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What’s Your Landscape Design Style?

What’s Your Landscape Design Style?

Landscaping is a fantastic way to upgrade your home’s exterior. Done right, it improves curb appeal and enhances your enjoyment and the functionality of your outdoor environment.

And, like the clothing and home décor you choose, landscaping also provides an excellent opportunity to express your personal style. You may have inherited an already established landscape design when you moved into your home. Or you may have previously defaulted to a style that you thought suited your home’s exterior style.

While matching the style of your home may be a factor you want to consider, the design can be updated to better reflect your personal style as well.

If you haven’t given much thought to your landscaping style, we’ll outline the major styles, their differences, and their defining elements. When we get right down to it, there are really only two principal styles – traditional and contemporary (or “modern”) – with many substyles that can play a role in the overall design.

Traditional landscaping with native plants

An example of a traditional garden design overflowing with a mixture of native plants and flowers

Traditional Landscape Design

The traditional landscaping style tends to be associated with soft or curved lines, more rustic, textural materials in muted, mottled tones, and a balanced mixture of softscaping, hardscaping, and water elements that create a relaxed, laid back atmosphere. More often than not, traditional landscape design tends to be associated with the “informal” style. Because of its more free-flowing lines, a traditionally designed landscape can be more desirable for those wanting a lower maintenance outdoor living area.

Contemporary Landscape Design

On the other end of the spectrum, modern landscape design employs straight lines, clean edges, and sharp angles. Contemporary landscapes offer steep contrast in colour, with lots of symmetry in the shape and size of its elements. Hardscaping materials tend to be flat with a matte or polished finish. These attributes lend to what is generally considered a more “formal” style and also tend to demand more work to maintain the shapes and symmetrical appearance.

modern landscape design clean lines right angles monochromatic hardscaping retaining wall

Elements of modern landscape design – clean lines, right angles, and monochromatic colour scheme

Generally speaking, while most landscape designs may primarily be classified as traditional or modern, they really fall somewhere in between. Besides your personal style, here are many good reasons for a hybrid design, including:

  • Soil conditions and light exposure
  • How you use your yard
  • Your proclivity for garden maintenance
  • Your home’s exterior style

Substyles and Themes

If you don’t want your yard to be purely traditional or one hundred percent contemporary, below are a few substyles/themes you can work into your design.

Native

Plants and trees are indigenous to Ontario/Canada. These not only attract birds, bees, butterflies, and other native wildlife, but also tend to require less maintenance because they’re well-adapted to our climate.

Xeriscape

This type of landscaping reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental watering through the use of above-ground or underground water collection and circulation techniques in conjunction with more drought-tolerant plant and tree varieties.

 

asian inspired traditional landscape design natural flagstone walkway native plants and shrubs pagoda

An example of Asian-inspired traditional landscape design with flagstone walkway

Asian-Inspired

Elements can include a pergola, gate, trickling water feature, ornamental grasses, koi pond, walkway or labyrinth, and soft lighting.

English Garden

Lush green lawns with one or more sitting areas among large, colourful gardens, overflowing with flowers, plants, and trees that attract a range of pollinators.

Natural/Organic

Plants and materials are sustainably sourced and managed. Can be easily combined with Native and/or Xeriscape themes.

Rustic

Incorporates wood and natural stone into decks, patios, walkways, fencing, sheltering structures, and retaining walls.

So, what’s your landscape style? Hopefully, this guide has provided some insights. If you’re having trouble deciding, we’re just a call or email away.

Flagstone Look on a Paver Budget

Flagstone Look on a Paver Budget

When it comes to patio and walkway construction, flagstone is one of the most sought-after materials. Known for its natural and elegantly rustic appearance, flagstone has been used to enhance outdoor living areas for decades.

Some homeowners are singularly focused and will accept nothing but flagstone. However, after consulting with a landscaper/hardscaper, others may realize that flagstone doesn’t fit their budget or suit their needs. So, they opt instead for a different product like stamped concrete, geometric pavers, or even wood.

The great news is that there are alternatives to flagstone that provide a similar look but have some distinct advantages. Two that we use are Permacon’s Rosebel Slabs and Mega Arbel Pavers. Below, we offer the top benefits of these products.

Flagstone vs Pavers alternatives cost advantages patio walkway COST

Any landscaping quote generally comprises three primary factors – product, labour, and skills/experience. It goes without saying that a skilled hardscaper is going to do the job right, providing a superior experience and end result.

Beyond that, your total budget will be the sum of product and labour costs. Because they are designed to fit together and have a very low height variance from one piece to the next, Flagstone and installation might cost 50% to 100% more than precast pavers

COLOUR OPTIONS

Because there are only so many natural stone colours, your options are somewhat limited. Flagstone colour and shade depends on where it was quarried. The most prevalent colours are a buff or sandstone (a light yellow-brown), red, and a grey-blue. On the other hand, precast pavers can be matched to just about anything. Most people like to match a colour on their home’s exterior, be it brick, wood, stucco, or siding.

Flagstone vs Pavers alternatives cost advantages patio walkway DURABILITY

Because it is a sedimentary rock (meaning it’s composed of layers), flagstone will begin to break down after a number of years. Exposure to the elements will increase the rate of deterioration. There is a water-based sealer that can be applied every 2-4 years that will decrease stone breakdown. Pavers on the other hand are low-maintenance and can easily be removed and replaced in case of damage.

APPEARANCE

Flagstone is going to be much less consistent in appearance, with variance in gap widths because the shape of each piece is unique. Of course, flagstone can be cut to fit together nicely, but this will add to the labour budget because of the increased amount of time required to complete the project. Precast products are designed to fit together, laid in a random-looking, but repeated pattern. So, the gaps between them will be much more consistent.

Flagstone vs Pavers alternatives cost advantages patio walkwayPRACTICALITY

Flagstone is uneven along the edges as well as on the top and bottom surfaces. This means that using it for a patio may result in wobbly chairs and tabletops. Likewise, if used for a walkway, the height variance may mean users need to tread carefully. A flagstone surface will also collect water (and in colder months snow and ice) in small depressions in the stone. This can lead to accelerated weathering of the stone, or even growth of algae where water isn’t frequently removed/dried.

It’s a great time to be planning a new patio or walkway for your outdoor area because there are so many great options for you to choose from. If you like the look of flagstone but aren’t sure if it’s right for you, take a look at the new pavers that offer the look of flagstone and the benefits of a precast product. And of course, if you’d like assistance with your upcoming project, we’re just a call or email away.

Landscape Planning Apps & Tools

Landscape Planning Apps & Tools

When renovating your yard sometimes the hardest step is the first one – knowing where to begin. Maybe you have a few ideas in mind but don’t know how to bring them together. Or perhaps you have no ideas and need inspiration. Either way, we’ve assembled a few suggestions to help you gather your thoughts and assemble a plan.

There are quite a few online tools and apps that can help you visualize your newly renovated yard before a shovel breaks ground. Below are a couple of apps we have selected as well as a couple social platforms where you can find inspiration.

2D Design: Garden Planner by smallblueprinter.com

apps and tools for landscape design better homes and gardens garden plannerFeatures and Benefits of this platform:

  • Easy to use – drag-and-drop
  • Available for Mac and Windows platforms
  • Printable designs
  • Notes section
  • Library of over 1200 plants and objects
  • Includes ability to design edible gardens
  • Free trial version + paid version
  • Paid version includes 3D capabilities
  • Available online demo

3D Design: Plan-a-Garden by bhg.com

apps and tools for landscape design better homes and gardens plan-a-gardenFeatures and Benefits of this platform:

  • Choose from generic home styles as the backdrop for your design, or upload a picture(s) of your home/yard.
  • Select from an extensive range of plants, trees, and shrubs.
  • See specific plant details to ensure they meet your criteria for inclusion in your design.
  • Filter search by plant type, size, light exposure, and spoil conditions.
  • Plants are scaled to reflect actual relative size depending on their placement in your design.
  • Drag and drop function allows you to easily move elements around your design.
  • Add architectural elements and patio furniture to complement your softscape elements.
  • Add hardscaping (walkways, patios, fencing, etc.) and even paint to the design and elements.
  • Toggle between seasons to see what your design will look like at various times of the year.

In addition, the following visual social media platforms can provide a heap of inspiration when planning landscaping enhancements.

Pinterest

A Touch of Dutch Landscaping on Pinterest tools apps platforms for planning and designing landscapingThis highly searchable, and widely used platform will provide inspiration from all over the world. So, whether your budget is big or small, and your style is traditional or contemporary, you will find examples from all over the world.

We continue to create thematic pin boards every month. Recently, we’ve added Pool Area Landscaping, Improve Curb Appeal with Landscaping, Hardscaping Inspiration, and of course, Windmills. One of the features we like most about Pinterest is the ability to create a private pin board exclusively for our client’s use, so they can communicate ideas with us.

 

Houzz

A Touch of Dutch Landscaping on Houzz tools apps platforms for planning and designing landscapingHouzz is an industry-specific platform specifically for businesses in home design, construction, repair, and restoration. On this site, you can find lots of great local inspiration. We share projects and idea books that help our customers better understand our wide range of expertise and completed projects, as well as related details including budget range for each project.

Starting with a plan – general or specific – can help you feel more comfortable when engaging the services of a landscaper. It will provide a solid foundation for discussion about the project and will make the whole process more efficient, ensuring you and your contractor get on the same page quickly. We hope you find these tools useful when you begin a landscaping project. As always, we invite you to contact us to get the ball rolling.

Professional Landscape Designs by
A Touch of Dutch Landscaping

Garden and landscape design stratford ontario
Garden and landscape design stratford ontario
Garden and landscape design stratford ontario
Garden and landscape design stratford ontario
Garden and landscape design stratford ontario
Garden and landscape design stratford ontario
Turn Your Pool Area into an Oasis with Landscaping

Turn Your Pool Area into an Oasis with Landscaping

Enjoy living in your backyard, not just swimming in your pool

When adding a pool to your backyard, the actual installation of the pool is only half the job. The other half is comprised of what goes around the pool to give your backyard oasis polish and make the area more livable.

Enter landscaping. Both softscaping (trees, shrubs, and flowerbeds) and hardscaping (decking, fences, patios, walkways, and retaining walls) can turn your new pool space into a backyard oasis. The key is adding the right elements that will fit your style, lifestyle, and budget.

To streamline your planning process, consider your vision, then how you want the space around your pool to function, and finally of course, your budget.

 

Vision

pool landscaping backyard oasis hardscaping natural rock waterfallThis is your invitation to have a big “blue sky” session. Include others who will also be using the finished space and note all wants and needs. Pinterest is a great tool for curating your vision in a private vision board that you can share with your landscaping professional.

This is not the time to stifle creativity with practical matters. Browse through images of other backyard pool areas and gather inspiration. If something looks too big, too complex, or too fancy, keep in mind that elements that you like can be scaled down, simplified, or otherwise altered to meet your needs and budget during later planning stages.

Right now, just allow yourself to think big and think of possibilities.

 

Function

pool landscaping backyard oasis hardscaping natural rock waterfallThis step incorporates more practicality into your plan. Take some time to think about how you will be using your finished backyard. Talk to other pool owners about the things they love most about their yard and perhaps what they would have done differently if they could do it again.

Consider maintenance required for trees, shrubs, and gardens. Do you need shade? Do you want more colour? Do you want fast-growing plants and trees or would you prefer softscaping whose shape and size is easy to maintain?

Do you want a large patio for lounging with family and friends? Do you want additional privacy? What about lighting for nighttime use? And you’ll likely need storage for pool and patio furniture and accessories. When we meet with clients, we address all of these things, but many people like to conduct their own due diligence beforehand.

 

Budget

backyard plan pool landscaping backyard oasis hardscaping natural rock waterfallFrom modest to unlimited, we work with all kinds of budgets. And we’ll be happy to work within yours while showing you how to maximize the return on your investment without compromising your entire vision.

Like most other landscaping projects, converting your backyard pool installation into a full backyard oasis can be accomplished in phases. So, if your current budget doesn’t allow for everything on your wish list, consider breaking the project into steps, adding your wish list elements over two or more years. We can help you establish priorities based on budget and short- versus long-term needs, and then create a plan accordingly.

A backyard pool project is exciting. However, if you want to spend your summers in your backyard, but not always in your pool, how you landscape and furnish the space around the pool is as important as the pool itself.

We love working with clients to make their backyard dreams a reality and are happy to work with you at your pace to bring your dreams to life. Contact us for assistance at any stage of the process.

 

Fall Colour – Extending the Enjoyment of Your Gardens

Fall Colour – Extending the Enjoyment of Your Gardens

Most of us would be hard pressed to find a person who doesn’t love the colours of fall. Yes, winter will inevitably follow fall, and probably earlier than we’d like. But, in the meantime, we’ve still got warm daytime temperatures, cool evenings, and so much colour to enjoy.

Fall colourful leaves mapleWhile the trees, plants, and shrubs throughout Southwestern Ontario offer up a lot of colour, many homeowners want colour in their own yards, as well. There are some quick fixes for this – displaying pumpkins, potted mums, and faux leaves and floral décor, for example. However, adding perennial colour to your fall garden takes a bit more forethought.

When planning gardens, home gardeners generally work in chronological order, considering what’s going to bloom or otherwise be at its peak in spring and then what will be at its best in summer. For this reason, autumn may tend to take a backseat where plant selection is concerned. To prolong the enjoyment of your gardens though, you may want to make room for a few fall favourites in your yard.

Colourful chrysthanthemums for fall decorPlant retailers and nurseries might be among your best resources for determining what’s at its colourful peak right now. They tend to sell what’s in season, when it’s in season. And the warm, sunny days, cool nights, and more regular precipitation of early fall can be the perfect time to plant, offering ideal conditions for new plants, trees, and shrubs to take root before the first frost.

A few selections that fare well in our region in the fall include:

  • Burning Bush (Euonymus alatas) – normally green deciduous foliage turns vibrant red
  • Wayfaring Tree (Vibunum Lantana)
  • Sugar Maple (Acer Saccharum) – foliage turns orange and red
  • Mountain Ash (Sorbus) – foliage turns orange, red, and yellow
  • Witch Hazel (Hamamelis) – foliage turns bright yellow
  • Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) – flowers in fall, showing purple, blue, pink, and white
  • Chrysanthemum (C. x morifolium) – fall flowers in yellow, orange, purple, red, burgundy, white, and bronze
  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea Purpurea) – large purple flowers and prominent seed heads
  • Coralbells (Heuchera) – flowers throughout the season, leaves can show purple/bronze
  • Rosemallow (Hibiscus Moscheutos) – large, saucer-like blooms are pink, blue, or purple
  • Sedum Autumn Joy (Sedum spectabile) – flower clusters are generally pink or light purple
  • Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) – bright yellow, flower clusters

Keep in mind though, that your plants and trees need a bit of TLC in order to get established before the first frost. Otherwise your investment of time and money may be for naught. If you’re not getting ample rainfall, you should water new plants thoroughly and consistently to help roots get established before the ground freezes. And ensure you get everything into the ground before the snow flies, as plants will have a much better chance of surviving the winter there than in the thin, plastic pots in which they’re generally sold.

Add fall colour to gardenOnce plants are in the ground, most of the initial growth is going to take place below the soil, which is good. So, don’t be disappointed if you see much going on above ground. Your patience will be rewarded with healthy, showy plants next year. To help things along and protect vulnerable young root systems, add a thick layer (4 inches) of mulch around plants. Mulch will add much needed insulation to keep heat in and cold out.

Although fall is a great time for planting, there are some exceptions. Evergreens need more time to adjust and build up stores of moisture. If not, they may dry out over the winter when the ground is hard and water supply is cut off. Also, some plants and shrubs sustain a bit of damage throughout the winter. A newly planted specimen may not be sufficiently established to handle the first winter, and may not make it through.

And finally, if you’re wanting to press your luck by planting something that is not ideally suited to your hardiness zone (Southwestern Ontario ranges anywhere from Zone 5 to 7), it will have a much better chance of surviving our winters if planted in spring and given a full growing season to acclimate.

Although many homeowners will start putting their gardens to bed for the year, plants are still growing and thriving in the early to mid-fall conditions. Take advantage of this time to change up your gardens, adding splashes of fall colour not just for this year, but for years to come.

Weed Control

Weed Control

Where weeds come from

There are several classifications and definitions of weeds. However, in the very simplest terms, a weed is an unwanted plant in your lawn or garden.

No plant that’s perceived as a weed today has always been a weed. Once upon a time, they lived in a benign location and had no notable negative impact on their surroundings.

The turning point – when a plant becomes a weed – is when it invades a space where it is not desired and/or has an undesirable impact on people, animals, or other vegetation.

So, if they weren’t there to start with, how did those weeds get into your yard? They were carried there – transported by vehicle, animal, or on the wind.

And many seeds don’t need a whole lot of TLC to germinate. As long as they have oxygen and water, and a bit of sunlight, they will grow. So, the big question:

Controlling Weeds | A Touch of Dutch Landscaping & Garden Services

How to control weeds

Let’s face it – weed avoidance is not a thing. However, there are strategies that will help you tame the beast and minimize the negative impact of weeds.

  1. Cut off their food supply
    As mentioned above, weeds need water, oxygen, and sunlight. So water only desired plants and plant closely together. Weeds don’t tend to grow as prolifically under other plants. The less exposed area you have in your gardens, the fewer weeds you will have to pull.
  2. Don’t disturb the soil.
    When adding new plants or removing weeds from your lawn and garden, closely target the soil or weed in question. Weed seeds are generally present throughout your soil, so turning the soil brings new seeds closer to the surface, giving them the opportunity to germinate.
  3. Mulch is your friend.
    Keep exposed soil covered with a thick (about 4 inches) layer of good quality mulch. This deprives weed seeds of sunlight, helping to keep them at bay. Some prefer crushed stone or river rock. These work as well. Just be sure to add a base layer of landscaping fabric over the surface before adding the rock. Keep in mind though that new seeds that are deposited from animals or the wind will germinate, so see the next tip.
  4. Weed early and often.
    The sooner you pluck weeds out, the easier removal will be and the less damage they will do. If you give weeds a chance to take root, they’ll develop stronger, deeper roots systems at one end and seed heads (which will distribute more seeds) at the other. The best time to weed is after a good rain, when the ground is soft and roots will release more easily.

Weeds in your lawn and garden are the bane of any homeowner’s existence. But, armed with the information above, you’ll have a better understanding of where they’re coming from and how to control them.

Ready, set, weed!