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Volume 3 Issue 1

SPRING/SUMMER 2013 One Shot Deal

Page 14

14 // Sophisticated Landscapes Movin’ on up in the Landscape Design world with Denis Flanagan 16 // Dunnington Grub Award Highest recognition in Landscape Design & Construction 18 // Landscape Ontario Award Winners Canada’s got talent!

The Style District

20 // “Strong, Dark & Handsome” Showcasing 3 Canadian artists –They’ll “steel” your heart 24 // Trending We’re one step ahead of ya, hot trends for spring 2013 26 // Fashionista Getting Down & Dirty in Style

The Design District

29 // So You Think You Can Landscape? Straight shooting talk about the benefits of hiring a Designer Feature 30-38 // Coast to Coast Inside the minds of 6 top Canadian Landscape Designers Feature 39 // Unilock’s Trade Secret’s Pssst, come closer and lend us an ear FASHIONISTA

Page 26

The Living District

Feature 50-57 // Bringing Nature Back Adam & the Bienenstock A fairytale brought to life! Finding nature in the places that nature should be Cultivating Curiosity Teaching our children about their connection with food Snakes and Ladders Stirring the imagination and metabolism of our youth Keeping It Real The root of the matter. Connecting to nature for success in life 59 // Patio Fare Another awesome East Coast gem, kicks it up a notch with aromatic java beans 60 // From Hippie to Hip Lights, sound check… now we have a real party! 4 I N ATURAL L AN D S CAP EMAG A Z INE .COM


Page 24

Page 92

The Eco District

71 // Natural Swimming Pools No need to go to the cottage when you can bring the lake to you FeaturE 74 // HGTV Star Carson Arthur Trying to teach us old dogs, new eco-tricks 80 // Natures Way Lusting after a lush lawn Page 71 NOT SO AVERAGE JOE

Page 102

The Discover District

*new column*

81 // Wanderlust Dreamy, sexy, blossoming balconies of Europe Feature 84 // Concrete Jungle The gardening world of condo living 86 // Oddity In The City A moment of Zen in a mad world! 90 // Go Native Oh Canada….Our home and native….Plants 92 // Plant Picks Media star Mark Cullen gives advice on keeping it Canadian, eh? 95 // Onkwehonwe A lesson in “oneness”

In Every Issue

10 // Letters to the Editor 19 // Social Soiree 96 // Inspirations 100 // Comic Relief 102 // The Not So Average Joe N AT U R A LLA N D S C A P E M A G A ZIN E .C O M I 5


Showcasing all things

Staff Writers



Vicki Morrison Justyna Kondakow Mike Randle Zack Fleming Samantha Sanjuan Brie Jarrett Lori Sweezey The Girl Who Travels

Copy Editor

Denis Flanagan L.O.

Creative Director

Dwayne Evans Pro Studios (Cover) Jessica Maciulis Lindsay Palmer Roy Timm Roy Timm Photography Jeff McNeil McNeil Photography

to enhance your outdoor lifestyle

Publisher/Editor in Chief Dave Maciulis C.L.D

Managing Editor

Samantha Sanjuan

Guest Writers

Lori Sweezey


Vicki Morrison Melissa Nezezon

Production Coordinator /Circulation Director Brie Jarrett


Director of Sales Paul Maich


authorized ONTARIO distributor 1-866-618-4154

illuminating decks with style. integration. function.

railing & step lights. deck wall sconces. desk post caps. hanging lanterns. landscape lighting.

John Thistlewaite Best Choice Printing

Scott Nichols Jacob Sweezey Sharon Zehavi Woman’s Touch Steffan Harriss NaturalLandscapeMagazine


PUBLISHED BY NATURAL LANDSCAPE INC. President Dave Maciulis C.L.D Phone: 905-627-1466 Fax: 905-627-9600 Email: Natural Landscape is published twice yearly-spring and fall Single copy price is $6.95 Subscription Rates Canada USA 1 year $13.90 1 year $18.95 2 years $26.95 International 3 years $37.95 1 year $59.95 Printed by Best Choice Print and Marketing Solutions Also available in Chapters and Indigos across Canada. Delivered to bookstores by Districor Magazine Distribution Services Mail payment to:

Natural Landscape Inc. 103 King Street East Dundas, ON L9H 1B9

Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. Reproduction without express written consent is prohibited by law.

Please enjoy responsibly.

C a n a d a’ s m o s t awa r d e d w i n e r y

Find a wine as good as the company you enjoy it with.


feature WRITERS... Adam Bienenstock, Born in Boston, lives in Dundas, Ontario

BRET TAYLOR, Lives in Stouffville, Ontario

Mark Cullen, Lives in Unionville / Gormley, Ontario

the girl who travels

This design consultant connects children and communities to nature through parks and playgrounds. He wakes up inspired by this cause every day. His go-to ice cream flavour is Maple Walnut. His wisdom, “Everything I have learned about what is good in the world came from playing in the woods.”

This garden communicator and writer loves to connect with people who wish to enjoy the fullness of nature through the gardening experience. His go-to ice cream flavour is Maple walnut. He believes you should, “Give unto others as you would.....”

Jean-Marc Daigle, Born in Maine, lives in Toronto, Ontario

This landscape architect and writer loves to raise awareness of alternative ecological and sustainable approaches to conventional landscaping. His go-to ice cream is pralines and cream. His Favorite quote,“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” - Mahatma Gandh

This carpenter and builder loves to spend quality time in his own backyard with family and friends and a Stella after a home cooked meal. His go-to ice cream flavour is Stracciatella gelato His advice, “K.I.S.S.”

This writer and globetrotter loves long walks on the beach, piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. Her go-to ice cream flavour is bacon! Her advice, “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a plane ticket... and that’s kind of the same thing.”

... & artists dwayne evans, Born in Jamaica, lives in Toronto, Ontario

This photographer fell into the art by accident. He loves to capture the essence of beauty. His go-to ice cream flavour is pralines and cream. His advice, “Find something your truly love - and start early.”

Dorothy Gebert, Lives in St. Thomas, Ontario

This freelance writer loves to tell stories about gardens, landscapes and green space. Her go-to ice cream flavour is chocolate peanut butter. Her favourite quote, “When you hear the splash of the water drops that fall into the stone bowl, you will feel that all the dust of your mind is washed away.” - Rikkyu

Jessica maciulis, Lives in Dundas, Ontario

This aspiring photograher and nature lover captures images to express her thoughts and emotions. Her go-to ice cream flavour is lime sorbet. Her advice, “Always remember who you are, but never forget who you wish to be.”

Niki Jabbour, Lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia

This author, radio host and gardener loves connecting with gardeners from across North America as well as experts from around the world sharing gardening ideas and inspiration. Her go-to ice cream flavour is butterscotch ripple. Her advice, “Don’t sweat the small stuff! And take time to smell the roses. Sometimes it feels like my garden has been taken over by my work projects, but I still take much pleasure in what I grow and just being in the garden.”

Sharon Zehavi, Born in Israel, lives in Toronto, Ontario

This Photoshop artist and graphic designer loves having the power to make things perfect :) Her go-to ice cream flavour is vanilla. Her advice, “Less is more.”

Jordan Johnston, Lives in Brighton, Ontario

This editor and student of Wilfrid Laurier University resorts to writing to clear her mind. Her go-to ice cream flavour is mint chocolate chip. Her favourite quote, “It is better to live and learn than to never have lived at all.” - Unknown

stephanie link, Lives in Toronto, Ontario

This writer, teacher and flight attendant writes because...well... she can’t draw! Her go-to ice cream flavour is Laura Secord’s French Crisp Her favourite quote, “In this great future, you can’t forget your past.” - Bob Marley


big ups

to all of our creative masterminds.





John Bos

CREATING INCREDIBLE YARDS AND QUALIY MAINTENANCE SINCE 2002 With more than 25 years in the landscape industry, John Bos offers expertise, knowledge and a personal touch to every project. He founded BOS Landscaping in 2002 and built the business based on the philosophy of quality workmanship, superior customer service and completing projects on time and on budget. His dedicated approach has earned him a reputation for unique design/build projects and impeccable maintenance services. His talented design team will create a landscape that will suit your property, your home and your lifestyle, ensuring value and pleasure will be added to your investment. If excellence in landscaping is what you desire, give John a call and he will be happy to serve you.

John B os

Serving Halton Region & Golden Horseshoe



Hey Hollywood! While attending the Landscape Ontario Trades Show at the Congress Centre in Toronto, I picked up a subscription card for the upcoming issue of Natural Landscape Magazine. I love that you promote and utilize our Canadian industry TV stars to share ideas and information with your readers. Paul Lafrance and Carson Arthur have unique and creative ideas, and I’m always interested in what the “pros” have to say. It certainly adds zest to your product. Great work. Mireya S. Windsor, Ontario NLM: Well, we are happy to oblige. Stay tuned, we have more stardom in store.

“Ok, now I am frustrated. Read it in your magazine and also in the Landscape Trades Magazine; “night lighting”! Well duh. I hope in today’s environmental society we are only lighting at night! Despite our vehicles, how about we start calling it what it is….LANDSCAPE LIGHTING. Just a thought. p.s. great magazine, keep up the good work.” Harry G. Waterdown, Ontario NLM: Geez Harry. Didn’t mean to get under your skin like that! “Landscape Lighting” it is.

“I loved the last issue of NLM. Just so you know, I found it admirable, that you included a letter to the editor that contained a sort of negative and aggressive comment. That surprised me a bit, but I have great respect for your magazine for printing such a thing. That took a lot of guts.” Donna P. Ancaster, Ontario NLM: Thanks. We try!

“My comment to your very interesting Natural Landscape magazine is the following. Dave’s Favourite Trees (page 64 - 65) is interesting. Did you know that the Gingko - River Birch and Shademaster Honey Locust are highly allergenic? A menace to the Allergy and Asthma sufferers (7 million Canadians and 1 in 8 children under the age of 18) because of the pollen they produces?” Peter P. Ancaster, Ontario NLM: AAAACHOOOO! Good to know.

Re: Fall Issue NLM “While I did enjoy reading this issue of your magazine, I did notice several spelling mistakes in various articles. Shouldn’t a magazine of this calibre produce perfection? Don’t people get paid to notice these things? Chez lounge is actually spelled “chaise longue.” James T. Ottawa, Ontario NLM: True dat James. We tri. Sumtimes theze tings just slip bye us. We ar a small crew, riding a big lerning cerv. We r in the prosess of finding a nuw poof reeder. No anyone hoo needs a job?

We welcome letters and emails from our readers. Our vision is to explore the needs and challenges of outdoor living and landscaping specific to all Canadian regions, and to captivate your imagination. We are proud Canadians with spectacular landscapes to showcase! We are a young magazine, and eager to meet your needs and interests. Your input is important to us, so please let us know how we are doing. Snail Mail: Natural Landscape Magazine 103 King Street East Dundas, ON L9H6N1

OR, if you live in the 21st Century... mailto:

Please be sure to include your name, address and telephone number. Letters and emails may be condensed for publication. Pictures will not be returned. 10 I NATURAL L AN D S CAP EMAGAZ INE .COM

Beauty or Beast


When I was a kid, the only matters that truly concerned me, were the forts that my friends and I constructed in the ravine.

I would inhale my dinners, just so I could get back to the business of building forts in the bush. Sticks, logs, leaves, grass and mud; all the finest ingredients for the most awesome of shelters. We’d hide in the safety of those shelters and throw perfect hand-rolled mud balls at opposing fort builders. Today, kids shoot at their opponents on Call of Duty while sitting in a dark bedroom that smells of teenage boy. I have five kids, and I do not believe any of them have partaken in a good old mud fight. Their lives are so full of technology; their creative minds numbed by iPhones, iPods, and computers. What will their childhood memories consist of? Many times their “friends” are simply a voice on the other end of a headset, helping them kill enemy soldiers in a war that they laugh their way through. They don’t understand a real friend is someone that you actually make eye contact with while you engage in a conversation. How and when did all this happen? I swear, it feels like only months ago I sat in that ravine, inhaling the very distinct smells of the outdoors, picking burrs out of my hair, and waiting for Shawn to stand up from behind the safety of his lame fort, so that I could ding him in the head with a mud ball. I felt like I could spend my life there. Things are so different now. I no longer want to live in a fort in the ravine. I do however, want my kids to have some of the most amazing memories, and stories to share with their kids. Like the time I took my daughter Jessica camping at Cypress Lake. She was there to watch the doctors stitch up my head after I gashed it open in an under water cave. “911 Daddy’s down. Blood is gushing from his head,” she laughed the whole time they carried me out of the forest via gurney. When we suggest, to our younger kids, they go play outside in nature, you’d think we’d just asked them to chew their left arm off! This saddens me. I feel sympathy for the generation of “button pushers” we have created. We did not create them alone though; the world in general is changing and moving forward. Things really are different than they used to be. So let’s not play the blame game, and let’s just

“be the change”. This issue of NLM highlights some of leaders in the movement to bring all of us back to nature. We need to make a conscious effort to, once again BE part of nature. Connect to nature wherever you can, and put yourselves and your kids smack dab in the middle of it. In fact, why not grab someone you like spending time with, and go make your own fort?

Editors PS

I would like to dedicate this issue of NLM to a longtime friend and all around great human being, Perry Molema. I first met Perry by way of designing what he was most passionate about…water features. My first endeavors in designing and building great water features were strongly influenced by him. If I ever needed advice or education around the issues of water features, I could always lean on Perry; he was always there for my team and I. The day of his passing, in December 2012, a radiant beam of sun broke through the clouds and lifted Perry’s wonderful energy back into the Universe. I hope Perry is happy and building his own fort wherever he may be.

Dave Maciulis, CLD

Publisher, Natural Landscape Magazine




property Maintenance


Design. Build. Maintenance. gustinlandscape . com / 9 0 5 - 6 4 8 - 2 1 6 1 / A ncaster , O ntario


Sophisticated Landscapes by DENIS FLANAGAN

In the past, in relation to landscaping, people were content to plant a few evergreens under the front window and torture them to death with bad pruning techniques. Perhaps they planted a maple sapling in the middle of the lawn propped up with a broken hockey stick. To complete their ‘landscaping project’ they added a concrete urn full of red and white geraniums (referred to as blood and bandages in the industry). Oh my, how things have changed. And thank goodness! After graduating in Landscape Design in Surrey, England I moved to Canada and have been involved in the landscape industry for over 30 years. During that time I have seen many changes in how we beautify our homes. 2013 brings us more choices than ever to enhance our outdoor living spaces. Quality landscapes are now being created by talented, certified professionals who realize that your landscape is not only a reflection of your own personal lifestyle, but a true investment in your property value.

A Partnership This is my take on the modern world of landscaping. I truly feel if your desire is to end up with a project you are proud of, suits your needs and is a wise investment you need to find a landscape design company with the same philosophies as you. How do you find that perfect match ? On-line, of course. As an association that’s where Landscape Ontario can help. We ask our members to post a profile describing their company, their style and achievements. Describe community projects they have been involved in, or awards they are proud of. An annual event we organize is our Awards of Excellence which showcases first class professional projects. This would be a great place for you to begin your search for a landscape designer that will meet your needs and exceed your expectations. Flip to page 16-18 to view the top award winners in 2013!

Here is a six pack of leading edge components that together define a modern landscape project:

LANDSCAPE ONTARIO Photo Credit: Compass Creative

Ground breaking techniques > Innovative high tech machinery allows modern landscape companies to access small spaces, manoeuvre large garden features and efficiently install irrigation and garden lighting. It’s a material world > Today we have moved beyond the boring 2 x 2 grey concrete paving slab. Modern products with intricate patterns and a multitude of colours transform any area into a functional living space, whilst the charm of natural stone skillfully installed by craftspeople, can add a touch of European romance, or a sense of formality. Hot topic > Cleverly designed pools and hot-tubs are one thing. Cleverly designed approaches to local bi-laws are another. The best companies not only possess the technical skills to design and build, but the ability to work on permit issues – so clients stay out of hot water and projects get completed. Plant-aholics > We’re seeing a new generation of plant junkies, eager to source-out and plant the latest trends in colour, texture and unique shapes. In response, the nursery industry has been busy seeding, hybridizing and nurturing new varieties. Never before has there been such a wide variety of choices to satisfy this insatiable appetite.

Urban Farmers > Speaking of appetites, savvy designers and contractors know their clients are expecting veggie gardens, pots of herbs and espaliered fruit trees woven into their living quilts. A design challenge to say the least, hence the creativity of green roofs and walls, once reserved for commercial or municipal projects are now finding their way into private condo courtyards. Respecting our Planet > Finally, along with the modern client’s desire to beautify their outdoor spaces with the latest in garden gadgetry, containerized cab-

bages and seasonal displays todays’ clients are environmentally aware. They are mindful of our actions as designers, and their actions as clients. The responsible designer/ contractor follows a mission statement that subscribes to ways to conserve water, recycle and create sustainable landscapes. N AT U R A LLA N D S C A P E M A G A ZIN E .C O M I 15


• 2013 WINNER •

Edengrove Landscape Inc. DUNNINGTON GRUBB AWARD

A landscape with a view by Dorothy Gebert Imagine walking with a fishing pole, a few feet from your house, to sit down by a trout-stocked pond. As you wait for that first nibble on your line, you gaze into the distance at a fabulous view of the Niagara Escarpment; it’s the perfect retreat for you and your family. This isn’t just a just a dream. Edengrove Landscape Ltd. of Mississauga built this million-dollar project on a 25-acre estate in North Burlington for a client who cared deeply about the site and wanted to be very involved in the design process. The project recently won the 2013 Dunington-Grubb Award at the Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence. “We first constructed the landscape and infrastructure on the property with the ponds, bridge and lane way. The house was built in the second phase,” said David Kampen, president of Edengrove. His company came back in the third phase to finish the landscaping around the newly built house.


The construction of the ponds was especially challenging. Pumps had to be run throughout the winter construction to avoid water buildup getting in the way of the digging. Also, all the soil from the excavation had to be re-distributed on-site. “We were fortunate the blue clay from the ponds made an excellent base for the one-kilometre laneway that meandered through the property,” says Kamen. Edengrove designed the landscaping close to the house to complement the contemporary architecture of the building using similar stonework in the bridge, knee walls, pillars and

outdoor entertainment areas. Dramatic lighting, small water features and Douglas fir pergolas completed the design, along with massed plantings of hydrangea, rudbeckia and day lilies. One of the client’s main requirements was to frame the beauty of the Niagara Escarpment. “There is a beautiful view whichever way you look,” says Kamen. Landscape Ontario judges thought this aspect of the design was important too, along with the way the landscape elements reflected features used in the residence. At the 40th Landscape Ontario Congress in January, the judging panel awarded Edengrove the organization’s most prestigious honour, the Dunington-Grubb Award, for the highest score in the Awards of Excellence construction category. 

Photo Credit: Compass Creative

The site design took advantage of a natural low in the property where two one-acre ponds were built, divided by an arching canal-style bridge. The ponds were excavated to a depth of 16 feet, revealing natural springs to allow trout to be stocked for fishing in the summer. 



Landscape Ontario


Awards of Excellence for Construction, Maintenance and Design fall into 41 categories, including landscape irrigation and lighting, and are judged by industry experts according to specific criteria; if no project qualifies in an area, no Award is given.

Landscape Ontario is pleased to recognize the winners Landscape Construction

Toronto, ON (Jan 8, 2013) Breathtaking design and master craftsmanship in landscape construction, maintenance and design projects were recognized at Landscape Ontario’s Awards of Excellence Ceremony, held January 8, 2013. Over 600 industry professionals attended the gala awards presentation held at Toronto’s Doubletree by Hilton Airport Hotel. The Awards ceremony is held in conjunction with Congress International Horticultural Lawn and Garden Trade Show and Conference, one of North America’s largest green industry events. The evening was hosted by Frank Ferragine of Breakfast Television and CityTV, and included several special presentations celebrating the association’s and show’s 40-year anniversary. The exceptional quality and outstanding creativity of entries this year was noted by construction judge Alistair Johnston, Strybos Barron King Landscape Architects. Johnston highlighted winners the following day in a session at the Congress Conference; attendees were speechless. The evening was capped off when Karl Stensson of Sheridan Nurseries presented the Dunington-Grubb Award – the highest scoring construction project – to Edengrove Landscapes of Mississauga, Ont. Sheridan is celebrating a century in business, and Stensson’s heartfelt speech highlighted his family’s connection to industry pioneer Howard Dunington-Grubb.

Canada’s Best



Aden Earthworks Inc., North York Artistic Shadows Landscaping, Arva B.K. Baun Landscape Ltd., Ajax BCH Landscaping Ltd., Mississauga Benj Art Inc. Landscape Architects and Contractors,Owen Sound Betz Pools Ltd., Stouffville Beyond Landscaping, Toronto Boffo Landscaping Inc., Maple Bouwmeister Landscaping Ltd., Stouffville Cedar Springs Landscape Group Awards, Ancaster Cypress Hill Design and Build, Claremont DA Gracey & Associates, Vaughan Darsan, North York DiMarco Landscape Lighting, Mount Albert Edengrove Landscapes Ltd., Mississauga Elite Designed Concrete Inc., Thornhill Fossil Landscapes Ltd., Etobicoke Garden Creations of Ottawa Ltd., Ottawa Garden Grove Group, Waterdown Gelderman Landscaping Ltd., Waterdown Green Collar Landscaping, Mount Hope Greentario Landscaping (2006) Inc., Hamilton Griffith Property Services Ltd., Richmond Hill Hutten & Co. Landscaping, Owen Sound It’s About Thyme, Stratford J. Garfield Thompson Landscape Ltd., Etobicoke KIVA Landscape Design Build Inc., Fonthill Landcare, Toronto Landscapes By Lucin, Toronto Leaside Landscaping, North York Leishman Landscaping Ltd., Toronto MapleRidge Landscapes Ltd., Lynden Monarch Landscape, Waterloo Nature’s Choice Landscape Construction Ltd., Maple Oakridge Landscape Contractors Ltd., Hannon OGS Landscape Services, Brooklin Planit Green Landscapes, Ancaster Plantenance Inc., Pointe Claire, QC Pro-Land Landscape Construction Inc., Brampton R J Rogers Landscaping Ltd., Kars Royal Stone Landscaping & Design, Woodbridge S. Rebelo Landscapes Inc., Burlington

Sacred Space Landscape & Design, Barrie Shademaster Landscaping Ltd., Waterdown Shades of Summer Landscaping & Maintenance, Milgrove Shibui Landscaping, Toronto Sipkens Nurseries (Palace Perennials), Wyoming Solid Rock Inc., Sundridge Tarrascape Innovation Inc., Hamilton The Great Garden Revival Company, Mt Albert The Landmark Group, Thornbury The Scott Wentworth Landscape Group Ltd., Picton Vaughan Landscaping, Maple Yards Unlimited Landscaping Inc, Nepean

Landscape Maintenance Aden Earthworks Inc., North York Boot’s Landscaping & Maintenance Ltd., Richmond Hill Dusty Miller Landscaping, Queensville Garden Creations of Ottawa Ltd., Ottawa Hank Deenen Landscaping Ltd., Toronto Shades of Summer Landscaping & Maintenance, Milgrove Strathmore Landscape Contractors, Montreal The Cultivated Garden, Toronto Thornbusch Landscaping Company, Lansdowne

Landscape Design Aden Earthworks Inc., North York Benj Art Inc Landscape Architects and Contractors, Owen Sound Betz Pools Ltd., Stouffville Brydges Landscape Architecture Inc., Guelph Cedar Springs Landscape Group, Ancaster Dearborn Designs and Associates, Barrie Plantenance Inc, Pointe Claire, QC The Landmark Group, Thornbury Welwyn Wong Landscape Design, Ottawa Yards Unlimited Landscaping Inc., Nepean

Landscape Irrigation Gelderman Landscaping Ltd., Waterdown Smart Watering Systems, Milton

Interior Plantscaping Nedlaw Living Walls Inc., Breslau Stems Interior Landscaping Inc., Washago The Plant Lady Inc., Kitchener

Special Awards CANADA BLOOMS SOFT LANDSCAPING SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR FOR 2012 FESTIVAL: Martin Farms CANADA BLOOMS HARD LANDSCAPING SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR FOR 2012 FESTIVAL: Unilock Ltd. CANADA BLOOMS VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR FOR 2012 FESTIVAL: Mark Cullen CASEY VAN MARIS AWARD 2013: The Landmark Group DON SALIVAN GROUNDS MANAGEMENT AWARD 2013: Shades of Summer Landscaping & Maintenance DUNINGTON-GRUBB AWARD: Edengrove Landscapes Ltd. ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD 2013: Mark Cullen, For The Trees For Life Program GARDEN COMMUNICATOR AWARD 2012: Larry Sherk HONORARY LIFE MEMBERSHIP: Gord Shuttleworth MILESTONE MEMBERS: Lloyd’s Landscaping for 50 years; OGS Landscape Services for 60 years; Sheridan Nurseries for 100 years PAST PRESIDENT`S AWARD 2012: Rita Weerdenburg, Canadian Nursery Landscape Association PROSPERITY PARTNERS LEADERSHIP AWARDS 2012: Jason Gaw, Sycamore Landscape; Lindsay Drake-Nightingale, Yorkshire Garden Services; Nicola Kamp, Nicola’s Garden Art TRILLIUM AWARD 2013: Carol Cowan, Zebra Promotions, and Michel Gauthier, MGB Tourfest, for their work on Flora Niagara Program

Congratulations to all the winners of Landscape Ontario’s Awards of Excellence. The ceremony for the winners of the Awards of Excellence ceremony was made possible through the generous sponsorship of our presenting sponsors, G&L Group’s Earthco Soil Mixtures and Draglam Salt and supporting sponsors, Sheridan Nurseries Limited and Permacon. For more information about the Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence programs, please visit www., or contact Kristen McIntyre, awards@ (800) 265-5656, ext. 321.

Please join us in congratulating the winners RBC Grower of the Year award: Sheridan Nurseries Ltd.

Green for Life Community Award for the St. James Park Revitalization Project The friends of St. James Park and the St. Lawrence Market BIA., Ontario

DynaSCAPE Award of Excellence for Landscape Design: The Landmark Group, Ontario

CNLA President’s Award Gloria Beck of Parkland Nurseries & Garden Centre Ltd., Alberta

John Deere Award of Excellence for Residential Landscape Maintenance: Snider Turf & Landscape Care Ltd., Ontario John Deere Award of Excellence for Commercial Landscape Maintenance: The Cultivated Garden, Ontario Niagara Falls, ON (January 30, 2013) Winners of the 2013 Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) National Awards of Landscape Excellence were announced during the 10th annual national awards gala at the Hilton Hotel Fallsview in Niagara Falls on Wednesday, January 30. Co-hosted by Landscape Ontario’s Denis Flanagan and new CNLA President, Christene LeVatte, it was an evening to remember. Nine awards were presented to companies and individuals across the country, showcasing Canada’s best.


Caterpillar Award of Excellence for Residential Landscape Construction/Installation: Fossil Projects Services Ltd., British Columbia Caterpillar Award of Excellence for Commercial Landscape Construction/Installation: Flynn Canada Ltd., Ontario Chrysler Garden Centre of the Year award: Sheridan Nurseries Ltd., Unionville, Ontario location. Congratulations as well to the three category winners: Canadale Nurseries, Ontario for “Growing Teams” Phoenix Perennials, British Columbia for “Growing Gardeners” Sandhill Nursery, Ontario for “Growing Sales”

Energy was high as industry professionals gathered together to showcase their work and celebrate those who make up this fantastic industry. Also in attendance were government representatives, the CNLA board and staff, provincial association staff and the national certification committee, just to name a few. The new Green for Life Community award was presented to the Friends of St. James Park and the St. Lawrence Market BIA. These groups worked together with close to 40 landscape companies and hundreds of volunteers to rejuvenate St. James Park in Toronto after the Occupy Toronto protesters had trampled the grass and gardens to mud. The awards recognize those companies that have actively participated in raising the level of professionalism in the industry. Each province nominates members that are then entered into the national awards. It is never an easy decision for the judges and this year was no different, as all entrants displayed a high level of effort and expertise. Thank-you to all entrants, as well as the award sponsors: RBC, Chrysler, DynaSCAPE, Caterpillar and John Deere.

SOCIAL soiree

Landscape Ontario’s Congress 2013

let us make your neighbours


BEHIND ENEMY LINES Commencing Geographic Analysis... > interlock & natural stone walkways, retaining walls, patios & driveways > custom decks, pergolas, sheds & fencing > water features, landscaping lighting and plantings





METAL WORKS >>> This project dates back over a decade ago. The Mitchell Residence has a long standing history, and is owned by the famous Mitchell family in Banff.

Mark forged the iron gate for the Mitchell Residence (Banff, AB) landscape plan headed by designer Brian Baker of the IBI/Landplan Group.


MYSTIC FORGE ironworks inc. Calgary, Alberta MAGIC MARK

A blacksmith is a person who creates objects from wrought iron or steel by forging the metal; that is, by using tools to hammer, bend and cut. They produce items such as gates, grilles, railings, light fixtures, furniture, and sculpture. Tools, decorative and religious items, cooking utensils and weapons - All you need is a little bit of magic and a whole lot of muscle. Would it surprise you to know there are approximately only six true blacksmiths in all of Canada? What sets them apart from other metal workers? It’s the intensity of the job itself – the work is accomplished without welding. Mark Pearce began his blacksmithing career in 1983 at the ripe old age of 16. His apprenticeship led him down the road of restoration, and at one point he found himself working for the Royal Family; in fact he had the privilege of meeting Princess Diana! When he was in his twenties, the Calgary Stampeders

– Samantha Sanjuan Toronto, ON

drafted Pearce to the Canadian Football League. He loved western Canada so much, he decided to set up shop there. Over the past several years Pearce has been sharing his gift with the ‘third world’. For three or four months at a time he travels to Bali, Indonesia to teach the people there the art of blacksmithing. Kuta, Seminyak, Senur, and Ubud have been a few of the stops along the way throughout the great journey that is his life. Mark Pearce’s work is breathtaking. His custom designs run the gamut, from traditional to sleek contemporary. If you conjure up an image in your mind’s eye, and aspire to have something original to showcase on your property or around your landscape, why not make it count? Why not make it unique? Pearce’s work is definitely not ‘cookie cutter’. The trend to incorporate functionality and art is inevitable. A wrought iron fence that has artistic value creates conversation, admiration and invites interpretation; similar to standing in an art gallery and admiring a painting. Pearce and his highly skilled team, work with their clients to create that vision. Why is it we devote so much time and energy to hunting down that perfect piece to display over the mantel, yet we barely give any thought to filling our outdoor space with items of artistic beauty and value? Pearce’s work will endure for generations – his pieces are vessels waiting to be filled by history. For more inspiring ideas, and information on his creations, please visit his website at N AT U R A LLA N D S C A P E M A G A ZIN E .C O M




Heavy Metals Custom Welding Brantford, Ontario

The Smokin’ Gun

– Brie Jarrett Dundas, ON

It’s not every day an enormous eight-foot revolver on wheels, being pulled by a pickup truck, drives by. Occasionally though, as Brad Bielefeld of Heavy Metals Custom Welding, just outside Brantford, Ontario heads out to a trade show, folks are fortunate enough to witness the roaming revolver on the road. Once at the shows, the revolver gathers the affronted and the intrigued alike. A collective gasp has been said to be heard as Brad fiddles with the trigger of this massive firearm. The cylinder, once swung open, reveals not bullets, but a man’s dream come true - one badass barbeque. Needless to say, Heavy Metals piece de la resistance is a crowd favourite and exactly why Brad created it in the first place. How can he go wrong with a big smoking gun and big steaks? Born into a family of welders, Brad came by his metal working talents honestly. He took up the torch for over a decade to become a master of the trade, but deep inside he always wanted to do more. A few years ago the opportunity presented itself. An artist friend designed an exquisite metal gate, and she needed someone to create it – a defining moment for Brad. The piece became his muse, feeding the long dormant artistic leanings he had recognized back in school – not knowing quite what to do with his creative gifts, Brad had settled for a solid, unwavering career. As he worked on the gate however, his artistic aptitudes finally found a home with his metalwork abilities, and Heavy Metals Custom Welding was founded.


The scope of Brad’s work is impressive. Not until finally seeing one of his individually crafted, one of a kind, metal pieces do people really appreciate the value of his work, and the impact it can have on their homes. Case in point; Brad was commissioned by a client in Toronto who, after being the victim of repeated break-ins, wanted Brad to make hand-crafted security bars for his first-floor doors and windows. A distinctive, personalized look was the result. The bars were actually aesthetically pleasing rather than screaming ‘crime-ridden ’. “When thinking of cost, always keep quality in mind,” says Brad. Artistry is highly desirable; however there are tangible and pragmatic reasons to hire a company like Heavy Metals for your fencing and railing needs. “I can construct a solid metal fence that, from a distance might look no different than those at the big box stores. However, instead of needing to replace that fence in a few years due to poor quality construction and even poorer warranty, you have no maintenance concerns with my fences.” Brad’s work stands the test of time – strong and solid. A big budget is not necessary in order to make a distinctive stamp on your home. Brad creates many beautiful garden ornaments and trellis’ to add flair to outdoor spaces. “A big honking barbeque like mine would add flair, but then again so would a simple railing,” Buffalo Brad laughs. Visit his website for more inspiring ideas



avon river metalworks Falmouth, Nova scotia



– Mike Randle Halifax, NS

Last spring I took a pair of sunflower seeds and planted them in my front yard. A week later they sprouted, and over the course of the summer I watched them grow from modest sprouts to remarkable eight-foot tall sunflowers. Last week I went to a local co-op art gallery, showcasing the work of 22 local artists. One sculpture in particular caught my eye. It was a collection of sunflowers, but instead of dirt, water and sunshine, this floral arrangement came together with a hammer, heat and steel. Each leaf and petal heated in a forge and pounded to perfection.


When most of us look at an old rusty piece of steel, we see just that; a rusty piece of steel that should be in the scrap yard. Not so for the Nova Scotian folk artist Al Simm. He sees beauty. He sees flowers and other functional architectural pieces. In 2002, with more than twenty years experience working with steel, Simm stopped punching a clock and went into business for himself. Avon River Metal Works, a creative working-studio was born. Living and working in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, Simm is easily inspired by the spectacular views that surround him. From the Bay of Fundy to abundant apple orchards, inspiration is around every corner. Al is often commissioned to create his unique sculptures including hand forged roses, lilies, orchids, bulrushes; even a seven-foot tall sunflower arrangement. To create these pieces Al uses an assortment of steel, copper and aluminum, along with discarded materials like old spark plugs, and recycles them into his works of art. Take a walk around the town of Windsor, Nova Scotia and you will see Simm’s artwork everywhere. Beside the stunning scenery Mother Nature provides, where do your ideas come from? “From the people. They will ask me if I can do something or they will give me an idea to work

with. Like this guy that just left the gallery. He wants me to design and build a chandelier. Or like those orchids over there. A lady in town suggested them to me. I took one that I’d made to her and she loved it; all but one part. So I took it back to the shop, changed the shape of one petal, and returned the finished product. She let me know, it was perfect.” One shelf held a single rose; the attention to detail was impeccable. The only difference between this rose and one picked from a garden, was about three pounds of metal and the ability to last forever. Simm started making these roses after a fellow blacksmith shared his technique. Because the roses are a popular seller, Simm has no problem spending the day constructing each flower leaf by leaf, petal by petal. The end product is a beautiful single-stemmed, ever-lasting rose. Simm’s work knows no limits. From the smallest flower to the most extraordinary sculptures, his works can be found all over Nova Scotia, including the famous Whalesback residence in Duncan’s Cove. If you have a question or idea for Al Simm, or you’d like to become more familiar with his work, visit his website




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1 / sunshades

Spending the day by the pool? Sleek minimalistic gazebo with all weather customizable blinds creates the ideal shade coverage as you enjoy your day outdoors. No more chasing the shade.

2 / Fedro

5 / Eye Ain’t

Remember that saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder?” Well behold, The Eye Ain’t planter by Barracuda. By using the reflection of light to accentuate the natural shape and wave design, you won’t be able to take your “eyes” off it!

6 / Obelisk

A chair without legs, who needs them? When you have two legs of your own to rock you back and forth, or better yet to kick up and cross over so you can lay back and relax! This chair is colourful, comfortable and “Fedro-a-blulous” ;)

Don’t be limited by your small space balcony garden, because the sky is the limit with the Obelisk patio collection. This six piece modular table and chairs set up a perfect conversation area when apart, and stack up when you need the space. Together its shape mimics one impressive looking “Obelisk”!

3 / Garden Party


4 / Leaf

8 / Spartan Daybed

Having a party? Set up some rallying points where people can have a drink or enjoy a meal. Create an atmosphere and a scenography by playing with the plants that come out of these high tables. Use them with or without bar stools. The graceful shape of elegantly curved leaves is the spin-off for this unique beach chair. Two sizes – single or double bed – encourage sensual high spirits and enable us to be one with nature.

Bring a little Mother Nature back to your urban lifestyle. Instant privacy screens that are easy to install, maintain and provide year round coverage. Mori’s Green Living Fences are on a mission to beautify our world one vine at a time. Cocoon yourself in this modern, hand woven, all-weather wicker daybed with a great book or your favourite person. Award winning design by Neoteric Luxury™ the canopy overhead offers filtered sun protection while allowing air to circulate.


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12 / YingYang 9 / Weathered Zinc Wall Fountain

Inspired by European design this fountain displays the unique look of weathered steel and water combined. This handcrafted and rustproof wall fountain is all you need to create the focal point your garden may be missing. You don’t have to travel to Italy to find true fountains anymore, is one click away!

10 / sigmafocus

The sigmafocus BBQ proves that aesthetics and ergonomics aren’t confined to interior design. The sigma can be used with either wood or charcoal and comes equipped with a stainless steel grill and BBQ tools along with adjustable cooking heights. Attractive in both open or closed positions the sigma folds up easily to provide space saving results.

11 / Solana

Need a cool, shady spot in the middle of your garden? No problem with Solana’s free-standing awnings. No posts to maneuver around, the Havana and Plantation provide 10 to 23-foot wide unhindered coverage. Comes with motor, wireless remote and wind sensor options, as well as a remarkable 10 year warranty.

Yin Yang unites the dramatic opposites of ancient Chinese philosophy into a harmonious chair of unique colour and form. It’s a work of art that will stand out in any garden. If you’re looking for something different that flows and is comfortable Dedon has it. It’s more than just a chair, it’s a piece of art!

13 / Ublo

Function and elegance, tension and balance merge together to create furniture that is like no other. Que est Paul furniture is not only comfortable but generous in size and function. It’ versatile and can used both indoors and out.

14 / Organic

Fusion between the lounge spirit and work on organic shapes, this lounge chair has been sculpted in order to bring an optimized comfort to its users. Thanks to its slim lines it will look at home in any natural setting. The lightness of its base brings an increased visual lightness as well as comfort. It will add distinction to any of your interiors, on your terraces or by your pool.

15 / Ohlala

This two litre watering can seduces with its shape and easy handling. Control the flow of water with ease with different spouts. Choose from 17 colourful options. Made with soft PVC. N AT U R A LLA N D S C A P E M A G A ZIN E .C O M



Handsome Functionality – Justyna Kondakow Thunder Bay, ON

Gardening can be a humble and honest hobby; not necessarily associated with luxury. Merging worn out gardening denim with decadence can bring not only a newfound style, but also outstanding quality. Consider the union of a pair of $150 Blundstone boots with a $3400 Hermes tote bag. Two worlds apart, yet both share similar features – the ability to withstand a heavy hand, and hard wear. I know! The sticker shock slapped me too, but their credentials are just too good to refuse! You too can justify this handcrafted, decadently luxurious tote bag while wearing your new practical Blundstones as you garden in the back forty. Let me ease you into this. As the snow begins to melt and spring begins to show itself you begin to think about new footwear as you anticipate gardening projects – tools and footwear should be your biggest investments. Fortunately Blundstone boots pack a punch with a surprisingly underwhelming price. The low price point does not reflect the durability, quality and capability of the brand. These understated, yet still stylish leather ankle boots are truly a gardener’s best friend. At first glance you’ll see their thick and sturdy stature will conform to your feet just after a week of full-time wear. ‘Blunnies’ also come equipped with enough comfort and stability to properly ‘give’ to pinching, when bending, crouching or meadow prancing. As an added bonus, although Blundstones are leather, with a rubber sole, they are made to withstand a considerable amount of water contact. From one ‘gardening’ staple to another; the Hermes Garden Party tote bag wields the power to look expensive, while simultaneously looking productive. Hermes is known for their supreme quality leather goods and this tote is no exception. Although the Garden Party’s prim exterior may cause some to doubt its potential, it too exists under the category of handsome functionality – just like the rugged Blunnies. At first glance you see tight stitching, soft leather and a snap mouth. Open up to bask in the splendor of an unlined carryall ready for soil, debris and poky gardening tools. With both items you are able to go from the garden and beyond, never ceasing to look over or understated. Hence, the secret to ‘garden style’ is in the harmonious balance between luxury and practicality – handsome functionality. And with spring style close enough to swing a $3400 purse at, all you need to worry about is overwatering!

Just envision.. less work, more ‘me’ time

HAMILTON 905-309-1618 GRIMSBY 905-309-9762 OAKVILLE 905-842-7167



an outdoor ESCAPE

• 905-220-8253



905-688-2111 176 Bunting Road, St. Catharines, ON

Where contractors & do-it-yourselfers shop. Since 1968!


– Brie Jarrett Dundas, ON

“The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory.” - Aldo Gucci

Over the past few decades our homes and what we demand of them has changed dramatically – granite countertops, designer faucets, and hardwood flooring have become the expected norm. Consumers are looking for long-lasting quality products. Even if budgets flow less freely, we are less likely to purchase a product for our home merely because it is inexpensive; the tides have turned and esthetics have superseded mere functionality. No longer can we get away with casualties of design just because it was ‘on sale’. Homeowners are seeing the value in hiring interior designers, hiring them to stage, or to renovate their homes – to make the home more functional and to add value to their property. This applies to exterior living spaces as well. Terms like ‘curb-appeal’ are tossed around, with the understanding improving the aesthetics of a home will increase the net worth of the home. Backyards are being developed into places for the family to spend their leisure time – ‘staycations’ are becoming the norm. Somehow though, the translation from concept to reality is not easily accomplished in an exterior outdoor space. Homeowners tend to think of their outdoor projects in terms of wants – ‘I want a hot tub, a pool, and a deck’. Inside, the concept of four walls, a floor, and a ceiling help to give our vision parameters to work within, but a wide open space can be extremely daunting. Following this train of thought, with DIY in mind homeowners (and the contractors they hire) run the risk of creating a landscape lacking cohesion and flow, and may potentially unearth problems bigger they can manage, both in scope and budget. Hiring a professional designer to help execute and refine your vision is extremely important. A landscape designer may seem like a luxury; however hiring a qualified designer can be one of the most intelligent financial choices a homeowner can make. Designers have extensive landscape design and horticultural knowledge; helping homeowners make their landscape dreams a reality while avoiding costly mistakes. A good designer understands the most important influence on design is their connection and communication with the homeowner and their understanding of what the client wants in a finished product – even if the client is unclear or uncertain. In the words of William A. Foster, “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” This is what a great designer will bring to the table. If you are serious about creating a beautiful landscaped home, think of a designer not only as a worthy alternative, but as an essential part of the landscaping process.

Principles of Design According to landscape designer Maureen Topelko, of Cambridge, Ontario some main considerations when landscaping your property are:

Consultation – Design consultation is the most important principle of design. A good designer will connect with the homeowner to find out what preferences they have, what their lifestyle is and what functions the space will have. It’s a designer’s job to understand what the client truly needs and wants and to bring them together in a cohesive design. Scale and Proportion - Every element in your landscape whether it be the plant material, the hardscape material, or special features such as a fountain are all part of one design and need to connect to one another in proportion and scale. A huge rock next to a thin tree will be out of scale; just as a small feature in a large yard will be overpowered. Plant material will evolve over time as so make sure plants or trees will be appropriate for the space as they grow. An example would be small evergreens

planted in the front only to after many years grow to massive proportions, not in keeping with the scale of the home. Front Entry – Plain and simple, do it right the first time. The front landscape design should showcase the front entry as your focal point naturally leading your eye to it. A good designer will keep the design in line with the integrity of the home’s character. If cost is a factor, they will advise you to put the money into the hardscaping first. Plant Material – Selecting plants is a key part of any design plan. Plant material provides form, texture, scale and colour. Colour has weight and can be used to anchor or balance a design as well as a focal tree or shrub. Now more varieties are available than ever before, and a good designer can recommend choices to their client that will continue to improve the look and value of the property for years to come.









Jeff Komadoski The Value of Diversity Landscape designer takes passion for business management to a new level - Vicki L. Morrison Osgoode, Ontario



There is no cookie cutter approach to being a good landscape designer. You can follow what the previous standards have been, or you can choose to cut your own path. Jeff Komadoski, owner and head designer of Urban Image Landscape and Design Inc. chose the latter. As a kid, Komadoski started his first business, dragging a lawnmower behind him he banged on his neighbour’s doors looking for lawns to mow. Now he’s an architectural landscape designer with an entrepreneurial spirit that has led him to early success. His clients love the service he provides, because from start to finish Urban Image Landscape and Design is in control of the project. Located halfway between Niagara Falls and Burlington Komadoski and his Senior Designer, David Cuthbert service the Golden Horseshoe and portions of the GTA of Ontario. Between the two, there are years of both architectural and engineering experience which allows them to “think out of the box” all while being able to construct the inventive ideas they envision. Having worked together for many years, they are experienced in telling visual stories that they bring to life through the use of many different elements. Some of the aspects they use in their designs and construction is Artificial Turf, Landscape Lighting, Interlocking, Retaining Walls, Outdoor Living Spaces, Putting Greens, Water Features, Wrought Iron, Custom Steel Structures, Decks and the like. The “Urban” part of the name of the company attracts many clients with modern taste, but their designs range from Nature Inspired to Sleek and Sophisticated. Urban Image designs with the capacity to provide designs in 2D with colour renderings to 3D with virtual walk throughs.

“Project Management is something we do best,” says Komadoski. “We will design for a client if they have another landscaper, but most find it easier to deal with us as we can take care of most of our design aspects in house, which eliminates the need for multiple sub contractors.” Cuthbert most enjoys when a customer calls requesting a design consultation. “Its the ability to see the big picture before anyone else knows there is a canvas there that gets me the most excited.” The two also own a manufacturing facility and a management company. This manufacturing facility makes parts for commercial grade heaters, custom steel structures and fences/railings, or anything they can imagine that a CNC mill or lathe can create. The Management Company has allowed them to become a supplier that sells landscape supplies that help tie all the projects together, as well as heaters that they spec in their designs that allows their clients to enjoy their newly landscaped yards longer into the evening, and later into the season. Urban Image, through its sister companies, has created multiple avenues in the landscape industry as a whole that they can pull from. “Diversification has given us the ability to quickly and efficiently bring our designs from the paper to our client’s properties.”



Rhea Mahar Rhea Mahar

“Every child has the right to have contact with nature” –Rhea Mahar

A Change for the Future – Mike Randle Halifax, NS

Nature can affect the life of every child and a good number of city kids have very limited access to the beauty provided by Mother Nature. As Rhea looks at a pending school yard project she sees the same thing. Since the 1920’s they have consisted of a mowed field, a touch of cement, and a few pieces of playground equipment. That’s the way things have been and almost certainly would have remained at a local Nova Scotia school. Rhea Mahar has changed the landscape of this inner city schoolyard and has provided the children with something that they can take part in building, something that is community centered, and something that they can nurture and take pride in. Four treeless streets surround Burton Ettinger School in Halifax. It needed a little TLC. Rhea Mahar is a greening consultant with landscape design being a major part of what she does. She has a Bachelor of Arts Honors Degree in Geography and Environmental Studies, a diploma in gardening and landscaping and an over-whelming love of nature. Rhea is also a Member of the Atlantic Association of Landscape Designers, NS Environmental Network, and BALLENS: Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, NS.

When she sets out to design a new schoolyard space, Rhea consults with the students and parents, as well as the teachers and the administrators. In this case her clients were and still are, 355 students aged 5-12, their parents, and 28 staff, including custodians, nurses, lunch monitors and neighbors. It’s a completely interactive process, where the values and voices of everyone involved are heard. The result is a customized landscape plan that everyone is pleased with. By March 2012, with all things considered, the master plan was complete. Rhea uses native species to increase the biodiversity of a space. Like “if you plant it, they will come.” Adding flowers to an empty area will attract butterflies and bumble bees. Throw in a pond and watch the mosquitoes multiply, which in turn will bring frogs, toads and various native birds. In 2003 Rhea designed and installed a “forest” for this very same school. Ten years later it is quite established and houses a diverse population of little critters. The topography of this sight is an ongoing process. Each phase is another step forward in the journey. The Green Corner Project, installed in 2012, saw logs, boulders, evergreen and deciduous trees, and native shrubs planted harmoniously in the space. Who knows what the next two phases of the plan will look like? Well, you can follow the transformation on You Tube at HYPERLINK “” You can contact her through email at or visit her website at www.






In Your Dreams Freud! When psychology and landscaping come together it’s mind over matter. - Vicki L. Morrison Osgoode, Ontario

“Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.” - Sigmund Freud



Recently, Jason Smalley C.L.D. put his background in psychology, and his landscape design talents to the test when he took on the daunting task of designing and managing the landscaping for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Dream Home – grand prize in the Dream of a Lifetime CHEO Lottery. Smalley has close to twenty years experience in the landscape industry, and is well into the second season of owning his own company, Ottawa based, Jason Smalley Landscape Design, Inc. “I actually started out with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, then I went to Algonquin College to study horticulture. An odd educational combination, but very useful. There is a certain psychology involved in landscape design and project management. When couples argue over a landscape design I have the skills required to fix their marriage and their landscape project simultaneously”, laughs Smalley. He is also a Certified Landscape Designer, with Landscape Ontario, through the Canadian Nursery and Landscape Association. “I like keeping in touch with other certified professionals – a network of designers. We share knowledge and best practices. In the off season we meet to discuss ways to improve services. Landscaping is no longer about a guy showing up at your door with the shovel he bought at the local hardware store. It’s a complex profession and we have to stay sharp. We also try to give back”, says Smalley. One way to support the community was to become involved in the CHEO Lottery. “I was so honoured to be asked to provide a landscape design, and mange the project. My family uses CHEO. I wanted to support the hospital, so I jumped on board”,

says Smalley. The pressure was intense, because the design has a direct relationship to ticket sales. “The landscaping is the first thing potential supporters are going to see, the entryway, the sod, the bushes, the flowers have to be perfect. CHEO homes are known for blowing people’s minds with their attention to detail, and their exaggerated extravagance.” Each year the home has to be just a bit more impressive than the last. As the property has grown, so has the landscaping project. Smalley painstakingly and thoughtfully created the landscape plan. That done, who was going to provide the materials, and actually do the work? In the world of project management these types of projects are like juggling flaming swords – scheduling jobs is very challenging. In the case of the CHEO Dream Home contractors were graciously donating their long weekends, their evenings, and their lunch hours to get the job done. Close to 25 installers and suppliers were involved – each with their own schedule of availability. Everyone from one to two person operations, to huge well known companies were involved. Communication became a key factor in their success – Smalley’s listening skills and ability to read between the lines were put to the test. So the challenge was not the design, but getting it done right, and on time. Negotiation, and mediation skills came into play. There was a completion deadline, and momentum became everything. Smalley used his abilities to motivate and inspire, guide and problem solve. At times a supplier would drop off product, one contractor would start the job, and another would have to finish, because the first had paid business to attend to. And then Mother Nature played a role. No rain for months, and then just as

the lawn was prepared for sod it rained. Normally a fantastic scenario, not so when the front entryway needs to be completed, and the sod can’t be delivered for a few days. After the entryway was finished, the once prepared lawn looked like a farmer’s field. Then the sod arrived, and the lawn had to be prepared again. Timing is everything, as they say. “This house has too many amazing landscaping features to list all of them. I suggest people visit the home. You’ll find a chipping station, from which you can chip your golf ball onto a 30 x 15 foot putting green. A harmonious water feature was ingeniously placed in a retaining wall, and exceptional customized stonework and interlock add depth to the hard-scape”, says Smalley. The soft-scape is designed to interplay with the architecture of the home, each plant chosen for visual seasonal-effectiveness, and suitability to climate zone. “Every landscape detail has been carefully considered, and chosen for quality and suitability to the property, ensuring my vision of the exterior is congruent with the quality of the interior of the home.”



Smalley was overwhelmed by the generosity of his fellow landscape professionals. “If I called someone and asked them for help, and they had to say no, they still offered so many best wishes. Everyone loves CHEO. All of us have regular clients who have been so accommodating; understanding why we’re a little late getting to our regular jobs. The more tickets sold the more money CHEO makes, and the better off the kids are. That’s what’s important.” Now, at the end stages, it’s time to wrap things up. “I definitely dream about this project, and the final details of the landscaping. I take my work very seriously. It is an honour and a privilege to have designed the landscaping, and then managed this particular job.” The CHEO Dream Home landscape project, was certainly a labour of love, and the essence of the psychology of landscape design – bring together form and function, please the mind and please the eye. Smalley, as the designer and project manager, and his team of generous suppliers and skilled tradespeople, pulled off a true labour of love – never has it been more obvious that, “Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.” Sigmund Freud. To see a list of the CHEO Dream Home landscaping participants please visit: To learn more about Jason Smalley Landscape Design, Inc. visit:


Tel 613.894.5753




Rhea Mahar

Queen of Customer Service - Vicki L. Morrison Osgoode, Ontario

Lexi Dearborn, owner of Dearborn Design and Associates of Barrie, Ontario has always had a passion for the outdoors. Her grandmother owned a golf course. The two integral components of a golf course? The restaurant and the landscaping. So of course Dearborn went into the restaurant side of the business. Surprised? Sometimes it takes a few years before a person comes to realize their true passion. At the age of 40 Dearborn gave up the career she knew to explore her passion for landscaping. Five years of on-line and correspondence courses later she said good-bye to the University of Guelph and walked into the world a budding landscape designer. Now in her thirteenth season Dearborn isn’t looking back. She enjoys everything about her profession and the work she is doing. “I love my clients. I make a connection with them, and that fuels my passion for their projects,” says Dearborn. The management side of the business fascinates her as well. “From the design, to implementation, to the build process. I love that we’re a full-service design build firm. The process itself is fulfilling. The clients ask questions, I’m there for them. I answer them and make them



feel comfortable. It’s a team project, and the team members are the clients and us. In the end the clients get what they want, and they feel they really own the project.” Changing careers couldn’t have been easy. What knowledge did you transfer from your old career in the restaurant industry to your landscape design business? “I came to the realization it’s still all about customer service. In the restaurant I heard people say they didn’t like their steak overdone, or the gravy, or maybe the food was cold. That was their experience, and I didn’t just hear them, I listened. More importantly, I tried to make it better for them. I tried to offer exceptional service,” says Dearborn. Customer service seems to be the key to her success. “ If there was a line-up to get in the door of the restaurant I wanted the customers leaving to tell those waiting, it’s worth the wait. If the customers leaving have bad things to say, then your line-up goes away. That applies in my landscape business. At the end of a design build project I want the client left with only good things to say about Dearborn Designs and Associates.”

What makes you unique? “Well, I guess I design like a mom,” she laughingly replies. “I want everyone happy. The kids have a grassy area. Mom has a place to read a book. Dad has a place for the grill. I like practical, clean and tidy designs. Like a mom, I get to play negotiator a lot too. When couples don’t agree on a design I apply my negotiation skills to bring everyone to a place they can agree on. It’s a skill to navigate people to a place where everyone is happy. My designs speak for themselves, but my hidden skills are valuable too.” Over the years the service industry has changed a great deal. The way service providers approach clients has changed as well. Dearborn has a philosophy she projects in her business, “If your passionate about what you do you’ll work with integrity, and the money will come. If you are only working for the money the customer service and integrity will fall short and the money will stop coming in. My customers know if I say I will provide something for them I will follow through. It’s all about my passion for customer service.”




WATER’S EDGE - Lori Sweezey Dundas, Ontario

“Jacki stood in the fresh Muskoka air, ingesting the fruits of her labour. Her mind drifted back to the day she’d left the site, wondering what the hell she’d gotten herself into. It was an excruciatingly challenging design, but as her fear gave way to excitement, ideas began to flow from the very core of her being.“ Jacki Hart is a 3rd generation cottager who grew up in Toronto, and moved to the Muskoka area when she was 28. After a childhood of spending summers on the 80 acre, Walkers Point property on Lake Muskoka, it was clearly a good fit for her. Three years of studying Social Work at university were enough to let her know that an office job was not in her future. She needed to be creative, and that had to happen in the outdoors. She began her landscape design and maintenance business, Water’s Edge, 20 years ago. Jacki’s featured design won the Provincial Award of Excellence. This particular design required the skill of a near magician. Jacki explains, “A fortress of square cut granite rock, placed in long, low rows with very little space between each wall, was my ‘garden space’. Everywhere you looked were stark, grey granite walls. They towered above the two-story house. A wonderful feature in limited quantity on an average property, but enormously dominating on this steep hillside. The client wanted a colourful ‘natural looking’ landscape”. There was very little soil and root space available between the rock, which was a concern. The winters can be long and extremely cold in the north, so exposure was a real threat, as was anchoring. Jacki and her team had to plant over 1,000 perennials and hundreds of shrubs in order to help dwarf the scale of the granite wall. No easy feat. The danger factor weighed heavy on Jacki too. She needed to keep her staff safe. A fall from that height, on that surface, would not be pleasant. They managed to keep themselves in one piece, but lets just say that they could all apply for a job with the “cirque du soleil” if they needed to. After thirty years in the field, Jacki says that one of the most important qualities that a great landscape designer can bring to the table is clear and concise communication skills. “I’m really good at asking the right questions. However, in the odd circumstance when I don’t get a good handle on what the clients want, I’ve discovered that the couple haven’t been clear with each other as to what is on the other’s wish list”, states Jacki. Being able to facilitate clear discussion is always an effective talent to have. Gardens are changing, living spaces that continuously evolve, and Jacki has had the good fortune to witness the evolution of several of her designs. “When you are in the design and maintenance business combined, some jobs never feel complete. You watch your gardens grow and respond to editing and renovation over time. They are almost like children, requiring love and nurturing.” If you would like to know more about Jacki and her designs, check out her website at




Zen-ga - Lori Sweezey Dundas, Ontario

Senga walked into the space she’d become so comfortable in. It felt a little like home to her. She really did wish it was hers. She’d thrown her heart and soul into this landscaping project. ‘Project’ just didn’t seem like an adequate word to describe this vision. She experienced a feeling of deja vu; not so much that she’d been there before; more like she knew this is how it would look and feel at the very end. Peaceful and breathtakingly beautiful, the space gave off a zen-vibe. The homeowners were elated. Truth be told, so was Senga. It was perfection. Senga Lindsay, owner of Senga Landscape Architecture, Inc. would be hard pressed to remember a time when she wasn’t involved with nature on some level. At the age of twelve her father gave her the run of the gardens around their home. She was so good at it he built her a green house – even way back then the writing was on the wall. The Vogl landscaping project presented a few challenges for Senga’s firm. The fact that the house was literally located six-feet off the back property line meant the front yard and entry sequence needed to be a part of the back yard living experience. This had to be reconciled into a space that served both purposes – without feeling awkward. “I began by creating an entrance through the main garden gate, and a semi-formal path of random flagstone, jointed with thyme between the cracks,” says Lindsay. It was



wide and grand enough to announce that it was the main walkway. “From the patio it visually blended with the landscape.” The next issue was the sharp change in grade, which bisected the property. “I used this natural dividing line to create an upper and lower garden. It worked out brilliantly as the owner also wanted a water feature incorporated in the landscape. The upper level was the source of the creek and it flowed down into the lower garden and into a large meditative pond.” The natural creek adjacent to the property was a beautiful but hidden feature, located six-feet below the existing garden grade. “The owner wanted to see the creek from his garden and patio, so we cleaned out the underbrush and terraced the edge of the bank using two terraces, each two-feet high, allowing visual access to the creek.” Mission accomplished. Lindsay asserts she is drawn to a project by, not only its potential, but for the authenticity of its owner. “You can have a great site that speaks to you, but it has to gel with the client’s objectives. I gravitate to clients who see the development in a holistic way, creating a project that gives back somehow in an environmental or community-based way.” The designs of Senga Landscape Architecture, Ltd may be found at:




As Canadians, we treasure our time outdoors. We seek to make the most of the warmer months, enjoying every precious day. That’s why outdoor living areas are growing in popularity.


hether you are thinking about a pool deck, a patio or a courtyard, this guide is designed to help you realize your dream - to plan, design and create the ultimate outdoor living space ...

WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL SPACE? Do you love to entertain large groups? Or do you prefer smaller, intimate gatherings? Is outdoor cooking your passion? Are you looking for a quiet oasis to read or gaze at your


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YOU NEED A GOOD CONTRACTOR. PERIOD. The truth is, even the best designs and materials can be ruined by poor installation. Good quality workmanship is vital to the success of your project, so partnering with a professional contractor is essential. That’s why we recommend using an authorized Unilock contractor. You’ll rest easy knowing you’ll receive: - a written quote - a detailed drawing or computer rendering of the project with all the features you requested. - an approximate start date and an estimate of the time your job requires - references from homeowners with similar projects ... and much more Contact us online or call 1-800-UNILOCK and we would be happy to connect you with an authorized Unilock contractor.

PLAN YOUR OUTDOOR SPACE WITH DISTINCT “ROOMS” • Create separate areas for cooking, dining, entertaining or relaxing • Define these spaces by changing the elevation by one or two steps. Seat walls are also an excellent way to create separations • Add to that room feeling by exploring the vertical dimension with grill islands, water features, fireplaces, seat walls, planters and pillars.


OUTDOOR IDEA CENTER in Georgetown Ontario Come and get inspired! Our Idea Center


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TECHNOLOGY THAT’S BUILT TO LAST. Not all paving stones are created equal. To ensure that you enjoy your space for years to come, always look for guarantees of durability. Unilock is the only brand that features EnduroColor™ - a proprietary blend of nature’s highest performing materials, delivering exceptional strength, resilience and a beautiful look that lasts.

Walls define different areas and can be anchored with pillars creating a vertical dimension adding to the room-like feel. Plus, seat walls provide additional seating when entertaining larger groups

Add a personal touch to your overall design by creatively accenting with Unilock borders and banding around your patio and other features

FOR MATCHING COLOURS, THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. The products you choose should complement the colour scheme of your home. But with paving stones, it’s cumbersome to carry home and work with heavy, bulky samples. That’s why Unilock developed Uvision™ - a unique architectural colour selection system. Using ‘actual size’ high-definition color sheets, you can easily and accurate select which products are best suited for your home. This friendly system enables you easily match and coordinate styles, colours and create a personalized look. And for your convenience, all our Uvision samples are available online at

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ELEGANCE. It comes from choosing the perfect look, the perfect colour, the perfect texture. And no other company offers you more choices than Unilock. From modern to traditional, we have everything you need to create a one-of-a-kind driveway and entranceway. ENDURANCE. It comes from choosing the brand that leads the industry with proprietary technologies like EnduraColor™ - an embedded surface layer of exceptionally strong and resilient minerals that guarantees a long-lasting beauty with colours that never fade.


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905-659-9666 988 Brock Road, Dundas, Ontario

Who wood of known? Imagine yourself on a warm summer evening, popping the cork of a bottle of fine champagne, relaxing in the arms of your lover; the

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plete. Notice the precision of the tongue and groove design work. Its fit smooth and flawless, creating the magnificent architecture - Jordan Johnston Brighton, Ontario

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years Millgrove’s qualified and dedicated staff are ready to sweep you off your feet with exceptional work, expertise and designs. In fact, following design direction, every board can be cut and shaped specifically as per request. Put your conscience at ease knowing that Millgrove takes a ‘green’ approach with sawmill waste, recycling unusable wood into mulch and firewood, among other products. Do you have a vision of a backyard oasis offering a break from life’s hectic pace? Millgrove’s structures and products are wooden masterpieces created and woven together relying on the beauty, textures and colours of natural lumber. If the essence of the wood is what lures your senses, cedar may be the right fit. Perhaps you yearn for a particular colour like a light shade of oak, or rusty maple. Possibly you’re looking for a bolder statement, like walnut or cherry. Use your imagination and Millgrove Wood Products will turn your vision into reality. After a busy day treat yourself with the long-lasting beauty only natural wood can provide. Expect the unexpected, fulfill your dreams, and marvel at your very own backyard paradise.



A great design is how our team of professionals produce a lasting masterpiece

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adam and the Is There Art, Music, and Nature in Your Playground? The movement from traditional playground structures to nature based parks and playgrounds has been gaining momentum over the past 10 years. Spurred on by concerns about liabilities, vandalism, and the high replacement/maintenance costs of pre-engineered structures park managers and homeowners are looking for other options for their playgrounds. New research on environment, childhood obesity, participation rates, bullying, and injury rates shows natural playgrounds offer an important, inclusive alternative to traditional playgrounds.

- Adam Bienenstock DunDas, Ontario Founder and principal designer of Bienenstock. He has an MBA, a diploma in Horticulture and studied natural playground design at the Natural Learning Initiative at North Carolina State University.

Ultimately it comes down to a single question. Why do people build parks and playgrounds? The answer should be simple; they are built to promote optimal child development and optimal community development. Staying true to this, more natural spaces will be built for children to play in, and our communities to gather in, because it works. There are four reasons to consider nature-based parks and playgrounds as best practice. Improving our environment is the most obvious reason, however education, health, and economy are equally important.


I recently spoke with Dr. Sara Croke, a biologist and 4th grade teacher in the public school system who lamented the fact that, in order to engage her students directly in a learning experience in nature for one hour, seven hours of prep time and paperwork are required. If she had a natural playground and biodiversity in her schoolyard, the engagement rates in nature would be at least 20 times what they are today. Research is showing that experiential learning in nature increases test scores and children’s ability to focus, while reducing stress. Natural settings offer a multi-sensory experiences that engage our sense of smell, taste, sight, sound and touch. These are the building blocks of learning. It is time to move our children outside, not because we want them to hug a tree, but because they are hardwired for this experience on an evolutionary level as a hunter gatherer species, and they will thrive as a result of the experience.


This is the first time in the history of mankind where we as adults will have longer lifespans than our children. Increasing rates of childhood obesity, ADHD, anaphylaxis, immune deficiencies, stress, and sedentary lifestyles are all contributing to the increasing burdens on our health care system. Each of these important health issues are directly and positively affected by time spent connected to nature. For the first time, The Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card has ‘time in nature’ as one of the categories by which they rate the health of our children. The equation is simple... more time outdoors and time spent together 50 I THE LIVING DISTRICT...


caretakers. The care we show as a community, in how we design and build their playspace, results in our children feeling cared for and respected. Their inclusion in that process by planting and maintaining their own space translates directly to respect for their environment, and understanding their place in it.

in a natural setting, equals better health outcomes for children and communities.


Health costs are the single most expensive line-item on our nation’s balance sheet. Any intervention that improves our health and well-being directly reduces costs and improves our nation’s bottom line. More directly however, nature based playgrounds have an effect on our GDP. These are the 100-mile diets for playgrounds. Local nursery stock, logs, boulders, soils, quarry product and skilled labour are the building blocks for these spaces. Traditional playgrounds however are designed in Europe or California, manufactured off-shore and built by unskilled labour leaving us with all of the liabilities but none of the economic benefit. Finally, natural playgrounds are easier to fundraise for since most of the materials and labour required, can be donated in-kind from your friends and neighbours – this means more play value for less cost.

Childhood obesity is addressed by offering an inclusive playspace that has something for every child, regardless of ability. It is not intimidating to the overweight child. The playspace presents opportunities for children to participate at their level of physical and creative ability. There is no preset minimum fitness level required, so children participate rather than watch from the sidelines. Bullying rates drop when the design spreads the gross motor activities throughout the space and adds creative play, quiet space, music, art and nature. The result is a space where there is nothing on which to be ‘king of the castle’. So the children all find entertainment and engagement. The structures that promote bullying or intimidation are removed. Social skills improve when we move from prescriptive design (a model boat or car) to suggestive design (a hill, a twisted log or sculpture). Natural playgrounds do not utilize prescriptive design. Children are encouraged to explore and create without limitations set upon them by the designer. This constantly leads to varied collaboration with music, art, gardening or theatre. This collaboration is at the core of our children’s social development.

I remember, when I was a kid I would leave the house in the morning after breakfast, clean and energetic, and return for dinner, tired and dirty. My parents didn’t know where I was during day. If they needed to, they could find me playing in the ravine, the woods, or up the escarpment trail, but they never seemed to worry. There I learned about ecology, archaeology, art, biology, physics, built my first fort, became an athlete, had my first kiss, and became a lifetime steward of the environment. This was normal for me, and the entire neighbourhood of kids I grew up with. Now we refer to this as ‘free-play’ – something our children think of as weird, even irresponsible.

Absenteeism for both teachers and children drop if they are in touch with nature when and where they work and play. These spaces are easier to supervise with open sight lines to all areas of the garden. There are fewer injuries to worry about and more places to gather and teach in the garden. This makes the teachers time both more enjoyable and productive. Children that experience this type of playscape find relief from stress and an understanding that school is a place that cares for them by providing a special and thoughtful retreat. They simply want to be there; and so, their focus and attention spans improve. Many studies have shown a direct correlation between the introduction of nature, environmental curriculum & outdoor classrooms, and increased ability to focus on assigned tasks. The reduction of stress increases focus and productivity in the work place; the same logic applies to our children at school and in the playground. Less stress creates a place where children and teachers want to be.

Free-play in urban and semi-urban areas is lost, probably forever. Our parks are no longer open spaces where children explore unsupervised, limited only by their imagination. Now, the children are accompanied by a parent or program, and liability is at the forefront of the public mind; as is abduction, injury, CSA compliant, insurance, maintenance, and vandalism. As the patterns of use change, so have the pressures placed upon these spaces. There is increasing pressure to provide playgrounds in these parks that address all of these concerns and risks in a concentrated, succinct package.

Natural playgrounds are more accessible by focusing on slope and topography. Accessible pathways, and constant slopes are featured throughout the playscape. Careful attention is paid to allow wheelchair access while still maintaining soft, CSA compliant, natural, low impact surfacing. In this style of playground, accessibility also refers to all abilities, fitness levels, intelligence, creativity, cultures, and genders. This playscape is inviting, not intimidating; suggestive, not prescriptive; inclusive, not exclusive, and open to all who want to explore their own imagination. At one of our natural playground installations, a boy with cerebral palsy visited the playground. His mother helped him out of his wheelchair and placed him on the path. Since his legs couldn’t carry him, he used his forearm to pull himself up the path to the top of the hill and went down the slide. Children of all abilities surrounded him. He slid down, returning up the path grinning ear to ear with his new friends while his mom sat with me. With a tear in her eye, she said, “He is twelve and this is the first time I can remember him just being one of the kids”.

Nature based parks and playgrounds represent our best opportunity to have a meaningful impact on all of these new challenges at the moment when our children are figuring out who they are and who they will be. It is time to rethink the concept of a single focused piece of equipment on a flat plane of grass. The best solution will focus on what is best for our children; the things they have lost, what we want them to learn, the behaviours we want to encourage, and the obstacles that our modern way of living has presented to them. It is normal now for all of us to talk about the frightening trends in childhood obesity, bullying, absenteeism, injury, attention spans, depression, community engagement, and environmental stewardship. Playgrounds should be at the front line in our efforts to address these concerns but instead, North America’s consumers continue to purchase playgrounds for convenience over pedagogy. A natural playground is full of indigenous plants. The flowers, trees, shrubs and logs are all designed to bring nature in and provide staff and children with a natural space to play and learn. Each playground becomes an inner city island of ecological restoration and an important home or stopover for local fauna. Birds nesting in the trees, bugs in the logs, and worms in the compost allow for endless teaching opportunities in this outdoor classroom. From a living willow tunnel, to their own garden plot, the children are surrounded by nature and are encouraged to care for it. This stewardship translates into a new generation of environmental

For more information about natural playgrounds visit:

For too long now, our society has been building playgrounds that address adult needs at the expense of our children and communities. In the process we have compounded the liabilities that we were entrusted to manage. When did we decide that an engineer was the most qualified professional to dictate our children’s formative experiences? What value do these pre-engineered structures provide to our children and our community? What about their seasonal value, including the winter? Let’s spend some time talking about the efficacy of the playgrounds for our children rather than the efficiencies gained for adults by ordering them from a catalogue. Is there art, music, and nature in your playground?



The key to a successful first-time vegetable garden is to keep it simple. Start small, by giving your children large containers or a plot no larger than four by eight feet. If your existing soil is decent, remove any sod and loosen the top foot of earth. Then add a few inches of compost. If the soil is poor or rocky, you may wish to build a raised bed with untreated lumber; fill it with a mixture of garden soil and compost. Before you break ground make sure you’ve picked a spot offering at least eight hours of sunlight each day. In a shadier yard, you can produce quick growing vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and radishes. Crops producing fruits (tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers) will require full sun – a convenient water source, and a nearby compost pile will also make life easier. After your family has spent a season or two tending a garden, you may want a larger growing area. Consider expanding by adding another 4 by 8 foot plot; which also adds symmetry to the space. You might want to divide the garden into four 4 by 4-foot beds, which are manageable and attractive. The advantage of individual garden beds is that each member of the family can have their own mini-plot, which gives your children ownership of their garden and teaches them responsibility. A small water feature, pot of herbs or a dwarf fruit tree can be planted in the middle of the four garden beds to supply vertical interest and boost food production. For young children, select easy-to-grow crops such as bush beans, radishes, rainbow carrots, leaf lettuce, cherry tomatoes, strawberries and peas. Older kids may want to experiment with unique crops like popcorn, giant pumpkins, gourmet salad greens, noodle beans or peanuts. Whatever vegetables they choose to grow, be sure to include a few edible flowers to add colour and attract pollinating insects. Good choices include nasturtiums, pansies and calendula. In spring, take your children to the garden center and allow them to pick a few seed packets or pots of seedlings. As the seeds sprout and the plants grow, children will enjoy watering their garden (and themselves) and waiting for the harvest. A garden is nature’s playground, so spend time during the growing season observing the bees, butterflies and beneficial insects hard at work. On rainy days, have your children make wooden plant labels to mark their vegetable rows, or paint rocks to add whimsy to the garden. Always supervise younger children to ensure they don’t put seeds or plants in their mouths. Avoid poisonous plants, keeping in mind that even edible plants sometimes have poisonous parts. Fertilizers, homemade sprays and manure, even if organic products, should be kept out of the reach of children. Most importantly, remember to have fun! 52 I THE LIVING DISTRICT...


- Niki Jabbour Halifax, Nova Scotia



Growing a vegetable garden is a fun and easy way to teach children about where food comes from. They’ll enjoy planting, tending and harvesting their favourite vegetables, herbs, fruits and edible flowers. With luck they’ll become more open to trying new foods.

Planting a Vegetable Garden with Kids


Fun Garden Projects:

1 Cucumber or gourd tunnel - Growing vegetables vertically on an A-frame trellis is a great way to grow more food in less space. Plus, kids can play beneath the vines in their own living fort. To make a basic trellis, purchase two four-foot by eight-foot sheets of concrete reinforcing mesh,


making a wooden frame around the perimeter of each sheet with untreated

w w w. b l a c k f l a g s t o n e . c o m

lumber. Using hinges, join the tops of the two frames. Four ‘feet’ added to the bottom of the trellis will anchor it securely. For the feet, gather four one-foot pieces of untreated lumber, cutting the bottom of each so they are angled. Screw the feet onto the bottom corners of the frame. Position your A-frame trellis and push the feet into the soil. Plant seeds along each side, opting for vining crops like cucumbers, gourds, pole beans and peas.



Blueberry fields forever - Highbush blueberries are easy to grow, beautiful and productive, offering a long harvest of luscious berries each year. Depending on the variety, they will grow from three to eight-feet tall and can be planted in a tidy hedge beside the vegetable patch for convenient harvesting. Make sure to include at least two separate varieties for pollination.


Pizza pot - What child doesn’t like pizza? Spark their interest in the garden by helping them plant their very own pizza garden. A large container or half-barrel planter can be turned into a mini pizza plot, or if space allows, create a circular garden bed, using bricks, stones or pavers to border the garden and divide the space into ‘slices’. Each slice can be planted with a different




topping - eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, onions, basil and oregano, for example. If you want to be truly authentic, add a wheat crust around the perimeter.

Manufacured in Trenton, Ontario


- Stephanie Link Toronto, Ontario

Snakes and Ladders 54 I THE LIVING DISTRICT...

The Nature Playground and the Streuber Family Children’s Garden exhibit a one of a kind earthy experience.


t is a well-known fact that childhood obesity is on the rise. Recent data collected by the Canadian Health Survey indicates that children who spend more than two hours a day in front of the television or computer screen, are twice as likely to be obese. To help combat this epidemic, parents need to become involved not only in their child’s eating habits, but in their exercise habits too. In fact, Health Canada says children need at least one hour of physical activity each day. At the best of times, it can be hard to get our children to go outside, let alone engage in physical activity, especially when they’d much rather be inside playing their favourite video game. However, we need to inspire children to be active and to eat right. We need to bring play and adventure back into children’s lives. The Nature Playground at Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, Manitoba has set out to do this, and much, much more. Children are sure to have hours of endless fun in this whimsical haven. It’s very creation supports the idea of incorporating nature into our everyday lives, with natural materials used to construct as much of the playground as possible. At every turn there are bright green mountains to run and climb on, twisty slides to slither down, and tall tree tunnels to crawl through. While exploring the area, children may even stop to admire the famous Winnie the Bear Statue which now calls this park its home. For those children who are stimulated by sensory experiences, there is also a Sand and Water Play Area open in warmer months of the year. A sheltered picnic area is available for those who plan to spend the day. However, it is the beds of brilliantly coloured flowers and strategically placed perennial plants of the Streuber


Family Children’s Garden that keep this area a family favourite. The Streuber Family Children’s Garden which opened in 2011, was designed specifically with a child’s imagination in mind. It is an environment which incorporates both horticulture and topiaries to encourage play, a child’s natural way of learning. “The garden was originally intended to have a snakes and ladders theme and this past season we were able to incorporate that theme into the designs of our beds,” says Carla Malkoske, a gardener who has been with the children’s garden since it first opened. Part of what has made this garden so unique is the use of edible plants throughout its gardens. “The highlight of the summer was a huge snake that we made and planted entirely with kale. People were really excited about seeing vegetables growing amongst all of the flowers,” says Malkoske. The use of edible plants in the gardens allows children to discover their natural surroundings, one of the main goals in developing the Streuber Family Children’s Garden. Not only will children learn to identify different types of plants, but they will begin to understand where the fruits and vegetables they eat come from.

Don’t be surprised if after your visit to the Nature Playground, your children feel inspired to start their very own garden at home. This is a great activity that can be done in summer or winter to foster responsibility, encourage outdoor activity and teach children about the plant life cycle. If you are feeling up to the challenge, remember children are impatient; choose a vegetable that grows quickly, such as lettuce. They also crave accomplishment; have children plant in small pots so they are able to see their final product. As the child’s gardening skills grow, the size of their garden can too. Of course, don’t forget to visit the Streuber’s Family Children’s Garden often for more inspiration! Maybe one day you will have your own kale snake growing in your backyard. Even if you have your own garden at home, this one of a kind children’s landscape is not to be missed. It strives to give children meaningful experiences in nature while having fun. Malkoske feels that both children and adults alike who come to see her garden are marvelled by it. “The whole garden is unlike anything that many people would have seen before,”. So next time you can’t seem to pull your child away from their favourite video game, tell them you know a place where games really do come alive. Then, watch them get some exercise while they’re at it. Parts of the Nature Playground are open all year round, and best of all, admission is free. Visit their website for more information.

Dig holes. Level patios. Level driveways. Carry dirt. Carry bricks. Gentle on turf. Save labour. Cut costs.



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SALES SERVICE 905.628.3055 • 386 Mill St. Dundas, ON

THE ART OF OUTDOOR LIVING Dedicated to the pursuit of excellence since 1976

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905-639-6502 • Serving Burlington & Halton Region




The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.” —RICHARD LOUV Dundas Valley Montessori School (DVMS) is hidden in the middle of a residential neighbuorhood just a few blocks from Downtown Dundas. It sits on a beautiful natural playground. “I remember when I first came to look at the building that now houses DVMS,” recalls DVMS Director Tony Evans. The future school had a river behind it and a beautiful copse of trees. “It had over a hundred broken windows and was completely boarded up. But I knew bricks and mortar can be fixed, and this natural organic playground was the perfect place to put a school. Children need to be connected to nature in order to succeed.”


There was a great expanse of degrading asphalt in the playground. A paving company generously offered to repave the area for several hundred-thousand dollars. Instead DVMS contacted Andrea Hall with Seeing Green Creative Landscaping. An active parent in the DVMS community, she transformed the area right next to the school into a natural garden for children to learn, explore and connect. Super cool ‘Hobbit Doors’ were built so that the garden would feel like a natural extension of the indoor classroom. Dr. Maria Montessori recognized children under the age of six love to do ‘adult jobs’. She called these practical life activities – weeding is actually fun when you are four-years old. In fact, the miracle of watching a seed develop into a plant is truly magical. Research shows people with less access to nature show relatively poor attention or cognitive function, poor management of major life issues, and poor impulse control. One study even showed improved IQ’s for those children whose windows looked at nature over those whose windows looked out on pavement and buildings. DVMS knew the landscaping was only the first step. An Outdoor Education Teacher was hired for the elementary students. The children are taken out in small groups everyday, and given lessons on the wonders of plants. Evans recalls, “I knew it was working when a child pulled out a huge weed and a grade two boy enthusiastically exclaimed, ‘It’s a fasciculated root.’ Children this age love to classify. In Montessori classrooms we inspire them with the structure of taxonomies and relationships found in nature.” In the Adolescent Program affiliated with DVMS, The Montessori Adolescent School of Hamilton (MASH), nature becomes the heart of the classroom. Montessori’s vision for the adolescent child was to locate their schools on farms. Mother Nature is unpredictable – she teaches resilience, problem solving, responsibility while she teaches biology, math, science and history. At this age, children need to know their work has a purpose. The consequence of not milking a cow is more dire than if homework isn’t done. Keep in mind it was only a little over a hundred years ago that children started to go to school. It was during the rise of factories. In the spirit of the times, educators chose a factory-based model. Elwood Cubberly (1916-1929), then dean of Stanford University’s School of Education, put it bluntly, “Schools are factories in which the raw products (children) are to be shaped and fashioned into products to meet the various demands of life.” The Montessori model asserts if we want our children to work on the factory lines for their whole lives, the Cubberly model is a sufficient model of education. However, if we want children to succeed in today’s world, and in the future, they need to learn their lessons from nature – and they will grow up to be creative, diligent, passionate and capable.




Red Oak Landscaping

Site Analysis Plans Concept Plans Landscape layout plans Detail construction drawings Colour plans 3D Renderings drawings

Man with a vision It’s interesting how long a dream can take to come true, but 25 years later Jamey Smith owner of Red Oak Landscaping’s vision of a full service landscape company has materialized, and he is just now putting on

BUILD& MAINTAIN Landscape Industry Certified Technicians Red Seal Certified, Landscape Horticulturalist Trouble Shooter for grading & drainage 25 Years’ Experience, Written Guarantees Landscape Industry Certified Technicians & Landscape Horticulturalist Spring, summer & fall maintenance including grass cutting for both commercial and residential.

the final touches. Red Oak Landscaping & Garden Centre continues to move forward with the latest trends in the landscape. They are always adding to their garden center as they continue to grow. Currently they offer a wide variety of trees, shrubs, perennials, herbs, ornamental grasses, flower containers, water plants, mulch, compost and more gardening essentials. They look at bringing in plant material that would excite plant enthusiasts and still provide the common and traditional plant material for your garden. The next addition will include an outdoor kitchen. It will be constructed using stone from Kool Breeze Farms in Summerside ( They carry a wide range of product from Oak Pavers ( and Shaw Brick (www.shawbrick. ca) allowing Jamey to design with a large selection of product. The new outdoor kitchen will include a fireplace, barbeque, fire pit, stone patio, free standing divider wall and water features all covered by a trellis. The plan is to be able to give customers the real experience of an outdoor room in your backyard. Red Oak Landscaping trumps its competitors with its creative designs and build team and high quality results built with landscape certified workmanship. Red Oak Landscaping has always encouraged employees to upgrade themselves and stay current with new


landscape trends and techniques. Being Red Seal Certified in Landscape Horticulture and Landscape Industry Certified shows they are serious about what they do. They strive to be the best in the business and as a result have raised the bar for the landscape industry on Prince Edward Island. Red Oak Landscaping has won two Landscape Awards of Excellence for Design & Build. Landscaping is a great trade that involves hard work, lots of imagination, knowledge and understanding of many other trades that can play a part in our landscape and you must have the enthu-

Wide variety of Trees, Shrubs, Perennials, Herbs, Ornamental grasses, Flower Containers, Water Plants, Mulch, Compost and more gardening essentials. Knowledgeable Staff Open from May – November

siasm and a love for what you do working in this trade; the end result and the happy customer is the ultimate reward.

Landscape Horticulturist 902-894-3395

61 Winslow Road, South Winsloe, PEI

roasted and toasted

Sit back, relax and allow your slumbering senses to awaken slowly as you enjoy your morning coffee and a spinach egg breakfast wrap.

Located at 1113 Marginal Road, the business sits directly across the street from Halifax’s historical Pier 21. The aroma of flavoured coffees swirl through the air – Maple, Wild Blueberry, and Bourbon Street Vanilla Tea a few of the many flavours available; their aroma sure to lure you through the door. Arabica beans are shipped from around the world and small-batch roasted on site, in full view of customers, to facilitate a more sensual experience as you breathe in the smell of roasting beans. The décor is akin to that of a small café on the streets of Italy, complete with terracotta roof tiles and a charming little terrace lined with flowers. The walls are filled with pre-packaged, 10 ounce bags of the most intense, robust, roasted beans the mountains have to offer, so customers can bring the Java Factory experience into their homes. Don’t have a coffee grinder? They’ll grind the beans for you, no charge.






Perhaps later that afternoon you’ll try a latte and a grilled sandwich, or even a frosty bottle of Garrison Ale – brewed right next door at the Garrison Breweries. No matter what time of day, or what you’re in the mood for, it’s available at The Java Factory Roasting Company.

Maybe take pleasure in a Hot Toddy or a Mudslide to begin your evening. Then end the night with a romantic stroll along the Halifax waterfront enjoying a Fuzzy Peach Hot Chocolate, or a Strawberry Velvet Mocha – made with espresso and silky steamed milk, topped with whipped cream, if you desire. There goes the diet! No matter which way the bean is brewed, The Java Factory Roasting Company offers patrons the ultimate ‘Juan Valdez’ experience. Park your ‘asses’ out front!




– Mike Randle Halifax, NS


authorized distributor

We’ll change the way you think about shade


withstanding Canadian climate

It’s what’s on the

inside that counts 905-961-2472 ‘Like’ us on Facebook to find out more!



– Lori Sweezey Dundas, ON


emember when parties used to be simple? A bowl of pretzels, possibly another filled with cheesies, a stack of 8 track or cassette tapes and eight of you shared a 6 pack of beer. Woohoo!!! That party was rockin’. Until your boom box ate the tape right out of the cassette, and your bestie threw up all over your favorite pair of Adida shoes. Meh…. the good ole days. I for one, am thankful they’re over! The parties that we host and attend these days aren’t quite so pathetic. Cheesies and pretzels have been replaced by hors d’oeuvres, the cassettes by CD’s or iPods and your shoes are, more than likely, safe from bodily fluids! Funny thing though, we still play a lot of the same music! “I see a little silhouette-o of a man-scaramouche, scaramouche, will you do the fandango-Thunder bolt of lightning, very, very frightening me……..” So now that we are all grown up, what are the ingredients to an event so epic, that your guests will talk about it for years to come, and you’ll find your pictures in an album on Facebook? No, psychedelic drugs are not the answer. Stock the bar and make the dips, and that, my friend, is a great start. With the food and liquids under control, lets take a look at the other integral parts of any backyard function; Lighting and sound. These two elements have come a long way, so put that “boom box” back in the attic, and bring your fire torches to the cottage. Life is about to change again! Carl Chrisiansen, owner of Stoneage Lighting Creations Ltd., in Dundas, Ontario, says, “You are limited only by

Low to zero maintenance, these pieces can be left outdoors year-round and will withstand our crazy Canadian elemen ts.

Limestone and granite rock

Esthetically pleasing and durable. Perfect for our four Canadian seasons.

Composite lights

A little easier on the pocketbook and your back. These lightweight, weather resistant pieces will fit in anywhere.


Polished or rough granite or limestone, whatever you fancy. A must have in any outdoor entertainment space. They offer hi fidelity sound, and are omni-directional.




Lexa Pavers TM




your imagination”. In business since 2000, Carl likes to describe himself as a ‘global looker’, finding items that are fostered in other countries and making them feasible for the needs of the North American market. He sees his job as that of a guide, helping his customers to realize their vision; and many times that vision is a culmination of earth, wind, and fire (not the band), and water as well. “Sometimes a request can turn into a completely new product. Drawings and ideas merge, and the next thing you know, we have this amazing item that fits wonderfully into the clients larger vision”, says Cristiansen. Custom requests can be challenging and fun. Never a dull moment. There is much diversity in landscape lighting. It can set the mood for your outdoor space, it can highlight areas of your landscape that you’d like to draw attention to, and it can create an element of safety for those hard-to-navigate areas of your landscape. Stoneage Lighting Creations Ltd. has recently added “outdoor kitchen design and build” to their resume. With the onslaught of outdoor kitchens, and the whole ‘stay-cation’ mentality that has become the rage over the past couple of years, Carl says that there has been a definite boom in requests for landscape-lighting and sound systems. Can’t have a party without seeing your party mates or listening to some great tunes. Lighting around pool areas, paths and walkways, and entrances make sound, safe sense. Lighting that fits nicely under the lip of a step, will help to deter unnecessary ‘tipand-fall’ accidents. Remember the girlfriend that used to throw up on your shoes? Yah, well she needs to be able to see a clear path to the washroom so that there will be no mishaps during your rocking party. There is a load of options on the market to help with making your space beautiful and safe, all at the same time. There are several ‘box stores’ that carry water resistant, outdoor speakers. They range in price from $130 on upward. They must be taken indoors for the winter though, and they just don’t seem to blend into your natural surroundings, as do the stone speakers. Besides, you have to keep in mind…. you get what you pay for. There are always uninvited guests who will somehow find their way into your ‘invite only’ summer bash. The ones who have that sense of entitlement. The arrogant little bastards that assume that it’s just not a party without them. They are soooo wrong. Where do they get off thinking that your guests love being agitated and bitten by them? Damn mosquitos. In keeping with the eco-friendly theme that is so important to our earth, there is an eco-friendly mosquito mist system that you may like to consider for your awesome gathering. Set up on the outskirts of your party area, this lifesaver (well, not for the mosquitos) uses pyrethrum to attack those uninvited guests. Pyrethrum is extracted from the chrysanthemum flower. It is water based, biodegradable, non-carcinogenic product that will not hurt your lawn or gardens, your people or your pets. Unless your pets are mosquitos; then there’s a problem. Sounds to me like the invitations can be sent out. All the essentials are accounted for. Lets hope it doesn’t rain. I’ll wait for my invite in the mail! Before planning your next outdoor bash, visit Christiansen’s website at or talk in real time the old fashioned way, at 905-961 2472


I 905-389-6610 I



WATERPROOFING Certified Liquid Rubber Applicator Waterproofing & project management FOUNDATIONS • DRIVEWAYS • PATIOS • WALLS contractor for the gTA, BURlington, oakville & hamilton

Every once in a while, you have those “I told you so” moments in which you’re not sure whether to punch the wall or do a dance. I seem to have a lot of those. I waited years to have the front of my home renovated, and finally last summer, the magic happened. I couldn’t have been more in love with the beautiful stone driveway. I would spend every evening out there hosing that thing off. Like a crazy person. The only missing items were curlers in my hair and the big fuzzy slippers to match my housecoat. Stones, sand, grass or any other form of debris were unwelcomed. I was obsessed. “Honey, we need to have this driveway sealed.” I would beg everyday. The ‘yes dear’s just kept coming. In my head, a disaster was imminent. Oh my poor, beautiful driveway. My lime green VW bug, the other love of my life, (the one that I thought would never betray me), took a big dump on my beautiful stone! Black thick oil all over the place! I TOLD HIM!! How many times had I told him? Seal the driveway. Seal the driveway. Seal the damn driveway!! He never did seal the driveway. Doug Hood, of National Waterproofing in Ancaster, Ontario says that this is an all too familiar story. Completing the job, and sealing your concrete or stone projects could avoid tragedies to your investment. “A River Runs Through It”? Well let’s hope not. Let’s hope that, the cracks you discovered in your foundation, while you were trying to figure out where the ants were coming from, were repaired by Doug Hood’s team.



With over 20 years experience, National Waterproofing has been exceeding expectations by providing innovative service to their customers. Their commitment to quality workmanship is second to none. The job will be completed on time, on budget, and will be professionally managed. Substantial commercial and residential experience in construction, basement waterproofing and project management make for very satisfied customers. Internal and external waterproofing or crack repair; our company stands behind our work with a ten year warranty on waterproofing and a five year warranty on sealing.

Protect the integrity of your concrete and stone. Your home is your castle… don’t let it fall down around you. 905-517-1637


“ W e d o n ’ t j u s t p o u r c o n c r e t e , w e c r e at e a rt w i t h i t. ” Custom concrete forming • exposed aggregate • stamped concrete finishes • flagstone and stone masonry

a r t n t h e g ro u n d . c a Hamilton 9 0 5 - 5 7 4 - 0 1 4 0 I T oll Free 1 - 8 6 6 - 2 4 9 - 9 9 0 4














-Lori Sweezey Dundas, Ontario

Bill Jensen felt no anxiety as he handed the final payment over to the contractor. The job was complete, and it turned out to be more than he and his wife Karla ever dreamed it would be; their new deck was going to be the place that would bring their friends and family together for many years to come. It was as if their dining room had somehow grown and extended itself to the out-doors. Their new oasis boasted the finest quality BBQ, mini-fridge, stove top, and even a wine fridge for their growing collection. Bill and his wife had decided to work with a landscape designer well versed in deck design & build. Everything had been taken care of, from the design, to permits, to selection of the deck material. The deck was engineered to hold large family gatherings of at least sixty people. Bill wanted to be sure it could hold up after hearing about his neighbour Gary losing his deck. It had fallen away from the house and crashed in their backyard. Gary, the do-it-yourselfer, was always looking to save money. It cost him big time in the end. The landscape designer Bill hired suggested an alternative to wood, something that would be aesthetically pleasing and over-the-top durable. It was slightly more expensive than regular wood, but the benefits far outweighed Bill’s concerns about his bank account. Looking at the finished product now, Bill couldn’t have been more pleased with the TimberTech decking he and his designer decided to use. At this moment, as he looked at his new deck, the only thing Bill regretted was he wouldn’t be enjoying his first weekend on his completed deck. Bill and Karla had a wedding to attend in Ottawa. Just as Karla was throwing the last of their clothes into the suitcase, she heard her daughter Georgia bellowing at the front door, “Ma! Dad! Surprise, I’M HOME!”

Karla was a little saddened she would not be able to spend any time with her girl, and she was a little worried about leaving her daughter home alone without some supervision. “Absolutely NO PARTIES Georgia. We just finished the deck, and we haven’t even had an opportunity to enjoy it ourselves.” “Mom, please. I’m so OVER house parties. In fact, I think I may be partied out! College is a killer Ma.” “Yeah, well… we have eyes all over the neighborhood Georgia, and they’ll all be watching. So behave.”

A few phone calls later, two more girlfriends showed up; now there was a crew of four frantically cleaning up. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long. Once the garbage was gone, they were left with grease and red wine stains. Georgia pulled out the hose to rinse the deck before she would give it a good scrub, but to her surprise, there was nothing to scrub. It appeared to have just washed away with water, no unsightly greasy stains, and no wine stains! “Thank my lucky stars”, Georgia thought to herself. Nobody would guess that anything took place here. Just as Georgia was hanging up the garden hose Bill and Karla pulled into the driveway.

Bill just knew his baby girl was telling the truth. She’d never have a party without permission. Karla, on the other hand, locked their bedroom door and locked up the liquor. It took Georgia all of 35 minutes, after Bill and Karla were out the door, to create a guest list of 85 people to invite to her “backyard deck” party. BYOB, everything else is supplied. Gotta love Facebook!

“Crap, they’re home!” Georgia exclaimed as she ran outside to scan the deck for stains one last time. Her girlfriends smiled innocently, greeting her parents.

The party rocked, and other than a little warning from the men in blue it was definitely a party people would talk about for years to come. The next morning Georgia walked through the yard picking up everything from pieces of clothing, to empty beer cans, to chicken bones. Gross! Sweet mother of… Chicken bones and red wine all over the deck. OMG! Never mind the fact it was 32 degrees in the shade. The grease and red wine stains should be good and baked on to the new deck.

“I thought I told you no parties Georgia.”

“I am so dead!” she thought. The new deck resembled the front porch of a frat party; a sea of red plastic cups and crumpled beer cans for as far as the eye could see. Georgia stood at the edge of the deck with her hand over her mouth and tears welling up in her eyes. Her BFF, Kari tried to reassure her, “Don’t worry hun, we’ll clean it all up in no time.” But Kari had her reservations. Especially about the puddles of red wine that were baking on the new deck. “Georgia is so dead,” Kari thought to herself as she surveyed the mess.

“Hello Mrs. Jensen” said Kari. “How was the wedding Mom?” Georgia smiled.

“Mom, quit freaking out! I just had a movie night with the girls.” “Told ya Honey. My angel does as she’s told.” Bill beamed. Karla purposefully went outside to examine the brand new deck for evidence of a party; certain she would find marks or damage. Georgia was right behind her. “Everything is fine Mom! We were in the rec room watching movies all night.” Karla stood scanning her gorgeous new deck looking for stains. Thankfully she could see no sign of a party anywhere. Just then a lone red Solo cup, peeking out from under a lounge chair, came into Georgia’s view. She gave it a little kick to make sure her mom wouldn’t notice it. “See Mom! No party, you worried for nothing!”


With the right grilling equipment, you’ll find the distance between simple dishes and gourmet masterpieces is very short. All DCS grills are designed for high performance, intense heat, precise temperature and the ultimate searing surface. Tel 1.888.936.7872

DCS by Fisher & Paykel is a proud sponsor of America’s Test Kitchen




N O D I G G IN G - N O C O N C RE T E - R e ady T o U s e residential I co m m ercial I industrial I recreational I R E P A I R


- Bret Taylor Stouffville, Ontario

Inspired by a backyard DIY marathon on T.V, MaryJo and Tom began

framing the deck that very same afternoon.”

plans for a beautiful cedar deck. As summer came along, so did the litany of excuses, delaying the project. It was always something. Family obli-

Tom tried to look excited about the whole thing. Truth was, he was ner-

gations, kids’ sporting commitments, pre-booked holidays, you name it;

vous. He’d never taken on a project this big. It didn’t seem possible,

nothing happened. Tom procrastinated often. It seemed that starting was

but he’d call his friends and round them up. What’s the worst thing that

the biggest obstacle.

could happen? They’d drink a few beers, and break their backs slugging concrete, augers and wheelbarrows. He really hoped that MaryJo knew

Starting meant digging holes, pouring concrete and getting rid of excess

what she was doing when she’d hired these guys to come and prep the

dirt. Not exactly a quick path to the relaxing Muskoka chair, cold beer and


warm summer nights that they envisioned. The summer would pass, the leaves would fall, and the days would shorten, but not as quickly as Mary-

MaryJo left for Quebec with her friends, as promised. Tom answered the

Jo’s patience would. The snow came, and all thoughts of their project

door shortly after. He watched intently as the Techno Metal Post crew

were put on hold for yet another year.

unloaded and went to work. Out came the site plan, out came the drills, and up the driveway walked Tom’s buddies. They watched in disbelief as

Spring returned. Tom and MaryJo stood in their family room looking out

the crew worked quickly and efficiently. Before they could figure out what

into the backyard. They turned to each other with that all-too-familiar look.

was even happening, the crew was done and preparing to leave.

“I know, I’ve got to start the deck, but the…..well , you know, the concrete and ugh!” said Tom.

“Well, lets do this guys”, Tom was feeling a little more motivated now. The

MaryJo pressed her finger to his lips, “Can you and your buddies please

no worse for the wear.

worst part was over, and thanks to TechnoMetalPost , their backs were build this deck Tom?” He found himself shaking his head……in an up and down motion, as if he were saying yes. Oh gawd, what had he gotten

MaryJo’s arrival found Tom and his friends enjoying a steak and cold beer

himself into?

on a breathtaking cedar deck. She was speechless. She pulled up a chair, “Let’s plan a party Hun. We can’t keep this all to ourselves! Great

“Okay then. In three weeks I’m going on a shopping weekend to Quebec

job on the deck sweetie”. “Awesome call on the Techno Metal Post guys

City. I’ve already found a great company that can solve our start-up prob-

MaryJo,” smiled Tom.

lems. They’ll be coming on Friday morning and they told me you can start

9 0 5 - 4 6 7 - 3 1 7 2 • t e c h n o m e ta l p o s t. c A Wa n t a n sw er s r i g h t away ? e m ail in f o@ t e c h n ome t a lpost .c a

Yards Unlimited Landscaping,

Ottawa’s award-winning landscape design and construction landscape company, was established in 1990. From a one-man operation it has grown to become one of Ottawa’s most prestigious landscaping companies.

Owner Ian Stewart got his start in the landscape industry working through his school vacations every summer. After completing university Stewart went on to horticultural school, and the rest as they say is history. Stewart has always been passionate about landscaping, and deeply committed to advancing the professionalism of the industry. He has been active in several horticultural associations; serving on the Board of Directors of the Ottawa Chapter of Landscape Ontario, the Canadian Tulip Festival Board of Directors as Horticultural Representative, and Chairperson for the Horticultural Apprenticeship committee. He has been a college instructor, and a member of the Algonquin College horticultural faculty advisory board. Vision, artistry, sustainable design and meticulous execution are key ingredients for a successful landscape design and installation. Since most homeowners have only one opportunity in their lives to plan out a yard it’s extremely important the job is executed right the first time. Stewart, and his team work tirelessly with these key ingredients to create unique outdoor living experience that can last a lifetime. A professional landscape designer can help expand a client’s horizons, create a vision then present them with exciting and innovative possibilities for their outdoor space. An experienced team of designers and installers understands lis-

E n joy you r ya r d, e n joy you r l i f e !

tening to the client’s wishes is paramount to being able to create the landscape of the the client’s dreams. The final result should always suit the homeowner’s needs and lifestyle, compliment the space, and respect the natural environment. Yards Unlimited Landscaping prides itself on being able to do all of these things. Over the years the company’s design studio has become well known for its innovative and award winning landscape, but design is not its only strong suit. Its landscape installations are also noted for outstanding craftsmanship and attention to detail. So much so, they have won numerous Landscape Ontario “Awards of Excellence,” presented every year for construction projects and design. Yards Unlimited has also been nominated twice as provincial representative, competing for the Canadian National Landscape Association’s awards. It is an honour to be recognized by the industry in Ontario, but to be asked to represent the province at the national level is an even greater privilege. A project is more than a job to Yards Unlimited; it’s our passion and life’s work. For over 20 years, Yards Unlimited Landscaping, Ottawa’s premier award-winning landscape contractor, has been designing and constructing innovative landscapes of all sizes that display the highest level of workmanship and sensitivity to the natural environment.



Go Jump in a Lake!

or, a natural swimming pool… - Jean-Marc Daigle Toronto, Ontario

The Canadian public’s growing concern for the environment has lead to the emergence of ecological landscaping as an alternative to conventional landscape practices. In a nutshell, ecological landscaping works with, rather than against, nature to create sustainable gardens and landscapes that are beautiful, functional and environmentally responsible. Ecological landscaping features native plantings, xeriscapes (drought-tolerant landscapes), low-maintenance lawns, and organic lawn and plant care. It can encompass the restoration and management of existing natural areas. It can also include the construction of green roofs and green walls, porous pavements, bioswales and rain gardens, all elements of a low impact development strategy to collect, treat, and release stormwater. New ecologically friendly technologies and practices are constantly being developed, and amongst these, my favourite is the natural swimming pool. •

One of the things I most cherish is a long, refreshing swim on a hot summer day in a cool, clear lake, and then hanging out on a warm slab of shoreline rock to dry off and soak it all in. Water was a big part of my youth and to this day, I still look forward with unbridled enthusiasm to those rare moments when I can get myself north to a Georgian Bay Beach or a Muskoka lake for my annual freshwater dip.

As much as I like a good swim, I’ve never been much of an aficionado of chlorinated swimming pools. Yes, I’ll still dive in with boyish excitement, but the experience always seems to be diminished by the dizzying smell of chlorine and the predictable red-eye and itchy-skin aftermath. Inevitably, I always end up wishing for a jump in a lake. If you are as sensitive to chlorine as I am, you might be interested to learn of a freshwater, chemical-free alternative to the conventional chlorinated pool. Natural swimming pools (NSP’s) are all the rage across Europe and Great Britain, and they are now surfacing here, in Ontario and across Canada. Conventional pools rely on chlorine and other chemical sterilizers to keep the water clear and clean and devoid of any life form (other than swimmers). NSP’s are anything but sterile, in that they are designed to promote aquatic life rather than eliminate it. They rely on a combination of biological and mechanical filtration systems to keep the water clean, clear and fresh. NSP’s can be designed in two basic formats. The first will appeal more to those who want a classic pool look – be it a modern rectangle or an organic shape - without the chlorine. In this format, the pool basin can be a custom designed concrete or vinyl



>>> pool, or an off the shelf fibreglass shell. Pool pumps, skimmers and circu-

lation lines are then installed as with any conventional pool. The difference lies in the filtration system plumbed in on-line, which includes a biofilter, ionizer, aerator, and nutrient scrubbers designed to clean the water naturally without chemicals. All you add is beneficial bacteria, which populates the biofilter, where the main cleansing action is taking place. For all intents and purposes, this type of NSP looks no different than a conventional pool. The beauty of this in-line filtration system is it can easily be used to retrofit existing pools. Yes, it is indeed possible to retrofit your existing chlorinated pool at a freshwater NSP, and the conversion costs are reasonable. The second format takes the freshwater NSP to its natural aesthetic pinnacle as a natural pond. Aquatic plants are the defining element, taking centre stage both in terms of visual appeal and biological filtration. With pond designs, the pool basin is carefully sculpted with a wide perimeter shelf and a central deep zone, and then lined with a durable heavy-duty EPDM or PVC liner. The key feature of the pond design is a submerged retaining wall that keeps the granite rock- and peastone-filled plant filters on the perimeter shelf separate from the open swim zone. A wide range of native aquatic plant species are introduced into the pool, setting roots into the porous peastone. The NSP includes a pump-driven circulation system specifically designed to circulate the water through the plant filters. Once the plant filters are established, they do a great job of drawing nutrients out of the water, effectively starving out algae. Pond designs typically also include a biological filter – usually in the form of a waterfall – which works in tandem with the plant filters to keep the water crystal clear and fresh. The waterfall usually becomes the centrepiece in the pool design, and is a great selling feature. Skimmers, ionizers and nutrient scrubbers are also added to the system to ensure continuous high level filtration. Designs can also include diving docks or rock slab, accent boulders, steps, and underwater lighting, and the surrounding landscape can be accessorized much like any other pool. What I really appreciate about the pond format is that you don’t have to swim in it to enjoy the benefits. An artfully created NSP can be a strikingly beautiful landscape feature. And in the winter, the pond can make a great skating surface, since you do not have to lower the water levels in the fall. Yes, there are “bugs” in the system - literally. Within a few days of filling a natural swimming pool, water boatmen and water striders will make an appearance, along with a coterie of other harmless – and in fact beneficial – creatures, such as butterflies, dragonflies, frogs, newts and songbirds that prefer wet, chlorine-free environments. This, in fact, is the beauty – at least to my eye - of natural swimming pools: not only are they are great to swim in and beautiful in all seasons, they also create wonderfully diverse aquatic habitat teeming with life. Granted, NSP’s are not to everyone’s taste: the squeamish may dislike the idea of swimming next to plants and other aquatic creatures, and some may be put off by the slippery biofilm - where the beneficial bacteria reside -



that adorns the pool surfaces. Nor are NSP’s suited to every site. Natural pond designs generally require more space than a conventional pool to accommodate the plant filters, and are better suited to larger properties (though pools can be sized for smaller lots). Contrary to popular misconceptions, NSP’s are not hands-off and maintenance-free. The requirements are certainly no more onerous than those associated with a conventional pool, but must not be ignored. Nor are NSP’s for everyone’s pocketbook. Dollar-wise, pond format NSP’s tend to be on par with custom designed concrete pools (roughly $80-$90/ft2 of swim zone), and cannot compete with lower fibreglass or vinyl pools. Classic designs are certainly less expensive, but you still have to factor in the costs of installing the in-line

biofiltration system. These drawbacks aside, NSP’s are an ideal swimming solution for the right client on the right property, offering a beautiful, refreshing, ecologically sensible alternative to the conventional pool. So, if the idea of freshwater swimming turns you on then I say go ahead, jump in a lake, in your own backyard! Jean-Marc Daigle is a landscape architect and co-owner of Genus Loci Ecological Landscapes Inc., a landscape design-build company in King City, Ontario that specializes in the design and construction of Natural Swimming Pools. He can be reached at

Laying it all o landscape designer and HGTV star


out with - Samantha Sanjuan Toronto, Ontario

nce upon a time, a little boy who lived on an apple farm was taught that to care for the land, it must be done so from the ground up. Now, years later, an HGTV star, landscape designer, green-living spokesperson, and bonafide super hero... Carson Arthur is one of a kind. He walks into a room and lights up the place with his pearly white smile, rosy cheeks, sparkly eyes and broad shoulders. Or maybe it’s because he towers over everyone. Our guess is 6 foot, maybe 7? If his looks don’t stop you dead in your tracks, his charismatic personality will be sure to. Landscape design clients seem to trust him and give him free reign when designing because, well, he is kind of a big deal -and- one of the sweetest, most passionate people in the industry that we have ever met. You can find Carson on morning talk shows like City Line promoting eco-friendly living tips and products for a more sustainable earth. He has been hired as the new, official expert for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate USA, The Shopping Channel’s “Outdoor Guy”, the long-time face of Black & Decker Outdoor, and newly appointed spokesperson for RTF Water-saver Grass Seed. Saying that he’s a busy guy is an understatement. But what Carson Arthur never wants us to forget is that he’s here to educate! When you get Carson talking about any matter of sustainable living, his passion on the subject really shows just how much he cares about our planet. He truly understands what sustainable means. He knows people aren’t going to change for the sake of the greater good, UNLESS... the change is reasonable. Carson came up with his own criteria. >>>

In design... Atlas Block Paving Stones are one of Carson’s favourite products to use in his landscape design work. Created by a reversal process that turns glass back into sand, and then back into stone. It’s really quite interesting and saves a whole lot of unusable glass from the landfills. This is why he loves it, and Carson will suggest this product to all clients. It meets his ‘criteria’. What more could we ask for?  Carson has so many great opinions surrounding the subject of landscape design. After all he has been in the business for about 12 years now. For example, Carson isn’t very fond of aesthetic grass. He thinks, “What will end up in landfills?” On the other hand the pesticides people use on their real lawns actually do even more damage to the environment than rubber turf, and don’t forget the gallons of precious H2O wasted watering. It doesn’t stop there. What about our children’s playgrounds? Recycled rubber rock or messy nature in its purest form, dirt and rocks? It’s about balance. What’s the better “bad” option? 


Carson’s Criteria: Costs the same

“If it’s too expensive, people will make the excuse they can’t afford it”

Looks as good

“It has to look as good as the less eco-friendly version, or better, otherwise it won’t be appealing”

Acts the same, doesn’t change lifestyle

“This might be the most important factor, if it comes down to changing someone’s habits, it just won’t happen. People really do want to make a change, but not one that will change their life”

If you can find or create a product that costs, looks, and acts the same as the original, you are one step ahead of the “green-living” game.

Carson says that he doesn’t follow the trend of designing by inspiration, but rather tries to match his designs to the unique lifestyle of the homeowners. He adds, “Plants are definitely not a driving force for my design process, more so are the accessories”. He likes to harmonize the family and the yard and maximize the full potential of the space. Landscaping may be the best avenue to increase the value of, not only your home, but also your lifestyle. Think about it! The more you put in, the more you’ll get back. Maybe that backyard is turned into a Zen retreat for your summer ‘stay-cation’... you just saved yourself some travel dollars over years to come. Or perhaps your daughter might want to have a backyard wedding along side the lush gardens at the family home. Moments worth every penny, and an investment with return beyond the dollar amount. How might someone so diligent with their morals, meet such a wide variety of client requests? We asked if there would ever be a situation in which, Carson would turn down a job because it wasn’t something that he could morally support? His very confident response: “I don’t want to feel guilty, I’d like to walk away feeling good about my work, so to answer your question, yes I would and I have walked away from a client once. For the most part though I try my best to persuade my client’s to choose eco friendly products and designs that enhance green living. I want to walk away knowing I helped the homeowner make the right decision”.  Fundamentally he wants to create beautiful spaces, but being honest is the ‘BIG PICTURE’ for Carson... in design and in life!

In Life... So far we’ve discovered he is sweet, passionate, intelligent, and independent from status quo. What other amazing quality could he possibly have up his sleeve? Although Carson does not have as much time for his design work lately, (which he says “kills him”), he does seem to find time to work with various charities. Okay seriously, there has to be something he doesn’t do... anything? All kidding aside, Carson is clearly a very well rounded guy. Did we mention he plays competitive volleyball, curling, and tennis? Whereas design can sometimes get lonely Carson says, “I like the social aspect of sports, not to mention it keeps me grounded”. He is thankful for the guys on the opposing team who can kick his butt on the court. It really brings him back down to earth. Tearing up, Carson shares with us a humbling moment in his career. “I was at an art and garden show in the Muskokas. A young girl about 9 years old saw me, got really emotional and she began crying.” Her mother explained to Carson, “She watches you on TV, you are her hero.” What a great feeling it must be to know you touch many lives. So we then asked Carson who he felt his role model is and simply he responded, “I don’t have one really. I take my own route.”  So what’s next? Broadway? The Big Screen? Building an orphanage in Africa? Carson says, “I’m not sure. I am just happy to have a voice, and to go along whatever path feels right. I simply just follow my gut!”. 

Carson’s Favourite Project:

The Perram House

This project Carson Arthur was able to be a part of via hosting “Green Force” on HGTV - Carson comments,

“Green Force always had us doing cool and interesting projects. It killed me to see this one specifically because the Perram House hospice centre had no money to put into this project. They appreciated it so much that they still take such good care of it to this day”. N AT U R A LLA N D S C A P E M A G A ZIN E .C O M


Water Conservation ANDYour PocketBook Industry experts offer viable eco-solutions that will help homeowners, golf courses and municipalities save money. - STAFF REPORTER

More drought, heat waves and water bans will be the norm for many summers to come, according to scientists. This new reality has many people increasingly concerned over water use, its costs and impact on the environment. “We use too much water in Canada with 50 per cent of our household cold water is used outdoors – majority on lawn & garden,” says Carson Arthur, a prominent landscape designer in Canada and popular TV personality “I recommend that we change that.” Ryan Streatch is taking things one step further. His company, RTF Experts involved in the landscape industry have heard the call. Water Saver Canada, is offering a new grass seed that can be used as a Sean James, Chair of the Landscape Ontario (LO) Environmental treatment for lawn problems, or as a preventative measure. Called RTF Stewardship Committee, says the biggest flaw in how we use water is not Water Saver Grass Seed, the roots of this seed can dig down six-feet. That’s being observant enough about which plants are under quite a distance for such a tiny little plant. It thrives with drought stress. up to 30 per cent less water because instead of shallow 50 per cent of “This means we don’t spot water those plants, roots this plant digs deep, accessing water tables below, and instead default to automatic watering of the entire so it can live through hot summers. It’s a water sipper our household landscape. Like recycling, water conservation requires and offers a lawn that is thick and uniform, in sun or thought and attention and our society needs to cultivate cold water used shade, and has resilience to drought, disease and insects. that habit in our gardening practices,” says James, “I would argue that RTF Water Saver Grass is outdoors principle owner at Fern Ridge Landscaping in Milton, Seed is the biggest innovation over the last few years,” Ontario. says James. “It works, and will help homeowners, golf – majority on He adds, “Choosing plants for the garden and for courses and municipalities save money when it comes turf that’s drought tolerant is key. It’s okay to have some to conserving water.” lawn & garden. plants that need attention but they should be few and Streatch is getting nothing but positive feedback far between. Seed for drought tolerant grasses is a great since his seed hit the market. “Everyone is amazed with step in that direction. Favouring native plants in the landscape is also the results – sustainable, greener and healthier lawns.” important to support biodiversity, keeping pests in check and ensuring a Arthur stresses “The Canadian definition of a yard has always pollinator presence to help with food production.” included a lawn. Now it’s time for the grass to be part of the low Kyle Clouthier, Co-Owner of Winter Summer Solutions, in maintenance movement. The lawn traditionally requires more labour Petawawa, Ontario is being proactive to water and environmental issue and resources than any other component in an outdoor space. This can by integrating new business procedures in lawn care “We are cutting now change with RTF Water Saver Grass Seed.” grass at least three inches in height now. This means the lawns look greener, healthier and they retain more water after rain falls.” 78 I THE ECO DISTRICT...


I hate grass... but I LOVE RTF ®!

As a landscape designer I deeply care about the environment. That’s why I recommend RTF® Water Saver. It is the ultimate grass seed. CARSON ARTHUR LANDSCAPE DESIGNER & INTERNATIONAL T.V. PERSONALITY

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the only “home” we will have for our entire lifetime - Harold Priebe



MILLGROVE: 905-689-5527 • 682 5th Concession W., Millgrove, ON BURLINGTON: 905-336-7725 • 2273 Dundas St., Burlington, ON

Soils • Mulches • Aggregates • Rockery

Natural products come from nature, with no synthetic chemicals added. Natural fertilizer, Nature’s Way is actually a soil “amendment”. A natural fertilizer does not have high numbers of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. The lower the numbers of these elements, the more natural it is.

What difference does this make? Soil has a balance; a healthy structure of major and minor, micro and macro nutrients, or elements. When one, or several of these elements becomes unbalanced the soil is in trouble. The soil will struggles to fix itself on its own. Luckily Mother Nature provides her own prescription: calcium. Not just any calcium available calcium. When soil becomes unbalanced, it is the job of the available calcium to neutralize the chemical in order to maintain balance. Every element in the soil needs that available calcium in order to do its job. Adding any chemical to troubled green grass can be the cause of the very thing gardeners try to eliminate in the first place. Thicker, greener, weedless grass is what you wanted. Dandelions, crab grass and clover is what you end up battling with. More chemical fertilizer will only compound the problem, because the available calcium is being used up – soil/grass will now produce weeds like dandelions (which are high in calcium), in order to try to produce more calcium for the soil. Nature only grows weeds highest in the element the soil is lacking most. It’s a vicious cycle, isn’t it ? One can only assume at this point, that the available calcium has been depleted.

What can be done? The only thing to do is feed the soil live microbes. Remember, chemicals kill these healthy microbes. Think of these microbes as good bacteria – these bacteria are the only thing that can feed the plant. Healthy bacteria = healthy plant. Sick bacteria = sick plant. In most cases, natural fertilizer comes from plants that come from the soil, or can be traced back to the soil. A good natural fertilizer should have the elements the soil and the plant need to stay healthy. Natural fertilizer (or amendments) can be applied at any time of the year, in any kind of weather and will still be of benefit to your soil/plants. The most incredible thing is that it is environmentally sound. If its not safe for the environment, is it safe for you? For your children? For your pets? Make no mistake. Natural fertilizers require a degree of patience. It will take time to get your soil back to a healthy state. This is one reason lawn care companies hesitate to use natural products. Consumers want immediate results, but beautiful lawn can be accomplished with ease and time. Natural fertilizer, quality grass seed and cutting the lawn at a height of two inches, all contribute to a healthy, happy family of microbes. We depend on our earth for everything that we require to live; water, air and food. Why would we want to contaminate it with chemical products too toxic to walk barefoot on? The choice, of course, is always in the hands of the consumer – supply and demand. Maybe it’s about time we make a few demands on ourselves, to pay attention to the needs of the planet we are leaving to our children.

Landscape Inc.

We take over

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The owners and the staff of Willow Landscape know that the investment you have made landscaping your home was costly but important to you. Keeping your property looking as good as the day it was completed is our focus, and seeing the smile on your face when you come home is our reward.






Bella Balconies A European escape in your own city – The Girl Who Travels While strolling the streets of Rome, I couldn’t help but notice the balconies that lined the old buildings. They were small, but full of verve and beauty. Filled with large clay pots giving life to herbs and vines. Flowers, flowers and more flowers draping the railings – casually overhanging the restaurants below, in the famous Piazza Navona. If you were to stand on these balconies, there might be enough room for one other person.

Such tiny spaces, bursting with large romance! Gardens in Italy explode with vibrant colours. Poppies, roses, lavender, iris’ and geraniums of every colour mingle with rosemary, snapdragons, lilies, sunflowers and daisies. All these and more, can be found in gardens throughout the many regions of Italy. Don’t forget, Italy is famous for its delectable cuisine. No doubt attributable to the native herbs grown in this fascinating country.

So, if you are living in an apartment or a condo and you’d like to bring a bit of Europe into your space, why not give that green thumb of yours a run for its money? Invest in a variety of clay pots. Create a colour theme, or mix it up. Your local garden centre should have just what you’re looking for! Places like Pier1 Imports or Pottery Barn often have pots with a bit of flare, and you never know what you’ll be able to create from a yard sale find. Perhaps some colourful flowers and creeping vines; maybe some tall ornamental grass! Once again, don’t forget to plant tomatoes, basil, sage, rosemary, mint and thyme; your cuisine can be delectable too! Let your imagination take you to Rome, Milan, Florence or Tuscany. Creating a magical location with a ‘far from the city’ feel, easily managed in your beautiful pots. You too can create your vacanza Italiano.

Now sit back, relax and enjoy la bella vita! N AT U R A LLA N D S C A P E M A G A ZIN E .C O M


David Porter

worked for 14 years as a Real Estate Analyst. One day he woke up and decided it just wasn’t enough. As far back as Porter can remember he always loved planting and the outdoors, but more specifically his balcony. This love came from his father who had a green thumb and his mother whom he spent hours on end with out on their condo balcony. “I remember my mom and I sitting out on the balcony, having long chats, and just enjoying each other’s company”. His parents granted him full reign of the small space. Porter felt this place his playground. 

the 2 or the 32 floor? Do you have open railings or glass for protection? All of these questions need to be given consideration. The plant choices for gardening in high places are limited. Some of Porter’s own favourites include ornamental grasses, bulbs in the spring, perennials and annuals in the summer, and violas in the fall. When we asked what flooring could possibly be used for balconies, Porter suggested a pressure treated floating wood floor. This would allow for easy removal, since most condos have strict rules regarding permanent renovations. 

Porter had always enjoyed planting, and often found himself helping out his neighbours. He began to consider opening his own company. Just this past September he decided to embrace his passion and take it to the next level. He took a leap of faith, and Toronto Condo Garden was born. Condo garden design is a niche market specializing in designing container gardens for our all-Canadian weather and gardens in high places.

Porter’s top ‘musts’ in design include, maintaining cohesiveness from the inside of your home to the out. Many people have floor-to-ceiling windows and it is important to keep the “flow”. Also, the container gardens should be low maintenance to match the lifestyle of condo owners. Easy. 

Designing condo balconies requires much more thought than one may think. It takes a certain skill to be able to make such a small space look good and still remain functional. Porter says, “You really have to be inventive when working with a condo”.  Special care is put into not only plant picks and container gardening but also furniture and flooring. Containers must be made specifically for condo weather conditions. Does your space get full sun? Are you on

We asked Porter why condo gardening? He says he feels it is extremely important to add verdure to the rows upon rows of the concrete structures that make up our city. He adds, “People are reluctant to use the space, maybe scared even, or they just don’t know what can really be done with it”.  For Porter, it’s not about the money; He truly believes that “if you follow your passion, money will come”. He always works within people’s budget, no job is too small. Porter has a gut feeling this endeavor will be BIG. He can offer design that is specific and unique to each

client, as well as ready-made containers with delivery service. Unlike florists or nurseries that sell container gardens, Porter creates a personalized experience that caters to each client’s specific needs and situation. Lastly, we got a little more personal and asked David Porter what his own balcony experience would look like. He told us, “My personal space would be quite simple….. two chairs for that one-on-one time. I love warm summer nights with a gorgeous view of downtown Toronto. I really enjoy the outdoors versus inside. I also don’t mind putting work into my own space.” No case of the shoemaker’s kids without shoes here! Porter is aiming to launch his online store this summer 2013 with many options of ready-made containers for your own outdoor space.    Maybe it takes someone special like Porter to turn that useless 4 x 4 cement slab attached to your outside, into something worth spending your summer evenings on. Let us create a greener city and scale new heights in urban design with David Porter.  Check out his website at

Concrete Jungle - Samantha Sanjuan Toronto, Ontario



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From traditional to trendy, classic to contemporary…We’ve got your style! Your backyard can become a private retreat when you

bring elements of nature together with water, fire, earth and sky. So go ahead, transform your outdoor space into an outdoor room where everything is possible.


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Delivering relaxation all year long.



CITY – Adam Bienenstock Dundas, Ontario

The juxtaposition of nature growing out of the asphalt

in downtown Toronto

Adam Bienenstock is the founder and principal designer at Bienenstock ( He is a keynote speaker, writer and lecturer on urban connection to nature.

My friend Nick from ING DIRECT called me up one day. He is the most unique bank manager you will ever meet. Nick specializes in community engagement and empowerment, and is the Chair of the Toronto Cycling Association. He is also the developer and manager of the Canadian branch of ING DIRECT in downtown Toronto. So Nick says, “Hey Adam, do you want to build a nature park on Yonge Street? You worry about the design, installation, and connecting community to nature and I will get it approved.” Three weeks later we were building on the asphalt on Yonge Street in between the Eaton’s Centre and Massey Hall. We had shut down two lanes of the busiest road with the most valuable real estate in Canada, to build a nature park! With support from ING DIRECT, The Canadian Wildlife Federation, Parks Canada, and The Robert Bateman Foundation, Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds has designed and built a space to celebrate Toronto, through the lens of Canada’s natural beauty. The speed and complexity of this build challenged everyone involved. People tend to have this image of companies that promote and create Urban Nature, particularly when the focus is on community engagement; that they are sloppy, Birkenstock wearing hippies! We had to debunk this image if we were ever going to be allowed to build. I wore tailored shirts and tasteful shoes to every meeting! We worked hard to prove that this park was serious work by serious professionals. We began by engineering a drainage system to shed the water underneath the park, across the road, and along the sidewalk to the storm-drains. We provided wind-load reports and details to illustrate how the trees would be configured to withstand the velocity produced by the significant heat island effect, that drives powerful wind gusts down the treeless, mirror lined, 10 storey tunnel that is Yonge Street. We met with the city`s transportation department, and provided assurances that the trees would have canopies between the required range of 7’3” and 28’. Every element of the urban natural playground was calculated and charted for weight and point load. With our 3D plans in hand, we were looking at three days to install, and had our contingency plans in place. Insurance waivers naming the City and the BIA were secured and road occupancy permits acquired. That was the first week! Beyond all of this logistic justification was an ambitious plan. It included a post and beam log fort, a 30 seat natural amphitheatre, three patios, two grassy (wheelchair accessible) pedestrian “cut-throughs” to the street, and 3 perennial beds. The palette was 90,000lbs of lichen covered, Canadian Shield boulders, 50,000lbs of raw logs, a dozen full size native trees, and truckloads of sand, mulch, and sod. ‘Bienenstock’ builds green space for kids. Logs, boulders, rolling topography, large trees and shrubs are used to create parks and playgrounds that engage children in all aspects of child development through their connection to nature. Our mission is to connect children and communities to nature when and where they play. This project reached out to a broader urban audience of young adults, inviting them to- pause - in an urban forest; to take a deep breath amidst this juxtaposition of nature on a human scale, amongst the concrete, glass, and steel of Canada`s longest street. It worked! As one person wrote in a recent blog post, they had walked past the same spot on Yonge for ten years without looking up or meeting a soul. With the park and the trees installed, she found herself speaking with people she had never met before, noticing the billboards on the Eaton’s Centre, and eating at the restaurant feet from our park for the first time. Mission accomplished!




summer air

Projects like this do not happen without partners who share in our vision of promoting change in how we connect to nature in our cities. Nick and ING DIRECT believe in the power of people to create the community they want to live in. Not only did they give us carte blanche for the design, but they opened the door for us to invite partners to help with the programming, PR and research to validate our work. Within hours of accepting Nick’s invitation, Robert Voigt, one of Canada’s premier urban planners offered his support to develop a blog about the site. He booked urban planners like Gord Hume, as speakers in the park and designed a research initiative to record and analyse the effect of the installation. Through his work, we will know definitively, how this pocket of urban nature has improved the fabric of the community and “bottom line” of the surrounding businesses. Bruce Sudds from Snap Design produced the website and PR plan to make sure people heard about our project. Joe Melo from Allstone Quarry immediately offered the stone to help Torontonians understand and appreciate the value of his lichen covered, million year old boulders. After collaborating with the Minister’s Round Table on Youth and Parks Canada, I invited the newly formed Urban Outreach team to join us in order to enhance the experience for passers by. They immediately accepted and provided engaging, nature based programming in the park for 4 weeks. Earth Rangers brought wild animals, Green Earth Organics and Highmark Farms opened a market, Robert Bateman taught art classes, and celebrities-a-plenty hung out there during the Toronto International Film Festival. In the end, we discovered that if you make the effort to do it well, people intuitively “get” it! They line up to help, because participation makes them feel like they are a part of something important. The juxtaposition of nature growing out of the asphalt in downtown Toronto helped, but what happened on Yonge St. was bigger than that.

enjoy the sweet

wining&dining on our outdoor patio

People are hard wired for this on an evolutionary scale. We are a species of hunters and gatherers; genetically coded to spend our days connected to nature. Our modern cities are failing to fulfill this basic human need. It is time for people to take back their cities. Connecting to nature in an urban setting is not simple but natural landscapes are what make our cities liveable.

A very special thank-you to Councillor Wong Tam for making this project happen. Also, thanks to Sara at Sweetpea for supplying the perennials.

Project partners:

NSGA and Kyle Tobin of Lawnsavers (, Oaks Pavers (, Sweetpea on Roncesvalles (, Snap Design (, Rob Voigt (, Moonstone Log Homes (, Allstone Quarry (

905-628-8808 57 King Street West, Dundas ON

authorized contractor


ntegrity, commitment to excellence and artistry are all synonymous with Green Scene Landscaping. Owner Eddie Gonzalez is passionate about his work – and his passion is evident. Award winning designs and uncompromising workmanship, combined with 15 years of superb performance and experience add up to stunning and innovative design. A landscaping project provides a critical blueprint for both exterior home beauty and years of pride and pleasure. Green Scene Landscaping understands your choice of landscaper will be a decision to enjoy (or potentially regret) for many years. The design team at Green Scene strives to bring homeowner’s dreams to fulfillment. Throughout the process, from the design process, to excavation, to the celebration party at the completion of the project Green Scene Landscaping’s design team is deeply engaged with your dream – striving to make your vision come true. A fine partner with Green Scene in the landscape design process is Unilock - a trusted brand for 40 years. From U Vision sheets, 3D Vision software, to a full Outdoor Design Centre providing creative design ideas clients can implement in their own landscaping project, Unilock has it all. As a Unilock Authorized Contractor, Green Scene Landscaping uses this partnership to provide an extensive warranty. Because at the end of every day, Green Scene stands behind their workmanship and materials for as long as customers enjoy them.

greens c enelands c aping . c a / 4 1 6 - 5 2 9 - 1 6 4 2 / 4 5 M ayall A venue , T oronto

Go Native - Mark Cullen Gormley, Ontario

Native Perennial Plants for sun

A current trend in gardening; the planting of native species, makes sense for a variety of reasons. What is a native plant, anyway? A native plant is one that occurs naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without direct or indirect human intervention –flora present at the time Europeans arrived in North America is considered a native species. Native plants include all kinds of plants from mosses and ferns to wildflowers, shrubs, and trees. Native plants are generally low maintenance: by definition they are tolerant of drought conditions and generally free of insect and disease problems. They managed to survive nicely on their own for generations before the Europeans arrived here, after all. They also attract a wide range of native pollinators like honey bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. The preservation of native plant species has value as well. The more native plants we plant in our urban or suburban gardens, the more we help to protect and preserve them for future generations.

Want to Learn More about Native Plants? If you have an interest in learning more I urge you to contact the Ontario Chapter of North American Native Plant Society at This is a volunteer driven, active group with a lot to offer. As their brochure states, they ‘promote the study, conservation, cultivation and restoration of native flora.’ The Society also provides a native plant seed exchange¸ a quarterly twelve page newsletter, year round educational seminars, tear sheets, and an interactive message board on their website. Not bad for $20 a year.

Plan Before You Buy Before you wade into the wilderness of your favourite garden retailer to look for native plants on your own, I can recommend some based on my experience. I emphasize the need to match your growing conditions to the plant. Do not, in other words, plant trilliums in your garden just because you love them. In early spring without damp soil, rich in leaf mould, located under the cover of deciduous trees your trilliums will waste away.

Mark Cullen is Canada’s best known gardener. Sign up for his free monthly newsletter at Watch Mark on CTV Canada AM every Wed at 8:45 and read his syndicated weekly column in the Toronto Star Full list of newspapers on his website.

Solomon’s Seal

(Polygonatum biflorum)



Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa)- long flowering period

mid summer

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) - self propagates,

long late summer bloomer

False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) - tall,

background plant

Giant Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) - easy to grow, reliable perennial, attracts lots of bees New England Aster (Symphyotricum novae-angliae) - great fall colour

Native Perennials for Shade

Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) - enjoys full shade, early spring performer Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) - great groundcover Bearberry (Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi) - attractive berries

Native Vines

Virgin’s Bower (Clematis virginiana) - great flowers in

full sun

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) -

aggressive, shade tolerant

Flowering Shrubs

Canada Buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis) -

fast growing

Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) - fruit attractive to birds in winter Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) - fast growing, great screen Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) - grows ‘tree like’ in several years. Early spring bloomer Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) – aggressive, helps stop soil erosion on a slope


Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) - tall, slow growing, narrow Red Oak (Quercus rubra) - a ‘grand daddy’ of a tree,

needs space

Honeylocust (Gleditsia triancanthos) - light, airy feel due to finely textured leaves Red Maple (Acer rubrum) - not tolerant of pollution but great fall colour White Birch (Betula papyrifera) - less susceptible to birch borer, grows fast White Pine (Pinus strobus) - not a great city tree as it grows ‘thin’ however a great long-term screen elsewhere A more complete list is available at

the natural choice for: • • • • •

Non-blasted Armour Stone Natural Steps Cut Steps Landscaping Rockery Retaining Walls



1. Sugar Maple [Acer saccharinum] The leaf emblazoned on our national flag recognizes one of the great native trees in the country. Mind you, it is not native to the prairies and west to British Columbia. However, it stands tall [about 15 meters] as a great native hardwood that produces sweet maple sugar, and has recently become popular as an urban street tree [as our ash decline due to the emerald ash borer]. Sugar maple provides a dense shade that is hard to grow a lawn under, but is still much better than the more aggressive Norway maple. Plant in loam [not clay] where the soil drains well.

Note: When shopping for native plants be sure to buy from a reliable source that does not take stock from the wild [the plant is ‘nursery grown’] and that is produced at local sources. Otherwise, it isn’t ‘native’! 92 I THE DISCOVER DISTRICT...




Top 5 Native Plants of Canada

2. Trillium

3. Serviceberry

4. Bee Balm

5. Purple Cone Flower

There are so many native woodland perennials that are worthy of my Top Five list: sweet woodruff, Canadian ginger and Solomon’s seal, to name just three. However, the Trillium wins hands down. Once it makes itself at home in a shaded, moist woodland environment it returns reliably year after year. When it is happiest it will self propagate, generating clumps of welcome colour early each spring. While white is the predominant flower colour, you can also find red and purple trilliums.

Shrub/small tree[Amelanchier canadensis]As the name ‘canadensis’ suggests this is a true native of Canada, indeed it is very widely distributed from South Carolina to Northern Quebec. It attracts birds in fall and winter with an abundance of fruit, and early arriving hummingbirds enjoy its bloom in spring. It is very insect and disease resistant, grows to six to eight meters tall, and you can prune it nicely into a small ornamental tree, or allow the multi stemmed branches fill out into a large shrub. It is a winner!

[Monarda] Native people called this ‘Oswego tea’ as the leaves and flowers create a wonderful hot drink. A small portion of them are purportedly used in the famous Earl Grey tea. This winter hardy perennial looks after itself quite nicely. It seldom attracts nasty insects and [apart from some powdery mildew in wet seasons] it is generally disease resistant. Best of all, it blooms for a long four to six weeks, depending on how much sun and heat it receives. It does favour sunny locations, and as the name suggests, bees [and hummingbirds] love it.

[Echinacea] A very trendy plant to grow today, this prairie native is popular for good reason. Very winter hardy, it attracts butterflies while in bloom mid summer [three to four weeks] and when the blossoms are finished small song birds thrive on it, pecking the seeds out for months. This plant must have at least six hours of sunshine each day to grow well, and its not fussy about soil – will even perform reasonably well in semi clay.


CTV Canada AM’S





the original people Wilfrid Laurier University

honouring the past; investing in the future - Lori Sweezey Dundas, On

“Cultural continuity has to do with the transmission of knowledge, values and identity from one generation to the next” - Health Canada report on First Nations 2005

Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus is about to become involved in a project like no other in the area. It is the vision of the Aboriginal Student Support coordinator at the Brantford campus, Bonnie Whitlow. Bonnie saw a dark hole that many of the indigenous youth were falling into; one of disconnect. “They have lost their land, their language and their culture,” says Bonnie. The heart of this project is about giving all of these things back to the indigenous youth. Reconnecting them, while recovering traditional knowledge and discovering the new. “The Medicine Garden”. Sounds unassuming enough, but this space will pack enough punch to bring people into a place of healing, a place of meditation, and a place of reconnecting with the earth and all of the gifts it has to offer. Having a medicine garden without the knowledge of how to use the harvest would be redundant. The University developed a course about native medicines, from planting to harvest, and the preparation and practical uses of local plants. The students work with the “knowledge keepers” from Six Nations, who will share their traditional Indigenous knowledge in relation to the plants and their medicinal qualities. Indigenous students were the target population for “The Medicine Garden” course, however, the entire course filled up almost immediately with non-Indigenous students. Interesting!! More spaces were created to include the very people that the course was designed for in the first place. Being inclusive can only benefit all of our youth. Bringing light and understanding of another’s culture and ritual can only bring respect, acceptance and cohesiveness. A lesson in “oneness”. The Medicine Garden will, no doubt, do exactly what it is designed to do. Bring connection, cultural continuity, a sense of optimism, collective health and wellness, and uphold tradition while re-inventing ways to move forward as a People. If everything goes as planned, the build should begin in June, and be completed by August; just in time for the September semester. A similar garden is near completion at Laurier’s Waterloo campus.Natural Landscape Magazine will be following the progress of The Medicine Garden, and we look forward to documenting the journey from beginning to end, but then again, it’s a medicine wheel. Wheels are circles. Circles have no beginning or end…. this could be a long story!





Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. - Robert Louis Stevenson

Burlington, Ontario Photo Credit: Compass Creative








THEUrbanPigeon – Zack Fleming Kanata, Ontario


How long has this been so? Only pigeons and perhaps bird experts know. Old urban pigeons, grumpy and haggard from a life of toil, tell their great-grandsquabs what it was like to be the new pigeon in a strange city. “We didn’t speak the language, didn’t know anybody, didn’t know what to do. In my day, we flew everywhere. None of this walking around on the sidewalk.”


Never one for understatement, the urban pigeon would claim its kind an institution; as integral to a city’s fabric as 105 year-old shoeshine men and eccentric transvestites. Institution or not, the urban pigeon has established itself as a unique character within the species commonly known as the feral Rock Pigeon. Though probably still physiologically compatible with other pigeons, the urban pigeon is really its own species, as its lifestyle and attitudes are distinct from other pigeons. The urban pigeon and a rural pigeon could find no more common ground in conversation than could a horse and a cow. “I almost got run over by a cab the other day,” says the urban pigeon. “What’s a cab?” asks the country pigeon. The urban pigeon is cocky, bold and fearless. If there’s a crumb to be had, even in the path of a bus, it’ll leisurely have it. Delaying its escape until the last moment, because its courage is that of a brash daredevil, not a humble hero.



B i g o r s m all , w e do i t all

We don’t just meet expectations, The urban pigeon doesn’t sing in the morning, or any time. It’s as likely to kick you in the shin as sing you a song. They regard all that aimless chirping as a bunch of nonsense; and at pre-dawn, when suburban and country birds are springing out of bed to welcome the day, the urban pigeon is staggering down a dank alley, on its way home after a night of disreputable activity. Though it keeps its thoughts close, its body language betrays its game. The urban pigeon’s chunky, erratic swagger says,

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, h a e d Y “ n a n o it‘s no drunk. I‘m ” ? t i f o What In the park, an urban pigeon might approach your picnic, In the its park urban picnic, fixing fixing gaze on pigeon you formight a longapproach moment,your commanding its gaze you for long moment, with its with itson beady eye,a “Give me thatcommanding sandwich and scram.” beady eye, “Give that sandwich scram.” he catches If he catches you me staring he’ll stareand right back If with hands youhips. staring stare right back with hands on hips. on Theit’ll message in its impudent stance: This The piece of message in its impudent stance: This piece of bread is not too bread is not too big for me - I’ll figure out a way to eat it. big for me - I’ll figure out a way to eat it. As for you, mind As for you, mind your own Goddamn business. your own Goddamn business. And don’t dare make an issue of the comical way its head And don’t dare make an issue of the comical way its head jabs forward as it walks. Also, don’t stare, even in admirajabs forward as it walks. Also, don’t stare, even in admiration, tion, the albino urban pigeon. He’s hypersensitive about at theat albino urban pigeon. He’s hypersensitive about his his appearance and is liable to wallop you. appearance and is liable to wallop you. Whatever shapecities citiesofofthe thefuture future take, urban pigeon Whatever shape take, thethe urban pigeon will be there, though not likely in the form we know. will be there, though not likely in the form we know. TheThe urban of the the distant distantfuture futurewill will most likely be an urban pigeon of most likely be an earthbound creature,as asit’s it’sobvious obvious even now, it makes earthbound creature, even now, it makes its its living hisfeet, feet,and andover overtime timeitsits ground game will only living on his ground game will only improve. One day pick upup a piece of of improve. day an anurban urbanpigeon pigeonwill will pick a piece gum with with its moment it won’t be long, in in gum itswings. wings.From Fromthat that moment it won’t be long, evolutionary terms, pigeon has rudimentary evolutionary terms,before beforethe theurban urban pigeon has rudimenarmsarms and hands. And from no it’s stretch to imagine tary and hands. And there from it’s there no stretch to it picking your locks, your stealing yourstealing Fruit’n’Fibre crapping imagine it picking locks, your and Fruit’n’Fibre on your couchon foryour the hell of it. and crapping couch for the hell of it. So the the next and anan oncoming onthe thesidewalk sidewalk and oncoming So next time timeyou’re you’reon urban pigeon is veering all over the place, don’t be frustrated. urban pigeon is veering all over the place, don’t be frusCherish the idiosyncrasies and neuroses that make it such a trated. Cherish the idiosyncrasies and neuroses that make character; and appreciate its contribution to the fabric of your it such a character; and appreciate its contribution to the city. fabric of your city. S E RV IC E S

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Serving the Golden Horseshoe & the GTA


Steve Ribbink Sailing around the world at 17

Steve’s Faves Fave Food: Homemade cheesecake Fave Pastime: Cutting down trees, and spending time with his wife Tanya and their four kids. (Not necessarily at the same time.) Fave Beverage: White Russian, or a good ole rye and ginger, or tea, two milk and two sugar Fave Piece of Clothing: Of course…his toque

Steve’s Fave Recipe // Tea Biscuits Preheat oven to 425º Sift together: 2 cups flour, 4 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in finely, ½ cup shortening Add 1 cup milk Stir with a fork to make a soft dough. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently 8 to 10 times. Roll or pat to desired thickness (biscuits will double in height when baked). Cut with a floured 1 ¼” cookie cutter (or an inverted juice glass). Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet, close together for soft-sided biscuits or about 1”apart for crusty-sided biscuits. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. Makes 20 biscuits

Featuring the REAL PEOPLE who work behind the scenes to create those dream landscapes By Lori Sweezey Dundas, ON

You know those “pompous ass” types? Loud, rude, nasty, insensitive, obnoxious, condescending, and lazy? Yah, well Steve Ribbink is not that guy. I think I may have seen a halo under that toque that he wears all winter. Steve was born on St.Patrick’s Day, 1977, in Hagersville, Ontario, to Janie (McTavish) and Albert Ribbink, both schoolteachers. He debunks the old adage “problem middle child”, although we’d actually have to check with his two brothers in order to confirm this. He was raised on a dairy farm, and says “for the longest time, that’s all I wanted to be when I grew up; a dairy farmer”. Instead he found himself studying horticulture at the University of Guelph. Steve has an affinity for trees. He loves to climb them, trim them, and cut them down. In August 2010,

Steve was working 40 feet up in a tree, when his safety lanyard malfunctioned and he fell to the ground, landing on a woodpile; chain saw still attached. As a result, he broke four ribs, bruised his liver, popped a lung, sliced open his arm and the chainsaw nicked the top of his forehead, miraculously, taking only a small chunk out of his skin. He’s staying out of the trees for now, but I have a feeling that this is not going to be a permanent situation. Steve’s quiet demeanor betrays the joie de vive that he has for adventure. At the ripe old age of 17, Steve spent a semester sailing around the world on the Concordia, with Class Afloat, out of Toronto. Starting out in Vancouver, he saw the likes of Hawaii, Malaysia, and Australia. Five and a half months on the water is a long time. Makes sense that he prefers the trees! Steve has been working for BOS Landscaping since 2004. He’s been a construction foreman for the past five. When asked where he sees himself in ten years from now, Steve smiles with the greatest set of pearly whites you’ve ever seen, and says “I’d like to be a supervisor, and I’d like to be climbing and cutting some massive trees”. I think it’s safe to say that, as long as Steve is working in nature, he’ll be a happy man.

Natural Landscape Magazine Spring 2013