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ISSUE 1 | SPRING 2012 | $4.95


Puerto Backyarda Page 46

Creating the ultimate staycation experience

+ Design




Secrets from a landscape award winner

+ Small is Page 9


Page 28

Turf war the naked truth about real vs fake


+ Page 33

S/S 12

CAN/US $4.95 21


Big ideas for tiny yards

Page 41


WETLAND Transformation Soggy backyard becomes resort-style paradise


74470 99757


Natural Landscape Inc.


NL A Publication by


UNLIKE OTHER DECKING MATERIALS, AZEK® DECK RESISTS MOLD, SCRATCHES, AND STAINS. AZEK Deck looks so beautiful and lasts so long, why would you ever choose anything else? Preferred by builders across the country, low-maintenance AZEK Deck products are the embodiment of durability. At the end of the day, all you really have to do is enjoy it.

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Promoting excellence in Landscape Design Build throughout Canada.


Publisher/EditOR in Chief

Dave Maciulis C.L.D.







Steve McNeill | McNeill Communications Creative Director

Eric Pezik | Infinite Design House Inc. Contributors

Beth Edney CANADA’S LANDSCAPE DESIGN BUILD Victorial Ford John Kernaghan Samantha Sanjuan



Staff writers

Christine Bosanac Lori Sweezey Chantel Pintos



Roy Timm | Roy Timm Photography Jeff McNeill | McNeill Photography advertising sales

Chantel Pintos Published by Natural Landscape Inc. President Dave Maciulis C.L.D.

Phone: (905) 627-1466 FAX: (905) 627-9600 Email: Advertising: Natural Landscape is published two times a year (Spring and Fall)

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Also available in Chapters and Indigos accross Canada. Delivered to bookstores by Disticor Magazine Distribution Services Natural Landsape Inc. 103 King Street East Dundas, ON L9H 1B9

Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Reproduction NL without express written permission is prohibited. ISSUE 1 | SPRING 2012 | $4.95


Natural Landscape Inc.

Puerto Backyarda Creating the ultimate staycation experience

+ Design




A Publication by


Secrets from a landscape award winner


Page 9


Page 28

Turf war the naked truth about real vs fake

S/S 12

CAN/US $4.95 21


Small is Beautiful

+ Page 33

Big ideas for tiny yards

Cover Photographer - Rabee Younes




74470 99757


Cover Model - Samantha Sanjuan

Page 41



WETLAND Transformation



Soggy backyard becomes resort-style paradise


Secrets from the Dunington Grubb Award winner


Learn how to find what you need on the web

18 BLUE PLANET Enhance your yard and save the Earth


Feat ures 25


With a grill like this, you may never want to go indoors


THE EVE OF FAUX Weighing the pros and cons between real and fake grass



SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL Big ideas for tiny yards


BACKYARD INNOVATIONS Products that make life easier and more pleasurable



PUERTO BACKYARDA Creating the ultimate staycation experience

A quirky little restaurant serves up a lush garden patio



SOOTHING AND HYPNOTIC The recent popularity of bamboo

KNOT JUST DECKS Using new trends to create unique outdoor rooms


Wetland backyard becomes resort-style living

NATURAL TRENDS The garden accessories that make a difference


Page 46



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Dave’s in the Garden of Eden and ready to bite the apple.

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Letter from the Publisher


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23 THE THREE Rs Landscapers go green restoring, re-purposing and recycling



NL_Magazine_Spring_2012_Full_Book_v7.indd 1

12-03-08 8:07 AM



Letter From the


I must be in the Garden of Eden and I’m about to bite the apple. In just one year, we’ve achieved something heavenly – we’ve grown the magazine from our inaugural 48 pages to 68 this issue. Unbelievable. It’s like seeing the birth of your child and then watching him or her grow. I can’t help but have this same feeling with this little baby of mine. I launched Natural Landscape Magazine last year as a vehicle to educate the consumer, to promote landscape design/build and to raise awareness about the need to deal only with certified professionals. I believe Natural Landscape Magazine is doing that and more. And we’re beginning to tackle some tough debates. Maybe it’s my devilish side, but I just love to stir the pot. So, in this issue we’re taking on a subject where both sides are claiming to be eco-friendly. We’re examining grass – synthetic over real. It’s our cover story and we examine why we give in to our temptations for things that are convenient and easy. I hope you enjoy The Eve of Faux. I think you will find some interesting pros and cons.



Our feature spread Wetland Transformation is a great tale. Here we had a backyard prone to flooding; that was constantly wet and almost unusable. Today the makeover is absolutely stunning – something we’ve dubbed White Sands for its resort-like style and the white stone used in its construction. This issue is chock-full of other great articles and advice columns, from landscaping small yards, to trends, to plant picks, to a little Montreal secret – a restaurant patio that is unusual, to say the least. Check it all out in our largest issue yet. Happy reading, and here’s to great ideas leading to beautiful yards.

Enjoy your yard – naturally,


Dave Maciulis, CLD

Publisher Natural Landscape Magazine

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Fairway Building Supply

establishes itself as a leading landscape and building supplier

he door bell rings and Sarah eager-

cut from the local mill, natural flagstone

ly answers to greet the architect.

porch and outdoor kitchen to match the

Her partner, Beth, can’t wait to see

stone around the house.

the proposed house plans that they have waited months for.

above all, fairness. “We’ve worked hard to break away from how people perceive building

Do Beth and Sarah have hope? They

supply businesses – we’ve modernized

paid for the plans they asked for, but

with leading-edge processes and sys-

The architect unravels the plans of

needed to find a builder who was willing

tems, we’re striving to stay ahead of the

their dream home, and after two hours

to help them achieve their objective with

game and we’re introducing new and

of reviewing the plans and the budget,

some alternative build solutions.

better products,” says Jez Hundert, sales

Sarah and Beth look at each other with

They called Fairway Building Supply –

much disappointment. They soon realize

one of Canada’s largest builder suppliers.

Beth and Sarah were given names of

that their dream is way over their budget.

Founded just five years ago, Fairway has

reliable contractors to work with and

Costs were piling up due to natural stone

been one of the fastest growing supply

some worthwhile advice from Jez.

from a stone supplier up north, a custom

facilities in the country by providing top

“We continuously strive to help make

deck and side cladding made from cedar

quality products, exemplary service and,

the industry better,” Jez explains. “We


4 | NATURAL LANDSCAPE spring 2012

at Fairway.

g a r d e n wa l l s

a d ver t ori a l

value professionals who maintain their

maintain, so with the significant sav-

do-it-yourselfers to install. The secret is

training and improve their skills and we

ings on the other choices they put some

each sheet is 30 percent lighter and there-

seek innovations in products. When a

money back into composite decking –

fore reduces installation time.

homeowner calls for advice, we can dis-

“colour ready” and no staining required.

Sarah and Beth feel at ease that every-

cuss the products they need and connect

Fairway knows as our lives get busier and

thing is in financial reach and, being

them with a good contractor; someone

we struggle to find quality downtime,

proud of the big red leaf, they are happy

who is going to be fair and deliver what

composite products can provide a main-

to be supporting Canadian companies

the client wants,” he says, adding, “And

tenance-free luxury you won’t find with

with most of their purchases. Close to 90

we sell to the public as well.”

real wood. And unlike wood, compos-

percent of the products carried by Fair-

ite products carry a warranty for years of

way are Canadian made.

Beth loved the fact that precast slabs could easily replace the flagstone and that

worry-free enjoyment.

They are also pleased to learn their

the outdoor kitchen could still be built

Their hopes of achieving their goals

choices of manmade products could

within their budget, after the house and

continued to climb as Sarah fell in love

be considered green. Production is less

landscape were completed.

with a stone-like product that saved a lot

energy intensive than mining and log-

of money and still had a similar look and

ging operations, and by locating the

feel of real stone.

manufacturing facility close to the cus-

Jez runs through a list of products that have made tremendous advancements in the past number of years which pro-

Lastly, Sarah and Beth went with

vide the homeowner with not only the

stucco instead of the cedar cladding. They

appearance of being real, but with superi-

were impressed with the new line of EIFS

“We deal directly with the contractor,

or performance. Techo-Bloc, for example,

(stucco) from Dryvit, which looks like

but if a homeowner calls, we are here to

has stone products that look great but are

stone, brick or granite, but provides a

help. We provide expert advice and rec-

easier to install, provide a more uniform

better thermo rating, has a higher R-value

ommend only the best contractors and

fit and come in colours or tones that can

and will last longer.

trades. Our priority is customer service.

complement any home exterior – providing a cohesive look throughout.

Inside the house, even the humble drywall has made some significant strides.

The couple agreed that the cedar deck

CGC has a new line of drywall that is

was not something that they wanted to

making it easier for professionals and

s t u cco

tomer, transportation is reduced, thereby cutting fuel emissions, Jez explains.

Customers depend on us to do a job – and to do it right the first time,” Sarah and Beth finally feel they got what they wanted – to be treated the Fairway!

pav e r s


Landscape Ontario


re you in love with the plants and flowers you see growing green and tall — on your neighbour’s property? Does your family need outdoor space to play and enjoy time together? Do you have a vision for your property, but lack confidence to take the first steps? Media celebrity Denis Flanagan travels across the country, meeting many people at home shows and gardening events, and chats with thousands of homeowners on radio and TV shows. Through those experiences, he has collected numerous questions and concerns about landscaping — Denis interviews Lee Ann Knudsen of Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association for some answers.

Dream Live the

What to ask when choosing a landscape contractor

DF: What advice could I give to new homeowners about investing in landscaping? LAK: Experts consistently say that home improvement payback is especially strong in two areas: landscaping and kitchen/bath. Landscape Ontario members do not build cabinets, but their work really does enhance property values — a beautiful, healthy outdoor environment for your family is a bonus. DF: I know from all the questions I get at home and garden shows that people are sometimes overwhelmed. Where should they start? LAK: Consumers can find a wealth of information and contacts at www.landscapeontario. com. The site is built for homeowners with plenty of province-specific plant and landscape information. Look at the Professional’s Gallery

to see hundreds of beautiful landscape ideas. Photos are searchable by keywords such as ponds or arbors. Landscape Ontario members are experts in their fields, including contracting, designers, garden centres and more. “Find a Company” is the heart of the site. Select a specialty such as construction contractor or garden centre and enter your postal code to find companies serving your area. Results show a list with links to profiles showing company information, photos, awards and more. DF: At a recent home show, most of the questions were about the cost of landscaping and how to get a fair price. Do you recommend a strategy? LAK: I would encourage homeowners to not be intimidated about phoning a pro and asking questions. The companies listed on Landscape


ABOVE: Talented designers and contractors can literally paint your landscape with light, dramatically extending its functionality — and safety. Welwyn Wong Landscape Design.

Ontario’s website are true experts, and they want to listen and help. You hear from people worried about the expense of a landscape job, especially because they may have never worked with a professional before. Professionals, on the other hand, are motivated to provide work that is safe, beautiful, a good value and will last for years.

Before: a problem wet area. After: a stone-lined swale doubles as outdoor dining. Inside & Out Garden Design.


Most enterprises have trade associations to further their industries. Landscape Ontario’s mission is exactly that: To promote the joys and benefits of green spaces. Many homeowners are familiar with Landscape Ontario as a founder of Canada Blooms. Associations providing similar services are in place across Canada.

DF: A young couple at a garden show this year asked me how they could be sure they were going to hire a competent contractor. How can they? LAK: Consumers can find helpful guidelines on selecting contractors at You can even fill out a worksheet to rate companies by points, which takes a lot of uncertainty out of the hiring process. It suggests checking out specifics such as workers’ compensation and liability insurance, supplier references, skill certifications, supervisor/employee ratios and so on. Association membership is a great pre-qualifier; members of our association represent the most experienced, progressive, efficient and accountable green industry companies. Keep in mind, companies of all sizes can do excellent work; you are looking for one with the right resources, knowledge and experience to do your unique job. Always ask for more than one estimate. And do not be surprised if the estimates vary quite a bit, even if you have exclusively asked trade association members to quote your job. Ask for references from other customers. Everybody knows that best value rarely means the lowest price, whether you are looking to buy shoes or landscaping. Talking to other homeThe trend to outdoor rooms has not slowed. owners, along with the rating worksheet, are This outdoor kitchen was designed with Asian your best strategies for success. serenity in mind. International Landscaping. Spring 2012 NATURAL LANDSCAPE | 7

Bring Your Outdoor Rooms To Life.

Cooking Without Limits For more information on Lynx Outdoor Kitchens call 1.800.268.4086. Join us for our open house Saturday May 5th,10am-8pm. RSVP:

Unit 113, 1100 South Service Road, Stoney Creek, ON. L8E 0C5. 905.643.6888

Award Winners The outdoor room addition blends seamlessly with the original home. One would never guess that it was added after the fact.

Conquering Challenges

The key ingredients to a successful project By Christine Bosanac


he Dunington Grubb winning project by S. Rebelo Landscapes involved a 14-foot slope and a client’s wish list for an eco-friendly design that maximized available space. The list included storage, a large dining area, a lounge-type seating area, a built-in barbecue, a pool with multi-purpose poolside cabana and privacy. Major alterations required to fix the grade resulted in exposing the foundation of the house. Strategic installation of concrete forms and retaining walls corrected this, providing a re-contoured landscape with which to work. Adding an extensive drainage network had the added eco-benefit of saving rainwater to NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

use for watering the gardens. The raised deck and columns were formed and poured with concrete and the top slab was waterproofed, resulting in a dry seating area below for lounging or dining. A space-saving spiral staircase provides access from the upper level, while cedar panels added throughout define spaces and create desired privacy. Environmentally friendly LED lights accentuate key features, provide safety at night and warm the hardscape. Integrated storage in the form of benches and cabana meets the homeowner’s needs. The resulting landscape blends seamlessly with the home, while the variety of materials used creates amazing visual interest. Spring 2012 NATURAL LANDSCAPE | 9

Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence Landscape Ontario’s mission is to promote the horticulture industry in Ontario and the joys and benefits of green spaces. Over 600 members of the trade association gathered in January to recognize the achievement of fellow professionals at the annual Awards of Excellence Ceremony held in Toronto. Awards of Excellence for Construction, Maintenance and Design fall into 39 categories. Following are some of the winners:

Landscape Construction z Aden Earthworks, North York z Allweather Landscape, Toronto z Arbordale Landscaping/Moonstruck Landscape Lighting, Concord z Bellaire Landscape, Maidstone z Benj Art Inc. Landscape Architects and Contractors, Owen Sound z Betz Pools, Stouffville z Boffo Landscaping, Maple z Bruce Wilson Landscaping, Kleinburg z Cedar Springs Landscape Group, Ancaster z Clintar, Markham z Cypress Hill Design and Build, Claremont z DA Gracey & Associates, Vaughan z DeKorte’s Landscaping, Fenwick z Earth Incorporated, Toronto z Earthscape Ontario, Elmira z Eco Landscape Design, St. Catharines z Fern Ridge Landscaping, Milton z Flynn Canada, Mississauga z Focus on Landscapes, Burlington z Forestell Designed Landscapes, Ottawa z Fossil Landscapes, Etobicoke z Garlatti Landscaping, LaSalle z Gelderman Landscaping, Waterdown z Greentario Landscaping (2006), Hamilton z Griffith Property Services, Richmond Hill z Heritage Green Landscape Contractors, Hamilton z Hutten & Co, Owen Sound z JC Landscaping, Bolton z Juergen Partridge, Caledon z Kent Ford Design Group, Toronto z Kim Price Landscape Design, Toronto z KIVA Landscape Design Build, Fonthill z Landscape Effects Group, Bell River z Leishman Landscaping, Toronto z M Davis Landscape & Design, Richmond z Neighbourhood Landscaping, Etobicoke z Oakridge Landscape Contractors, Hannon z Outside Professional Services, Newmarket z Paragon Landscapes, Whitby z Planit Green Landscapes, Ancaster z Plantenance, Dollard-des-Ormeaux z PM Landscaping, Thunder Bay z Premier Landscaping and Design, Richmond Hill z Pro-Land Landscape Construction, Brampton z R J Rogers Landscaping, Kars z Ryan Heath Professional Landscaping, Keswick z S Rebelo Landscapes, Hamilton

WinningADVICE S. Rebelo Landscapes

D u n i n g ton G r u bb A w a r d 2 0 1 2 w i nne r By Christine Bosanac


or Steve Rebelo, president of S. Rebelo Landscapes, design inspiration began during childhood. Steve is a secondgeneration landscaper who literally grew up learning how to landscape, to build properly and to design creatively. And while he has enjoyed many successes in his career, winning the prestigious Dunington Grubb Award 2012 at the Landscape Ontario awards in Toronto in January is something he considers his best accomplishment to date. This top award, for the best overall construction, requires the recipient to achieve the highest score in the combined residential construction categories – no easy feat. “It’s a humbling experience to be acknowledged by your peers amongst so many entries,” Steve says. One quote that keeps Steve motivated to grow and excel as a business owner is. “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” Steve combines his years of experience and insight to answer a few questions for Natural Landscape magazine readers:

NL How do you see the electronic/digital times we’re living in impacting the landscape industry? SR Clients are more tech-savvy today. They want to be able to see their space in two- and three-dimensional ways, not just flat drawings. SketchUp and DynaSCAPE software programs provide designers with tools to convey images to clients in a better way. Clients feel more comfortable when they can see virtual representations of the outcome. NL What are some key questions you think a homeowner should ask a potential designer/ contractor before signing a contract? SR Homeowners should review the company’s portfolio of projects and previous clients’ references so they’re comfortable with the designer/contractor’s abilities. It’s important to fully understand the contract they’re signing – ask questions about the materials and services costs, payment schedule, timelines,

NL What do you see as continuing or emerging trends for 2012? SR Clients are looking for clean, simple, modern designs that are low maintenance and eco-friendly combined with a variety of materials for added interest. Outdoor kitchens and living rooms will continue to be a trend. They’re also asking for more interesting fire features. They don’t just want a fireplace; they want unique fire bowls and tables.

right: Fire tables are a prevailing trend for 2012 and the S. Rebelo design features one in the heart of the outdoor room. The table allows a place to put your feet up or hold tapas and drinks when entertaining. photos: McNEILL PHOTOGRAPHY


z Shades of Summer Landscaping & Maintenance, Milgrove z Snips Landscape & Nursery, Welland z St. Jacobs Country Gardens, Elmira z Sycamore Landscape, Brampton z The Great Garden Revival Company, Markham z The Landmark Group, Thornbury z The Pond Clinic, Ottawa z The Scott Wentworth Landscape Group, Picton z Vogel Landscape Design & Consulting Group, Collingwood Landscape Maintenance z Allweather Landscape, Toronto z Boot’s Landscaping & Maintenance, Richmond Hill z Dr. Landscape, Scarborough z Heritage Green Landscape Contractors, Hamilton

z Shades of Summer Landscaping & Maintenance, Milgrove z Snider Turf & Landscape Care, Waterloo z Strathmore Landscape Contractors, Montreal z The Cultivated Garden, Toronto Landscape Design z Benj Art Inc. Landscape z Architects and Contractors, Owen Sound z Cedar Springs Landscape Group, Ancaster z Dr. Landscape, Scarborough z Plantenance, Dollard-des-Ormeaux z The Landmark Group , Thornbury z Vogel Landscape Design & Consulting Group, Collingwood z Welwyn Wong Landscape Design, Ottawa z Yards Unlimited Landscaping, Nepean

Sp e c i a l A w a r d s CANADA BLOOMS SOFT LANDSCAPING SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR 2011: Braun Nursery, Mount Hope

above: Cascading water falling gently into the pool along with scattered plantings at its edge helps to soften the hardscaping.

company licences/insurance, compensation coverage for workers onsite, permits required and warranties provided. Homeowners have to feel comfortable on a personal level with the designer/contractor during the first meetings. You’ll have to work together to overcome any challenges that may arise during the project and that takes clear communication, so make sure you’re a good fit before signing.

CANADA BLOOMS HARD LANDSCAPING SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR 2011: Permacon Group, Milton CASEY VAN MARIS AWARD 2012, Most Unique & Innovative Construction Entry: Earth Incorporated, Toronto DUNINGTON GRUBB AWARD 2012, Best Overall Construction: S. Rebelo Landscapes, Hamilton

Canada’s Best National Awards of Landscape Excellence Winners of the 2012 National Awards of Landscape Excellence were announced during the 9th annual awards gala at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel in Halifax in February. The event showcased landscape expertise from around the country. The winners are:

RBC Grower of the Year Sheridan Nurseries Ltd., Ontario Chrysler Garden Centre Inspection Award z Most Improved: Sheridan Nurseries (Mississauga) Ltd., Ontario z Top Achieving: Canadale Nurseries Ltd., Ontario DynaSCAPE Award of Excellence for Landscape Design Highland Landscapes for Lifestyle for Wentworth Park in Nova Scotia Caterpillar Award of Excellence for Commercial Landscape Construction/Installation Alpha Better Landscaping for Central Memorial Park in Alberta Caterpillar Award of Excellence for Residential Landscape Construction/Installation Daccord Webster Paysage for Panorama on the River in Quebec John Deere Award of Excellence for Commercial Landscape Maintenance Upper Levels Landscape Management Ltd. for Royal Park Towers in British Columbia John Deere Award of Excellence for Residential Landscape Maintenance Shades of Summer Landscaping and Maintenance for Attention to Detail in Ontario


Spring 2012 NATURAL LANDSCAPE | 11


• Night LightiNg

• Water Features

• PooLscaPes

• NaturaL stoNeWork

• custom WoodWorkiNg

• outdoor rooms



Not So Average Joe


Featuring the real people who work behind the scenes to create those dream landscapes

Craig Rogers, owner of Aloha Divers Pool Service


VERAGE is not a word that comes to journey his life was and still is. mind when you meet Craig Rogers. He began scuba diving at the age of 12 and the This 44-year-old married father of family vacations in Florida afforded him every three is full of surprises and talents. opportunity to fine-tune his talent and love He’s the guy who people want to be around for both diving and surfing. The call of “Poseibecause he just oozes great energy; the guy don” led the teenager to the Great Lakes, the who finds something good about East and West coasts of Canada, every situation. and even Hawaii; hanging out in Favourite food: The first of two children, Craig the places where he felt most at Fish tacos was born in Burlington, Ontario home in the water. At 18, he began selling his airto Butch and Donna Lynn Rogers. Favourite Pastime: Craig, a Pisces, was destined to brush art to help put himself Hanging with his 18,15 and live his life in or around water. through school studying graphic 3 ½-year-old kids An Australian buddy appropridesign. Murals, vans, t-shirts – and fishing ately coined his nickname Finz. whatever you put in front of him, Favourite Sport: When he was a boy, he wanted he’d turn it into a masterpiece. SUP (standup paddle to be a policeman, but he rememSkateboards, long boards and boarding) bers his grandmother, the wife of body boards; Craig rides them all. a police chief, telling him: “It’s He custom-makes them too. So Coffee: a hard life for your loved ones, many talents packed into one guy. Like his trucks – large kid; don’t do that to your family.” Craig gives credit to Ted and black After that, he recalls simply wantPhilchuk of Blue Hawaii Pools in Port Credit for teaching him the ing to work very hard – like his dad. By age 13, Craig’s land surveyor father ropes in the pool business. They would surf the would bring him along. So there began his work Great Lakes together. Ted offered Craig his first ethic. Work hard, be thorough, but have fun “pool boy” job, which would eventually lead with it. His biggest supporters throughout his him to open his own business, Aloha Divers Pool life have always been his parents. Never holding Service. Check out his website him back, always supporting the exhilarating to learn more. NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM


favourite recipe

FRESH FISH TACOS serving for one

z 1.5 mahi-mahi fillets (one fillet is 4 oz) z 1 tsp olive oil The salsa z ¼ med-sized tomato (¼ cup) z 1 jalapeno pepper z ⅛ med-sized onion (2 tblsp) z 1 tblsp of fresh cilantro z lime juice to taste z 3 corn tortillas Directions: 1. Brush fish fillet with olive oil. Grill or broil until cooked and it flakes easily with a fork. 2. Chop tomato and jalapeno. Mince onion and cilantro. 3. Mix these four ingredients and flavour with lime juice to suit your taste. 4. Flake fish and serve on the warmed tortillas with the salsa.

Spring 2012 NATURAL LANDSCAPE | 13

new LafittŽ tandeM waLL this revolutionary wall can be used many ways: in retaining walls, columns, double-sided walls, benches, steps, etc. it is comes in luminous colours that, more than ever, replicate the natural look of stone. the stone’s surface and edges have a chiseled look. Similar in appearance to the popular Lafitt stone, used as exterior masonry cladding.


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learn more about lafitt tandem Wall: to receive a free installation DvD or to ParticiPate in a training session call us at 1-888-permacon.

Online Resources

webspir ation The Internet is a tremendous resource ...

... if you know where to look

By Samantha Sanjuan


ou’ve scoured the magazine racks at the local book store, you’ve crawled the web for hours on end – all in the name of finding your dream yard. Well, let me defrag your web skills, reformat your bookmarks and queue browsing techniques. The web is still the richest resource to mine, but finding what you want is like looking for Waldo. Allow me to simplify your search with some great social networking sites that will open your eyes to some amazing possibilities – Stumble Upon, Pinterest and Houzz – social networking à la mode. These user-friendly websites are designed to allow browsers creativity and personalization within their accounts. They can be particularly helpful for homeowners looking for fresh ideas in home improvement. For the explorer, Stumble Upon: A simple toolbar interface with an endless number of possibilities. Select your interests, click the “stumble” button and you are on your way to finding the coolest backyard trends and innovative ideas to help build your dream home. For the visionary, Pinterest: Let your

imagination lead the way and browse the millions of photographs uploaded daily by fellow users. You are able to make your own “boards” and “pin” pictures to them that you find interesting – Pinterest. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Caution, however, this site may become addicting. For the social-savvy webmaster, Houzz: Users can collect and upload their favourite photos to their “ideabooks,” find design professionals in their area and swap tips and questions with other users. The social networking comes into play through the option to follow others’ accounts, boards and ideabooks. This is a great opportunity to see what inspires others and what is trending in the landscaping and home improvement world. Happy designing.


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planet Now you can enhance your yard and help save the environment



n Canada we take water for granted. It’s all around us – lakes, rivers and springs. And yet, much of the world gets by with very little. Rationing is a way of life in Africa, Australia and many other parched continents on the planet. Canadians, on the other hand, are among the world’s highest consumers of water. That is slowly beginning to change. We still have an abundance of water, but our social conscience is beginning to kick into gear and we are coming to the realization that as part of a global village, we need to do our part to protect the planet – including conserving water. “The Earth is known as the Blue Planet for a reason,” says Perry Molema of Aquascape. “It’s no surprise that water is a dominant part of our everyday lives. The world’s current challenge is to improve the planet’s water quality and then maintain clean and healthy water that supports all life forms in our diverse environment.” For this reason, Perry says he has a growing number of clients seeking information about rainwater harvesting and Aquascape’s innovative RainXchange system ( Today, he says, his clients are forward–thinking consumers; people who are developing green habits and are cognizant of the growing scarcity of fresh water in the world. “They are also willing to pay extra to pave the way,” Perry adds. But as this green consciousness creeps into mainstream thinking, the movement towards rainwater harvesting will become increasingly prevalent in our lives. From the simple (rain barrels sold at most hardware and department stores) to the elaborate (underground storage tanks) to the complex (grey water recovery systems in new homes), the signs of a profound attitudinal change are obvious. Perry outlines some of the benefits of rainwater harvesting: z Reduce water bills, including storm NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

Crews excavate for the water storage basin, install the Aqua-Box, lay down a special geo-textile and finally compact granular material for the new permeable paver patio.

sewer charges. z Alleviate demand on municipal systems. z Avoid strict watering schedules. z Rainwater is rich in nutrients for healthier lawn and plants. z Reduce fertilizer use. z Rainwater contains none of the chemicals found in tap water. When choosing a rainwater harvesting system there are some important

factors to consider, Perry advises. Make sure the system you select cleans and filters the water being stored to prevent stagnation and growth of unhealthy bacteria; underground storage systems maintain the integrity and beauty of your home; water that is constantly circulated and aerated becomes a sanctuary for wildlife; a water storage system drastically reduces the need for chemically-treated traditional water sources.

Did you know? z 1 inch of rainfall on a 2,000 square foot residential roof generates 1,250 gallons of water that can be reused. z That same roof in a region receiving 30 inches of annual rainfall generates 41,000 gallons of reusable water. z The average household with a 10,000 square foot lot uses 5,000 gallons of water weekly for landscape irrigation. z Running a sprinkler for 2 hours can use up to 500 gallons of water. Spring 2012 NATURAL LANDSCAPE | 19



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12-03-08 6:47 A




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Natural Trends


TRENDs Giardini Venti Umbrella by CHANTEL PINTOS

No need for Gucci sunglasses when you have a Giardini Venti sunshade umbrella. Shading more than 165 square feet of area and with the 360-degree swivel feature, you will be even cooler! ~ ~

Freek Outdoor Rugs Get your “Freek” on… the floor! Thanks to these vibrant and durable outdoor rugs you can now find your feet dancing on ultra-soft synthetics. ~ ~

Regency Fire Table Move over fire pit, your stylish cousin is here to stay! He is functional and sure to light up the night. Keep the drinks coming on him… literally!

Carson Rotisseries Host a Brazilian grilling party in your own backyard this year with this portable rotisserie. “Samba-da” wanna grill”? ~ ~

~ ~

Gensun Outdoor Furniture The Lotus table and chair collection by Gensun Casual Living is just one of many distinctive outdoor living pieces they have to offer. So take a “Lotus” off and enjoy! ~ ~


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Creating your dream, maintaining your lifestyle

Let our professionally trained staff take care of your investment so that you have the time to relax, entertain, and enjoy. We offer customized year-round property maintenance programs to suit your needs. • 905.332.5423


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is a family owned business that takes the utmost pride in our work. Our name has grown rapidly as a result of our prompt service and unbeatable workmanship. Our areas of service include Dundas, Ancaster, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, Grimsby, Niagara, and surrounding areas. As a locally respected company, we are committed to continuous education, water conservation, and total customer care. We are a fully Certified Irrigation Contractor with membership in both the Irrigation Association and Landscape Ontario. Neither of these qualifications are a requirement for any sprinkler company in Ontario, however being certified has helped us provide our clients with the most professional workmanship in the industry. In addition to excellent service and know-how, our company uses top quality Rain Bird product that is highly recommended amongst irrigation professionals. From design to install, we do it all. We offer free estimates and flexible pricing for your convenience.

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Landscapers go green: restoring, re-purposing and recycling

The New 3 R’s

new3R’s the

By Christine Bosanac


ecycling is more than just a trend; it’s a way of life now. And the landscaping profession is taking notice of the need to be green – putting its own twist on the old three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. For landscape contractors today, it’s more restore, re-purpose and recycle. Whether installing pools, hardscapes or green materials, landscapers today are finding creative ways to incorporate green strategies into their work. Restore Restoring is bringing something back into use or back to its original state. Craig Rogers, from Aloha Divers Pool Service, does just that. He restores old pools by installing new vinyl liners or shining and freshening old tile or even sandblasting concrete and then painting it with a Low-VOC product. The idea is “to extend the life of the pool, while preserving and protecting the concrete below,” he says. When considering a landscape project, why not try restoring certain elements and then using the money saved towards spectacular upgrades or professional design services? Pool restoration project


Spring 2012 NATURAL LANDSCAPE | 23

Re - purpose RESTORE: Rather than tearing out your old pool, why not have a company like Aloha Divers Pool Service restore it to its former glory? Restoring saves money and the planet!

Re-purposing is taking something old and changing it for a new use. There is a current trend called upcycling, which involves rescuing something from the garbage or the recycling process and transforming it into a different useful – and sometimes beautiful – object. Earth Day

Metal grates used as accents in fences and/ or gates.

Canada featured an Upcycling Challenge during 2011. The campaign goal was to “stress the importance of re-use and waste reduction.” Visit their website to view the good that comes from upcycling, including reducing major causes of greenhouse gases such as pollution and emissions.



Landscapers are embracing the upcycling movement too. Kevin Ritskes, from

Rustic Pines, once had a client ask him to incorporate an old heating grate into a

Your Green Home Experts

design; he added it as a panel in a gate. Craig Rogers rescues old pool sand filters and takes them to someone who cuts them in half, sprays them with granite paint and turns them into planters. To hop on the re-purposing trend, you need to get creative, review what you have

ReCYCLE: Recycle what you can’t repair or repurpose. Ask your landscaper where his company is sending the materials he removes and request that they be recycled.

and imagine what it could be.


PLAN GREEN H Your Green Home Experts


Green H


Recycling is extracting useful materials from waste. It’s something that most people do on a daily basis with their blue bins, and landscapers are no exception. Steve Rebelo, from S. Rebelo Landscapes Inc., has not only used

ME H N E AN GREme Experts Why go GREEN?

recycled materials when appropriate but also sends things like concrete and green waste to be recycled. John Bos, of BOS Landscaping, does the same and also sends wood to

Reduce Heating/Cooling Costs.

be shredded into mulch and asphalt to be recycled into new asphalt.

Reduce Sound Pollution. Increase AirM Quality and Temperature, E H N E Green House Gases. GREwhilepeReducing rts

PoLuAr GNreen Home Ex


RE - PURPOSE: Check out the Earth Day Canada website ( to view a creative project for transforming a “junky patio set” into a beautiful piece of usable outdoor art.

Applying the three R’s to your landscaping project is a trendy way to go green. Help preserve the natural beauty of Canada and conserve our planet for future generations.

Collect and Save Rain Water.

LIVING ROOFS | LIVING WALLS Greening the World One Surface at a Time™

289-339-9600 Recycling unused wood into new mulch 24 | NATURAL LANDSCAPE spring 2012 NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

PalnGreenHome_quarter_NLSpring12_v2.indd 1

12-03-07 8:38 AM

Outdoor Kitchens




With a grill like this, you may never want to cook indoors


ummer is short in Canada,

extend your time at the grill – well,

Springer of Legends Landscape Supply

so we all strive to extend the

that’s just priceless.

in Burlington, Ontario, has the answer.

time we have – or at least

The trend today is to build a back-

In fact, he’s assembled an amazing out-

make the most of the out-

yard that contains more than simply a

door kitchen at his supply facility that

doors while we can. Grabbing a few

patio, pool and gardens. More and more

combines an easy-to-build system by

more weeks of grilling time is one of

Canadians are creating outdoor rooms –

Techo-bloc with some of the best outdoor

our objectives. After all, barbecuing is

sitting rooms, entertainment areas and

appliances on the market from Lynx.

a national pastime, and when we can

the ultimate goal – a kick-ass kitchen. Russ


“Techo-Bloc has created an outdoor Spring 2012 NATURAL LANDSCAPE | 25

barbecuing is a national pastime, and when we

A Do-It-Yourself Delight

can extend your time at the grill – well,

that’s just priceless

kitchen system that’s perfect for the

Build Foundation

do-it-yourselfer,” Russ explains. “All you have to do is go online, select your layout, and Techo-Bloc completes your order and sends you the materials and directions to put it together.” Pairing it with a Lynx barbecue makes your DIY kitchen professional and long-lasting. “Both these products are built to last and come with

Set in BBQ

lifetime warranties,” Russ explains. Building your own amazing outdoor kitchen is as easy as Lego with a custom kit from Techo-Bloc.

“They’re user-friendly and the Cadillac of products.” That said, they don’t come with a hefty price tag and they give homeowners the chance to create their perfect outdoor living space, Russ says. “This system means you are building

Add the Counter top

something once – and enjoying it for a lifetime.”

BUILD YOUR OWN OUTDOOR KITCHEN Want to learn how to build an outdoor kitchen that is easy to assemble, but your neighbours and friends will think you called in the professionals? Attend one of the spring and summer seminars at Legends Landscape Supply. WHERE: 1150 Heritage Road, Burlington, ON WHEN: Saturday May 19th, 2012. CALL TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT: (905) 336-3369 26 | NATURAL LANDSCAPE spring 2012 NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

all rock is not created equal.

“when the truck pulled up I honestly thought, I’ve never seen such beautiful stone in my life.” - Lisa P

Great designers leave nothing to chance, especially the quality of the products they choose. That’s why more landscape architects specify Kawartha Rock. They know what we know – all rock is not created equal. Kawartha Rock – ask for it by name. We supply stone to landscape and building architects, engineers, landscapers, large and small landscape depots and garden centres around the corner and around the world. 1•866•503•8770 Markham, Ontario. Canada.

The Eve of Faux

The Eve of

Faux Weigh the pros and cons when considering real or fake gr ass


SyNthetic Style

By Lori Sweezey


emptation. Since the begin-

to the environment? Are we helping or hin-

ning of time, it’s been an issue.

dering by choosing synthetic over real?

Just ask Adam. It’s everywhere,

Let’s examine the realities.

taunting us like the school-

Synthetic grass has come a long way since

yard bully. The thing about

the appearance of its cousin “Astroturf.”

temptation is that there is usually some-

Remember when Dad took a piece of that

thing in it for us: something enjoyable,

green grassy-like carpet and glued it down

something that makes life easier. That’s

over the cement stairs at the front of your

why we are tempted in the first place, right?

house? It’s so very different now, though.

But there is always an aspect of naugh-

After having the opportunity to set my bare

tiness or inappropriateness to balance the

feet onto some synthetic grass recently, well,

scales of decision-making. It causes us

I was astounded. Neither my feet nor my

to ponder, to weigh the pros and cons. If

eyes could tell the difference. I have always

the things we were tempted about always

been skeptical about the fake stuff, but now

prompted good decisions, I guess we

I’m feeling tempted. Now I’m Adam.

wouldn’t have to feel “tempted.” It appears we are raising children who will grow into adults who want everything now, and with the least amount of work. Lazy kids, busy lives – let’s face it, we could

It’s a very personal choice to make, but there are several things to consider when making your decision. Consider this: A blade of real grass is made up of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen

Water is one of earth’s most valuable resources and a lawn requires an incredible amount of water to stay healthy and green. But, as our weather patterns change and areas of our country see less rainfall, it is incumbent on us to conserve whenever we can, says Todd Croden of Ez-grass. Synthetic grass saves time, solves those shaded situations where it is tough to grow the real thing, eliminates the need for harmful pesticides and herbicides and reduces gas emissions from lawnmowers. It can also save thousands of gallons of water each year, he says. There may be heat build-up, he admits, but that can be reduced with a turf infill product like Envirofill. Fur thermore, synthetic is, itself, a green product, Todd explains. It’s made from recycled plastic bottles and can be recycled itself – so nothing is going into a landfill.

all use a break. So whenever there is an opportunity to make things a little easier for ourselves, the temptation is just so – tempting. For example, the hot topic in the landscaping world, one which can save us time and stop the teenagers from complaining, is synthetic grass. No more cutting, weeding or raking. The issue is synthetic versus real, and in our quest to save time, what are we doing


faux VS real

Spring 2012 NATURAL LANDSCAPE | 29



If a horse won’t eat it, I DON’T WANT TO PLAY ON IT

b a s e b a l l p l ay e r D i ck A l l e n

and a few other micronutrients. FAUX GRASS


To make faux turf, scientists use carbon,



hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen to make nylon,

z Lasts for 35+ years with no maintenance

z Grass decomposes

with the final ingredient being polyethylene

z Beautiful when well maintained/ watered/weeded

(which is made of only carbon and hydrogen).

z No mowing and no gas emissions z No watering, great in dry regions or metered water z No weeding z No fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides z A piece of cake for the elderly or disabled z Always aesthetically pleasing z No damage from root-eating critters z Pet urine can be washed away with hose

z Emits oxygen

Tough call. It’s probably one of those topics that one

z Provides food and habitats for insects, birds and other little critters

should never bring up at a party. Like politics

z Rainwater is able to soak into the ground, replenishing the water table

go ahead. Throw it out there at the next party

z Can last indefinitely with a lot of TLC z Can clean and renew itself z Is able to cool the air near the ground

or religion. It’s just such great food for thought, and I guess we really do have to debate it. So you attend. Mother Nature versus technology. The jury is still out. Research, testing and government regulations have come to no solid conclusions at this point. It just depends on who you’re talking to and what team they are on. Real grass and artificial grass are about even

z Pet urine can be hosed away

from an environmental standpoint.



information, as well as LEED (Leadership in

z End-of-life decomposition. Do we want this product sitting in a landfill?

z Uses approximately 21,600 gallons of water per year

Energy and Environmental Design) sheets, to

z Herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers are needed

make sure you check with your municipalities

z Waste from the chemical manufacturing process? z Has a hard time dissipating heat z Greater installation expense z Does not release oxygen back into the atmosphere z Are there questionable chemicals present like silver, lead and zinc that can leach into drinking water, ponds or other water habitats? Studies are inconclusive

z Time away from the family z Difficult for the elderly and those with physical limitations


Internet is a wonderful instrument to gather

do your research, weigh the pros and cons, and concerning the bylaws before installing your faux front yard. Continued on page 32

z Gas emissions from mowers z If grass is treated with chemicals, how does this affect children and wildlife? z Burn spots from female dogs’ urine

z Where are the robins going to find their worms?




he beauty of landscaping enriches the

quality of your life and enhances the value of your property. Whether you choose to

entertain, exercise or simply escape, Beaudry will help you achieve your outdoor sanctuary.

Landscape. Design. Build.


4031 Fairview Street, Suite 215, Burlington, Ontario L7L 2A4


D E D I C AT E D T O T H E P U R S U I T O F E X C E L L E N C E S I N C E 1 9 7 6

Spring 2012 NATURAL LANDSCAPE | 31

A MASTERPIECE Dundas Valley School of Art decided to go faux with its front entrance yard Arthur Greenblatt gets the biggest kick out of watching passersby lean over and touch his grass. “People are having a hard time figuring out if it’s fake or real,” says the executive director of the Dundas Valley School of Art. The winter is the exception of course – when it’s the only green lawn in the neighbourhood. When it underwent a $5 million renovation last year, the school considered whether to replace the front lawn with turf or go out on a limb and invest in synthetic grass. The entrance to the school was all torn up. Hydro had already removed the trees and bushes to put in a new transformer and a trench for drainage. A large empty space was all that was left. “The issue was that during our summer camps we have 100 children playing on the lawn, morning and afternoon. The grass is dead in two weeks, the children track dirt into the school and they can’t sit in the yard,” Arthur explains. The solution became a synthetic lawn. Today the ground provides a softer landing pad for spills and tumbles children take on a playground, they can sit or stretch out in the summer sun and no more muck is being tracked into the school. On the financial side, while a hefty initial outlay of cash was needed, the synthetic grass is saving the school a significant amount in annual maintenance costs. Arthur figures it has to be well over $1,000 a year in savings – enough for that investment to pay for itself in a few years. And then there are the compliments. “I get more comments about the lawn than the $5 million renovation,” Arthur laughs, adding that many elderly people walking past the school will stop to comment how nice it is to see children playing and sitting in a well-maintained and green yard.

The Real Deal How can you replace a living plant with something man-made and argue you are saving the planet? asks Peter Rauwerda, operations manager for Hamilton Sod. “Aren’t we creating enough of a concrete jungle without introducing synthetic lawns? As we strive to create more greenbelt areas, why would we replace real grass in our yards?” The benefits of grass include the cooling effect living plants have, he explains. Planting trees and grass in our open spaces help to reduce our heat pattern and keep our earth cool, he argues. Major cities in China, for example, were developing without greenspaces and, as a result, they were becoming smog-filled dustbowls where residents had to wear masks to avoid inhaling

polluted air. Today that is being reversed. They have learned their lesson and realized that we need natural areas to balance the impact of progress. Peter asks: So why are we going backwards? In addition to its cooling effects, there is no better filtration system for rainwater than Mother Nature. A lawn will take in rainwater, the thatch will break down the chemicals and minerals and the root system will provide the drainage. “You can’t ask for a better recycling source,” Peter argues. He adds: If we are serious about shrinking our carbon footprint, how can we turn our backs on natural grass and plants?


Small Spaces

Beautiful small is


How to make a big impact in a tiny space By Beth Edney

often receive apologetic calls from homeowners seeking my services because their properties are little postage stamps of a yard — not uncommon in any urban centres across Canada. When I determine that the site is indeed as described, I get a gleam in my eye and a bounce in my step. Small spaces are my absolute favourite projects. Many of my colleagues in the landscape industry are baffled by my

fascination with these small urban lots. In my opinion, however, these spaces offer the chance for true creativity and can often pack a stronger punch, especially when dealing with smaller budgets. Small spaces are usually challenging. Often, designers do not have the liberty to expand a metre here or a metre there; all decision can come down to a matter of centimetres that make the difference between a cramped space and a functional one. To combat these challenges, the following are some tips and tricks on maximizing the potential of small yards.


Spring 2012 NATURAL LANDSCAPE | 41

Think ‘multi-purpose’ Try to include as many features that serve multiple purposes as possible. These are a great way to maximize a small space. A good example is designing a cushioned bench with storage below, where the cushions can be stored during the off-season. Similarly, a simple privacy fence can become a beautiful backdrop by choosing unique materials, such as etched glass, while a lap pool can play double duty as a water feature. Flush-mounted laminars within the pool deck are a growing trend. Keep it simple It is easy for customers (and some design professionals) to get carried away at garden centres with all the enticing plants and new introductions. However, in the interest of a better final product, use a simplified plant palette. Begin with a few plants that offer multi-seasonal interest and group them together. Even the simplest palette can produce a grand impression. It also gives a calming effect when living in the space. Limit your focal points and choose one plant that will stand out as the “diva” of the landscape. When numerous plants compete for your attention, especially in a limited space, the eye is drawn from one to the other until nothing ends up making a statement. This is true with sculptures in the garden as well. When it comes to small spaces, the rule “less is more” should always prevail. Save your money for one really nice piece as opposed to a bunch of small disjointed objects. Look for higher ground While avoiding clutter is important, smaller figurines can have a prominent place in a smaller backyard. The key is to get these objects off the ground. By placing sculptures like these in an urn, for example, designers can give the items more presence and add drama to the overall landscape. Complement the placement with some simple plantings and the appearance will truly pop. Containers are also a great way to change up the look of a limited landscape. You can change the planters’ content on a monthly basis, to mimic the look of a seasonal floral arrangement. There are also some new innovations on the market to make planters more convenient. A new line of containers featuring self-watering systems were recently introduced, as well as services that offer new monthly arrangements for planters. Again, keep it simple — one large container will make a bigger impression than several smaller ones, which will also require more work to maintain. Embrace annuals Annuals have fallen out of favour, however, they can still serve a key role in a landscape, especially when real estate is limited. Not only do annuals

provide constant colour from the spring until the first frost of the fall, they can also be switched up to customize the client’s yard with a different colour scheme each year. Pick perennials carefully Many homeowners often become consumed with more traditional fare — for example, landscape depicted in old gardening books from England, featuring huge perennial beds in full bloom. Remember that historically these were country homes that were designed to be in their prime for only a few weeks of the year. When you are choosing perennials, seek plants that have interesting foliage. This will offer additional interest when the plants are not in bloom, even in the winter months. When the cold weather does hit, leave any ornamental grasses or other such plants intact for the winter months. This will also serve to create interest and habitat for winter birds. Mirror the surroundings When choosing landscape structures and paving surfaces, look at the architectural features of your home and try to reflect the existing aesthetics. This helps unify the property, providing a seamless transition between the house and yard. For example, stain any wood structures to match the trim of the home’s windows. If you have natural stone on the home’s façade, try to limit stone options to those from the same region for any patio stones. In ideal circumstances, the ultimate goal is to have the finished landscape look as if it were created when the home was built. Small space, big payoff There are many components to think about when creating a small space outdoors. When you succeed, however, the space will become a hub of activity in your home. Bigger is not always better when it comes to landscaping. Small landscapes can provide some great surprises.

Beth Edney is an award-winning certified landscape designer (CLD) with more than 25 years of experience in landscape design. Her landscape firm, Designs By The Yard Inc., specializes in urban gardens in the Toronto area. Active in the industry, Beth teaches part-time at Humber College, Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, Fanshawe College and throughout Ontario with Landscape Ontario. She serves on the Landscape Ontario board and has been recently elected to the board of Canada Blooms.


turning your outdoor dreams into a reality. newmarket, on

What you need :


“Ajoi Mojito”

single cup

10 fresh mint leaves & 1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges & 2 tablespoons white sugar 1 cup ice cubes & 1 1/2 fluid ounces white rum

& 1/2 cup club soda

What to do : Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush

the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice. Add 2 more lime wedges and sugar, muddle again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture.

Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour the rum over the ice, and fill the glass with club soda. Stir, taste, and add more sugar if desired.

remaining lime wedge. Enjoy in the luxury of your outdoor oasis.

Garnish with the

Martek Supply provides complete solutions for all exterior landscaping projects. Whether it is Low Voltage Lighting, Water Gardening & Ponds or Surface Drainage Solutions, Martek has the right products for every application.


11-10-06 3:07 PM

? n o i t a r i p s In Looking for


It can be the smallest detail that gets our creative juices flowing – a small vignette within the bigger picture. Photographs and words catch our attention and an idea is formed. What inspires you?


Peurto Backyarda

Puerto Backyarda Creating the staycation experience




ou look at your boring backyard, let your imagination run riot and all kinds of fantasies spin out. You can picture yourself lounging by an aqua blue lagoon pool as water cascades from a rock waterfall. There is a swim-up bar, cabana, an all-stone outdoor kitchen, vines and flowers – an amazing oasis where life’s little stresses are left at the front curb; a resort setting in which you can find solace and tranquility or invite friends and neighbours to an outdoor luau. As your mind wanders, you zero in on the maple tree in the corner of the lot, next to where the pool will go. It would be perfect for a tree house to keep the kids busy, right? Now you’re off and running with an extreme transformation that brings new meaning to the term “staycation”. With gas prices and ugly cottage commutes in mind, a backyard wonderland begins to make a lot of sense. It’s right there for you, a recreational cocoon available six months of the year. But that tree house idea really sets one’s mind to racing – a place for the kids or perhaps an adult tree house where you can let the little child in you feel free from adulthood for a short while. Before you know it, your thoughts are verging on the crazily impractical – a roped walkway from the deck to the tree, a perch from which to dive into the pool.


OK, let’s pull those nutty notions back. It’s time to call in a sane voice, a guy who really knows how to plan, design and transform yards. Ramsin Khachi has created all kinds of magic in yards throughout the GTA as more and more folks invest in their outdoor space rather than take expensive vacations. He admits his inner child longs to do doing something really different like a tree house, one that would serve kids and parents. “I’d love to build one,” the popular designer smiles. “I would put myself into the mindset of a kid, what a kid would want. It would be an amazing tree house. Anyone can go there to read

an amazing oasis where

life’s little stresses are left at the front curb; a resort setting in which you can find

tranquilit y

solace and


Spring 2012 NATURAL LANDSCAPE | 47






A simple addition to enhance atmosphere and block out traffic or other neighbourhood noise is

a water treatment.

a book or just hang out with friends. Those things are priceless.” That kind of whimsy can be good in the right context, says Ramsin, of Oakville’s Khachi Design Group, who regularly writes for the media and appears on TV to discuss design themes. But he is not a fan of fantasy that comes in the form of themes that aren’t sustainable. “I don’t love themes outdoors the same way I don’t like them in kids’ bedrooms. People’s interests change, they move on. What works today won’t work in the future.” Ramsin says fun can be achieved in yard settings and still be practical and long-lasting. He has incorporated putting greens and half-court basketball features in yards as well as elaborate children’s play areas. “You can make an interesting and fun element by putting in a fireworks area. But you have to make sure the spaces are transformative, that they can be used for other purposes. Otherwise, you have to redo it.” Ramsin says fire pits and fireplaces get lots of use because kids and adults both like gathering around them, whether to roast marshmallows or enjoy cocktails, NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

and they extend the yard’s use by adding weeks in May and October to the outdoor calendar. He recently designed a yard with a roofed structure near one end of a pool which has a fireplace with TV over top of it. “The purpose of that is: that’s where people are going to hang out, the parents will sit there and the kids will be in the pool. If the pool is heated, again, it extends the season.” Ramsin notes there are also TV products on the market which are totally waterproof. “You can leave them out in a thunderstorm.” The same holds for environmental speakers, discreet green discs that fit into gardens and are mostly obscured by plants. “If they are properly located, you get rich sound throughout the yard that will not bother the neighbours.” He adds a simple addition to enhance atmosphere and block out traffic or other neighbourhood noise is a water treatment. “It can be as simple as a small waterfall or as sophisticated as creating a small creek.” Or if not that tree house, the little kid in me would settle for a rope from that tree to swing out over the water. Spring 2012 NATURAL LANDSCAPE | 49

Natural Trends



You visited a beautiful resort and fell in love with the ambience. It’s your new happy place. Whenever things get stressful back at home, you stretch out, close your eyes and drift off to that place where fond memories reside. Creating that happy place at home is possible, but there are some fundamental rules that will prevent you from getting boxed into a design that can’t be altered later.

It’s important that whatever theme you choose – Mexican, Italian, Japanese Zen – the design of the area and the materials used must maintain an overall functionality and provide a flexibility that will allow you to create a new environment down the road. After all, the human species can be fickle and what seems like a good idea today may become tiresome or less desirable in the future. Carefully design your outdoor space for comfort and functionality. Consider how prominent the eating area will be; where the outdoor kitchen or barbecue needs to be located for outdoor and indoor entertaining; private lounging area; an area for the kids; fireplace, fire pit, gardens and planters all have their place in the overall scheme. Choose hardscapes and permanent materials that complement the house, but will also create a neutral palette that can accommodate changing themes. There

Mexican Colonial: z Spanish Colonial architectural style z Asymmetrical balance z Courtyards & balconies zTropical plants z Warm colour schemes – red, orange, yellow

z Metal/iron grille work z Rustic wood zTiles z Murals z Cast light features zTerracotta pottery Photo by: Chantel Pintos


are some wonderful solutions with cultured stone today. These man-made products come in an array of sizes and colours that can provide a natural look, are often easier to install than natural stone and can stand up to our harsh climate better than many natural products. Now you are ready to create your happy place. This is done through the furniture, colours and garden accessories you choose. If you fell in love with Mexico, you might go with wood furniture (although this will take more work to maintain and will have a limited lifespan) with cushions and fabrics in colours that are bright, vibrant and reflect a bold love of life – orange, lime green, bright yellow, red, violet, coral and bright pink. Clay planters and pots provide that Spanish flair, but again, they take some effort to maintain. If you wanted something more traditional, a formal kind of escape from your everyday life, a French or Italian theme will provide you with a classic look that fosters a hushed atmosphere where serenity allows you to quietly sip a cappuccino or espresso as you contemplate your life. Cast iron furniture and planters in black with grey, white or beige accents will give you that almost austere formal look. Or if you are the introspective type and want a space of tranquility, a Zen garden could be ideal. Such a space requires clean lines, stained wood planters and furniture with simple mats, tall ornamental grasses and bamboo in the gardens and perhaps a Zen garden. Building a square area in stone can provide an amazing Zen garden but can be converted into a pond or flower garden when your Zen days are done. So, when creating a themed backyard – whether a place to relax or a playground NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

Japanese Zen: z Miniature idealized landscapes z Natural and free-form shapes z Meditation huts z Water z Sand

z Stone border z Seasonal schemes –green & white & pink z Bamboo plants z Concrete lanterns/Buddha

French / Italian Formal: z Renaissance architectural style z Symmetrical z Courtyards/private rooms z Green plant colour scheme z Border plants z Concrete and marble statues z Water features/grottos z Cold colours -white, beige grey hardscapes Spring 2012 NATURAL LANDSCAPE | 51

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rnamental grasses are a popular choice for today’s yards for a variety of reasons. They can provide an excellent screen and offer a visual background that is more aesthetically pleasing than a mere wooden fence. Introducing grasses into your landscape gives plant continuity and provides an excellent backdrop to your other plants. And on a quiet summer evening, the gentle rustling of grasses can be soothing and hypnotic. Interestingly, one species that is making some significant inroads into Canadian landscapes is bamboo – which is also classified as a grass. At first blush, bamboo just seems way too exotic to grow in a Canadian garden, but there are hardy varieties that can survive our winters and provide beauty and texture to a yard. The fast-growing and low-maintenance plants are attractive elements for people planning or revamping gardens because they are versatile in providing shade, windscreens and hedging as well decorative touches, says Owen Reeves, manager of Connon Nurseries in Waterdown, Ontario. But, he added that people should consult with a reputable garden centre on what applications work for their yards. There are two kinds which thrive here, sometimes planted in combination with lowgrowing ornamental grasses, explains Reeves. He cautions that the Phyllostachys, or running bamboo plant, can thrive far too easily, especially in rich, moist soil. “They are very aggressive so that is probably not what you will want in a small NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM


Ornamental Grasses

soothing and

garden. The roots move laterally very quickly.” Reeves says the surest way to contain this bamboo is to install a heavy barrier around the root system, like liners used to contain small ponds, to keep the plant from overtaking a garden. This variety can grow to seven feet and can be introduced as a hedge or for blocking out the less appealing areas of a backyard area. They are evergreens that maintain most of their leaves all year. The Fargesia, or clumping bamboo, has a lower profile, up to five feet, than the running variety. It is much denser. “These are hardier and not as aggressive, so they have more applications for northern gardens,” explains Reeves. “The Rufa, or green panda bamboo, can provide a nice accent to Asian gardens.” He said both types are low-maintenance except for watering when the plants are first getting established in the garden. But they are fairly expensive, he noted, running from about $50 for a small plant to $100 or $150 for larger plants. Reeves said it’s possible to come up w ith attractive treatments by using short ornamental grasses as a counterpoint to the bamboo. Generally, however, it would make sense to go with one or the other, choosing to go solely with bamboo or the ornamental grasses as an element of a garden, he advises. Spring 2012 NATURAL LANDSCAPE | 53

Backyard Innovations

Pergola 3.1 Lounging around in your backyard or around your pool is a deserved summertime treat, but Canada’s unpredictable climate can put a damper on your plans. It doesn’t have to be that way though, says Attila Felkai of Adjustable Pool Covers. Unlike traditional patio covers, the Arcadi is fully adjustable – putting you in control of the elements. Open, it allows sun or closed, it creates a rainproof space. Made of superior products, this system is a low-maintenance shading solution that is focused on ease of use. It’s also green – made from recycled material and powered by a solar panel.



Three unique ideas that can make yours an outstanding outdoor living space

This Green is Good A green pool isn’t what it used to be. We’re not talking algae, we’re talking about how to save energy and reduce costs. A new product on the market today is solar panel heating and it can save you hundreds of dollars a year, says Michael Mancini of Fox Pools. Typically made of a rubber-plastic composite with a reflective or magnifying surface, solar heating panels are durable – withstanding both natural and poolrelated chemical elements. Saving money and knowing you are helping to save the planet should help you relax a little more and enjoy your warm pool for an extended season.

54 | NATURAL LANDSCAPE spring 2012

Light My Fire Today’s backyard isn’t complete without some type of fire feature. While a basic fire bowl is a popular element, the art of outdoor living has expanded into more sophisticated and stylish options with pre-fabricated products, says Russ Springer of Legends Landscape Supply in Burlington, Ontario. The Regency Fireplace Products, for example, has extended its popular Horizon series to backyard living areas. This outdoor fireplace is made of durable outdoor construction with a stainless steel faceplate and firebox, easy access on/off switch, seasonal weather-resistant cover to protect the fireplace when not in use and operates on natural gas or propane.

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very now and then we need to leave our comfy backyard oasis and venture out to into the world outside our privacy fence. During these excursions, we still seek that experience that makes us feel good and leaves us with a sense of gratification. So, occasionally, Natural Landscape Magazine will profile a restaurant that has a dynamite patio. There are certainly a number in the Golden Horseshoe area, but for our first spotlight we found a unique place in Montreal. If anyone has visited Café Santropol on St. Urbain Street, you’ll know what we mean. This truly is a remarkable story and one of the most interesting patios you will find anywhere in Canada. In fact, Café Santropol has been voted best terrace/patio in

Rave reviews for quirky Montreal restaurant By Steve McNeill

Montreal for the past number of years. The story began more than 35 years ago on a decrepit stretch of St. Urbain Street that had a date with the wrecker’s ball. Garth Gilker was a tenant in one of the buildings and looked sadly at the state of this heritage street. Suddenly a light bulb went off. He got the idea to establish a viable business that would halt demolition plans. Although he was several months behind on his rent, he somehow managed to take over the first floor of his building for $50 a month. With a few ideas and no assets, Garth cleaned the space, scoured the neighbourhood for discarded furniture and opened a quirky little restaurant that would serve healthy homemade sandwiches, salads, soups and desserts. While Café Santropol gained a reputation for unique and tasty fare, it was

the garden patio that Garth created that generates the most buzz. “If I had known about landscaping, I would have been a landscaper,” Garth says today as he proudly points to more than 17 varieties of trees and bushes he has planted – including azaleas, Japanese lilac and maple, Saskatoon berry bush, katsura tree, magnolia and a huge burning bush. He planted a sumac tree because of its rapid growth and tropical look, which today is gigantic and provides wonderful shade for the patio. People can sit amongst a wide variety of wild flowers and indigenous plants, under the trees or around the fish pond. When the weather becomes a little too brisk, outdoor heaters are turned on and customers can often be seen sipping a hot caffe latté in the garden on a sunny February afternoon.


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Plant Picks

Blanket Flower ~ Gaillardia spp:

This plant is hot, hot, hot! When I want colour and lots of it, I go with the Blanket flower. It thrives off the sun and tolerates drought. If deadheaded it blooms continuously all summer long. It shows best when planted in masses at the foreground of a perennial garden or even used to border an all-green backdrop. There are many varieties of the Blanket flower but its flaming hot flower never seems to burns out!

Dave’ s FavoUrite

plant PICKS

Take a stroll down the garden path and check out some of the popular plants that can turn any landscape into a real stunner. Dave Maciulis of Natural Landscape highlights some of his favourite picks.

Jack Frost

~ Brunneria macrophylla: This perennial just might make you “forget” about Mr. Hosta. Brunneria gives the same bold effect that a Hosta leaf has to offer. Its big heart-shaped leaves multiply beautifully and create a frosty green groundcover that is sure to be noticed. It grows in part sun/shade and the bonus – a little forget-me-not blue flower that blooms in late spring!


Japanese Blood Grass ~ Imperta cylindrical:

In my opinion, no other grass gives off as much true red colour; seasonlong, as this one does. The colour is even more vibrant when the sun hits its slender blades. Although it can spread, I’m not afraid to use it, Against rocks or under trees it looks great around the base of my focal point trees where it can stretch.


~ Lavandula angustifolia:

Feast your eyes on this classic beauty. What surprises everyone is that it not only has a wonderful fragrance, but that it tastes absolutely fantastic. Actually characterized as a low growing shrub I mostly used this plant to mimic a full figured perennial. It’s another sun lover but needs a little TLC – cutting it back in the spring will promote profuse blossoms and elegant perfumes!

Siberian Iris ~

Iris sibirica:

Strong shape, strong colour and strong interest! An Iris is a great filler plant in a garden that is lacking in structure in early spring. There are so many colours that I can use this plant in pretty much every colour scheme there is to offer. Not to mention it’s one plant that can tolerate moist soil so it’s easy to plant, place and picture!

Green Panda Bamboo ~ Fargesia: A bamboo plant that’s hardy in Canada – where have you been all my life?! Asianinspired gardens just got a whole lot easier to achieve. Grows in moist soil, tolerates sun and gives a BIG show – 6 to 8 feet of height will hide your neighbour’s fence and give you the sense that you are on the set of Kung Fu Panda.



Dir t

The Dirt on Dirt

The Dirt on

By Dave Maciulis


kay Mary, do you know how your garden grows? I never dreamt that the cute little rhyme I learned in grade school would one day guide my career. When most people think of landscaping their home, some questions that come to mind are how’s it going to look, what style is best, what are the plants going to look like when they mature? Yet, I never get questions about the infrastructure of the project-base preparation, drainage, conduit lines and well, most important for the plants – the soil. I have been working in the landscape design industry for over 20 years and I always try to educate my clients about all aspects of good design and proper build techniques. Of course,

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I love to hear my own voice, so I ramble on when it comes to the topic of soil and how important it is for the longevity of the plants. In fact, as long as my clients take the direction of the “dirty little secret” source I suggest, the warranty on their plants is good for at least two years. The soil of choice is triple mix – it is simply the best on the market. Selecting this reliable source is important for two reasons. First, the balance of natural organic matter is calculated and mixed in balanced portions and not haphazardly thrown into a tumbler. Second, the soil is audited by an independent lab for any toxins or hazardous chemicals. With the correct levels of natural fertilizers and micro nutrients, the soil is like “brown gold.” Always ask your contractor: Where does my soil come from and was it tested under a soil audit?

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Knot Just Decks

Using new trends to create unique outdoor rooms


Decks JUST

By Christine Bosanac


hen you look out your back door, do you see a boring square deck with a potted plant and a standard patio set? If you answered yes, then it’s time to upgrade your outdoor living space by using some of the hot new trends in woodworking and decking – it’s not just decks anymore. Kevin Ritskes, owner of Rustic Pines, knows homeowners want to have that outdoor living experience and offers these creative ideas to achieve it in your backyard.

Vary Materials There are a wide range of products used to build wood structures, from pressure treated and cedar to fabricated products like resin and composite. Although more expensive, composite decking continues to be a strong trend and is a good long-term choice because it comes in an array of colours, requires little maintenance, is mould and stain-resistant and allows for more creativity in design. Kevin also recommends cutting the decking around rock walls and softening the wood by adding built-in water features and plants. Lighting Kevin identifies lighting as an important trend to

create the ambience homeowners desire – think, “strategic lighting planned by design.” Adding up and down lighting to custom-built lattices and incorporating lighting into posts and beams, gives the effect of creating “walls of light,” interesting shadows and accents for key features. During the off-season, lighting provides a beautiful visual, even if you aren’t outside. Waterproof Underlay and Roof Structures Waterproof underlays or dry-deck systems enable the creation of a waterproof seating area underneath a raised deck; in effect creating a sheltered area for use in any weather. “The underlay products redirect water and snow that flows between the boards, keeping the area underneath dry,” says Kevin. He also recommends using new Adjustable Patio Covers to achieve the “outdoor room” feeling for your deck. Adding Glass, Iron and Other Accents The beauty of using wood and composite is that it works with all facets of design. You can blend iron, glass and other artistic pieces to create a beautiful personalized space. Kevin doesn’t like big wood-only structures. He suggests adding custom-etched glass panels or inlays as accents. The panels can be made with almost any image you can think of or left clear to show the view. Iron is also a popular material to add as railings or just as pops of art in a gate or lattice panel. He also favours privacy walls with vines growing on them to soften the wood. Try incorporating some of these ideas into your outdoor space so that your backyard is “knot” just a deck anymore.


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Next Issue

Do you know Joe or


r a e H o t t Wan you WE


Landscaper? Helper? Supplier? If you know a landscaper, landscape helper or a supplier who is doing great work but goes about their business with little fanfare, let us know. This is a great industry and there are many hardworking, honest people out there. We want to give them a little recognition – because they deserve it.

Email your nominee – man or woman – to: Do you have a yard that you are proud of? A project that was botched or perhaps a DIY disaster?


Do you know someone in the landscaping business who deserves to be recognized - a Not So Average Joe or Josephine? Then we want to hear from you. Tell us about your yard. We might like to feature it in a future issue.



YES! Please send me Natural Landscape Magazine. First Name Last name Address

We are creating some beautiful landscapes already, but we’re open minded and ready to celebrate great work – period. If you have a disaster on your hands, let us know. If selected and you would like to have your yard fixed, we’ll provide the plans for free if you have our contractors do the work at your expense. At the end of the day, our mission is to make yards functional, beautiful and enjoyable.

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