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Helping you pick the products that are right for your project front entrances poolside patios outdoor living spaces natural stone fireplaces cascading waterfalls Next day delivery available.



IT’S NOT ABOUT WHAT WE DO. IT’S ABOUT WHO WE ARE IN EVERYTHING WE DO. We take great pride in our strong roots and our history of success. From the humble beginnings of riding bicycles to our clients with a wagon full of yard tools, we learned very quickly that we have a passion for people and a natural desire for the landscape industry.

We founded our company on strong principals of trust, honesty and respect with a ‘customer first’ approach. Since our inception in 1990 by founders David and Paul Lammers, Garden Grove Landscaping has seen steady growth and continues to progress with a strong focus on team building and customer satisfaction.

Building trust since 1990 Landscape Management

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As industry professionals you can depend on our experienced teams for our full-service approach to grounds care and customer service.

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To l l f r e e : 1 . 8 5 5 . 8 4 7 . 7 7 6 7


ON THE COVER 91 THE ULTIMATE “STAYCATION” YARD Like no other yard you’ve seen, this Ontario family invites us into their outdoor “home-not-away-from-home” vacation dream

56 HGTV STAR PAUL LAFRANCE Childhood memories spark an amazing cottage makeover on Georgian Bay

84 THE BUNKIE The Art of Big Things in Small Packages ‘Prefabricated’ doesn’t have to be big, bulky or boring. Take a look at these tiny, trendy Canadian made gems


STYLE DISTRICT 42 FASHIONISTA Breathing life into an old standby 45 HEIDI RICHTER NLM welcomes our new trends contributor

DESIGN DISTRICT 52 SEPARATION ANXIETY A fence inside of a fence? Safety



and style in harmony

60 WE NEED TO TALK There’s a reason you need a specialist

to build a deck

62 ALL THE WORLD IS A PLAYGROUND The natural outdoors as your gymnasium

67 DESIGNGER PROFILES Six designers from across the country discuss their passion

74 THE “DO-OVER” An almost unusable schoolyard gets a transformation that childhood dreams are made of 78 GOOD TO THE LAST DROP Our handsome Eco Expert delivers a few tips



on water conservation for the summer

81 MAKE A SPLASH So many types of water - which is right for your pool?

LIVING DISTRICT 97 CHEF CHRISTOPHER WOODS One of Canada’s top chefs heats up


the summer grill

101 LET’S TAKE THIS OUTSIDE A west coast Yogi opts for the outdoor classroom

102 PATIO FARE Incredible eats and inspiring patios from

east to west coast


on a great Canadian pastime….BEER

DISCOVER DISTRICT 114 LETTING YOUR VERDURE EXPRESS ITSELF Jewelry for your tree? 118 HOMEGROWN Tom Wilson and Groenland rock Canada’s airwaves 122 THE ROCK OF PACITTO From immigrant child to

successful business owner, this story will inspire you

128 DARE TO BONSAI A small space or balcony to “green up?” These tiny plants may just be your thing 130 COMIC RELIEF A look at the life of the Canadian squirrel.Warning: reader may bust a gut laughing, please stand clear if this occurs 132 NOT SO AVERAGE JOE A look inside the life of

Montreal’s Andrea D’Orazio


88 124


Showcasing all things CANADIAN to enhance your outdoor lifestyle

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


Lori Sweezey

Creative Director/designer Melissa Nezezon

PRODUCTION MANAGER/designer Susan Vogan

Director of Sales Paul Maich

advertising sales Brie Jarrett

Copy Editor

Staff Writers

Vicki Morrison Justyna Kondakow Zack Fleming Brie Jarrett Lori Sweezey


Jeff McNeil McNeil Photography


Scott Nichols

Tim Zwart Apologies all ‘round! Our bad! We missed two very important contributors to the Fall/Winter 2013 cover of NLM. Without them and their awesome talents, our cover might not have been so sizzling hot. Simone Finch was our talented hair stylist. A master at her craft, she uses her artistic vision to push the boundaries of hair design. Simone currently works out of Fake Beauty in Yorkville, Toronto. Our very accomplished and creative make-up artist was Daaimah Yusuf. With Lancôme and MAC under her belt, this Toronto born gal continues to study and perfect her craft. She currently works for MAC and Bobbi Brown while sharing her time between Canada and the USA.

For advertising opportunities please email: 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/Summer and Fall/Winter 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

Mail payment to: Natural Landscape Inc. 103 King Street East Dundas, ON L9H 1B9

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D E C K I NG Real performance. Real value.

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Available in Chapters, Indigo and Atlantic News Stands across Canada. Delivered to bookstores by Districor Magazine Distribution Services. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. Reproduction without express written consent is prohibited by law.




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contributors Adam Bienenstock Born in Boston, raised in England and (thank gawd for us!) Ontario. He writes in order to inspire and be inspired, to drive his cause, connect the dots and to get people outside where nature can clear the fog from their heads. Number one on his bucket list? To paddle the shores of Lake Superior with his two sons.

i-spex Born and raised in Toronto, (he was

Chris Duggan Born and raised in Burlington, Ontario, but now resides in Vancouver, BC. He writes for the mere pleasure of it, and prefers to do that outdoors too! Number one on his bucket list? To go surfing in Fiji. Namaste dude!

Nick Kersys Our quick-witted Maritimer is

Chris Westaway Born and raised in Sarnia, ON. The city with the most air pollution in Canada. (His words, not ours). In grade 5, a teacher told him that he was great at writing, so he never learned to do anything else. Number one on his bucket list? To be trained in professional wrestling. Kick ass Chris!

Ron Devitt Born and raised in Calgary, AB. Ron likes to write as a creative outlet and loves telling other people’s stories. His topics range from music to sports and travel to landscaping. Number one on his bucket list? To travel to South America. Let us know when you’re going Ron…the staff could use a break.

Colleen Zimmermann Born and still lives on the family farm in Binbrook, Ontario. She writes about anything ‘plant related’ with the intention of inspiring people to find their “inner-horticulturalist”. Number one on her bucket list? To tour Europe…repeatedly.

Sarah Penny Is a Naturopathic Doctor who was born and raised in Hamilton, ON. She loves to write about evidenced based natural health information and popular trends in the industry. Number one on her bucket list? To author a children’s book about nutrition.

Deborah Rent Born and raised in Halifax, NS.

SUSAN MATE Susan is a Calgary ‘born and

Glenn Curtis Our favourite frenglish writer (with a side of Landscaper), was born in Dollard des Ormeaux in Montreal. He loves to write in order to enlighten his readers in respect to the value, benefits and craftsmanship associated with the landscape design/build profession. Number one on his bucket list? Space…..the final frontier!

JOHN RIGG was born and raised in Hamilton, Ont., but now resides in Greensville. Only fear of forgetting makes him pen his thoughts. They say the mind is the first to go John. First on his bucket list? That BRZ sports car he was promised before he croaks. Funny he can remember that one without writing it down!

Heidi Loeppky Born in Saskatchewan, but Vancouver, Edmonton, Dallas, and Thailand have all been home. Writing is a vehicle that lets her experience many roles – from artist to educator to entertainer. Number one on her bucket list? “I would love to sing at the top of my lungs and have it sound good, feel graceful strumming the strings of a guitar and fall into the trance of my own African drumming rhythm.”

Tim Zwart Born and raised in NY and

Deb (as we like to call her) loves to write as a means of being a part of someone else’s world…feeling what inspires them. Passionate people and brilliant design always excite her, and sharing that never gets old. Number one on her bucket list? To buy a Villa in Tuscany…. sun and wine anyone?

changing the way you think about


living in Montreal when we found him), so we brought him back. L-Spex is a musician at his core and loves to write film scores, rap verses and electronic ballads. Number one on his bucket list? To work with hip-hop legend MF DOOM.

an import to Montreal, QC. Nick says that he writes because he sucks at painting, and words are marginally easier to work with. Number one on his bucket list? To taste the fruit of every tree in the world. Mmmmmm

raised’ kinda girl. She loves to write about food, travel and nature. Number one on her bucket list? To return to Borneo in Southeast Asia to climb Mount Kinabalu.

Knoxville, TN, Tim now lives in Milton, Ontario with his wife and baby daughter. Tim writes for a number of reasons, but the one we liked best was… “I also write for my wife and young daughter, because I believe that some day, my craft is what will ultimately provide for them the kind of lifestyle they deserve.” Awe Tim…. Number one on his bucket list? To watch the Jets play in a Super Bowl-LIVE! 1st row, 50 yard line.

If you would like to contribute to future issues, please submit your idea to:

Visit for more information.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR I just saw a copy of your magazine and was blown away. It is gorgeous. The VOGUE of the landscaping world. I love the larger than life visuals that make me want to step right into them, and the range of articles from thought provoking and informative, to hands on useful. Well done!

I have been subscribing to your magazine for a while now. I do love it, but perhaps you could let us ladies have a little fun by putting some gorgeous men on the front cover? My coffee table needs a little balance. Thanks.

Darlene Chrissley President, Lifescapers Inc.

NLM: Geez Shari, maybe we’ll have to give that some thought. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for some ‘hotties’ this summer. Wouldn’t want to be responsible for an off balanced coffee table.

NLM: Why, thank you Darlene. Those are some very kind words…. Just the kind we like to hear.

Shari M. Sudbury, Ontario

Every time that I complete a landscaping job, I buy my clients a nice bottle of wine and a copy of your magazine as a “thanks for doing business” gift. It has been a big hit and makes me look like a real class act. So thanks for that. Parker L. Ottawa, Ontario NLM: Maybe it’s the wine.

The front cover of your last issue was quite interesting and nicely tied together with the little profiles on each of the women. The cover made me pick the magazine up, but once I browsed through it I realized that there were some very informative articles as well. The article on Robert Bateman (The Great Disconnect) was interesting and I think that the project he’s working on in Toronto is a wonderful idea to allow the city folk to get back to the basics of nature, but did I read that right? That on these trails, people will have access to Bateman and his art (on their smart phones) as he gives them digital tours of the space? What? Really? Isn’t that contrary to what he’s trying to do in the first place? Getting people away from their electronics and back into nature?! Just a thought. Greg M. Vancouver, British Columbia NLM: Well Greg, I guess it’s better than sitting on their asses, scrolling through their smartphones. This way their legs will be moving. You have any better ideas?

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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...


Please be sure to include your name, address and telephone number. Letters and emails may be condensed for publication. Pictures will not be returned.


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CHANGE IS GOOD… Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last several years, we thought we’d provide our readers with a little background on our new Outdoor Design and Build Editor…. Mr. Paul Lafrance. Paul Lafrance, most commonly known as the “Deck Guy” both in the Reality TV megacosm, as well as in the average North American home, is also a musician, the CEO and founder of the international design company, Cutting Edge Construction and Design and the father of four daughters. He plans to one day complete his self-help book for men, which is a life-long project: a study into the intricacies of the female mind. So far, he’s got the title page done. Paul is the host of HGTV’s Decked Out, Disaster Decks, and Deck Wars as well as one of the judges on Canada’s Handyman Challenge, and moonlights as the head designer at Cutting Edge. Since 1997, he’s been designing and installing everything from groundbreaking backyard retreats, unique interior transformations, and commercial outdoor spaces, to custom built homes. He is known for his infectious energy, quick wit, and unapologetic rock star style. Although it would be an understatement to say his plate is full, Paul remains passionate about sharing his zeal for designing

unique residential and corporate havens for people all over the world. His constant mission is to provide a place of rest for people caught up in the stressful breakneck speed of today’s culture. When commonly asked how he comes up with his designs, Paul’s typical reply is, “I do my very best not to think like an adult!” Most of the designers, carpenters, and administrative staff who work with Paul are also family and lifelong friends, which makes the dynamics of coming up with new innovative ideas all that much more fun. It also makes it more tolerable when Paul insists on repeating his mantra, to go where no one has gone before, at the beginning of every staff meeting. Over the next year, while continuing to film Disaster Decks and heading up the Cutting Edge design team, Paul will also be filming a brand new HGTV series, Custom Built, which will feature innovative interior designs and home makeovers, done Paul Lafrance Style. The show will, of course, host the usual Decked Out team, along with their constant and expected shenanigans. NLM is very excited to have Paul join our team. He’ll fit right in with the crazies here too!

Got questions? Email


Ultimate Back Yard Contest LIKE US ON at Natural Landscape Magazine

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letter from the publisher



It was a long winter, but we are Canadians. We are a patient people. There are a number of things that we wait for; the change of seasons, a change in government, the economy, we wait for our favourite hockey team to win the cup…. we wait and wait and wait - patiently. And when that change comes, we’re on it! Rolling with the punches and making the best of any situation that comes our way. I love being “us” ….we adapt like pros. I’m a firm believer in the benefits of change. It offers us a chance to grow and experience things from a different perspective. Sure we can get complacent, but when the “change train” comes barreling down the tracks, we see our choices clearly. We either jump out of the way and begin the next journey…. or we stay put…. and we all know how that ends. NLM is jumping out of the way of that train. A change or two are in order. We would like to take this opportunity to welcome a few friends and colleagues to the magazine. Hot (HGTV) personalities Heidi Richter, will be contributing her expertise to the ‘Trends’ pages and Carson Arthur, will be educating us on all-things -‘Eco’. Man! We are going to be a well-informed population. Also joining us is HGTV star Paul LaFrance. Paul is coming on board as our Outdoor Design/Build Editor. Hang on to your hat, things are going to get interesting!! I would personally like to thank Mr. John Hall, maker of Canada’s finest whiskey (Forty Creek), for his support and show of confidence in our publication. John is a wonderful, patient man with a gentle spirit that is infused into every barrel that sits in his distillery. His generosity in inviting Paul and I into his creative space is an experience that we will never forget and always be grateful for. Paul and I have had many brainstorming sessions and discussions about the meaning of life, over a glass of Forty Creek. We think we may be on the verge of something big, so stay tuned. Making the video in John’s cellars was undoubtedly the most fun we’ve had in a long time. Putting up with the two of us does require an abundance of patience. So thank you John Hall. Now…. read on my fair readers! Enjoy this amazing issue of NLM. Remember your feedback is always welcomed. Keep doing that ‘Canadian’ thing that we do so well; be patient and roll with the punches… and keep an eye out for those trains!

Twitter @NL_Magazine Facebook Natural Landscape Magazine 26 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

Dave Maciulis, CLD

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Landscape Ontario


Toronto, Ont. (January 8, 2014)

Ontario’s landscaping and horticultural industry is looking forward to a strong 2014 season, and that success will be built on the efforts of the people and companies who provide exceptional service and inspired creations in beautifying our communities. The best of those landscaping professionals were announced by Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association on Tuesday evening during its Awards of Excellence ceremony, held on the opening day of the 41st annual Congress, Canada’s Premier Green Industry Trade and Conference. “Ontario’s inspired landscapes are due to the efforts of talented professionals, passionate in their love of nature. Driven to go above and beyond what is expected, our members strive to leave a positive environmental legacy for future generations. It can be challenging to select the best of the best each year,” says Denis Flanagan, Director of Public Relations and Membership at Landscape Ontario. “Our Awards program is a great incentive to ensure members continually strive for excellence in creating distinctive landscapes and green spaces in Ontario. We are very proud to honour the men and women who make up Ontario’s green industry.” More than 600 industry professionals attended the 2014 Awards of Excellence ceremony held at Toronto’s International Plaza Hotel on Tuesday, January 7. The awards recognize the breathtaking design and master craftsmanship in landscape construction, maintenance and design projects created by Landscape Ontario members. Awards are judged by industry experts according to specific criteria. If no project qualifies in an area, no award is given.

LANDSCAPE CONSTRUCTION Aden Earthworks Inc., North York AquaSpa Pools & Landscape Design, Woodbridge Artistic Shadows Landscaping, Arva Benj Art Inc Landscape Architects and Contractors, Owen Sound Betz Pools Ltd., Stouffville Beyond Landscaping, Toronto Bouwmeister Landscaping Ltd., Stouffville Cedar Springs Landscape Group, Ancaster Clearwater Ponds, Burlington Curbz Landscaping, Toronto DA Gracey & Associates, Vaughan Darsan, North York DiMarco Landscape Lighting, Mount Albert Dr. Landscape Inc., Scarborough Earthscape Ontario, Wallenstein Eco Landscape Design, St. Catharines Edengrove Landscapes Ltd., Mississauga Elite Designed Concrete Inc., Thornhill Fossil Landscapes Ltd., Etobicoke Future Lawn Inc., Hanover Garden Creations of Ottawa Ltd., Ottawa Garden Grove Group, Waterdown Gelderman Landscape Services, Waterdown Griffith Property Services Ltd., Richmond Hill Hackstone Landscapes, Maxwell Hogan Landscaping Inc., Stouffville Ideal Landscape Services, Barrie Integra Bespoke Lighting Systems, Port Sydney It’s About Thyme, Stratford JC Landscaping Inc., Bolton Jen-Dan Limited, Gormley Kim Price Landscape Design Inc., Toronto Landscape Effects Group, Belle River Landscape Plus Ltd., Etobicoke Landscapes By Lucin, Toronto Leishman Landscaping Ltd., Toronto MapleRidge Landscapes Ltd., Lynden Michael Scott’s Landscaping, Orillia Monarch Landscape, Waterloo Natural Stonescapes Inc., Meaford Oakridge Landscape Contractors Ltd., Hannon Oriole Landscaping Ltd., Toronto PAO Associates, Hornby Paradisaic Creative Decks, Bowmanville Planit Green Landscapes, Ancaster Pro-Land Landscape Construction Inc., Brampton Quiet Nature Ltd., Ayr Royal Stone Landscaping & Design, Woodbridge S Rebelo Landscapes Inc., Burlington Shades of Summer Landscaping & Maintenance, Waterdown Shibui Landscaping, Toronto

Snips Landscape & Nursery, Welland St. Jacobs Country Gardens, Elmira Sycamore Landscape, Brampton Tarrascape Innovation Inc., Hamilton The Landmark Group, Thornbury The Scott Wentworth Landscape Group Ltd., Picton TLC Professional Landscaping, London Tri-Green Inc., Waterloo Vaughan Landscaping, Maple Welwyn Wong Landscape Design, Ottawa Yards Unlimited Landscaping Inc., Ottawa Zeng Landscaping, Creemore LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE Boffo Landscaping Inc., Maple Clintar Landscape Management - Mississauga West, Hornby Dr. Landscape Inc., Scarborough Garden Creations of Ottawa Ltd., Ottawa Hank Deenen Landscaping Ltd., Toronto Quiet Nature Ltd., Ayr Shades of Summer Landscaping & Maintenance, Waterdown Strathmore Landscape Contractors, Pointe-Claire The Cultivated Garden, Toronto The Landmark Group, Thornbury The Professional Gardener, Osgoode Water’s Edge Landscaping, Bala LANDSCAPE DESIGN Cedar Springs Landscape Group, Ancaster Earthscape Ontario, Wallenstein Jason Smalley Landscape Design Inc., Ottawa The Landmark Group, Thornbury Welwyn Wong Landscape Design, Ottawa LANDSCAPE IRRIGATION DJ Rain & Co Ltd., North York Raintree Irrigation & Outdoor Systems, Hamilton Tydan Landscape Design Inc., London INTERIOR PLANTSCAPING Stems Interior Landscaping Inc., Washago WEBSITES Benj Art Inc Landscape Architects and Contractors, Owen Sound Darsan, North York Garden Grove Group, Waterdown Gelderman Landscape Services, Waterdown Integra Bespoke Lighting Systems, Port Sydney Nature’s Choice Landscape Construction Ltd., Maple

Oriole Landscaping Ltd., Toronto Royal Stone Landscaping & Design, Woodbridge Select Sprinklers, Burlington Snider Turf & Landscape Care Ltd., Waterloo The Landmark Group, Thornbury Vaughan Landscaping, Maple Water’s Edge Landscaping, Bala SPECIAL AWARDS CANADA BLOOMS SOFT LANDSCAPING SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR 2013: Uxbridge Nurseries CANADA BLOOMS HARD LANDSCAPING SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR 2013: Gro-Bark Ontario Ltd CANADA BLOOMS VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR 2013: Brian Green NEW: CANADA BLOOMS EQUIPMENT SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR 2013: Mathews Equipment CASEY VAN MARIS AWARD 2014: Betz Pools Ltd CHAPTER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Bruce Morton, Ottawa Chapter COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP AWARD: Town of Goderich DUNINGTON-GRUBB AWARD 2014: The Landmark Group DON SALIVAN GROUNDS MANAGEMENT AWARD 2014: Shades of Summer Landscaping & Maintenance FRANK EWALD JR AWARD: Ryan Heath HIGH SCHOOL HORTICULTURE EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD: Allan Nason, Notre Dame SS PAST PRESIDENT’S AWARD 2014: John Bakker, Paul Doornbos, Brian Marsh, Terry Nicholson PROSPERITY PARTNERS LEADERSHIP AWARD 2014: Mark Fisher, Jordan Ward, John Wight TRILLIUM AWARD 2014: Jim Douglas for ORCGA Development

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, Draglam Salt and Earthco Soil Mixtures; supporting sponsors Permacon Group and Connon Nurseries - CBV Holdings For more information about the Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence programs, please visit


Landscape Ontario is pleased to recognize the winners

award winners

• 2014 WINNER •


WHOLE NINE YARDS DESTINATION RESORT Backing onto the Georgian Bay Club golf course, this backyard retreat features a gunnite lap-pool, mountain-style Cabana (fully winterized and complete with a full kitchen & bar, dining area, change-rooms and bathroom), pool-house, kids’ play areas, sunken fire patio, outdoor kitchen, hot tub along with multiple dining and lounging areas. The homeowners enjoy the unique waterfall as a focal point enroute to the western sky and golf course views... just in case their weekend needed a little extra R&R. Flowing through a floating, step-stone walkway into the pool, the water feature also provides ambient noise to filter the golf course action.



FLAGGING DOWN STYLE Breathing new life into an old standby BY JUSTYNA KONDAKOW – THUNDER BAY, ON


Anna Coro

Harley Dav idso




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Emilio Pucci


style district

Alexander McQueen



an eB

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Soil pushing back the meat of my fingernails, sweat on my brow, I look out among my garden; fully fertilized and momentarily tame. Concentrated moments like when pruning citrus strands or preening over papaya sprouts, is the mirror of the bandana. Hard work requires an even harder working accessory that bodes well for wear of the sage. This four-sided cloth serves every whim, no matter the size of your garden or ego. It is a small but mighty accessory that sets the tone for the participant’s style projection. The interpretations that follow this cloth show its versatility. How you wear it will display an aspect of your persona as it adds its own spice. Each twist and fold of the cloth becomes a new interpretation of yourself. Tie it around your head and you look like a biker dude. Rope it around your forehead and you are the master of the bonsai forest. Wrap your wrist, ready for a quick swipe to the forehead to catch the sweat. You instantly look like you don’t fuss around; the bandana demands attention. Proof awaits your disbelief when the neighbors’ kids keep off the lawn as they slowly back away failing to bat an eye. While it inconspicuously hangs on your shelf, the bandanna is ready to

twist itself up and spank you on the way out like in a rowdy gym locker. An accessory with daring gusto, the bandana is an underrated accessory that seems to only be offered up to stereotypically extreme genres of recreation. Well I’ll be damned if the sailors, bikers and cowboys of the world take all of the credit! While poking around at an antique shop, I discovered a basket of scarves. I flung out a yellow and taupe satin bandana adorned with the obligatory paisley. I had no idea how I would wear it, but yes I’ll take it. I knew that wrapping it around my head, I would look like a biker chick trapped in a fashion show. This was not a look that I was feeling on a Tuesday morning. It was one of those pieces that I had to have but was not quite sure how to integrate into my style. One day, after being exhausted with too many adornments yelping “Pick me! Pick me!” I refused the conventional waist belt and out the door I went with the yellow paisley bandana wrapped around my waist. Over the coming days it gradually made its way to my neck, my ankle and tied on my wrist. It requested I utilize its many functions, and I happily obliged. Despite not going for the aforementioned biker chick chic look, the assumption still remained: It wields the power to display a universal sense of coolness that was only thought to be exclusive to Clint Eastwood (cue the Clint squint!). Not only does the bandana look impressive on a sweaty man (preferably buff and shirtless) in the garden, but if that’s not your thing, you too have many options to lust over. The bandana is like the fabric version of the Swiss Army Knife. It is an accessory that doesn’t fuss around with lily sniffing garden gnomes. The thread is locked and loaded with aggressive style and purpose. Among its many functions of utilization it also adds sod loads of individual taste on account of the prints, textiles and, of course, the limitless options of manipulation. Naturally, this comes in handy when managing your land. Digging, pulling and planting requires material insurance and luckily the glorified hankie will coo your garden woes. No one wants a garden accessory that complains. Dirt under the nails always sheds light on a job well done and the bandana amplifies the cool factor with a stiff upper lip. No whining. I suggest you let your functional creativity loose with this garden staple and push the boundaries of everyday style. Hand painted or copy and pasted, the bandana suggests its deceivingly simple stature. Beyond the nature of this wonderfully practical cloth, it is truly the flag for the individual. No matter the thread count or print, you can look just the way you want without becoming style-camouflage.


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style district


Trends Expert

NLM couldn’t be more excited about welcoming this wonderfully talented woman to our team. Heidi Richter has been the lead designer and project manager on multiple home makeover television shows in addition to running her own company HR Design Inc. In the past few years she has made the foray into styling outdoor spaces for HGTV’s Decked Out, Disaster Decks and Deck Wars. She didn’t start off thinking she would have a career in the design world. She studied biology thinking she would follow in her parent’s footsteps and work in the medical field. After realising that this was not her true calling she worked in the hospitality industry for a number of years. While that paid the bills it still left Heidi looking for more. She then decided to take a leap of faith and emailed a prominent television producer, saying that she wanted to try a new line of work and could she volunteer with his company. Timing and luck was on her side and she was invited to work on set with him. She quickly moved up through the ranks playing many roles in the design world: painter, carpenter, stylist, designer, project manager and art director. When asked what her particular style is, Heidi responds by saying she designs to suit the environment.

Her design philosophy is about focusing on people and how they live, always being sure to suit the needs and personalities of the client. “A home should reflect the individuals that live in it and how they use it.” Heidi didn’t go to design school, but learned by being hands on. As a child she was the go-to girl when flat packed furniture arrived in the family home. Her first full scale renovation was as a young adult when she converted a 1000 square foot open warehouse space into a two bedroom studio. A few night school courses, including carpentry and computer assisted drafting, helped launch her career in the design world. She describes herself as a bit of an ‘eco-hippie’, always trying to find products that have a reduced eco footprint. Her current personal project is renovating a dilapidated, 100 year old, one room schoolhouse on a one-acre property in the country. The project will include indigenous plantings, raised planter beds with heirloom produce varieties, a greenhouse, chicken coop and bee hives. Heidi loves spending time in the outdoors gardening and is at her happiest when her hands are in the dirt. Heidi will be gracing the pages of NLM in our “Trends” section and we look forward to her ideas and advice on all things trending. Happy to have you on board Heidi!


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Cottage Life 1 Fisherman’s Pendant Light - 2 Driftwood Candelabra - 3 Succulent Baking Tray - 4 Lake Pillow - 5 Dunham Kilim Recycled Yarn



Indoor/Outdoor Rug - 6 Patio Lights Fire Pit - 7 Classic Adirondack Chair - 8 Galvanized Metal Rolling Wagon Party Bucket - 48 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM


Bringing life to your outdoor space. Fountains



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1 Nautical Glass Floats - 2 “Locals Only” Surfboard Print - 3 Hemp Boatyard Pouf - 4 Seaside Cushion - 5 Apothecary Candle Lantern - 6 Faux Bush Coral - 7 Vintage Canning Jar Chandelier - 8 Barn Star - 9 Weatherby Sofa - 10 ‘Oasis’ Beverage Server

with Galvanized Stand -

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LECHUZA CANADA 6430 Kennedy Road, Unit D Mississauga, ON L5t 2Z5 905.696.7529 1.800.263.4734


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separation Anxiety

When safety and beauty must merge BY GLENN CURTIS – MONTREAL, QC


lanning your ideal outdoor living space can be an exciting process for any property owner. If you close your eyes you can almost envision your beautiful deck, serene garden, pristine patio and inspired carpentry and stone work. And at the heart of your personal oasis, you picture a seamless transition between your extraordinary landscape and your shimmering new swimming pool; the pièce de résistance and natural focal point of your picturesque space. As you mentally bask in the potential of your new space, your landscape designer suddenly snaps you out of your peaceful reverie, mentioning the need for a secondary fence around your new pool (in addition to the one that encloses your yard). The first thing that comes to mind is an old motel pool encircled by a claustrophobia-inducing barrier…and you want no part in that eyesore. Why do you even need another fence anyway? Well, after a recent spike in the number of tragic pool drownings, Quebec enacted the strictest law in Canada in terms of regulating access to residential pools. Applicable to new or replacement pools installed after 2010, the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act mandates that any in ground, semi-in ground, above-ground, inflatable and even temporary swimming pool over 0.6 m (2 ft) has to be enclosed by a 1.2-m (4 ft) high perimeter fence NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

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Photo by C2 Studios

with self-closing, self-locking gates. Since many municipalities demand that enclosures prevent direct access from the house, they are usually supplementary to any existing fence on the property line. In fact, this law also includes a provision that allows municipalities to demand comparable compliance from owners of older pools. As predicted, few property owners are enthusiastic about the visual impact of incorporating this secondary line of defence, and the race for esthetically pleasing solutions is already starting to heat up. The fence-within-a-fence scenario creates anxiety for would-be pool owners who believe their fencing options are limited to bulky, storebought structures that will disrupt the flow of their landscape, isolating the natural centerpiece of their yards. Fortunately, recent landscaping trends and fencing solutions offer some sophisticated, attractive and effective options for tastefully integrating safe barrier fencing around swimming pools. Glass pool fencing is a sophisticated and elegant solution to fencing in pool areas. Complementary to a high-end landscape design, glass solutions keep the visual focus beyond the fence instead of on the fence itself. Letting in maximum light, transparent panels are also effective noise and wind filters and they keep debris out of your pool much better than wood or metal alternatives. Glass fencing is adaptable and can accommodate different types of terrain in addition to sloped, stepped and curved walls. Adding another level of security, smooth glass is also climb resistant. Still equate glass with fragility? Fear not. Made for heavy duty and industrial use, tempered glass and Plexiglas are among the strongest materials available for fencing, railings and partitions. If you seek maximum visibility, the panels of a frameless fence can secure directly to your deck, patio or balcony using aluminium, titanium or stainless steel spigots or clamps. Alternatively, a semi frameless fence may be your preferred option if you like the look of panels separated by the odd post. While conventional building materials around swimming pools can age quickly due to constant contact with chlorinated pool chemicals, tempered glass and its stout metal fasteners are highly resistant to corrosion as well as Canada’s extreme weather conditions. The cons? Well, like any glass product, glass fence panels and gates


require regular cleaning. However, you can use any off the shelf glass cleaner and apply a protective barrier spray to keep your glass fence cleaner for longer. Simultaneously strong and elegant, artistic ornamental iron or aluminium fences are another popular option for enclosing pool areas. Traditionally lower in cost than glass fences, iron fences are low maintenance and are often marketed with rust-free or resistant finishes by the manufacturer. With an abundance of designs available, you are likely to find something to suit your taste and compliment your outdoor space. Seemingly unlimited color options can also aid in blending your fencing into your outdoor environment and matching its existing color scheme. The drawbacks of using iron or aluminium fences around pools are that they are able to be climbed, partially obstruct views and allow wind and debris to enter your pool area. Wood fencing can also provide a sturdy and durable barrier around a swimming pool. As with any carpentry, wood solutions can include an array of stylish designs tailored to various heights and colors. Wood fencing can also offer the most privacy of available fencing solutions, but often at the expense of blocking your view of the pool. As with any landscaping component, the key to the successful integration of pool fencing lies in the way they are integrated into your surrounding architectural and landscape elements. Fence lines can be tastefully deemphasized and enhanced overall when balanced with smart plant selections, trees, pavers, wood, stonemasonry and more. Working with an experienced landscape designer is the best way to ensure that you never need to sacrifice beauty, “wow factor” or your enjoyment of your property, in order to enhance pool safety and peace of mind. “The great challenge for the garden designer is not to make the garden look natural, but to make the garden so the people in it will feel natural.” - Lawrence Halprin Glenn Curtis is the President of Plantenance Landscape Group, an award-winning team of landscape designers, craftsmen and horticulturists that has been transforming the ordinary into extraordinary outdoor living escapes throughout Montreal and surrounding areas for more than 30 years | / 1-888-9PLANTE


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I’ve always been a different cat. For those that know me, this is evident in every part of my life. Whether it’s parenting my four daughters, playing music, designing and building, or simply just communicating with people, I’ve been told that I do most things in a very unique fashion. Of course my opinion is that I’m the one that’s normal, and it’s everyone else who’s weird.  In a very plastic and commercialized world, I’m a big fan of things that have meaning, depth and authenticity. My day job consists of building backyard retreats that allow me to dream, design and achieve ideas and concepts that will get people talking. But while these attributes serve as food for my creative soul, my fulfillment lies not in my creative concepts, but rather the value my creations can offer to families. After all, we are communal beings by nature. We need to be close to one another, to feel a sense of belonging and community, and to truly connect. Sometimes in this fast-paced world, it is these most basic instincts that get neglected and ignored. I have spent the past 16 years of my life trying to restore a little piece of humanity and purpose into every project, and it has been incredibly rewarding to see the impact that creating true places of rest and tranquility has had on those who have allowed me to express my art form in their backyards. Every project has been special to me in some way, but every now and then, a project comes along that really hits home. And that project, for me, begins with a little story. NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

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My wife Janna’s favorite place in the entire world while growing up, was her grandparent’s cottage on Georgian Bay. She loved the water. Whether she was swimming in it or simply sitting on the sandy beach and staring at it for hours, she couldn’t get enough. It was like her second home.  What truly made it home, however, was not the water, but rather the ancient log home where her extended family came together and spent time with one another. Quality time. The kind of time that creates those memories that never seem to erode with age.  It was the gathering place.  When her beloved grandfather became ill, the cottage was sold, and Janna’s heart was broken. It was as if that rustic old building was an anchor, and without it, the family was swept up in the strong currents of life and scattered apart. Janna believed that she would never be as happy as she was there, and for the next 12 years, she dreamed (almost obsessively) of returning to Georgian Bay. Ironically, it was her dream that led me to one of the most memorable and emotionally touching projects of my career. When I first met Cass Benjamin, I saw a heart that longed for community and that was thirsty for connection. In short, I knew from word one that she was a kindred spirit. Cass owned a beach club that consisted of 11 modest cottages, and toiled for years to create a unique community where families could escape the rigors of everyday life. Her dream was to provide a place of perspective, and though 58 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

her ideas and properties were appealing, what she was really selling was a vision. We bought in. Janna soon made her triumphant return to Georgian Bay, only one concession north of where her happiest childhood memories where formed! She had everything back; the water, the sand, the view of the Blue Mountains in the distance. All heartwarming to her soul, but there was one missing element. Our new cottage was beautiful, but small. There was barely enough room for the two of us, and nowhere near the space Janna would need to start her own family traditions. It needed a true gathering place, an outdoor communal area large enough for everyone to be able to take in nature’s beauty, while also providing a venue that allowed people to connect. It was time for me to go to work.  Cass had installed a salt water pool behind the property’s original 150-year-old log cabin, with the hopes of drawing people together to create that community vibe. It had failed miserably, and after one look, I knew right away why. The utilitarian pressure treated fence surrounding the pool was not only as ugly as a witch’s wart, but it also committed the most heinous of crimes: it blocked the view of the bay! I saw immediately what could be done, and didn’t let typical adult-type rationale stand in my way. This was personal on every level. This was a deck restoration that was not just going to have an impact on one

family but countless others to come...including my own! This had to be done. The build itself was a model of all the things I love. The entire team lived in the community for 9 days. We ate and drank together. We talked on a different, more deep-seeded level. We acted like kids at camp. It was perfect. It was Cass’s vision personified, played out before her in living colour.  As for the deck? Let’s just say I’m used to the joy of assembling sticks of wood to create a positive emotional response. Typically I am the one that prescribes the medicine that will cure your ailing yard. Cass’s project put me in the very unlikely position of having to taste my own medicine, of having to be doctor and patient simultaneously. Her tears once I had finished bringing her vision to life were expected. What I didn’t expect were my own. And Janna? Well, it seems she’s a slow processor. I think I secretly hoped to witness that climactic, emotional moment often reserved for the movies and reality TV. Though the impact on her wasn’t as outwardly obvious as I had anticipated, I do believe that one day she will simply wake up, look around, and realize that perhaps her happiest days are ahead of, and not behind her. New seasons of Disaster Decks and Decked Out air Tuesdays beginning at 9pm ET/PT on HGTV Canada.

Dreaming of the Perfect BackyarD oasis? When Paul’s not on set, he’s still a busy beaver designing for clients all across North America! Visit to find out more!

“Decked Out“ host Paul Lafrance

HGTV is a trademark of Scripps Networks, LLC; used with permission.

we need to talk

PVC DECK WITH CURVE including a double border perimeter accented in complimentary color. Features inset low voltage deck lighting and curved wood railing stained to match decking. Built in Burlington, ON.

Photos by The Deck Store


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Custom built hardwood cabana with hardwood deck area and overhead pergola creates an inviting outdoor eating and gathering area in this Oakville, ON back yard.

Sleight OF HAND

the magic of decking contractors BY TIM ZWART – MILTON, ON


f you’ve spent enough time in any major city across North America, you’ve no doubt stumbled across their most underappreciated resource: the street performer. A collection of the talented and the macabre, these lonely souls make it their life’s mission to entertain the masses…and to see just how far they can stretch the boundaries of acceptable public attire. On any given day you may see somebody juggling chainsaws set ablaze, balancing plates while riding a unicycle, or creating art with sand or paint in the blink of an eye. Witnessing such things transports us to a time of child-like awe and wonderment, and nobody gets a bigger reaction from us than the star of this unofficial street circus: the magician.  He dazzles us with his sleight of hand and astounds us with his card-handling expertise, frustrating our senses with the way he is able to accomplish these feats right before our very eyes. Being a jack of all trades is essential to his success, and his skill set takes years to master. And though it may not be the first comparison that comes to mind for most, he is actually not unlike a…. decking contractor. In the world of home renovations and general contractors, who does your work, is just as important as deciding what work you want to have done. People often make the mistake of believing that general contractors or house framers are the most qualified to work on their outdoor living spaces; when in reality it takes a particular type of contractor, skilled in the art of decking. While hiring a general contractor to construct your deck does not actually mean you will end up with an inferior build (we certainly would prefer them to an actual magician), there are some very distinct differences between them and experienced deck builders. Probably the most glaring of these is the amount of exposure given to their work. For example, oftentimes if a housing contractor or framer makes a mistake in something like nail position or joist connection, they are usually able to hide this blemish behind some sort of façade, such as drywall. A decking contractor is not so lucky. They have their finished work exposed to the world, and even small mistakes can stick out and become very noticeable. Every joist hanger and deck clip has to be applied with a surgeon’s precision, and every board or piece of PVC must be cut to exact measurements. This is no easy task, as your decking contractor must simultaneously deal with obstacles his other contracting brethren do not. The lack of stable building supplies, and materials that expand and contract can be troublesome. In addition, the influx of new materials and products into the decking industry can take time to master, when by comparison, established materials are the norm in most general contractor jobs. 

Another key differential between these two men of labor is emotional attachment. Let’s face it, most people generally don’t fret over small imperfections in their newly installed drywall, flooring or basement. For them it is not the construction of the room that matters, but what is ultimately placed within it. The way people feel about their decks and outdoor living spaces is the exact opposite. Often there is an emotional attachment to the deck itself, accompanied by an almost obsessive need to ensure its pristine condition. There is no second thought given to the rusted-out hibachi grill that will temporarily adjourn its surface, but only to the surface itself being tidy and presentable.   The ability to perform under pressure is an important attribute for a good deck builder to have as well, as they are often watched and scrutinized by homeowners throughout the course of their work. Typically at least one member of the family is home during most (if not all) of the installation process, and though some may take a very hands-off approach, often this is a task in which homeowners see the need to involve themselves. This again is another example of where the general contractor or house framer has a distinct advantage. We generally tend to give men working inside our homes space and privacy, only popping our heads in once or twice during the process to check on progress. Think about it; when was the last time you sat from sun-up to sundown watching your basement being renovated?  The last and perhaps most crucial thing a decking contractor has in common with our magician, is the necessity to be a jack-of-all-trades. There are several different elements that go into creating a deck or outdoor living space, and your decking contractor must be well versed in them all. Whether the task is laying concrete for footings, framing, carpentry, electrical, railing installations or hardscape construction, a decking contractor must be equally adept at all things related to the construction of your project. The ability to have three, four or even five companies that specialize in different aspects of your build working simultaneously is simply not a reality. “Working in waves” as it’s commonly known in the general contracting world, is not something your decking contractor has at his disposal. There is no revolving door of specialized workers tagging themselves in and out of the job site like wrestlers in a royal rumble match. No sir. This is a boxing match, one-on-one, between man and deck. And believe me when I tell you that most of these matches end up going the distance. 


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Think back to when you were a child. Picture the yard where you played; a slight rise in the slope of the lawn here, a tree there, maybe an outbuilding or a flowerbed. Just by using your imagination, any component of your backyard could be transformed. You could have your own kingdom, racetrack, zoo, business and even exercise equipment. No matter how small or large the square footage, as a child, you could keep yourself busy in your yard from dawn ‘til dusk. And when you finally crawled into bed at the end of the day, you slept that deep satisfying sleep; the kind of sleep that meant your mind and body had worked hard and played harder. Do you remember that feeling? Well, Shawn Gallaugher (of Shawn Gallauger Designs) does. Gallauger is an architectural landscape designer who tackles projects with vision, passion and drive. As an athlete, he approaches his workouts in the same way; totally aware of how his body interacts with his environment. Combining the best attributes of both designer and athlete, Shawn has trademarked a new form of landscape design called the Otium Exercise Garden. And when his clients crawl into bed at the end of the day, they have worked harder in their own backyards than most people could ever dream of in a gym. 62 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

700 square foot Otium Exercise Garden at Canada Blooms

So what exactly are Otium Exercise Gardens, and where did Gallauger come up with the concept? Well, sometimes a great idea comes about when two or three innocuous ideas come together coincidentally. You see, Shawn loves to exercise, and is particularly fond of the “bootcamp style” of working out (moving quickly from station to station). Most traditional gyms operate on this basic premise; create a confined indoor space, fill the space with equipment and recycled conditioned air, and people will swarm there to get healthy. Over the years, adults have conditioned themselves to believe that the only effective exercise happens in a space called a ‘gym’. This philosophy is of course flawed (by more than just the high price tag), and one day Shawn was faced with a common dilemma: his gym had closed. His options were few, and his immediate solutions fewer. He could drive further away and use another gym (spending more money in the process), or he could try and replicate the gym experience with his own circuit training outdoors. And the rest, as they say, is history. Shawn created and used what would be the prototype for the Otium Exercise Garden that very day...and experienced the best work out of his life. He felt healed, inspired and relaxed. He continued exercising outdoors for the rest of the summer and noticed significant improvement in his mental well-being and overall health. It was then that the proverbial light bulb went off. Why not conceptualize design spaces that not only served as beautiful outdoor landscapes, but also as personal outdoor gyms? This epiphany caused Shawn to look at landscape design through an entirely different lens, and ultimately led to the 64 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

birth of the Otium Exercise Garden. The name “Otium” was selected because of its versatility in meaning; in Latin, the word is defined as the training soldiers participated in between battles. 18th century Italians, on the other hand, used the term to define an exercise pavilion, which ironically enough, was often found in a garden. Combining these two translations perfectly embodied what Shawn was looking to achieve. Choosing Otium to headline his branding was now a no-brainer. Gallaugher debuted an Otium Exercise Garden at Canada Blooms to exemplify how his exercise circuit design could be accomplished in a small space – 700 square feet to be exact. That small space included a warm up area, a cardio space, suspension training systems, a pull-out stationary stand to accommodate a regular bike, a jumping bench, stepping stones, banding patterns to run to and from or leap frog, and a water feature. Shawn’s vision is complex, yet the execution is surprisingly simplistic. Essentially, it is an exercise landscape and a garden at the same time, with each piece of his design a study in form and functionality. Take the stainless steel water feature in the Canada Blooms space for example. On the outside it seems simple enough, but its design was multi-pronged; it gave an abstract reflection so participants could see their form while they exercised, provided a cooling feature (by splashing water on themselves), created a soothing sound and offered moisture to the environment. Gallaugher’s ability to create a formula related to different workouts, different environments and space requirements is his gift; and the creation of a living, green gym interwoven with or-

dinary landscape is as innovative as they come. His designs can be custom-fitted to work with any space or client, young or old, fit or out of shape. These demographics can often both benefit from the same space! Gyms and their members can be intense and intimidating to beginners; not so in an outdoor space. A simple sign or iPod app could tell the beginner or the expert how to get the most out of each component of their design, regardless of season. “I have a client with Parkinson’s,” says Gallaugher. “He uses his Otium Exercise Garden space to strength train, to stretch and to improve balance. My objective is to have clients experience the joy of exercising outside, combined with the high runners experience when they are exercising hard, yet feel totally relaxed at the same time.” Shawn’s mind is always going, and he is constantly looking for ways to make his unique designs even better. This year (in addition to working as an instructor at the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson), Gallaugher set the goal of focusing on residential gardens. He revisited his previous landscape designs, looking at each space for potential exercise components. And he found them; inclines for challenging cardio workouts, walls on which to secure resistance bands, level spaces for running, stones for step-ups and stretching, intimate places for cool downs. He was starting to feel like Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind, fitness components popping out of everywhere like flying numbers across the sky. “People don’t understand until they see it. They can’t picture a circuit in their garden. You have to clearly build, explain and demonstrate it,” says Gallaugher. His designs are not about dropping exercise equipment into an environment, they are about using the environment as the equipment. From a small space to acres of land, he sees clearly what others cannot; endless residential and commercial exercise applications. There is no doubt Otium Exercise Gardens are the way of the future, and in some way, the past. Our backyards were, and can still be, our playgrounds. And we are all limited only by our imagination. For more information please visit or call (416)427-7342 or email

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“Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had.”   Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

It’s sometimes the most unexpected and unlikely choices that one makes in life, that have the greatest impact on our future. For Joe Morello, President of Premier Landscaping and Design, that choice happened in the form of a summer job he took while at University. Excelling at math and science, it was a no-brainer to enrol in the Chemical Engineering program. To gain practical chemical knowledge while making that all-important summer cashola, a pool company seemed a logical enough choice. His days, as it turned out, had less to do with Ph and chlorine levels and more to do with the backbreaking work of constructing and installing pools. Perhaps it was his strong work ethic, (or was he just a sucker for punishment?), but Morello found himself signing up for round two the following summer. “I have to say, it was a lot of fun though”, he concedes. The second year at his summer job found Morello more involved with putting the finishing touches around the pools and patios, water features and garden designs. By this time something had taken a hold of Morello and he decided to defer his program for a year and pursue horticultural training. By year four, he’d set out on his own and founded his company Premier Landscaping and Design. In a twist of fate, Morello enrolled his little brother Patrick into the new business (even though Patrick had his sights set on a degree in business administration). While Morello was concerned with the construction, costs and design of the builds, Patrick was busy pushing the envelope, proposing new designs, unfettered by the budget. It could have been a disaster, however, it was this dynamic, this chemistry, that pushed Morello to find new solutions and innovations that helped to develop sustainable, ecolog-

ical practices. It was working with Morello in those early years that laid the foundation for his brother to attain a degree in landscape architecture, and become the Senior Principal of Landinc. While most architects start planning with roads and structures first, Patrick’s designs begin with the dynamics of the client, the family, the home/structure and he expands from there. His work is internationally renowned, his clients highly prestigious and his has become one of Canada’s leading firms. Together, both Premier Landscaping and Landinc have accumulated numerous esteemed awards for their designs. The chemistry is just right. The brothers make a great team. As his business continued to grow, Morello went on to become president of the Toronto chapter of Landscape Ontario for part of the 90’s, helping to teach, inspire and build more credible standards for the landscaping industry. Joe imagined he would become a chemical engineer. Instead he has discovered that he is a mentor, an innovator, and a game changer for those he inspires with his passion. Today Morello and his brother work together on some of Premier Landscaping’s top-notch projects bringing their awe-inspiring, ingenious talents together to produce amazing results. Morello approaches his projects by first sitting with the client, getting to know them, then listening to their needs. His vision is inspired by who they are, how they live, how they want their space to function. With Morello’s 25 years of knowledge and expertise and his brother’s in-depth architectural knowledge and unique design concepts, their collaborations make them a force to be reckoned with. It’s simple chemistry 101.


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Todd Duguid’s love of landscape design began on the golf course. Born in Edmonton, growing up in Nova Scotia, attending high school in Winnipeg and obtaining a graduate degree at the University of Texas, Duguid is as well rounded a North American resident as they come. Having been witness to so many unique landscapes has helped him expand the depth of his design concepts, providing a level of detail in his work that is rarely seen in the industry. Since earning his B.A. in Geography (at the University of Calgary) and Golf Course Architecture (University of Texas), Duguid has wasted little time in finding and refining his passion, something that continues to motivate him now, 20+ years into his career. Now, as the head of Duguid Design, he works on golf course designs in China, consults for a residential architect in Dallas, and completes residential landscaping projects in his home-base of Calgary. Residential design was not something he sought out initially, but rather it found him; in the form of a local design company “head hunter” during his university days. “It definitely found me,” he said laughing. “I was a pretty good student and they were looking for a good technical guy.” So he switched his course load to night classes and started working for the design company on a full-time basis. “I actually got real-world experience rather than just a school experience,” he said. That was back in the early 1990s. He stayed in Dallas for


10 years and moved back to Calgary with his family in 2000, where he continues to design mostly high-end residential and estate lots. One of the projects he’s most proud of is a client-driven project on a large lot in the city’s northwest quadrant - overlooking Calgary’s cityscape. The ‘arts and crafts’ design concept was already in place with the house on the lot, which was as good as a hole-in-one for Duguid. “The site was beautiful,” he said. “I had traveled a lot in Southern California and that’s where the ‘arts and crafts’ design in North America began in the 1900s.” The client gave him the freedom to do as he wished within the parameters of the ‘arts and crafts’ design spectrum. Calling it his “dream project” Duguid started on the design in late 2006 and finished the large-scale project in 2010. “It’s well worth the wait when it’s all said and done.” It was a shared vision project, with the client telling Duguid what he had in mind for the landscape design and Todd going to work on a conceptual design. Working together, they came up with a plan that made everyone happy. “One of my mottos is to give clients more than they want or expect.” Duguid created a fire pit area built for 10-15 people, along with a seating area and a children’s play area. “The nice thing about his project as an architect is that you actually get to do architecture,” he said. Not only was he pleased with the finished product, but his clients were left with a space they can be proud of for years to come.


What do you get when you cross an environmental design powerhouse with a world class athlete and a fiery red head of hair? Tyler Mosher. When business school was unable to satiate Tyler’s hunger to understand “why things are the way that they are”, he turned 180 degrees to the environmental planning program at the Nova Scotia College of Art Design. While he fine-tuned his practical skills, a passion for creating beautiful and functional outdoor spaces took root inside him. Before the graduation robes were folded, 26-year-old Tyler was already crafting landscape designs from his new office space in Whistler. The construction division of The Gardener’s Yard, his British Columbia based design/ build landscape company, was born by fluke: “A design client asked me to construct the plans and I didn’t really know what that meant, I didn’t realize I could subcontract this stuff, so I went out and got the tools and the people and built it”, laughs Tyler. It may have been an accident, but he hasn’t looked back since. Whistler’s strategic location allowed Tyler to concentrate full time on landscaping in the summer and pursue his other passion – snowboarding – during the winter months. But in December 2000, the book on Tyler’s dreams nearly closed when he plummeted down a ten meter mountain fault, landing on his head and shattering his spinal column. In his dark-

est hour, doctors tied him to a wheelchair with a bedsheet and told him he would never walk again. But the inexplicable fire inside him left no room for tears of defeat. Instead, he parked the chair in the corner of his rehabilitation room and began “falling down and getting back up and falling some more”. As he wrestled with the possibility of losing half his body, Tyler’s commitment to landscaping was put to the test. Astonishingly, with the help of long-time employee Alan Goutier, business at the Gardener’s Yard carried on without a single day of downtime. Today, Tyler can not only stand but is an adaptive snowboarding world champion. He made history again by helping to bring snowboarding to the 2014 roster of paralympic sports and will compete for Canada in Sochi on March 14. What’s next for this chronic over-achiever? He hopes to bring a gold medal back to BC where he’s launching a year-round branch of The Gardener’s Yard in North and West Vancouver. Despite his tours de force in sport and personal development, no topic lights Tyler up brighter than landscape design. “I just really, really like it. We’re creating a built environment for people and we’re using nature to do it. To be able to do all that while also making a piece of art is crazy awesome”.


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teri-lyn greer BY LORI SWEEZEY, DUNDAS, ON

Sometimes in life, perspective is everything. Take something like, say, a tree for example. Some landscape designers look at one and see an eyesore, something that stands between them and their “vision” for the space. But the good designers, the ones that take a personal stake in your project and its outcome, don’t just see a tree. They see your tree, its longevity, its emotional connection and it’s natural beauty. These are the people who think outside of the box, who would prefer to incorporate the tree into their design, rather than the other way around. Enter Teri-lyn Greer. Only occasionally does one come across a person that exemplifies the perfect combination of integrity, spirituality, and an absolute passion for their work. Teri-lyn Greer of Greer Design Group-Landscape is one of those rare people. You just know when you look into her striking green eyes that she is, without a doubt, trustworthy, talented, and committed to her profession. You can simply feel it in your core. This award-winning designer has had her hands in every aspect of the landscaping world. After studying for three years at Fanshaw College (in London, ON), Greer set out to learn everything possible about the industry, instinctively knowing that all of these experiences would come full circle and provide her with unparalleled knowledge and skill. Never afraid to get her hands dirty, Greer worked in the field doing design construction and installation for three years before finally sitting down behind a desk (with cleaner hands) to do the thing she loved most to create. After 10 years of working for other firms, Greer took a leap of faith and a giant step forward for her70 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

self professionally, creating Greer Design Group Landscape. “Women have equal opportunity in this industry,” says Greer, “but what happens with that opportunity is really up to them.” Greer’s designs are heavily influenced by her love of classic European gardens and architecture. Her attention to even the smallest of detail, she openly jokes, is one of the benefits to being a little OCD when it comes to her work. It was, no doubt, a contributing factor to her “Excellence in Design” award from Landscape Ontario. Being thorough is like breathing air to Greer. Every design she does, she “feels”. Her heart and soul are gently woven throughout both the hard and softscape of her projects. “It’s like being the director of a movie. You understand the writer’s vision, you know what your own vision is, and you make the two come together in harmony to produce a box office blockbuster”. And Greer’s future is looking as bright as Hollywood. Her ability to balance work and family makes for one very aware woman. She has dreams of one day consulting, owning a little outdoor accessory design boutique, and possibly selling her home-grown veggies at a roadside stand. “I’m happy with the simple things in life”, she smiles. Though the entire script of her career has yet to be written, the scenes we have seen make it obvious that there is something very special in the works at Greer Design Group-Landscape.

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I didn’t want to get Freudian immediately upon meeting Anne Talbot-Kelly, but I had to. To figure out what made her tick, I had to go deeper than just asking about her process, or how she got started in landscape design, or any of those questions that are informative enough but don’t really help you know a person beyond the surface. I asked her about her earliest memory. Her face registered surprise for a fleeting instant before she answered with absolute certainty – an arabis plant. The dense bloom of white flowers and their fragrance left a deep impression on her. Not just the plant, but “the way my mom used to hide Easter eggs inside it,” she added. It’s not just about the appearance of the plants; it’s about creating a memory. Her childhood was rich with memories like this. Her parents had an “abundant” vegetable garden, her grandparents were “rose freaks,” and from the library she exclusively checked out books about baking and flowers. Talbot-Kelly came to the landscape design world at the age of 27, having already worked as a geologist’s assistant, a tree-planter, a cook on a boat and a hairdresser. “Hairdressing didn’t work for me because I didn’t particularly like staying inside.” She decided a career class might help her find her niche, but after several weeks she was still no closer. Finally, the instructor posed the question, ‘what would you be doing if you weren’t here right now?’

“I’d probably be at home rearranging my neighbours garden,” she replied. The instructor then recited a poem by the great William Blake: “To see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.” This is now printed on the back of her business cards. Talbot-Kelly is accommodating to her clients, but her personal preferences in design are uncompromising. “I could never live in a place that has a formal, manicured garden. It makes me feel like I can’t touch anything.” She is emphatic about protecting our environment and vehemently against the use of chemical control applications. When we talk about her creative process, she mentions the children’s book Something from Nothing; for her, it’s a credo. She tells me about a project she worked on as a barter.“They couldn’t afford any new garden purchases after a big house reno and I needed a website, so we made a deal.” Using reclaimed chimney bricks for a driveway and old windows for a greenhouse, she “re-cycled, re-purposed and removed” plants and objects (with the help of friends and ‘free’ listings online) to create a truly unique space. “Good landscape design is important. Without it, you end up with a status-quo garden and that’s been done...a lot ” she says. “Being able to create a magical space that changes how you feel the moment you step into it, is my hope.” For Talbot-Kelly, it’s more than just design; it’s creating a story. NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

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Meet Glenn Curtis. A successful business owner and innovator in the Montreal landscaping world, Curtis essentially has two speeds in life: ‘On’ and ‘On’ (and I’d be willing to bet that he even works in his sleep). President,  Team Coach,  Project  Consultant,  and co-founder of  Groupe Paysager Plantenance in Montreal, QC, Plantenance recently opened a new Landscape Design & Inspiration  center in Pointe-Claire, (*cough* shameless plug *cough*). Curtis is the proverbial workaholic, but this works for him and his partner and wife Rosy. To simply label Curtis as a landscape designer would be a gross injustice; he is consumed by and lives for his work, constantly pushing the envelope to develop new and inspiring design concepts.   Since 1981, he and wife Rosy have watched their business grow and thrive, both figuratively and literally. Plantenance has established itself as one of the “elite” in the landscaping industry, winning so many awards for their work that to cite them all, might take the remainder of my natural life (seriously, he has plaques and certifications everywhere). And what makes Curtis and Groupe Paysager Plantenance so successful you may ask (aside from Rosy,


who Glen credits with making everything work)? Well like any successful endeavor, it all comes down to the ‘process’. Every project Curtis brings to life starts in Design Plantenance; each plan fully customized with cutting edge 3D technology. Curtis manages all the company’s projects from conception to completion himself, utilizing his fine gardening/horticulture division (called ‘Private Gardener’) to provide the perfect detail and accent pieces for his designs. His clients are involved every step of the way, right down to even the smallest of details.   “I don’t want to be the biggest, I want to be the best”, he says. And if you’ve ever seen his work, this goal of his is not a stretch! During the ‘off season’, Glen does what any good employer would: he invests in his staff. On his dime, he sends his employees to school in order to continuously educate and nurture them, to be the best that they can be. Brilliant idea. In a province with a population that are passionate about their landscape and hungry for uniqueness, its no wonder that Glenn Curtis and Plantenance have found the perfect recipe for success.

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The “Do-Over” Bringing a school playground back to a natural state. BY ADAM BIENENSTOCK – DUNDAS, ON

It all started in 1974, when my family moved into the old candy store across the street from Dundas Central Public School. I was in grade 3. The entire sloping grounds were paved in cracked asphalt. In fact, I still have the scars on my head and my knees as a reminder. Back then it didn’t matter much that the school grounds sucked, because we played in the woods from the time school was out until the streetlights came on. Most weekends, afternoons and evenings, we were “up the creek” making dams and forts, collecting fossils, or cannibalizing lawn mowers and rotten deck boards to make go-carts for the Albert Street hill. It was a time of reckless abandon, risk taking, and unsupervised joy. I can’t even remember a time when I didn’t have a Band-Aid stuck to me somewhere, for something. Nature was everywhere. It was in my shoes, my hair, and ground into my scraped knees and elbows. By the late 80s, I’d left this enchanted life behind me, choosing to try my hand at acquiring fame and fortune in British Columbia. I’d changed and left Dundas behind, but not before the city had started changing on me. Kids started frequenting the woods less and less, the draw of fresh, clean air gradually becoming overpowered by an increasingly electronic age. The sugar shack had been boarded up, a once strong maple syrup industry had gone the way of the dinosaurs, and maintaining the forest? Well, let’s just say conservation areas were starting to become known for something other than nature. Oddly, the one thing in the community that seemed to be considered “sacred ground”, was my old stomping grounds: Dundas Central Public School. Sometime in the 90s, the community decided that some of the school’s asphalt should be replaced with sod. They raised some money, called up the neighbors, and went to the school with bulldozers and shovels, juice boxes and sandwiches, digging for as long as it took. My friend

Dave Maciulis from Natural Landscape Design (and purveyor of this fine publication) got involved, placing berms and planting shrubs and trees. It was around that time that something dawned on me, and I realized how important this community was, not only to my past, but also to my future. I was drawn to this place, and felt an overwhelming need to move back, set down some roots, and start a family of my own. Fueled by a wave of nostalgia, I decided to visit the school the very first week after moving back home. One of the first things I saw almost took my breath away…and not in a good way. No sooner had I stepped back onto my old campus than I saw a collection of school board bulldozers; and they were flattening the school’s only playground! Granted, the structure was old, wooden, tired and non-compliant with heightened CSA standards - but it was their only playground. Come on! Did this really need to be done, and on the first school day of the year no less? To make matters worse, I quickly learned that the school board had no real plans (or funding) to replace that which they had destroyed. Bienenstock Playgrounds and a group of concerned parents approached the board with a $350K pledge from the community to build a natural playground at Dundas Central…which the board immediately rejected. They cited safety concerns, projected maintenance costs, blah blah blah…, and their risk management policy was as unpopular as it was transparent: “When in doubt, rip it out”. Undeterred, we consulted with teachers, students, parents, neighbors, funders, builders, suppliers, and the board to produce a new vision for the site. We built a website, formed a fundraising committee, created a 3D design and held fundraiser after fundraiser. Money started coming in from grants, parents and grandparents. It took nine years of hard work and perseverance by our community,


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“One generation plants the tree, another gets the shade” – Chinese Proverb

overcoming countless bureaucratic hurdles, nonsensical rebuttals, and even an order to cease and desist construction…but in the end, the board finally gave us permission to proceed. By the time we broke ground in the summer of 2013, the school’s green space was in such a sad state of affairs, that is was virtually unusable for 80% of the school year! With less than a third of the funds required to complete the project, the community began reconstruction. Our first call? Dave from Natural Landscape Design, who had a crew on site the next day. With the ball rolling, the community stepped up to get the job done. Michelle Chin, the head of our Home and School Association, would send out a call to action on a Thursday, and by Saturday morning, over one hundred volunteers were on the grounds ready for work. Construction lasted just over a month, with community volunteers contributing more than 4000hrs of their time to the cause. We worked, ate and laughed together, as children and seniors, parents and teachers, labored side by side to have the grounds ready in time for the start of the school year. The result is a sense of gratification that is barely able to be put into words. Students now experience the wonders of nature in an open grass field, learn in an outdoor


classroom, and own a forest of new trees, giant climbing stumps and logs carved into chairs and couches. There are two new playgrounds for the Kindergarten kids with a hill, a sand play area, mirrors and community murals, new gates, and pathways linking it all together. As amazing as it all looks, the real story is about the “how” and “why” it was built. The project could never have been completed without that sense of community ownership, which dates back to the 1800s when the school was first built. This community has never relinquished that ownership. It is our school, these are our kids, and they need contact with nature to thrive. And in the years ahead, when it needs some more TLC, we will all be there to answer the call. Special thanks to LaFarge Quarries, Natural Landscape Design, Windmill Power Equipment, TDFEF, The Bertram Family Foundation, The Hamilton Community Foundation, Picones, The City of Hamilton, McKnight Haulage, McPhee Carpentry, Patrick Chilvers Carpentry,, Bienenstock Playgrounds, and to the community of Dundas, who fills me with an increased sense of pride with each passing day.

Your best tool for growing a healthy, sustainable lawn. A grass seed that makes life and lawn easy with less maintenance, more benefits and proven results. - Carson Arthur ‘Outdoor Expert’

Now available at 100+ garden centers across Canada, including participating Canadian Tire locations.

CARSON ARTHUR Helping you find solutions for conserving water and saving money without having to make a big change in your lifestyle!

Watch Carson on HGTV’s Critcal Listing.

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As a television personality, I’ve had the opportunity to champion many different causes. Sometimes you get instant results and can see the immediate impact of your efforts. Others feel like a never-ending journey of trying to get people to take notice of your message. Then it takes years to get any tangible response. Water conservation in Canada has been one of the hard ones for me. I’ve spent the last 15 years trying to get Canadians to rethink their outdoor spaces and how they use water in them. It was about 15 years ago that Environment Canada started their campaign concerning depleting resources in a country where everyone assumed we had plenty. According to The Conference Board of Canada (Jan, 2013), Canadians are at the bottom of a global ranking for water usage per person, just above the U.S.A. On a daily basis, Canadians use up to 327 litres of water per person. What’s most impressive about this number is that during the summer months, our water use increases by almost 40%. This upswing is directly tied to homeowners watering their lawns and gardens. I understand how this happens. Most Canadians live in areas that experience regular rainfall and drought doesn’t really occur often, so it’s hard for the average person to buy into the idea that there is a shortage. In Canada, it appears that we have an abundance of water. We have lakes and rivers all around us, which is why we feel like we have morethan-enough to go around. The price we pay for our water is relatively inexpensive, so we use lots of it without any real concern. It’s even more difficult when we see our outdoor investments like trees, flowers and lawns suffering from lack of water. We see a brown lawn and the first thing any homeowner does is grab the sprinkler. ‘Cost’ appears to be another reason for the uphill battle of water conservation in our country. Every method to save water seems to require an investment of some sort, which is why most homeowners say they can’t afford to make a change. I’d hoped that rain barrels would be an amazing way for homeowners to take advantage of free water. While a lot of rain barrels were sold nationally, hauling water around the yard to feed the plants wasn’t very practical or attractive to most of us. Now the rain barrels sit in the yards, full of water and get used only occasionally.

Here are three ways that you can save money and water without having to make a big change in your lifestyle.


Invest in a simple rain gauge. One of the easiest ways to waste water is ignorance. If you don’t know how much water your outdoor spaces are getting, then how can you know how much more you should give them? A rain gauge lets you keep an eye on how much water you are giving your plants/grass and how much may have naturally occurred. A good rule of thumb is to check your rain gauge every Sunday morning. If the collected water in the gauge is less than 1” for the week, it’s time to get the hose out. Water until you have 1” in the gauge, turn off the sprinkler, empty the unit and you’re done until next Sunday when you check the gauge again.


Top-dress your lawn with one of the newest ‘drought saving’ types of grass. My personal favourite is RTF Water Saver grass seed. It succeeds anywhere you need it to, in either sun or shade. The key to its success is that this grass can grow roots up to 6’ deep, allowing it to naturally harvest more water from the soil below. I tell homeowners that they don’t necessarily need to get rid of their existing lawns; they just need to add some RTF into the mix. One small (2 kg) bag of seed mixed with a 40lb bag of topsoil spread over the lawn seems to do the trick for problem areas. It will naturally spread, enhancing the remainder of your outdoor space.


Replace your ‘fine mist’ sprinklers with ones that create larger water droplets. It’s a simple fact that a fine mist evaporates in the summer sun a lot faster than a bigger droplet. In this case, bigger is better! Look for sprinklers that have deflection plates. These plates are great for directing the water to where you need it to go and for creating larger droplets. Three simple changes that we can all make to create a substantial difference in our water consumption this summer. Remember, every single drop means something.

“Just because we have the lion’s share of the fresh water in the world, doesn’t mean we get to use it without consequence.” - Carson Arthur


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MAKE A SPLASH All Pools Have Water….But Not All Water Is Created Equally BY VICKI L. MORRISON – OSGOODE, ON


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design district Summer is just around the corner, which means heat waves, bored kids, and countless time spent entertaining friends and family. And what is the main focal point of any good outdoor living space? Why a great swimming pool of course! But wanting such a feature is not nearly as simple as digging a hole and filling it with water. Let’s face it, a swimming pool is no small investment, and there are a lot of things to take into consideration. I mean, do you know how many different types of pools there are out there? We could first concentrate on the actual pool design itself, but we’d be here forever. Above-ground, in-ground, semi in-ground, concrete, vinyl, insulated…the list goes on and on. And that’s literally just the tip of the iceberg. After choosing what type of pool you want, you are then confronted with a seemingly endless amount of accessory options; things like stairs, steps, ladders and fountains have to be considered, as does choosing from shapes such as kidney or doglegged. The swimming pool industry has been pumping out new and innovative features for years, and the options offered to consumers are really limited only by their imaginations. So rather than focus on what separates each pool from the next, let’s instead turn our attention to the common thread that ties them all together. The easiest answer to the one thing that all pools have in common? Yup, you guessed it: they all have water. So now you’ve chosen a pool design, have accessorized it to your liking, and it has water. What step comes next? Surely after that entire process, now is the time to throw your bathing suit on and enjoy your spoils…right? Well don’t jump into the deep end just yet, because there is one more major factor of pool ownership left to consider….

CHOOSING YOUR WATER TREATMENT SYSTEM. Each water source comes with its own unique standard of care, and as with any worthwhile investment, education is key. You have to do the legwork. Pick the brains of your local pool sales and service professional, and talk to your neighbors and friends. Be prepared to ask a lot of questions, take notes, ask for references, and then ask even more questions. Make sure you know about after-sale and installation support, check store hours, confirm the existence of house calls (or lack thereof), and inquire as to the availability of simple services like spring opening and fall pool closures. There is a lot to compare and contrast, but to help get you started, we’re going to focus on the three main categories of water treatment, and how they can benefit you. The bottom line is; every pool owner has a different reason for using a particular system, and there are pros and cons to all of them. It really all boils down to personal preference and the amount of time you are willing to dedicate to pool maintenance. Remember… the journey of a pool owner is long and filled with endless amounts of responsibility and care. But know that the reward awaiting you is cool, refreshing, and definitely worth all the effort. 82 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM



So how does good old chlorine work to keep your pool water clean? Well when chlorine powder or liquid is added to water, it makes something called hypochlorous acid; something that is really good at killing bacteria like salmonella and E. Coli. Chlorine basically tears apart germs, attacking them on a cellular level by shredding their membranes and proteins. In the chemical world this can be very useful, however there are a few side effects that can be annoying to humans. Chief among these? You guessed it…the smell. Chlorine has that very recognizable aroma that most people don’t appreciate, and some find overwhelming. Sometimes chlorine can cause skin to become itchy and irritated, as certain bodily fluids take the interaction with chlorine as a challenge…. (take those ‘Do not pee in the pool’ signs, for example). It can also cause fabric to fade quickly when not rinsed off immediately as well, an outcome few see coming until it’s too late.



Swimming in salt water is a real treat. The water is actually very similar to your very own tears (which you may be shedding after paying for a salt water pool!). For the most part it doesn’t irritate your eyes and it’s very comfortable on the skin. A salt water system, or salt water chlorine generator (SWCG) is used to replace traditional chlorine with synthetic chlorine produced from salt, then released into the pool water. Salt (or sodium chloride), dissolves in water and then separates into sodium and chloride ions. By passing a low voltage electrical current between special metal and the water, the SWCG then converts the chloride into chlorine, a process called electrolysis. This new chlorine cleans the pool, and when it is all gone, changes back into chloride to begin the cycle anew. The key is to ask an expert about the finer details. You’ll want to ask them questions about the size of the generator you may require, the price of salt, whether corrosion can come into play, etc. Everyone knows the effective corrosive powers of salt (think of the number it does on the ice in your driveway during the winter), but how will that affect your pool pipes and deck? The initial investment in a saltwater chlorine generator may be a bit higher than other methods of pool water maintenance, but the money you will save on chemicals is probably worth your while.



Last on our list is the journey through the land of ionized water pools. Ionization can be used in both chlorine and salt-water pools to make them super-clean, as the copper and zinc involved are useful in keeping water healthy (copper is an algaecide, zinc an anti-bacterial and anti-viral). The typical swimming pool ionizing anode will contain 85% copper and 15% zinc. An ionization system’s electricity is applied to the anode, and a process of electrolysis releases mineral ions into the water. This ionic solution cleans your pool and prevents the growth of algae. The benefits of using ionization systems instead of heavy doses of chlorine or bromine to sanitize your pool start on a chemical level as well. Ions are more stable to work with, whereas chlorine and bromine are volatile chemicals that become airborne and are quickly used up. The fact that metal ions remain in the water is a major benefit for asthmatics and those with chlorine allergies. Ask your local pool store about using ionization systems alone or with chlorine or saltwater for a deep clean.


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Sustainably-minded, transformative, pre-fab structure. A collaborative design effort, it captures the spirit and wonder of endless cottage summers. Made of Canadian fir and spruce structural plywood. The interior is made from Maple faced, formaldehyde-free Purebond plywood and veneer core decorative panelling.

THE BUNKIE The Art of Big Things in Small Packages BY TIM ZWART – MILTON, ON


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IN THIS NEW AGE of technology and instant information, it takes quite a lot to make our jaws drop. We’ve gradually become accustomed to seeing things that push the envelope and make our lives easier, and each new iPad release or Android phone is often met with a collective yawn. It would come as no surprise to the majority of us to see Colgate market a Bluetooth toothbrush, or for Leon’s to patent a line of couches with retractable wheels (just think of the convenience!), or even to witness Benjamin Moore develop paint that can change color electronically on your wall. These types of things have become almost mundane to our calloused and spoiled society, doing nothing to stimulate our gluten-free minds. We’re looking for something new, something innovative…something we can’t afford to live without, but can afford to buy. The world of outdoor renovation and home improvement is no different. We want style, we want pizazz, and we want to expand our usable space. But above all else, we want to find the perfect blend of affordability and convenience. Well my fellow outdoor enthusiasts, it is with great sorrow that I announce an end to your attempt at finding the perfect outdoor product…and with great joy that I introduce you to The Bunkie. One of the more innovative outdoor structures to come along in some time, The Bunkie provides all the benefits of additional living space at a fraction of the cost. These modern marvels are designed to do away with costly home renovations and additions, and instead give homeowners a unique, freestanding structure that is as customizable as your daily wardrobe. Once constructed, a Bunkie unit has an area of 12.5 X 8.5 feet and stands about 11 feet high, giving it a living space just under 107 square feet. This size was not 86 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

One of the more innovative outdoor structures to come along in some time

an accident, but was carefully designed and engineered to fit under the 108 square foot provincial government threshold (which means you don’t need a permit to have one!). Almost everything about the Bunkie is eco-friendly and environmentally responsible, from the lumber used in its construction (responsibly managed to harvest only what is needed, while replenishing every tree afterwards), to the adhesive used to hold the plywood layers together (no formaldehyde bonding agents, only FSC certified wood glues). Even the manufacturing is environmentally sound, utilizing CNC (computer numerically controlled) programs which reduce material waste while simultaneously increasing its strength and durability. But what really sets the Bunkie apart is the versatility of its use. You can design your new space to be additional sleeping quarters, a greenhouse-style library/office, a meeting room or an outdoor exercise area. The front and back panels of the structure are made entirely from recycled glass, allowing for plenty of natural sunlight while also preventing obstructed sightlines. So if you’re looking for big things in a small, affordable package, look no further than The Bunkie. You are limited only by your imagination.

for a FREE catalog visit us online




Architecturally inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, Arthur Erickson and Japanese design, this contemporary home backs onto a ravine lot off the Georgian Bay Club. A weekend retreat, the home and property offers family, guests, clients and friends a weekend they’ll never forget. Integrating an inside-outside approach, the outdoor living spaces allow for multiple areas to wine, dine, bathe, soak, lounge and play. Featuring bold lines and a minimalist palette, the spaces are further seduced by soft, simple plantings creating an uncluttered environment for weekend headspace.


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Rendered concept sketch and photos by

create your own paradise visit our showrooms

3235 Fairview St., Unit #5 Burlington I 905.639.7292 31 Dundas St. E., (Hwy #5) Waterdown I 905.689.1880 Toll Free 1.888.727.3411


Creating award winning landscapes since 1996

Music is one of the essential ingredients in creating a festive atmosphere for any gathering. Many of the Haunton’s close friends are musicians, so what better place to establish a space to create and share in the making of that music. Throw in a fire pit and voila….



Thatched roofing on both structures completes the whole “resort-like” atmosphere in the Haunton’s “staycation” backyard. This product is made by Botiki to withstand our insane Canadian winters and scorching hot summers.


Breaking bread with their friends is especially important to the Haunton’s. This area was designed to allow people to linger while crafting the most awesome of pizzas, (BLT is Noreen’s specialty). The dinning area is situated in the perfect location, precisely between the bandstand area and the pool so you can keep an eye on both zones without having to move an inch.

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BY LORI SWEEZEY – DUNDAS, ON Furniture provided by Casual Life Plant arrangements by Centro Garden


There is absolutely nothing missing from this bar area. The outdoor kitchen is a compilation of appliances. The fridge, icemaker and beer dispenser are Perlick products; the grill and side burner are DCS products; and the double sink is made by Lynx. All quality products, specific to the Hauntons needs. Everything in this kitchen makes for simplistic entertaining, leaving more time to socialize with their guests.

THERE IS NOTHING MORE ENJOYABLE than a tropical vacation. The hot sun moving over your bare skin. The warm breeze that makes it bearable to finish your margarita before you feel the need to jump into the refreshing salt water. The sounds of salsa and merengue music allow you to lose yourself in the moment……you’ve waited a long time for this vacation in Cuba…. Dominican Republic…. Aruba…Waterdown. What? Waterdown? Ontario? Mike and Noreen Haunton, of Waterdown, Ontario, waited a long time too. However, sitting in traffic every weekend while heading up to Northern Ontario to their vacation property in “Cottage Country”, did not sit well with them nor did the packing and unpacking…..packing and unpacking (insert eye roll here). “Having to do


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Planting foliage that would give this space a resort-like feel was crucial in maintaining the flow of the yard, but Mike also wanted to add something special to the gardens that spoke to his love of family. Magnolias were planted for his youngest daughter, so aptly named Magnolia; a sycamore tree was planted for his son Max on the day he was born (excellent climbing trees); and a small garden containing winter flowering heather, for his eldest daughter named…. (you guessed it)….Heather. This particular garden is also home to an 800 pound stone elephant, one of Heather’s favorite animals. Of course, he could not forget the love of his life Noreen. Mike, very pleased with himself, asserts that “Noreen is the biggest, prettiest flower I know, so I planted this in honour of her”, as he points out the enormous flowering Hibiscus tree so prominent in the garden. A clear case of “gardening imitating life”!


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NOREEN’S BLT PIZZA: Ps…..this is NLM’s favourite pizza of all time! cottage duties all weekend, like cleaning and maintenance, while those very same chores were not getting done at home, was becoming overwhelming,” says Mike. It was one too many traffic jams that led them to make this life changing decision. No longer did they want to spend hours upon hours sitting in the car, when clearly they could be spending that time in the sun and water with their three children. Their vision began with yet another long line of traffic, an idea and a pencil sketch, right there, in the vehicle. They would sell the cottage and in lieu of that, create a backyard to suit their lifestyle needs. Their wish list was crafted. They would no longer waste their valuable time. The ultimate “stay-cation” was about to unfold. The Hauntons are the owners of “Let’s Landscape together”. Their company had helped many homeowners design and build their landscaping dreams over the past 18 years. Now it was their turn. Naturally, Haunton’s own crew helped to develop this space. “I wanted to stretch the limits and see what my own team could build,” he says, teeming with pride.

Mike and Noreen considered the things that they valued in life and began to build upon that. Family, friends, their employees, food, music and laughter……their space needed to accommodate and facilitate all of these things. The final product is nothing short of brilliant. Meaning and emotional connection are deeply rooted (excuse the pun) throughout the gardens of this space. Many of the ideas were influenced by family vacations taken in the Florida Keys, Hawaii, Mexico and the like. They wanted to create a place where friends and family could gather to enjoy relaxation, great food and awesome music. NAILED IT! So, was it worth it? Selling the family cottage in order to create their dreamscape? “Without a doubt” says Mike, “We’ve had countless (memorable) parties, family functions and even a couple of weddings here over the years. Absolutely no regrets. We are blessed with our family and our friends, and we are happiest when they are all around us. The more the merrier!”

• Purchase or make your own pizza dough • Roll it out to desired size and brush with olive oil • Bake in your pizza oven or “green egg” for about two minutes • Remove and spoon/spread mayonnaise (as the sauce) to cover dough • Sprinkle pre-cooked, chopped bacon over the pizza • Add chopped tomatoes and mozzarella cheese (as desired) • Back into the oven and bake until crust is golden brown • Remove and dress with shredded lettuce (or for a twist replace lettuce with arugula)


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CHEF CHRISTOPHER WOODS Grilling season is upon us!






to the fire and strengthened his resolve. Fast-forward a few years, and the evolution of Woods’ career is nothing short of astonishing. He’s been a private chef, working with some of the Hollywood powerhouses like John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton and Michael Douglas (not to name drop or anything). Woods has also been involved in set food design for many movies filmed in the Toronto area, including Hairspray, Chicago, Four Brothers and The Sentinel. This certainly adds a little “spice” to his work! Woods is often in very high demand, and on top of it all, even runs his own catering business… Catering by Christopher Woods. This soft spoken, generous and humble man gave NLM some insight into his thoughts on a variety of topics……we’d like to share.


If I told you today, that you were no longer permitted to be a chef, what would your life’s work then be?


Tough question. I think I would design restaurants. I’ve designed 3 of them (so far) from the ground up, including the menu, the layout and the overall look of the space. I guess it’s a second passion of mine.

NLM: What things, people, or events bring joy into your life? Woods: To this day, watching young chefs working hard to perfect their craft always brings me joy. I love to teach them new tricks of the trade and secrets that I have learned over the years. In my personal life, it’s my family though. And there is nothing better than the people I love being brought together by the thing that I also love….food!

NLM: How do you create balance in your life? Woods: Working in a kitchen is very demanding.

It’s difficult to find any type of “normal” balance. Long hours, weekends and holidays… It’s hard to find time for yourself. I try to workout 4-5 times a week, and eat a well balanced diet. I also try to take 4 weeks out of the year to go somewhere sunny and warm.

NLM: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would that be?


ike any other little boy, he wanted to be a firefighter, a policeman and a great explorer. Yes, all at the same time. At six years of age, he began to take a real interest in food, (possibly the influence of Mom who was a home-economics teacher?). While his sister and four brothers were outside doing what kids do, Christopher Woods could be found in the kitchen whipping up a little something for the gang. The writing was on the wall. By grade nine he’d landed his first job in a family restaurant, and worked his way up from bus boy to dinner line chef, but as high school graduation drew closer, Woods was still not sure what his future would hold. With a little coaxing from Mom, he enrolled in culinary school. With two years of studies under his belt, he went out into the big city to take on the culinary world only to find out that despite his expertise in the classroom, he’d have to begin at the bottom again and work his way up. Ugh!! A proverbial slap in the “Look at me, I’m a chef ” face!! But this only added fuel



I’d try to stop my urge to be a perfectionist. I’m always looking for ways to make things better; trying to create a better experience. That might not actually be such a bad trait. It makes me better at what I do, but I’d like to be able to give myself a pat on the back every now and again.

NLM: If you could change anything in the world, what would that be? Woods: This one is easy. It would be wonderful if everybody could just be nice!! It’s not rocket science, yet our society struggles with this. And, I’d love people to enjoy great food, family and good friends. There’s really nothing else that matters.


“Grilling season” is upon us!!! Can you suggest a particular dish that our readers might enjoy?

Woods: Grilled marinated baby chicken al mattone with an heirloom tomato panzanella. It’s a great and simple backyard meal that is easy and fun to cook.

NLM: What is your “go-to” spice or ingredient…..the one that everyone should have handy (near their stove)? Woods: Any Chef will tell you that it takes a great stock to make a great sauce, so I’d have to say an excellent quality stock….and, of course, fresh thyme. I always use fresh herbs. It’s all about building flavor. So, for a top Chef, it may be about building flavor in the kitchen. But outside of the workplace it’s about building a sense of community and giving back. For the past eighteen years Woods has worked closely with the Canadian Cancer Society raising money for research. But the program that really pulls at his heartstrings is the Famous People Players program in Toronto, run by Diane Dupry. For the past three years, Woods has worked closely with this non-profit organization, teaching life skills to physically and intellectually challenged young adults. He is a hands-on teacher and shares his passion buy helping these students connect to their community through food and its preparation and presentation. Woods helps them to gain the skill and confidence needed in preparation for life on their own. This is the legacy that Woods truly hopes he will be remembered for.



WITH A HEIRLOOM TOMATO PANZANELLA Serves 4 4 2 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons 6 tablespoons 4 1/2 baguette 1 1/2 5 tablespoons 1 bunch

Bricks (wrapped in foil) Baby chickens, halved Fresh thyme, chopped Fresh parsley, chopped Olive oil Tomatoes, cut in 2 inch pieces Bread (2 day old of fresh toasted), 1 inch pieces Red onion, rough chop Cucumber, rough chop Red wine vinegar Fresh basil, rough chop Salt & pepper, to taste

Rinse chickens and pat dry. Season with salt, pepper, thyme,parsley and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss together and let marinate for one hour or over night. Heat your BBQ or grill at med-high heat. Place chicken on grill and place foil covered brick on top. Turn chicken every 3-4 minutes for 20 minutes or until the juices run clear. Remove from heat and tent and let rest for 10 minutes. It’s very important to let your meat rest for half the time it took to cook it! In a large mixing bowl add onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, bread, basil, olive oil, vinegar, season with salt and pepper and toss. To serve: Place salad in the middle of the plate. Place chicken on side of salad, drizzle a small amount of good quality olive oil and if you have on hand a sprinkle of malton sea salt.


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DoWnLoaD oUr Free 2014 eLectronic cataLogUes.

Let’s Take this Outside

developing an appreciation for the great outdoors BY CHRIS DUGGAN - VANCOUVER, BC

Photo by Matthew Burditt

Chris Duggan

FOR YEARS NOW, my neighborhood has been hosting outdoor fitness classes ranging from simple yoga to extreme boot camps. Occasionally, especially on rainy days, I would wonder what the attraction was. If given the choice, indoor exercise seemed to offer me far more benefits than being out among the elements (you have temperature control, shelter, equipment, etc), and besides, I felt quite content with my studio-bound practice! Then one summer, I was presented with a unique opportunity to teach yoga outdoors at the Kitsilano Showboat (which sadly has since been discontinued). Almost immediately, I was hooked. I began to develop an appreciation for the great outdoors. There was just something about the open sky and fresh air that both invigorated and inspired me, activating something within me that had laid dormant and undiscovered. I was a changed man! So much so, that almost overnight I began to look upon the classic indoor studios with as much disdain as I had previously viewed the outdoor crowd. I have since taught on many beaches, both in Vancouver and Tofino, and though we have indoor facilities, I am always the first to say ‘Let’s take this outside’. The sky and air are augmented by the smell, taste and sound of the ocean while the feel of the sand between your toes is both cooling and relaxing. At my surf/yoga retreats, we are in the water either before or after every class, which helps to create a more connected feeling with the environment. We also emphasize poses that strengthen the participants’ surf technique, so everything works together for a truly holistic experience. It really engages all five senses in the most beautiful way. Despite my initial concerns about self-consciousness in public (which were ultimately unfounded), students were very enthusiastic about practicing outside. I select locations as isolated from public view as possible, but generally the class really focuses on themselves and the natural elements. The beach practice is a feeling like no other, and goes with me wherever I am. I won’t even vacation anywhere that doesn’t have a beach! Practicing near the waves in solitude is a serene experience, but never fails to attract others. I might start in isolation, but I always finish with new friends. Sharing in each other’s life’s journey creates a connection that is just indescribable. Taking my practice to nature has brought my students and myself closer to the source of its wondrous existence, and as a result, I now look for almost any excuse to escape the confines of the studio and ‘take it outside’. WWW.CHRISDUGGAN.NET NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

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CALGARY, Alberta

Those lucky enough to wrangle a seat on the wooden deck of Calgary’s most rustic downtown eatery are afforded views more akin RIVER CAFE to a country cottage than a busy urban center. A lone blue heron cries its disapproval as a family of geese snatches its spot on the rocky shore of a tree-fringed lagoon. Bumblebees, butterflies and hummingbirds flit amongst the manicured flowerbeds, vegetable patches and herb gardens of the River Cafe, an eatery known as much for its gorgeous island setting as its organic, nature-inspired food. Smoke wafts from the wood-burning oven, mingling with the scent of wild Alberta roses and fresh-cut grass from a nearby clearing. The basket of just-baked bread placed on my table comes with two herb butters, recently plucked from the cafe’s own garden. My herb-scented lemonade is adorned with purple edible flowers, also grown right here. My meal hasn’t started yet, but already I have a feast for the senses. “We are truly inspired by nature,” says proprietor Sal Howell, who helped pioneer the notion of farm-to-fork fare long before anyone had heard of the now popular concept of sourcing local fresh food. The location is an unlikely one, flanked by the trendy Eau Claire district and office towers to the south and the Bow River on the north. Howell bought a weathered concessions stand in the early 1970s and slowly but steadily created an acclaimed urban oasis. Even the decor is fashioned from reclaimed material from the island - wood beams, flooring, huge picture windows, furniture, and even the fencing encircling the patio. A canopy of trees keeps the patio cool on even the hottest of summer days. This section of north downtown adjacent to the island includes a two-storey market (soon to be part of a major retail and residential redevelopment) as well as a movie theatre, hotel and numerous trendy restaurants. The gardens behind the cafe supply as much food as possible (climate permitting), including 20+ varieties of edible greens grown in containers and beds. Some experimental shrubs are also being tested here, while plans for a rooftop garden are also underway. The eatery has captured numerous awards for its food, wine and efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. The culinary team is known for creating flavorful, healthy fare; like my all-time favourite, a lush, creamy butternut risotto. Being situated in the breadbasket of Canada and home to vast ranchlands, meat is king in Alberta and the cafe is no exception. Guests often sample the more exotic fare such as elk, moose, wild boar and bison, but vegetarians won’t leave cheated, due to the loving attention given to greens and other vegetables. “This is such a great place to be, no matter what time of year, the River Cafe is your window to the season,” Howell notes. “We are blessed; nature is all around us. That’s exactly what we wanted to create.” Visit to learn more.


River Cafe Patio


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MONTREAL, Quebec KEM COBA Okay, tell me if you’ve heard this one. What do you get when you mix two chocolatiers from opposite ends of the earth? You get an ice cream shop!!  (Insert sound of pin drop here). Alright, so maybe it’s not great material for humour, but it is a brilliant business idea.  Situated right down the street from Montréal’s iconic Fairmount Bagel, sits  Kem CoBa (Vietnamese for three creams),  a fantastic addition to the avant-garde fusion-cuisine-foodie-scene. The owners/operators (Vincent and wife Ngoc) have had the line-out-the-doordown-the-street-cred to prove it since they opened in 2010. Picture this: you step into the shade out of the scorching summer sun, greeted by the familiar whir of refrigeration units working hard to keep frozen treats frozen, and are immediately met by two of the happiest looking people you could possibly imagine…and they want to give you ice cream! The moment you taste it, time stops. I am a grown man, and this ice cream was so ridiculously delicious, that I wanted to cry. I heard Chariots of Fire playing in full pomp in my mind, celebrating the explosion of perfectly balanced flavours across my tongue. My senses were heightened, I could hear a mouse’s heartbeat, see a hummingbird’s wings, talk to my grandmother’s dead Pomeranian…I mean, this stuff was otherworldly! Once my mind caught up to my newfound mutant powers, I felt the overwhelming need to run down the street and highfive every single person who would come close enough. But I digest. This is a magazine article after all, not a dessert exorcism. There is much more we need to cover here! What is Kem CoBa’s best ice cream, you may ask? Hands down, it is the Salted Butter and (72%) Dark Chocolate! And Kem CoBa  is con104 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

stantly raising the bar, introducing new ice cream flavours at least once monthly! Though they only run between thirteen and fifteen flavour options at any given time (as if you could try them all), their turn-over rate is so fast, every visit is always a new adventure. But not to worry, they always have the chocolate and salted butter on hand.  The doors to delicious frozen treat heaven close for the winter, whereupon our ice cream heroes become scientists, creating new flavor combinations using only the best possible natural ingredients. All natural, no preservatives and perfectly exquisite is their mantra. Local legend says testing takes place deep in the heart of their secret volcano ice-cream testing lab (I tried to find it, but failed), until around Easter. They then spring forth, gracing the world with the most palatable array of chocolates, new ice-creams, sorbets, and some of the best baked goods your taste-buds will ever know. The secret to their success is probably based more on a love story than a business outfit really.  You see, Vincent is French (like straight from France, authentic French), and Ngoc is Vietnamese (there’s really only one Vietnam, so that’s self-explanatory). Both are trained chocolatiers in love with the world of flavour, and as luck

would have it, each other. They use their respective and conventionally different epicurean backgrounds to achieve new and exciting flavour pairings…and they’re pretty awesome at it. The softness and delicate nature of French cuisine combined with the tart, zingy nature of Vietnamese cuisine makes for a signature, one-of-a-kind twist on fusion cuisine. Each of Kem CoBa’s creations is guaranteed to stimulate your every sense, every time. But if you experience something cosmic during your first visit… don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Authorized Dealer of








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Nova Scotia THE ECONOMY SHOE SHOP Sitting on the lush sidewalk patio amongst the potted plants, greenery and birch trees, antiquated wrought iron adorning the palladium windows, I feel as though I am basking in the warm sunshine of Tuscany instead of downtown Halifax. I have a glass of sangria, the condensation tantalizingly cool, as droplets of water make their way along the surface of the glass to my fingers. As I gaze up at the warm colours on the building’s façade, I am in heaven as I listen to the laughter and joy around me. This city does not get much time in the sun, so when the opportunities present themselves, we take full advantage. Perhaps the best example of this is The Economy Shoe Shop on Argyle Street, truly an oasis to bask in the warmth of a spring sun, hoping for the promise of a fabulous summer. The owner is Victor Syperek, (a gifted artist and world traveller), who’s vision for a forward moving city included opening the first sidewalk patio in Halifax about 19 years ago. In a province previously known more for its seaside shanties and lighthouses, Victor’s persistence through a tedious bureaucratic process paved the way for countless sidewalk patios to open and flourish. Syperek’s artisan touch is evident in both its internal and external décor, making The Economy Shoe Shop a desired destination for both locals and tourists alike. Sitting here with my shopping bags full of exquisite items from trendy boutiques along the waterfront, wearing oversized sunglasses and a cute little summer dress, I feel as if I am a part of something special. At the risk of sounding pompous and losing any ‘street cred’ I may have, dining at The Shoe makes me feel like one of the “cool kids”. It is a bit intoxicating, in a 106 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

way that has nothing to do with the pitcher of Sangria and mojitos I’ve been enjoying! Our waiter is a friendly, handsome young man by the name of Ewan…and he is as delightful as the environment itself. He skillfully guides us through multiple menu options, before we eventually settle on one of the house specialties: nachos, whose size Ewan describes as “heaping”. As a side, we decide to go with something a little more traditional so, fresh Nova Scotia mussels it is. And since the vibe of this lovely establishment is rooted heavily in European tradition, we simply couldn’t resist the Mediterranean Dip with Antipasti, which included artisan breads, house made chutney, pickled onions, cheeses and cured meats. We are not disappointed, with any of our selection, and without a doubt, the nachos lived up to their “Halifamous” reputation. While this is an afternoon excur-

sion, I am hoping to come back to enjoy the bar’s Monday night Jazz Show, a renowned treat for jazz aficionados. Today, though, I gaze around hoping to catch a glimpse of a one of the many actors and musicians who are known to have spent time here - Sean Penn, Harrison Ford, The Trews, Great Big Sea, John Corbett and Gord Downie, just to name a few. I see none today, but this does little to shake appreciation for this beautiful setting. I will undoubtedly return, and next time plan to stay well into the evening, perhaps on a Monday. So it is with great reluctance that I pick up my bags and head back into the bustling streets, leaving behind my little European oasis, but looking forward to countless experiences there to come.

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Photo by Jennifer Roberts

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master cicerone

Sometimes language can be a funny thing. In every conceivable native tongue, you will hear words that make you continually question their origins (I mean, who came up with aardvark and platypus anyway??). BY LORI SWEEZEY – DUNDAS, ON


hese seemingly nonsensical terms exist in most professional communities as well, and are found quite commonly in the alcohol and spirit industry (ever heard of a Sommelier or Mixologist?). One of the newest designations on the block, is the title of Cicerone (pronounced “sis-uh-rohn”), and is assigned to those who have demonstrated their vast knowledge and experience in mankind’s most fantastic elixir: beer! If you love beer and happen to know a Cicerone…well chances are, you two are pretty good friends. And one of the best in the business just happens to call Toronto, Ontario, home. Thirty-eight years young, Mirella Amato was born and raised in Toronto, ON, and after calling several other cities home throughout her life, the diversity of the food and beverage scene in Toronto called out for her return. The eldest of five children was introduced to a vast selection of beer once she began to frequent the pubs (at legal drinking age of course!). A friend acquainted her with imports and craft beer, and she was immediately hooked. “From there, I became quite puzzled that people would pick one particular beer and stick to it, when there was such a range of beer to explore.” Knowing that she wanted to work with beer, but not sure how to turn her passion and knowledge into a concrete career, Amato founded “BEEROLOGY” in 2006. After an insane amount of studying and conferring with local brewers, “BEEROLOGY” would be the means by which she would pass on her expertise; through guided tastings. Then in 2007 (in an act of devine timing for Amato) Ray Daniels, president of The Craft Beer Institute of Chicago, created the Cicerone Certification Program. And by 2012, Amato became the first certified Master Cicerone outside of the USA. Now to be clear, this was no easy feat. There are only seven Masters in the world and of those, only two are women. Amato is one of those two. NLM sat down with Amato to learn a little bit more about the woman behind the beer.

NLM: What is your favorite part of the job? Amato: There are three things I love about this job. Beer, of course, is number one - it’s delicious. I also find it stimulating to be in an indus-

try and a line of work that are in constant evolution; there is always something new to study and explore. The third thing I love about this job is that my contributions are tangible. People often approach me and thank me for turning them on to beer, telling me what they are now drinking; a number of them are now brewing or working with beer. I’m not saving lives or anything, but my work brings joy to people and that feels good.


With spring and summer fast approaching, are there any new up and coming beers to keep an eye for?

Amato: It’s an exciting time for beer. Craft breweries release all kinds of seasonal beers, particularly in the summer months. It’s so fun to explore new flavours and styles.


BBQ and Beer go hand in hand for the summer months. What beer would you match say, with ribs or steak…. or grilled veggies for our vegan readers?

Amato: With grilled foods, I lean towards malty beers. I came up with a little trick, I call it ‘Mirella’s rule of thumb’, and that is to line up the colour intensity of the beer with the colour intensity of your protein, so with veggie patties, I’d choose an amber lager - like a Vienna Lager; with ribs, a red ale - like an Irish Red or an ESB and with steak a brown ale - like an English Brown Ale or Porter. NLM: Are there other uses for beer while cooking? Amato: Of course! Beer is great in a marinade. For those who enjoy barbecuing, it can be added to the water pan.

NLM: Do you have a particular favorite? Amato: There is a beer for every mood, every food and every occasion. Rather than having a go-to beer, I enjoy finding the perfect beer for the moment.


If you weren’t doing what you do now…..what would you be doing?


If I weren’t working in beer, I’d probably be a contemporary art dealer or agent. This is something that I already do a little of on the


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side, for friends, and I enjoy it very much.


If you could change one thing in this crazy world, what would that be?

Amato: If I could snap my fingers and put an end to violence and greed, I would. My current goal work-wise, though, is to help get to a place where the average Canadian is just as comfortable with beer as they are with wine. At this stage, when ordering a wine to go with a meal, most people know whether that wine should be red or white but, with beer, many still don’t know where to start.


Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Amato: It’s an exciting time for me career-wise, because my first book is coming out in the spring; it will allow me to share my knowledge and passion for beer with a broader audience. I don’t know where all this will lead but I feel like I’m on the right path and am looking forward to seeing where it will take me.


Canadians do love their beer It’s a wonderful thing to have them on our side. Cicerones champion the rights of the beer consumer. They make sure we are getting a gastronomic experience that complements the pairing of beer with food, and that our choice will pair well with each course. They are able to inform us on everything from the history of, to the characteristics and ingredients used, in brewing your beer of choice. And, they make sure that the consumer is receiving a beer that is fresh and in a well-preserved state.  Let’s face it: Canadians do love their beer, and we are being introduced to new brews constantly. Maybe it’s time to develop a more refined palate and an appreciation for the diversity of choice that we are so lucky to have. Gone are the days of Dad’s warm IPA in the stubby bottles. Let this summer be the one that finds you sitting on the shaded patio of a local pub…doing your beer homework.

Please drink responsibly. In memory of Jazimine Houle 1994-2009 Photo by Jennifer Roberts


the pharmacy in my backyard and no dispensing fees BY SARAH PENNY, N.D – HAMILTON, ON

Have you ever found yourself romanticizing over the possibilities of home gardening? You can almost picture each and every seed that you would plant in your makeshift Eden, and the thought of giving life to another living species is both enthralling and motivating. Think about it: all the benefits of connecting with nature, combined with the pride of sharing your organic goodies with friends and family. I mean, what’s not to love? Well like most things in life, the reality is never as fulfilling as the dream. You may quickly start to tire of having tomatoes and cucumbers with seemingly every meal, and then start thinking to yourself - maybe this gardening thing isn’t for me. In this dilemma you are faced with two options: you can give up, or you can start thinking outside of the box. And if you’ve chosen the latter, than I’ve got two words for you: herbal apothecary.




1 5 Easy to maintain and grow, these purposeful perennials are guaranteed to steal the show – especially if some Martha-Stewart inspired signage is involved. You can even customize your selection with herbs that can be used for everything from calming the mind to helping with hot flashes! But where to start? Well, it is my belief that every herbal garden needs five essentials in its “Apothecary Starter Kit”:

1. Chamomile (Matricaria

Recutita) – A whimsical garden classic, this playful white flower with the golden center packs more punch than it lets on. Chamomile is one of the oldest known herbal medications to mankind, and has traditionally been recommended for anything from muscle spasms to menstrual disorders. Today it is commonly used in tea infusions, as a gentle remedy for frazzled nerves and insomnia. These concoctions are easily made by harvesting young flower heads from your new garden, and can be used fresh or dry. You can even try keeping the flower head whole during the drying process, as crumbling it right before use retains several beneficial and essential oils.

2. Sage (Salvia Officinalis) – Named for its healing abilities, this distin-

guished culinary herb has a plethora of traditional uses, both in the kitchen and the medicine cabinet. The most unique of these applications is a practice called ‘smudging’, which involves the burning of dried sage to restore energetic balance in a given space. The textured gray-green leaves are chosen for use over the picturesque purple flowers of this plant, due to its higher medicinal content. Sage can also be taken in tea form, providing benefits for excess sweating and menopausal hot flashes when consumed throughout the day – using either fresh or dry herb.

3. Peppermint (Mentha Piperita) – Everyone knows the refreshing flavor

of mint tea, ideal after a big meal or for a caffeine free buzz in the afternoon. The beneficial oils in this plant help to stimulate the flow of digestive juices, decreasing gas production and soothing nausea. In more concentrated forms it may also help to settle spasmodic symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome! Mint is easiest to add to your garden using a small plant rather than seeds, which can then be spawned into additional plants as desired. Be warned that it has quite the reputation as an invasive wild-child, so depending on where your garden is located and how much space you have, you may want to consider a decorative pot for this plant. Harvest sprigs with larger leaves in the morning (leaving about 1 inch above the ground), then hang inverted bunches to dry. You can even get apple, or-


ange and chocolate versions of this herb for some tasty variety! Tip: When steeping this herb for tea, make sure to keep the cup covered to trap the essential oils. This will ramp up the taste AND the health benefits!

4. Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis) - This lesser known herb is actu-

ally a member of the mint family, and boasts many similar digestive properties. It can also help calm a racing mind and ease stress – a perfect combo for winding down after a busy day. Lemon balm additionally appears to have mild anti-viral properties, and can be used topically in the form of a cream or ointment to shorten the duration of a cold sore. This herb is easy to grow from seeds in a shady spot, and will produce small white flowers that offer a blissful buffet for bees. Harvesting these wrinkled leaves then rubbing them together produces a subtle scent of lemon (for which it is named), ideal for fresh use as a summer tea.

5. Feverfew (Tanacetum Parthenium) – A great herb to keep in your apothecary, this plant offers anti-inflammatory and pain killing properties to use at your disposal. In the old days it was used to calm fevers (hence the witty name), though feverfew’s modern applications are more commonly seen in the treatment of headaches. Try chewing a fresh leaf as needed for pain relief, or sip a feverfew tea to quell inflammation. Although the flowers are very similar to those of chamomile, feverfew’s benefits lie in its potent leaves…so make sure not to confuse the two during tea preparation. Who knew you could legally grow so many health promoting herbs in your own backyard? When used properly the right herbal medicines can do wonders for your health, so why not try your hand at herbal apothecary this year and learn more about what nature has to offer. *Each of the herbal teas discussed above are generally safe for use in moderation, but consult your naturopath, pharmacist or family doctor if you are taking any medications that may lead to potentially negative interactions.



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A TREE IS NOT JUST A TREE Piece: Majestic Mauve Bling

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Letting your verdure express itself BY LORI SWEEZEY – DUNDAS, ON

I vibrated with anticipation as I walked into the backyard. Raising my head, I stopped dead in my tracks. There she stood: tall, lean and exquisitely elegant, her long limbs swaying, as if to a symphony that only she could hear. Around her neck hung the masterpiece that I’d heard so much about. Unusual yet familiar shapes and colours so vibrant, that I felt compelled to get closer. I needed to touch this piece of jewelry to truly understand what I was witnessing. As I crept ever closer, I was overwhelmed with a single, central thought: I could tear it off of her and run!! I mean, how fast can a tree run? She’d never catch me! “Tree Bling” (jewelry for trees) is the brainchild of award-winning Potter and Fibre Artist, Monika Schaefer of Carlisle, Ontario. Born in Germany and raised in Kitchener, Ontario, Schaefer began creating her unique pottery works in 1998 and has continued to produce some of the most visually appealing and pleasantly unusual works of art that NL Mag has encountered on the “backyard runway”. Schaefer’s Tree Bling, (as well as her Butterfly Spas and Dragon Tails) will most definitely add a sense of style and joie de vive to any landscape. Her pieces allow you to become the painter on your own landscape canvas. You walk away from her work feeling awestruck, appreciative, but above all else, inspired. She has

the unique ability of opening your eyes to the possibilities before subtly handing you the brush and whispering, “go”. Her collection is fairly extensive, and although some of her work can be regarded as “not so serious” (she should really do stand-up comedy), Schaefer is a serious talent. Her work can be found in private collections in Canada, the USA and Europe. She currently teaches pottery at the Oakville (Ontario) Art Society. Schaefer often holds workshops in her studio and her work can also be found in a variety of shows across the province. She loves any opportunity to share the gift of art with others. Art is meant to awaken something within us, and Schaefer’s pieces do just that. Your inner child, your own “artist”, or maybe the trendsetter in you will begin to tremble and burst forth. As for the tree…. well she’s feelin’ “like all that and a bag of chips”. Her self-esteem is through the ceiling with her Tree Bling proudly hanging from those long, lanky limbs of hers. Visit Monika’s website at


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Piece: Metamorphosis Since 1970, Peter Powning has lived and worked as an artist in the hills of southern New Brunswick. His life is characterized by intense periods of work preparing for exhibitions and commissions, punctuated by periodic travel. While Powning’s award-winning work is shown internationally, it is imbued with qualities distilled from a life lived close to the silence, space and seasonal rhythms of his home, the fields, forests and shorelines of Canada’s east coast.

Piece: We were once silenced Robert Davidson is one of Canada’s most respected and important contemporary artists. A Northwest Coast native of Haida descent, he is a  master carver of totem poles and masks and works in a variety of other media as a printmaker, painter and jeweler.  He is also a leading  figure in the renaissance of Haida art and culture.  Robert Davidson is best known as an impeccable craftsman whose creative and personal interpretation of traditional Haida form is unparalleled. Robert has been the recipient of numerous awards and in 1996 he was awarded the prestigious Order of Canada.

home grown

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Photo by LePetitRusse



eaves brush the hood of your car like staccato piano notes falling from the sky, an icy falsetto making it hard to drive straight. We all chase something as we run from the mundane, and Montréal’s Groenland are no exception. Their debut album entitled The Chase (released via Bonsound) mixes musical mediums to paint a sprawling landscape of the north and south shores of their historic city. Rooted as an electronic duo, founders Sabrina Halde (lead vocals, ukulele) and Jean-Vivier Lévesque (keyboards, programming) sought out drummer Jonathan Charette to add an organic element to their process, and have since expanded into a sextet, recruiting Simon Gosselin (bass), Gabrielle Girard-Charest (cello) and Fanny C. Laurin (violin) to their cause. Larger groups often miss their mark as quantity can clutter chemistry, but thankfully for Groenland, big is beautiful. Having played POP Montréal in 2011, Montréal Festival Electronique Groove in 2012 and nearing a following of 10,000 on Facebook, there is no doubt that the band has solidified their presence in their flourishing hometown. “So much is happening here, but your


environment won’t change you if you don’t let it.” said vocalist Sabrina Halde. Although Groenland have gained a diverse fan base aided by Noah Pink who directed the video single “The Things I’ve Done”, the group understands that catchy lyrics and harmonies don’t constitute a completed album. “The best way to get the listener’s attention for more than three minutes is to create a universe they would want to discover… we didn’t want people to feel like they’re just listening to ten different songs that aren’t linked to each other. It felt natural to add a little something that would create atmosphere.” Their debut album plays like a house full of rooms with no doors, allowing each song to intertwine with the next without feeling rocky or forced. There are ambient moments that would seem transparent on a Sigur Rós record, a smoky vocalist with the tonal vibrato of Adele and delicate grace of Feist, a string duo skilled enough to play concertos at Massey Hall, and a rhythm section that stays deep in the pocket. These are only a handful of qualities that make up the unique fluidity of The Chase experience. Groenland frequents different emotion-

al hues throughout their debut to get their point across. In “Immune”, they explore the dichotomies of relationships: “And there’s a thousand rules that I never knew / And there’s a thousand fools that could be you” In “Criminals”, they illustrate camaraderie in the music scene “When your flag is coming down / And their fires are spreading around / That’s when we know there’s much to be done still.” Most evidently, curiosity seeps from the band and lingers in every nook of their efforts. “When we toured across Canada, I felt like a child the whole time, looking around me, trying to remember every mountain and forest, but only the feeling of peace really stayed,” explains the group’s vocalist. After two sold-out nights in October at Montréal’s La Sala Rosa and a spot on a British Airways advert this month, there is no doubt that Groenland will become one of Québec’s finest exports in the coming years. Plan a trip to Montréal to catch them in their element at the Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre on March 13th. Until then, familiarize yourself with their debut album entitled, The Chase, at

home grown



is paintings are like the man himself…. Larger than life and able to draw you in, until you lose all sense of your surroundings. His voice wraps itself around you like a blanket; warming you with it’s deep, natural, erogenous quality. Tom Wilson has been consumed by the arts for most of his life. It’s difficult, at four years old, to put words to what you know your life’s work will be… but this little guy knew exactly what his life was going to be filled with, and surrounded by. Years later, with a musical resume that would impress even the most precocious music authority, Wilson continues to astound his audiences with his artistic genius. Now 50-something, (cuz who’s counting?) Wilson is reflective and comfortable in his own skin after an often arduous life journey. As always, he’s doing life the way he wants to. When he’s not touring or recording, he focuses on doing the other things in life that matter to him; Spending time with his two children, taking his grandson on bike rides, puttering about the house, and of course, painting. Just your average guy, doing average things. Except that Wilson is talented beyond “average”. Let’s put aside the Juno’s, the Gemini’s and the other countless music awards sitting in his living room. Let’s not even mention his legendary bands… Junkhouse, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, or LeE HaRVEY OsMOND. If his success is to be measured by his artistic accomplishments, then yes, he has had, (and continues to have), a very successful career. However, this very introspective, spiritual man also measures his success on another scale. He shares an intensely playful and respectful relationship with his adult children, both of whom are in the music business and successful in their own right. He adores his new grandson, and when asked how the baby’s arrival has changed him, he

affectionately quips, “I don’t know, it just feels like he’s always been here with us”. Sober for 14 years now, Wilson’s life is sound (excuse the pun) and a little less chaotic than it once was. In 1997 in a second attempt to break free of drugs and alcohol, he began to paint as a part of his recovery plan. Using his fingers (instead of a brush) and a knife Wilson creates magic on canvas by applying the paint, then scratching his poetry and his song lyrics into his work while it’s still wet. The effect is just short of mind blowing. To Wilson’s humble surprise, these paintings are in very high demand, and each one is unique and timeless. As if music, painting and family were not enough, Wilson recently collaborated on a children’s book with Lynne KittredgeFox; The Mighty Moon King. Wilson, of course, completing the artwork in a way that only he can. Now he’s got a great bedtime story for his grandson! Wilson shows no signs of slowing down. Through the years he has managed to survive and thrive in the music industry, all the while maintaining his independence. “Things get confusing when you wrap business around art. I’ve managed to survive through it all though and have found my own version of “balance”. I think the key is to always try to live in the moment”, says Wilson. Wilson’s home is filled with humor and laughter, and he surrounds himself with people who are as equally funny as he is. Maybe laughter and comedy are the things that preserve a person’s sanity and create a buffer that allows a talent (such as Wilson’s) to flourish? Whatever the formula…we Canadians are just damn lucky that Wilson discovered it! Wilson’s new album “SOUTH” (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings) was released in January 2014. A Juno nomination for his band LeE HaRVEY OsMOND on his recent CD “The Folk Sinner” might just provide Wilson with another one of those nice shiny awards he’s collected over the years in celebration of his incredible talent. Our fingers are crossed!

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THE ROCK OF PACITTO A story not written in stone BY LORI SWEEZEY – DUNDAS, ON


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The small city of Monte Cassino in the southern end of the Lazio region of Italy sits at the foot of Monte Cairo. There is only one road that leads out of the small city, heading into Rome. By the end of the Second World War, it had been almost completely obliterated.

It is 1957……

Tony Pacitto had packed all of his worldly possessions into one bag. At fourteen there are certain items that bare a significant importance to a boy and these items would make this voyage with him. He took one last look over his shoulder at the place he’d called home for his entire young life. He was feeling so many different emotions right now, and they were all blending together at this very moment creating what Tony thought must be a new and yet unnamed emotion. He felt saddened to be leaving his childhood friends behind. When would he see them again? Or would he ever see them again? Well, he had no choice. He had to go. His father had gone the year prior and was waiting for his wife and two sons to join him. Tony felt nauseous…. or maybe it was excitement he felt? This was a new beginning for the entire family in a new land, very far from home. The sound of the ship’s whistle snapped him out of his daydream state. He picked up his bag and ran quickly towards his mother’s voice. Tony had never seen anything as intimidating as the New York skyline. As the ship pulled into the harbor, he tried to shake the heaviness in his head and the unbearable nausea that both he and his brother had suffered during their trip. They were only part way there after all. Tony was certain that the train ride from NY to Toronto was going to be a far better experience than they’d had on the ship. This was an adventure of a lifetime, and he was extremely excited to see his father.

It is 1966…..

A beautiful young woman in the town of Ware, Hertfordshire, England sits and stares at her reflection in the mirror of her vanity table. She has been daydreaming again. She has always had dreams of travelling the world and experiencing all the places she’d seen in movies and read about in books. Although money is tight, there is a way she could manage. She would answer the ad (for an office worker) she found in the newspaper. Hazel Turner packed all her worldly possessions and flew to Toronto to begin her great adventure. This seemed like a good starting point. She would work in the city for a while, save some money and move on to her next destination. As fate would have it, she would have to make changes to those plans.

It is 2014…..

I am seated in the upstairs of a small building in Thornhill, Ontario that sits on about ten hectares of property belonging to Tony and Hazel Pacitto and their family. It is the

original building that was on the property when he purchased it back in 1981. And although it may not be a state of the art structure, it is built strong and filled with years of history. You can literally feel the closeness and connection the employees have with each other and the Pacitto family. I sit, waiting for Tony to arrive for our interview. As I look around, it occurs to me that this man must be someone very special. Waiting along with me are his wife Hazel and his daughter Tania as well as his son-in-law Derek, a few employees and his longtime friend Tino Cimone; like a support team or a cheering squad of sorts. This is a very animated group of people who clearly love this man. He finally arrives and takes his place beside his best friend. They share a few words and chuckle under their breath. A joke shared between only the closest of friends. They “get” each other. I watch their body language, their facial expressions, and listen to their stories and feel as if I’m being given the gift of time travel as I speak to these two young men who spent their weekends in Yorkville in the 60’s with Neil Young, Paul Anka, Gordon Lightfoot and Go-go Girls. Now in his 70’s, Tony Pacitto has built his very own empire. It truly is a family business. Pacitto’s wife Hazel and his two children, Tania and Mark know every aspect of this business. After years of hard work, Beaver Valley Stone has become the stone supply company that all other stone suppliers aspire to be. Their doors opened for business in May of 1989, serving the general public as well as professional contractors. Picatto arrives every morning at 6:30a.m, six days a week. This ship runs like a generously greased wheel, with each staff member assigned to a particular job and in constant communication with the team (some days a little louder than others!) With another facility in Maple, Ontario it’s a wonder that this philanthropist has any time to do the wonderful work he does in his community. From fundraisers for hospitals, to work with agencies for the deaf and the blind, this forward thinking, generous man makes a difference in the lives of many. In 2000 Pacitto sold his property in Italy. It was his birthplace and home for a time, and those that came before him will forever flow through his veins. He can never be separate from his beginnings. His past and his present are intertwined, each supporting the other in this journey that has shaped him into the great man that he is today. His story is one that will be told by generations of Pacittos while gathered around the kitchen table….. or by the patrons at the front desk of Beaver Valley Stone.


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When residing in colder climates, one always dreams of escaping to a sunnier beach locale. They have the weather, they have the drinks with the little umbrellas in them, and they have those really cool looking resorts with the funny names. However, these island retreats also come with a hefty price tag, encouraging an increasing number of homeowners to turn towards “staycations” as an alternative. And while you might not be able to replicate everything these warmer climates have to offer in your yard, there is one thing you can add that will really help set the tone: plants. Of course tropical plants can be grown in containers on your back patio, but what if you could own the spirit of the tropics by adding easy-to-grow plants to your space? Why, it would seem like your next vacation was only steps away! With that in mind, here are the top five easy-togrow tropical plants for your backyard.


Elephant Ears – Colocasia esculenta – Zone 11 – 36” to 60” – Full Sun to Shade - Annual. Great in borders, containers, or as a specimen, Elephant Ears are incredibly large and showy. The dark green heart shaped leaves hang down and create an umbrella of lush foliage. The name ‘Elephant Ears’ refers to a few varieties of similar looking plants; however the Colocasia and Alocasia are the largest and most prominent in the landscape. Newer varieties showcase leaves in deep burgundy and speckled with white. Colocasia prefers a moist environment and can grow in full sun to shade but will show the best leaf colour in a sunnier location. Effective as an annual, Elephant Ears can be overwintered indoors for enjoyment


year after year.


Canna Lily – Canna ‘Lucifer’ and ‘Stuttgart’ – Zone 7 – 24” to 60” – Full sun - Annual. Cannas offer a spectacular and colourful punch to any garden, and definitely fit the tropical plant profile. Large leaves in deep greens, burgundy, or striped with gold or cream create a lush feel as part of a border garden or in containers. Planted as a specimen or with companion plants, Cannas offer colourful blooms all summer long in vibrant shades of red, orange, yellow, coral and hot pink. Canna ‘Lucifer’ is a unique compact variety with red blooms edged in golden yellow. Canna ‘Stuttgart’ is a medium size variety with large green leaves striped with cream. As an annual, Cannas offer a great summer show but can be overwintered as well.


Perennial Hibiscus – Hibiscus moscheutos Hybrids – Zone 4 – 30 to 36” – Full sun - Perennial. Hibiscuses are inherently tropical looking plants with incredibly colourful and showy, large blooms. Perennial hibiscuses are a great way to have that tropical look in your garden year after year. Similar to the tropical hibiscus that are familiar potted patio plants, the perennial varieties love the sun and produce very colourful blooms too. Every summer, this beauty will grow to produce blooms in shades of pristine white, marbled pinks and the deepest reds. The leaves vary in size and shape with some unfurling in shades of burgundy and deep green.


Giant Reed Grass – Arundo donax ‘Peppermint Stick’ – Zone 6 – 6’ to 12’ tall – Full sun - Perennial. The sheer size


of this plant gives a tropical feel to any area. Arundo gives an impressive show of bamboo like leaves with plumes that appear later in the season holding well throughout late fall and into winter. Arundo ‘Peppermint Stick’ provides wide variegated leaves on stems that tower above your head. What better way to create a tropical oasis then by surrounding yourself with this grass? It works well in the garden as a backdrop or in containers to screen out the world around.


Yucca Adam’s Needle – Yucca filamentosa – Zone 4 – 30”tall; 5’ when in bloom – Full sun – Broadleaf Evergreen. This broadleaf evergreen is tough as nails and able to grow in a diverse range of environments. Tolerant of full sun, drought, and saline soils, the yucca is a textural plant with both modern and Mediterranean aesthetics. Stiff pointed leaves come in shades of blue or can be variegated in gold or cream, often having threadlike fibres along the edges giving them even more texture. The showstoppers on these plants are the tall flower spikes of creamy bell-shaped blooms which appear in summer. For added pleasure, Yucca blooms also attract butterflies to the garden. They are a hardy addition to any landscape providing tropical appeal year round.

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If you’re a child of the 1980s, you are no doubt aware of the term bonsai. The Karate Kid risked his life to save one from the bottom of a treacherous pit (in one of the worst movie sequels ever), and Mr. Miyagi screamed it at the top of his lungs whenever he wanted Daniel Son to hit something. What you may not know, is that the ancient art of bonsai care goes back to the dawn of time, and is a testament to the love of, and for, trees. The art of Bonsai is a rich Japanese custom, often referred to as the “living art”. These unique trees are pruned and treated in order to prematurely emulate old age. Caring for a Bonsai becomes a life-long pursuit, and many specimens become family heirlooms which can be passed down generations with proper care. Why go through with this kind of commitment, you may say? Well as most things rooted in Asian tradition, the ancient Japanese viewed this practice as a mirror image to one’s own life. The tree, like humans, must overcome many of the same pitfalls and obstacles; both may be cut, carved, burned, disfigured, forced to adapt to changing food and water supplies, etc. What is important is not that these things happen, it is the response to and the care of them that ultimately matters. The pastime encompasses many styles, each with a traditional Japanese name. This art-form also includes a close connection with the potting industry. An important part of the Bonsai culture is to match a tree with a pot that completes the pair. Since Bonsai means “a tree in a tray”, the pair must be compatible. Caring for these potted beauties 128 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

is serious business, and goes far beyond simple pruning and maintenance. Daily watering and frequent fertilizing is necessary to create an optimum environment, with each species of trees having its own unique requirements. This knowledge can be found in the plethora of Bonsai literature out there, but fine tuning is important as an individual gains experience with his or her own trees. Granular media made from volcanic rock, pumice, granite, expanded silica rock, shale, and fired clays make up a good portion of the Bonsai soils available. Typically between 1” and 3/8”, this soil is fast draining to prevent water pooling, while allowing oxygen to penetrate the root zone. Typically sharp edged, this aggregate promotes root splitting to increase feeder root area. Since this soil has little nutrient retention capacity, fertilizers must be added routinely. But what does the art of Bonsai really come down to? Well, turns out a pretty simple philosophy really: harmony. Harmony between the size of the tree and the pot, harmony between the type of tree and the color of the pot, and harmony between the style of bonsai and the style of the pot; all are requirements for an aesthetically pleasing and traditionally accurate presentation. Yes, it takes learning, practice and commitment to transform yourself into a world-class Bonsai artist, but the end result is definitely worth it. You may get discouraged at times, but when you feel like giving up, just remember one of the most ancient of Japanese proverbs: “Sometimes, even monkeys fall from trees.”

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Springtime. The sun climbs higher in the sky each day. Grass grows tall and bursts with deep green vigour. Daffodils, forsythia and pussy willows glisten with dew drops more delicate than angels’ tears. A grand maple’s branches sway in the breeze, succulent young leaves rustling proudly. Newly returned butterflies flit about the garden showing off their tans and all the junk they bought on the beach in Mexico. And with cautious, nervous steps, a squirrel emerges from hiding, squinty-eyed and emaciated. “I’m starving,” she says. “I don’t want you putting on too much weight this year,” her husband says. “You look hot like this.” “That shouldn’t be a problem. Your hibernation breath makes me want to throw up.” And so goes the acerbic, yet highly nuanced mating ritual of the common North American grey squirrel. The squirrel has managed to infiltrate our daily lives like no other wild animal. Who among us hasn’t indulged a foolhardy little git in a game of chicken? Or


been victimized by the lewd catcalling for which teenage squirrels are infamous? Or rented a room in a house in which the front closet was inhabited by a squirrel that my girlfriend’s uncle had adopted as a baby and permitted to roam the house and climb up my calves by digging its claws into my flesh the way a mountain climber hacks into a sheer wall of ice with an axe?

Did you know? • Squirrels come in three colours: grey, black and red (ginger in the UK). • Squirrels eat nuts and fruits such as acorns, chestnuts, berries and bananas. • While other varieties dispute the fact, it’s widely acknowledged that black squirrels have the largest tails. Squirrels have a number of natural enemies, not least among them: dogs, cats, owls, man, woman, coyotes and badgers. But these usual suspects aren’t responsible for the species’ looming extinction. The squirrel population is being ravaged by the big D. Dengue Fever? No. Diphtheria? No.

Dinosaurs? No. Divorce. Scientists aren’t surprised. Says Dr. Daniel Cannon, of the UCLA Centre for Zoological Family Counselling, “I’m not surprised.” Squirrels have always been unlikely monogamists. The relationships between males and females tend to be acrimonious at the best of times... “I have a meeting with the boss today. I might get that promotion. How does my tail look?” the male asks. “It’s matted and greasy. You put too much product in it. Why don’t you blow dry it like normal?” “No, I’m not doing that anymore. The guys at work call me Michael Bolton.” “You look like a friggin’ rat.” ...but the pressures of 21st century squirrel life are pushing a growing number of marriages past the breaking point. Divorce is endemic among squirrels, and though the singles scene is booming, females won’t ovulate unless they’re in a stable relationship. Thus, the birth rate is dropping faster than you can say, “Look how many nuts I can fit in my mouth.” What’s to be done? Very little, says Dr. Cannon. “The squirrel is an obstinate, unreasonable creature. Traditionally, these traits enabled squirrels to thrive under harsh conditions. But the comforts of contemporary living have allowed squirrels to focus their fierce stubbornness on each other, and this will be the species’ downfall. It’s a powerful and tragic evolutionary irony.” “I guess you’re not going to help me with these dishes.” “I know that tone. I guess I’ll take the couch tonight.”




the not so average joe

discover district

Andrea D’Orazio


We’ve all been somewhere and seen that girl. You know, the tall beauty with the killer smile, sharp intelligent eyes, strong features and even stronger personality. She likes hanging out with friends, laughing, dancing and having a good time. She has an eye for beauty, fashion and the arts, and loves talking about music, culture, psychology, and how moving those fifty-pound slabs of paving stones was a good workout and... Wait... What?!  Born on July 20th  1990 in Montreal, QC, Andréa D’Orazio is the second child (and first daughter) of Manon Rivet (a massage therapist), and Roberto D’Orazio (an employee at Canada Post). She grew up enjoying nature, swimming, and playing soccer. She dreamed of being an inventor, and was always looking to turn the everyday into the extraordinary. She dreamed of adventures, of blazing new trails and discovering new things. Funny how adventure seems to just find the adventurous, isn’t it? After high school, Andréa spent three years studying Intervention in Delinquency. Her ultimate goal? To be a prison guard (as I’m sure is every father’s dream for their daughters, am I right dads?), but ‘life is what happens while we are busy making plans.’ Sometimes it throws us a big curveball, buckling our knees and catching us off guard. Some call it divine intervention, while others explain this phenomenon as the sudden, almost violent realization that we’re just not the right shape for the hole we’re trying to fit into. However you want to describe it, Andréa was about to get hers; courtesy of a hammer. A friend asked Andréa to help renovate a home, inside and out, top to bottom. Without much convincing, she agreed. It was love at first hammer stroke. With each day that passed Andréa felt more and more certain that she had found 132 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

her life’s calling. Her childhood dream of working outdoors, creating beauty from the mundane, re-imagining and re-inventing was being realized…and she was not about to slow down now. She has since studied landscaping (continuing her education in the off season), and is focused on taking the industry by storm. In March of 2013 she got her big break, and was offered the title of Specialized Landscaper with the award-winning, Montreal-based, landscaping super-power, Groupe Paysager Plantenance. As you might have guessed by now, Andréa is already making a big impression. According to her boss, “she’s about as tough as they come, refusing to stop working for some “minor inconvenience”, like an injury or a bit of blood loss”. In her down time, Andréa likes to stay active and be outdoors. In the winter, she defies the bitter Canadian cold to engage in good old-fashioned snow sports, like skiing and snowboarding. In ten years, she hopes her name will come up regularly among the elite of the landscaping world, and she sees herself possibly designing and landscaping abroad. In the end, Andréa found her shape and her place. So she’s not a square, or a circle, or even a tetrahedron. She knows what she is, and no one can disagree. Andréa D’Orazio is a landscaping superstar in the making. 

FAVES Food: Smoked Ribs Band: Tragically Hip, Lucy Rose, Led Zeppelin Pastime: Kayaking Clothing: Cargo pants Hero/Mentor: Laurent Cousineau Colour: Green

RECIPE BBQ Ribs 2 racks of baby back ribs 2 Tbsp. garlic powder 1 Tbsp. oregano 2 Tsp. cayenne pepper Bulls Eye BBQ sauce Cooking Instructions: Boil the ribs. Mix all ingredients together and marinate the ribs in the mixture for two hours, then toss them on the grill. Mmmmmmmmm good.

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Turn your deck into an island getaway

adjustable patio covers

page 20

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The magic of



performing miracles in your backyard

Control your outdoor environment page 22

alana sky

The beauty of privacy

Outdoor Spaces to Live & Love

Natural Landscape Magazine Spring 2014