Category Archives: Work in Progress

Landscape and garden jobs in progress.

Island Garden Scapes-a family business!

To all of our clients…thank you for giving us the opportunity to show you what we can do for you!  Cheers!

Call us for all your lawn and landscape needs… thank you from Tim, Trevor, Mike, Miss Ryla, Kathleen and baby Ashlyn.

Building Garden Boxes

Last year in our community two derelict houses were being demolished so we approached the project manager on site and ask about the cedar fence.  It was red cedar and was still in excellent condition after years of standing.  It has weathered beautifully and I knew it would be perfect for garden projects.  He happily gave us the fence if we were willing to remove it, after the homes were demolished.

After removing it, one box was built and the rest of the wood stored for future projects.  The original plan was to build garden boxes and sell them.  Then after the move to the new home, I realized that I was not willing to part with it.  The wood is perfect for my garden plan.  Working out the amount of wood required for my Garden Labyrinth, I realized I had enough wood for 10 garden boxes, not including the one already built.

My biggest concern with my Labyrinth design was what wood to use in the garden.  I need something that will stand up to the elements of weather here on Vancouver Island.  The red cedar is perfect.  It has a life span of about 20 years.  The garden boxes will be built and put in place without a bottom.  In order for me to utilize the gray water in my yard, it is necessary to leave the bottom open so it can draw up the ground water.

The yard which is so overgrown is actually a blessing in disguise…a labour intensive blessing, but a blessing just the same.   As I prune each shrub and tree, I will chip the waste and put it in the bottom of each box.  It will draw up the moisture and it will slowly break down and enrich the soil, as well as keeping it aerated.  Keep in mind it does not have to be chipped, it could actually be cut in smaller pieces by hand and added to the bottom.  Wood chips will be added on top of the chipped garden waste as it will retain water and minimize the need for watering.  The garden boxes will be approximately 20 inches high so each box will require approximately 10 inches of waste and wood chips before the organic soil is added.  The soil will be 2 inches below the top of the box.

I have not measured the yard for exact measurements as it is still covered in snow.  So I know my garden plan will have to be tweaked after measuring.

My Garden Labyrinth

I have now lived in this location for 3 months.  I have spent countless hours researching, sketching and incorporating the numerous benefits in the yard. As I said in an earlier post, privacy is my biggest concern.

The back yard gets full sun throughout the year.  I know that the back lawn stays green most of the year from the gray water that feeds it daily.  It was important for me to incorporate a plan that would utilize this gray water in my  garden effectively and efficiently.  I am on town water so it is not an option to water my gardens all year with town water, not only the cost, but with the hot dry summers on Vancouver Island the watering bans start earlier every year.  Incidentally, I am a renter and my landlord has given me the green light to landscape the entire lot as I wish, so that is a bonus.

Each year I grow more of my own food and this garden should suffice in growing all of my own food.  So the plan had to address the privacy issues, create beauty,  utilize the gray water and produce enough food for six of us.  I am including my sons and grandchildren as it is of utmost importance to me for each of us to eat as much organic food as possible, while saving money!  Last year I grew about 60% of my food.  I canned and froze much of what we couldn’t eat fresh and have been eating it all year long.

Privacy Issues – The fence enclosing the yard will provide a backdrop for me to plant shrubs and bushes to allow the privacy I want, but will take time to grow and cover the fence.  The immediate concern was how to create a garden area throughout the back yard with fruits, vegetables and flowers that would be high enough to enclose the area for privacy.

I have always loved the idea of a labyrinth and decided this would meet all of the garden challenges.  Creating a labyrinth from raised garden beds would give me the height for privacy, allow the soil in the containers to draw the gray water from the ground and filter it before it hits the plant roots, create beauty in the garden, incorporate a patio area in the middle while creating a play space for my grandchildren as they love to be in the garden with me.

And so here is my Labyrinth garden plan!  I do know that is a preliminary plan.  The garden plan will evolve and change as it comes to life!

 

 

 

 

My Back Yard

Last year I posted pictures of my back yard with a design that I had in mind.  Due to unforeseen circumstances I had to move a couple of months ago and my yard design was not completed.

So now, I have a new yard…which is…well the pictures speak for themselves.  There is nothing that motivates me more then landscaping…I love to create beauty through design with alot of help from mother nature.  This yard is like a blank slate just waiting to be designed.

Here are the challenges: Privacy, Privacy & Privacy

Privacy    Our home is in town and has a walking path along the back (east) of the lot and up along the south side of the property.  Our neighbour is the local dog park so you can imagine the traffic around our house.  I love dogs and humans…don’t get me wrong…but I love my privacy more.

Weeds/Overgrown Lot

The entire lot is fenced in and has great potential but has not had any type of landscaping or gardening done in many years.  The only neighbours on the north side had a beautiful cedar fence installed some years ago and it has stood up to the test of time.  The fence does give us some privacy.  However, our yard runs on a gradual slope downhill so there is next to no privacy in the entire back yard.  We live downstairs in a suite and there is also a suite above us.  Thankfully, (for now) my son rents the upstairs suite so privacy is a non-issue.

Backyard swampafter moving in November, we discovered the back yard was like a swamp.  The ground was so waterlogged that we could not walk through most of it without getting soaking wet feet.  To our surprise we found out that the former owner had pumped all of the gray water from the house into the back yard via an underground hose that she had buried.  So all of the water from the laundry room and all of the water from the kitchen sink travels to the back yard.  It is also obvious that there is poor drainage in the back yard.   We already use all natural “green” products…phosphate free, so this is one less thing to worry about.

Cedar Hedge – Many years have passed since the previous owner planted a cedar hedge at the back of the lot.  They are slow growing cedars so they are small and there are holes in the hedge.  Not sure if some died or if there were not enough planted.  In any case, it is going to be one of the biggest challenges landscaping and I am so looking forward to it.

Rocks Rock & More Rocks  The entire yard has rocks everywhere.  The neighbour told me the previous owner brought in truck loads of rocks of all shapes and sizes.  Oh my, I have never ever seen so many rocks on such a small property.  So  I will incorporate what rocks I can  and the rest I am taking to two different clients who are in need of rocks….oh my goodness I hope they want lots!!!!  As you can see from the picture, I already pulled some rocks from around the tree in the picture below.  I planted strawberries under the tree in November when I moved in, so its a very small start. 

Oh, I almost forgot, we inherited a fish pond, in the forefront of the bottom left picture.   It is beautiful and has great potential as a focal point in the gardens.  So here we go with a new project!!!

 

 

 

 

 

A Country Garden Clean up

We have been working on this property for some time now.  Although the new snow fall has halted work, it will continue this week once the snow is gone.  It is a beautiful country property with stunning garden designs that really shine with effort and hard work. 

 

Spring is on its way!

For many who do not live on Vancouver Island it is a shock for them to find out that although we live in Canada, we don’t (as a rule) get snow…or at least not the kind that hangs around for days…never mind months.  Well this year has been much different.  In December of 2016, the 3rd of December to be exact, was my last day working for the rest of the month.  Winter came and stayed and stayed and stayed.  We were in a deep freeze for over a month and the snow that came…STAYED!  So much for living in a rain forest!  When the snow finally melted (most of it) two weeks ago, it was only because we received so much rain.  It washed away the snow and melted the ice.  I have now been back to work for the last two weeks.

Since it was so cold and frozen, I had to lay the staff off and am now back to work, but working alone for the time being.  Springs clean up has already started in many gardens and I am hard at work.   Many shrubs and trees have winter damage from carrying the weight of the snow and ice for so long.  Many branches are broken or damaged which means a larger clean up then normal.  I have also started trimming and pruning, as well as weeding.  It is a perfect time to weed as the ground has so much moisture many of the weeds pull right out.  Which is great because saving time on weeding helps to off set the extra time required for the extra clean up and the extra pruning necessary to keep the gardens healthy and vibrant.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the palms that have been planted in so many gardens.  The research I have done says that the palms can withstand temperatures dipping to -10 C.  However, we had extended periods of days where it stayed that cold.  It is true that mother nature can be cruel and it will be sad if many of the palms do not survive.  They add a new texture and vibrancy to the landscape here on the island and I shall be sad if their survival is threatened.   As the temperatures warm up we will see what has been damaged.  Only time will tell.

For those gardeners who are unsure of when to prune or trim.  There are basic rules that I follow.

  1.  Any plant or tree that has damaged limbs…prune immediately.
  2. Pruning and trimming in the fall/winter will slow down growth as the plants are moving towards dormancy.
  3. Pruning and trimming in the spring stimulates growth as the plants are becoming active again.
  4. Never ever take more then 1/3 off of any plant or shrub as it could kill it.  The more you prune or trim the more likely it is that the plant will become stressed.  When a plant is stressed it can bring many problems.  It sends a message to insects, diseases, fungus, etc…”I am not well so come and eat me.”  Plants are similar to humans…stress can be a killer.

The cost of a landscape gardener

Recently, someone ask me about a garden clean up.  She has been on my website and loved the work I do.    I explained to her, I charge an hourly rate which includes one person and one truck.  I do not charge for taking garden waste away and do not charge for truck time for picking up materials or supplies.  I only charge for the hourly labour.   I provide the tools, lawn mowers, fuel and anything else required for the job at no extra fee or cost.

She said her concern was the length of time it would take.  She had been on my website and saw that some gardens seem to take months.  Then I realized that she thought the garden jobs on my site had taken months to complete and she thought I had been working full-time at them.    I said yes, some of them have taken months..but it is only part-time I work at them.  Depending on the garden owner and their budget, the weather and my time constraints, some of them I work at part-time.  If the garden owner has a large job and wants it done immediately, then I do try and accommodate that but usually a very large job is part-time and does take months.

I have regular clients that have me set days in their garden and I also take on what I call “one off” jobs where I am hired to plant or prune a hedge or re-design a small garden or do a one day clean up.

That being said I thought I should clarify for everyone on my site how my business operates.

Cheers!  See you in the garden or the garden centre! 🙂

A Diamond in the rough!

I took on this garden clean up in Saltair BC in July 2016.  It is an ongoing job and is really shaping up nicely.  When first I walked through this garden I realized its potential.  I did not create this garden…it is 5 years old.  I am blessed to work in such a beautiful place with so much potential.  It is definitely a diamond in the rough!  Everything was overgrown and needed pruning and trimming.  Many of the ornamental grasses needed to be divided and moved.  I am so happy with the progress so far and so are the garden owners!

 

 

centre-gardens-beforecentre-garden-afterbefore-7 before-2 before-6image0000001-625x467     20161028_132943 chrisitines-centre-garden-steps-after20160826_1701151-625x351image0000011-625x467

 

Creating a Pond – Update

I started creating this new garden 2 seasons ago and highlighted it in a previous post on Island Garden Scapes website.  The pond progress is coming along quite nicely.  It is a large project with 2 ponds…one draining into the other via a small stream.  The pond liner was purchased at Dinter’s Nursery and the pump purchased in Victoria.  The first pond is now complete and the 2nd is a work in progress.  The pump will not be installed until the 2nd pond is complete and the stream bed finished.

The liner is actually a two part job.  There is a cushioned liner laid over the bottom and then the actual liner is laid on top of this.  This two part insert is to protect the liner from any upheaval of rocks coming through the liner and causing leakage.  Once the liner was laid then stones were laid around the pond to hold the liner in place and to enhance the pond/s beauty.  The natural stonework around the pond was created from stones on the property.  Laying the stones was similar to a jigsaw puzzle fitting the stones together so they would lay flat.  One side of the pond’s stones has cement between them to ensure they are stable.  The garden owner wanted to be able to walk between the ponds so adding cement stabilizes the walkway.

It is definitely a work in progress.  It is coming together beautifully and I am so excited to see this project completed!

See you in the garden or the garden centre! 🙂Franks Garden 031…in the beginning!

IMAG0731 800x452…;ast summer

pond update 2 pond update…this summer

Preparing a Million Dollar Property For Sale

I have worked for these garden owners for two seasons now.  And although I did not design or create these gardens, I am truly blessed to work for such lovely people in such beautiful gardens.  The property backs on to Quennell Lake  and has stunning views throughout the property which is a large acreage.  The owners themselves designed and created this park like setting with a dry river bed running across the property complete with a bridge and a large fish pond at the back of the house complete with palm trees!

All of the shrubs, trees and gardens needed to be tended.  This included weeding, feeding, pruning, trimming and general clean up throughout.  What a wonderful project!

Back yard hedge beforeBefore & After back yard hedge after 1

tree before  Before & Afterback yard after 4

tree and shrubs beforeBefore & Afterback yard hedge after

trees and shrubs beforeBefore & Afterback yard tree after pruning

 

backyard after pruning tree and shrubs after