolscaping services in ottawaLandscaping around the Pool aka Poolscaping

When it comes to seeing your backyard paradise dreams come true, you need to know where to start. This is especially true if you are considering adding a pool to your space, or improving the look of one you’ve already got. If you weren’t already aware, the term Poolscaping describes the art of sculpting and beautifying the landscape that surrounds your swimming pool.
 

Who to Hire

To begin their Poolscaping journey, most people enlist the help of a design and build firm that specializes in Poolscaping. Poolscaping professionals focus their time, energy, and expertise on maximizing the potential of your finished project while working within your budget.

Since Ottawa Home and Garden is a Poolscape design and build firm, we can deliver your Poolscaping dream. By working with a design and build firm like Ottawa Home and Garden, you gain access to specialized technicians such as our swimming pool installation contractors who can make your Poolscape dream come alive.

ottawa poolscaping project

The Communication Phase

Ottawa Home and Garden begins the Poolscaping process by starting a dialogue with our clients. We have a high regard for constant, clear communication. We start off by determining which member of the household is available to meet us on the premises and show us around. Then, working closely with you, we figure out in what order you can expect each specialist to arrive at your residence.

When Ottawa Home and Garden begins the onsite phase for the Poolscaping process, it’s our goal to gather important information to move the construction forward in a timely manner. By taking measurements of the landscape area once the swimming pool has found its projected installed space, we can then discuss what your vision is for the poolside space. This will include addressing what outdoor features you desire, as well as the functionality of your patio/pool deck.

At the communication stage, it’s important to express your dreams, desires, needs, wants, and budgets for your poolside entertainment vision. By doing so, we are able to then include all these elements and begin to design the entertainment space.

What’s your vision? Is it tropical, modern or natural? By making these decisions from the get-go, we ensure we are all on the same design page as we move forward.

 

The Design Phase

The Poolscaping design phase is an enjoyable experience for us since it allows us to get your dreams and visions down on paper. With more and more Poolscape design options available today, which include various textures like water, wood, and natural stone, as well as features like pergolas and shaded structures, we are able to soften the look so the area feels more like a home spa than a commercial concrete jungle. This may also include incorporating things like special lighting and flowerbed construction into the overall design.

As we move into the design phase, other decisions must be made in regards to materials, shapes, sizes, and overall needs. We also address things like:

 

  • Are we allowing room for a patio set?
  • Is there enough space for lounge chairs?
  • Is there enough room for shaded structures?
  • What about the addition of a hot tub, kitchen or fireplace?

 

These elements are all important to your overall poolside dream. Does this mean you have to incorporate everything at once? By no means! Many of our clients build with additional phases in mind due to budget, seasonal changes, and other concerns.

With this in mind, we can make a wide variety of recommendations for you to choose from so we can continue to build in the future. This may include laying the groundwork for much-needed infrastructure. As a result, we are able to position certain features in such a fashion that your poolscape dream is accomplished with ease as we go through the different construction phases.

pool landscaping ottawa

The Overall Process

We at Ottawa Home and Garden work closely with our pool specialists to ensure all the elements you desire can be accomplished wherever possible. If things need to be adjusted, it’s a lot easier to make changes when we are working with our preferred specialists. We are able to better foresee the finished product and make the necessary decisions to ensure the project can move forward.

This includes time management for Poolscaping materials like interlock paving stones, natural stones, waterfall units, and fireplaces, as well as knowing when to inform the counter top contractor to make his measuring visits for the outdoor kitchen or cooking space, for example.

If you have a swimming pool already installed, the process changes somewhat, but our goals for your poolside enjoyment do not change. So, whether the swimming pool has yet to be installed, will be in the works throughout the next couple of years, or the existing pool just needs some sprucing up, we can construct the space appropriately.

Ottawa Home and Garden has been the Ottawa area’s premier Poolscaping design and build firm for many years. As a result of this dedication, we are confident in our ability to understand, design, and build your backyard to fit your space. So if you’ve been dreaming about that backyard oasis for a while now, we believe it’s time to take the plunge! Simply visualize your Poolscaping dream, allow us to build the pool side space you need, and start planning your staycation.

 

For more information about our Poolscaping services, please take a look through our portfolio, and give us a call or email us today. We’d be happy to provide you with a free Poolscaping estimate and go over your options.

We look forward to helping you create an outdoor dream space you will want to show off year after year.

Backyard Design in Ottawa – The Top 5 Coolest Designs

backyard design in ottawa - pergolas

Designing Your Backyard Paradise

The world of landscape design is limitless, especially in a place like Ottawa, where there are four distinct seasons to consider when choosing backyard designs that will suit your space. Landscape design should be beautiful, functional, easy to maintain, and add value to a property. It should be built to last, but also be something to build on over time.

No matter what your favourite season is, here are five of the coolest backyard designs in Ottawa that don’t cost much, but often get overlooked. All of the following design ideas will enhance your enjoyment of your space, regardless of what the weather does.

 

  1. Pergolas with Privacy Screens

Add some architecture to your backyard landscape with the simple addition of a pergola. Pergolas are essentially rooftops on a set number of posts that provide an elegant way to go a little vertical and either provide shelter from a rainfall, or provide some shade when the mid-day sun hits. Use them to create a patio partition, or cover a hot tub, for example.2 post pergola ottawa landscaping project

Pergolas don’t need to look clunky or overbearing! Our team of landscape designers can use metal posts and veneer them with wood in such a fashion that we can eliminate one or two pergola posts from the middle of the patio. This is a very cool type of backyard design in Ottawa, and is considered a little secret here at Ottawa Home and Garden.

 

  1. Natural Stone Privacy Walls

Adding a natural stone wall to your backyard landscape design is another option that allows you to get vertical with your landscape design. These types of walls can add privacy and provide a really cool look to the space. But don’t stop with just a wall! By adding a water feature in the wall, you can create something that will truly separate your yard from everyone else’s.

The look, the sound, and the design of this feature is something not many other homeowners are doing. Depending on the height of the wall, you can sit under or stand under the unit to cool off on a hot summer’s day, especially if your backyard is south-facing.

 

  1. Fire Pits and Fireplaces

backyard design in ottawa - fire pits in ottawaA well-placed fire feature can relax you to the point where you can forget about the stresses of the day. Natural stone fire features are simply gorgeous, especially when they are custom-built. A precast fire unit or kit can complement the area’s interlocking stone beautifully.

While fire pits and fireplaces are a bit more commonplace than natural stone privacy walls, they still add a customized look to your space, making it a one-of-a-kind backyard. Depending on how much room you have in your backyard, consider adding a storage solution for firewood and kindling made of a complementing material to the fireplace.

 

  1. Outdoor Kitchens or Prep Stations

When it comes to outdoor living, this landscape design feature is considered the cherry on top. An outdoor kitchen, wet bar, and/or food prep area becomes the focal point of the whole backyard. Whether it’s constructed out of natural stone, precast stone units or stucco as your veneer, you can create a social place to host your guests that fits within your budget and is as beautiful as it is functional.

With just a few features within this unit, such as a small sink and a countertop, you can also have a space to prep all your drinks during your next summer BBQ. That being said, don’t overlook the idea of adding an outdoor pizza oven to the mix. Your guests will never want to leave!

 

  1. Outdoor Entertainment Space.

With the possibility of adding Wi-Fi and wireless electronics such as surround sound speakers to backyard designs, in Ottawa landscape designers and builders are now able to create areas and entire “rooms” outdoors that come complete with TV space and an outdoor stereo sound. Talk about expanding your usable living space!

There is nothing quite like having an outdoor living room to enjoy watching the game outside under the stars. The family will also enjoy being able to watch their favorite movies outdoors until their hearts’ content. BYOBS (Bring Your Own Bug Spray).

These are just a handful of some of the exciting backyard designs out there. They are all easy to achieve and add functionality and a timelessness to the outdoor living area. What do you think of our list? Do you agree or disagree? Do you have anything to add?

 

If you’re in the area, contact the experts in backyard design at Ottawa Home and Garden today for all your landscaping needs!

Landscape Design in Ottawa using Artificial vs. Real Grass

landscape design ottawa - green grass

Artificial Grass vs Real Grass for Ottawa Weather

Grass, whether it is artificial or real, is an important part of residential landscaping. We are big proponents of adding it to our landscape design at Ottawa Home and Garden. A well-maintained area of grass on a residential property is a welcome sight and can cool an area down, as it does not reflect sunlight like other ground covers like concrete products, asphalt, or even wood decks do.

Deciding on a type of lawn for your property used to be as easy as selecting a grass seed and being done with it, but now homeowners have the option of laying artificial grass instead. But is it really worth it? Let’s take a look at using artificial or real grass in landscape design.

 

Artificial Grass

Artificial grass or sod is available in a wider variety of colours, textures and lengths than ever before, making it an attractive, tempting option for some homeowners. It is usually made up of a combination of rubber and silicon for the infill (present in higher-quality options), nylon or polypropylene for the grass fibers, and, much like carpet, polyester tie cord for the backing that holds everything together.

And, as the material and quality of artificial grass have both improved, it’s gained a broader range of applications. Once more or less reserved for use on sports fields and putting greens, artificial grass is making its way into playgrounds and even residential properties.

 

The benefits of adding artificial grass to a landscape:

  • The product is very durable and resistant to most natural conditions that can wreak havoc on a surface area.
  • It is great for constantly shaded areas of your property since it holds its color for a great deal of time.
  • It doesn’t require watering, cutting, or fertilizing.
  • Depending on the quality afforded, it WILL fool the neighbours.
  • It won’t die if it’s neglected and won’t ever be overrun with weeds, moss or insect pests.
  • It doesn’t lead to a lot of mess (grass clippings and dirt) being tracked inside.
  • Artificial grass is less likely to attract neighbourhood pets from doing their business where they shouldn’t: YOUR green space!

 

The drawbacks of adding artificial grass to a landscape:

  • This product can be very costly to install properly since the installation requires excavation and backfill of required materials for structure and drainage.
  • In some cases, a water drainage system may be required since standing water or rainfall can undermine the structure of the base.
  • Repair and/or replacement of artificial grass can become very costly.
  • Many people miss the sensations associated with the real thing.

 

Real Grass

Natural sod or grass, which is required by most builders to be installed before people take possession of new homes, can either be rolled on a prepped area as pre-grown sheets, or planted by seed and left to grow in just a month or two. With landscape design in Ottawa, there aren’t too many drawbacks to having an abundance of natural grass on your property, but there are some.

 

The benefits of adding real grass to a landscape:

  • It is an extremely cost effective way to cover a surface area compared to artificial turf.
  • Areas covered in real grass absorb the rainfall. This is helpful for our city drains since it doesn’t add unnecessary water runoff that may over-tax the city’s water system.
  • Natural grass, when well-maintained, is a beautiful sight and feels nice to the touch. It even smells nice. Maintenance, of course, varies based on the area and application.
  • If an area does become damaged, the reinstatement or repair to the natural sod can be very simple and carry a much lower cost than artificial turf.
  • Who can resist the feeling of real grass between their toes, or the smell of freshly cut grass in the spring and summer?

 

The drawbacks of adding natural grass to a landscape:

  • Upkeep requires regular fertilization and a ton of water, which can be scarce in the summertime.
  • Upkeep requires constant cutting, which can be time-consuming and pricey, depending on the equipment used or the company hired.
  • Real lawn attracts insect pests and neighbourhood cats and dogs.
  • Freshly cut grass might be constantly tracked into the house, creating a bigger mess indoors than artificial sod.

landscape design in ottawa - artificial grass

When it comes time to decide whether or not you want artificial grass instead of the real thing installed on your property, the choice comes down to more than just a numbers game. It’s not necessarily about what you can afford, it’s about what you ultimately want to look at every day. Sure, artificial grass will appear green even in the hottest months of summer, but looks aren’t everything, and eventually neighbours might catch on that you’ve been faking it. However, if caring for your lawn is just not your thing, artificial grass might be worth every penny invested.

For any questions about any of the above, contact an expert of landscape design at Ottawa Home and Garden today. We’d love to hear from you!

Choosing Outdoor Fire Pits in Ottawa – 5 Things to Consider

Choosing Outdoor Fire Pits in Ottawa – 5 Things to Consider

fire pits ottawa

Backyard Fire Pits in Ottawa

There are various styles of outdoor fireplaces and fire pits in Ottawa’s backyards. When it comes time to adding a fire pit or fireplace to your backyard, the sky’s the limit.

Sure, you could go out and source an upcycled wheel well to get the job done, but that won’t add much style and grace to the rest of your landscaping. There are better ways to go about adding a fire pit to your landscaping design.

To create a fantastic fire pit feature in your front or back yard, you will first need to consider:

 

  1. Size and Shape of the Fire Pit

The size and shape of your outdoor fire pit will be determined based on your overall outdoor design. In other words, your property size and other landscape features will dictate how big the unit can be and where it will go.

To decide on a shape, start be identifying how you want people to gather around the feature or use the fire pit, taking into consideration any small children or pets that will be using the same space. In this case, you’ll need to factor in space for seating, as well as the height of the unit.

Will you be adding on to this design in the future? If so, you’ll want a modestly sized fire pit that is easy to relocate, should plans change in the future. In another example, you might choose to have your fire pit be at the heart you design, or else have it off to the side in favour of having something else be your backyard centrepiece.

So, the first decision to make is, will your new fire pit feature be front row centre, or take a back seat to say, your pergola, hot tub, or waterfall feature?

poor mans firepit in Ottawa

  1. Various Uses of Fire Pits in Ottawa

Another big thing to consider when it comes to adding a fire pit feature to your landscape design is what you plan on using it for. For example, you must ask yourself:

  • Will I be using the unit to cook on?
  • Will I be using the unit for a source of heat?
  • Will it be the main focal point of my backyard space?
  • How many people do I reasonably expect to have gathered around the unit?

The answers to all of these question will help you decide on the size and shape, as well as the location. Not sure how the answers will influence your design? Consider enlisting the help of a local landscape design and build company before breaking ground.

 

  1. Wood or Gas Fire Pit?

Choosing either wood or gas for your future fireplace or fit pit in Ottawa is another important decision to make. The smell of a wood-burning fire can be very therapeutic, especially when coupled with the sound of a steady, crackling fire. It’s also the easier of the two methods to install, as it doesn’t require the special installation process of gas. One potential drawback to having a wood-burning feature in your backyard is the cleanup and storage of the combustible materials.

Gas fire pits come in a lot of designs, ranging from anything that resembles a wood-burning fireplace, to a table-top decorative centrepiece, and anything in between. If you are using natural gas, you won’t have to worry about cleanup or wood storage, but there is a cost to have the gas line trenched to the unit and a licensed gas technician to hook it up.

 

  1. Materials of the Fire Pit

Outdoor fire pits in Ottawa must be made out of materials that meet local building codes. That being said, in Ottawa, there are few limitations when it comes to using natural stone products that are either dry-stacked or mortared together.

The dry-stacked method, which refers to stones that are simply stacked on top of each, is quite simple to pull off, whereas natural stone that is mortared together and grouted gives more of a veneered, polished look.

Either way, encasing a steel bowl fire pit with the use of natural stone really adds a touch of elegance to the unit and is the ultimate way to blend it into your existing landscape and create a truly customized look.

 

  1. Overall Look of the Fire Pit

The last thing to consider is the overall aesthetics of the feature. Designs can be as traditional or modern as you’d like. Do you want a fire pit unit that looks like an outdoor fireplace? This style sees the unit low to the ground in a simple circular shape. It’s a simple design that never goes out of style.

However, for a more remarkable design, some people choose to have their fireplaces slightly elevated off the ground by about 3 or 4 feet to create a bar atmosphere so people can stand around it and also use bar stools. This look is awesome and really adds dimension to the fire pit and the whole backyard look. It will set you apart from the rest of the neighbours, and is even safer for pets and young children.

No matter what type of fire pit design you end up going with, keep in mind that before you get started, it’s important to research and follow the applicable bylaws and building code requirements of outdoor fire pits in Ottawa. You might also have to apply for any necessary permits before you are able to start enjoying your elegant backyard centrepiece.

For questions about any of the above tips on adding a backyard fire pit to your landscape, contact Ottawa Home and Garden today. We’d love to hear from you!