One of the most beautiful places on the planet is the West Coast of Canada. Living in a temperate rain forest can be challenging if you do not like rain. But if you are a gardener you welcome the rainy seasons and so do your gardens. Creating gardens with native plant species correlates to healthy plants and new ecosystems, not to mention beautiful outdoor spaces to enjoy all year long. Native plants have evolved to thrive in this climate, regardless of the season. Keep your garden design low maintenance by incorporating native species and mulch your gardens to protect and feed their roots through all seasons.
Once your garden design is complete…sit back and enjoy for years to come. The only left to do is divide your grasses and other perennials every 2 to 3 years. You can pot the new plants and give away as gifts or start a new garden area to enjoy!
We were contacted by a garden owner that wanted to create beauty along his driveway. The existing garden was actually empty of plants. A derelict fence needed to be removed first. We had the customer make a BC 1 call – which means he called the province to ensure there were no underground lines…and there is! There is a gas line that runs right down the middle of the garden bed. The gas company sent out an employee and he sprayed the garden with yellow paint outlining where the gas line is.
The garden owners wanted California Lilacs (Ceanothus) for their beauty and for the bees and butterflies to enjoy. It will grow into its space and will be easily managed as it will not grow to unmanageable heights. We suggested planting them 3 feet apart along the 60 foot expanse of garden. We also love the fact that it is deer resistant, native to Vancouver Island and drought tolerant.
After assessing the line in regards to its depth and size we agreed to move forward with the job. We were concerned that our estimate would be off so after discussion with the owners we were in agreement to go ahead. The line was actually buried deep enough that it did not interfere with the planting but we did excavate it by hand to ensure it was the same depth throughout the garden bed, which it is.
We dismantled the fence and disposed of it and it completely opened up the space, as well as allowing a beautiful view of the neighbours gardens. It is very visually appealing giving it continuity and flow. When the planting was complete we added mulch 4 inches thick to impede weeds, protect the plant roots from all types of weather as well as slowly break down and feed the plants.
So, here are the before and after pictures. The owners are very happy and so are we. As for the estimate…we still did it in the time we had originally estimated…making the customers even happier.
We have continued the work on the “Front Yard Oasis” this fall. The design is coming together and it is even more stunning then the computer generated design. We have continued excavation of the river bed. What we originally thought would be 3 to 4 more yards of waste has become 9 to 10 yards of excavation. Painstakingly done with shovels and wheel barrows. The yard is very rocky so we have sifted through much of the waste to keep the larger rocks to incorporate back into the dry river bed we will be creating.
The garden bed areas are now all installed and filled with organic soil, peat moss, bone meal and blood meal…and are ready to plant. A path way will be installed to run along the river bed to allow stepping access to the garden areas and to visually separate the patio from the river bed. The path will consist of 3 inches of rainbow rock that has been purchased at “Hillside Stone & Garden” near Duncan BC. We will be using low edging along the pathway that Beryl – our garden owner has purchased. It will help to define the edges of the river bed and the pathway as well as the patio and will keep the decorative rock from mixing with the river bed. We excavated the path down to approximately 3 1/2 inches to ensure the path will be slightly lower then the patio so the stone will not migrate onto the patio.
These are the original designs on paper. In a future post I will post the original designs with the actual designs to show the evolution of creating a garden space and how similar and also how different it becomes. There will be many areas that mirror the designs but also differences as there are always changes and challenges that come with such an undertaking.
Call us today to do all of your fall clean up including pruning and trimming your hedges, shrubs, annuals, perennials and take away the waste. When your bill is $500, you will receive a $50 gift card. Book $1000 or more and receive a $100 gift card…choose from prepaid visa, BC liqour store, grocery gift card, Home Depot, Home Hardware, etc…
Do you have a small clean up job…then book 2 hours with us and receive $10 off of your bill!
We will beautify your outdoor space, take away the waste, plant your spring bulbs, plant a hedge or a single tree…whatever you desire…we will create it! Now is a great time of year to have your gardens re-designed or a new garden installed…we do both hardscaping and softscaping…and we are good at it! We love what we do and would love to show you. We will winterize your gardens to ensure they thrive over the winter and into next season. Add mulch to protect the roots from winter weather, great for weed management and will beautify your outdoor space!
Call Kathleen for a free estimate today! 250-802-0461
In an earlier post I showed the beginning of a new front garden design. The work continues and here is the design on paper with the before pics and the concept design.
The patio will not be exactly as shown although she has chosen different hues of pink.
We were hired by Beryl to transform her front yard in Ladysmith. After several discussions we came up with an initial plan so I could design the area. She wanted raised garden boxes in front of the house and smaller raised garden boxes on each side of her trellis. There will be no grass in the front yard. The grass is non-existent anyway, with only the weeds growing. She wants a low maintenance design, with a large curving patio. We incorporated a dry river bed to run along the perimeter of the patio. This will add visual appeal as well as natural drainage from the yard.
The fence and arbor were installed last year. The shrubs in front of the house had to come out and the garden boxes installed.
Then the yard had to be taken down in height. In some areas it had to be taken down 14 inches so that it would be level. This design is an ongoing project. I will update with the design pics next.
We were hired by our garden owner Gail in the spring to re-do her front lawn. The lawn is approximately 1000 square feet of poor soil and very poor lawn. Gail had struggled with the lawn since she had moved there. After years of trying to get the grass to grow she decided she needed a low maintenance xeriscaped area. When I went to meet her, I agreed. My motto has always been, when you are trying to grow something, you want it to thrive not just survive. Her lawn was barely surviving…although the weeds were prolific, nothing else seemed to thrive. As a retired farmer Gail realizes the importance of water conservation and thought it best to get rid of the lawn and conserve the water for better uses.
Gail said as each year went by the lawn became more unhealthy then the previous year. The lawn is patchy at best and really required a new design. Gail had already decided she wanted all of the sod removed and disposed of. She wanted a rock wall across the front and a path to her side garden for her to be able to water with her garden hose. She also wanted as much of the front lawn mulched as possible. she wanted a design that would compliment her beautiful home and create curb appeal.
I suggested we frame the entire front yard with a perimeter of river rock. It would not only add a new layer to the design, but more importantly it would allow good drainage of rains and help to keep the mulch in its place. The last thing I wanted to happen was for a heavy rainfall to wash all of the mulch to the sidewalk and the road. Without the perimeter of rock it was a likely problem as the lawn is on a gradient towards the sidewalk and the road.
The work began on Monday taking out all of the sod and disposing of it. A sod cutter works great for such a big job. The perimeter of the lawn had to be cut out with an edger as the sod cutter cannot get close enough to cut it out.
Once we went over the lawn with the sod cutter we realized that although the grass was not growing above ground the roots were a solid mass with some as deep as 6 inches. We had to run the sod cutter over it twice to rid the area of roots and start with a clean slate. It was labour intensive but a necessary requirement to ensure a long lasting low maintenance design. We did need to take the lawn down by a minimum of 2 inches to make room for the mulch but it ended up coming down 5 to 6 inches which actually worked out better in the long run.
Once the lawn and roots were taken out and disposed of (7truck loads of waste), it was time to prep the entire bare area. We used a landscape rake to level the entire area. Then we built a stone wall across Gail’s front lawn to add depth and beauty as well as hold the mulch in place. We dug out the entire perimeter lower then the rest of the lawn and put garden edging in to keep the river rock separate from the mulch. We also added layers of wet newspaper and landscape fabric underneath the river rocks.
Then we used recycled newspapers….8 to 10 layers deep on the entire yard. We wet the newspaper first so it sticks to the ground. This creates a barrier so that weed seeds in the soil cannot sprout or grow. We were not willing to lay landscape fabric down on bare soil. The landscape fabric does what it is supposed to…it has tiny perforated holes to allow rain water to flow through it but cannot hold the weeds back. Many fabrics have a 5 year or 20 year guarantee on the package. That is not for the duration that it will keep weeds out…that is for the duration of its life before it completely breaks down. There is a big difference. For anyone who has ever used the fabric in their garden they know that is only a matter of time before a tiny weed seed sprouts and pokes through one of these perforated holes in the fabric and begins a weed trend that does not stop. Once the weeds begin to poke through the fabric, the only way to get them out is to pull all of the fabric up and weed it from underneath. It is not the current seeds that are sprouting but rather the old weed seeds trapped under the fabric and they do sprout and grow.
We purchased commercial landscape fabric and yes there is a big difference. It is a strong mesh material that allows the water to seep through rather then the cheaper fabric with perforated holes. Commercial fabric is 25% more but it is the only fabric to use when I am covering bare ground to impede weeds growing. We layered the fabric and overlapped to ensure there were no bare areas that weeds could sprout. Then we covered it with a medium dark mulch. The dark mulch is larger chunks and less likely to blow away or move around in a rain storm. We covered the entire remaining yard with 4 to 6 inches of mulch. We raked it all out and then we watered it down. We knew a storm was coming the next day and rather then take a chance on the mulch being so dry and light it would migrate, we watered it down to weigh it down. The re-design turned out beautiful and Gail is very happy with it and so are we!
This small patio space was originally seeded with grass that would not grow. It is in a condominium complex and has excess water in the patio area most of the year. The natural drainage of rainwater runs off of their patio as their patio sits lower and is the last one right beside the complex’s green space. They had reseeded the area hoping it would fill in with grass. However the grass was spotty at best and the area was muddy for much of the year. They wanted a clean space that was not only attractive but usable all year long. It was agreed that the sod should come out and be replaced with landscape fabric and then stone. The fabric would allow the excess water to drain as would the stone. Better drainage would mean dryer all year. So we went to work cutting the sod out and then covering with two layers of landscape fabric. Susan chose 3/4 inch limestone for its beauty and ease of walking on, for themselves and their family dog. We layered the stone 3 inches deep on top of the fabric being careful to tuck the fabric tight against the fence so no weeds would grow. It turned out beautiful and Susan and Len love their new look.
Patio prepped and ready to transform