Bringing The Indoors Outside

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to add expansions and additional rooms on to their houses. It’s a popular and significant investment for adding living space to the home. And increased living space is what a lot of people are after.

What many people overlook is the abundance of opportunities for increasing living space using smart, effective landscaping. With a bit of planning and some hard work, you can bring the indoors to your back yard and gain some beautiful new living spaces without building expensive new expansions to your home.

Unilock Umbriano_Courtstone_Series3000_Patio_Paver

Courtesy of Unilock

There are some great new building materials out there that will allow you to convert your outdoor yard space into cozy, livable areas for the enjoyment of you, your family, and your guests. Take Unilock, for example. Unilock – the original interlock manufacturers who first brought the industry to North America in the early 70s – offers pavers and wall materials that make it easy to build outdoor sitting and walking areas that are beautiful, accessible, and easily customizable to suit your individual preferences.

Unilock custom waters feature

Courtesy of Unilock

Unilock Has also built a massive display centre at their Georgetown location 287 Armstrong Ave, Halton Hills. This is a great place to go and get inspired, with all kinds of displays that will blow your mind. The addition of further outdoor features such as such as fireplaces and built in outdoor BBQ grills allows for even more versatility with the space and gives you maximum enjoyment. A pleasantly sculpted outdoor area with walls, windows, and a cheery gas fireplace could offer year-round enjoyment for you and your family.

Other concrete and block manufacturers such as Techo-Bloc, Permacon, Navascape and Oaks Concrete Products give you a wealth of options to choose from when deciding on the precise look and feel of your outdoor spaces. (Just a word of warning here. If you look at too many manufacturers you are likely to get overwhelmed and have a very difficult time choosing.)

There’s a lot more to landscaping than simply changing the arrangement of your plants or greening your lawn. While it’s great to have a beautiful lawn, what people are really in the market for is useful space that they can take advantage of in their own way. That’s why we make a point of keeping up with the latest in material and design. We make sure we know how to install and build the kinds of spaces that homeowners can cherish for years to come.

Ready to create an outdoor living space for yourself? Contact us and give us a call at (647) 955-8382..

Nobody wants pests in their lives, but their emergence does not need to be an “end of the world” situation. You do not need harsh chemicals in order to be rid of them, making the transition from pest-filled to pest-free quick and painless. So, how do you go about this?

Beneficial insects are a great way to be rid of pests. These are insects which you can attract to your garden, or buy from catalogs, which prey on harmful insects or their larvae.Examples would be the lovely ladybugs and the mysterious praying mantis.

Homemade, non-toxic remedies are also terrific ideas. These are great, as you ill know exactly what is going into your garden, and you can specifically tailor your remedy for the types of pests you are trying to be rid of.

If you do not feel confident making your own remedies, you can also purchase numerous natural, non-toxic solutions that will perform just as well, if not better.

Your garden is a source of pride for you and your family, so you should not let harsh chemicals destroy it, especially when there are natural alternatives.

If your garden is beyond saving and you need a complete overhaul give us a call at 647-955-8382, or send us a message with your questions and comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Despite how it may seem outside, spring is coming. Really, its coming! Soon the snow, ice and all around evil that is outside our doors will turn into warmth and sunshine. As amazing as this is, there is some work to be done to get ready for the springtime. We’ve got 10 tips to get your lawn and landscape ready for the upcoming spring.

1. Before bring out your shovels, rakes and leaf blower, take a quick walk around and look things over. Break down the process into gardens and lawn work, small repairs and cleaning. This will help you keep everything organized and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.

2. Check hand tools and equipment to see if any need repairing, cleaning or replacing. There’s nothing worse than needing a tool, only to find out that it is in need of repair.

3. If you feel that you must fertilize in the spring to correct lawn damage, first get a soil test done by a garden center or a cooperative extension office. (Check at the garden centre for the correct fertilizer and follow the instructions carefully…… do not use more than suggested quantity)

4. Prune winter-­damaged tree limbs and shrub ­branches. Remember that when pruning to remove limbs no farther than the branch collar. Never cut flush to the trunk.

5. Re-seed bare patches in your lawn.

6. Pull out that lawn mower and use it to even out the grass.

7. Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of plants, trees and shrubs as well as emerging bulbs and perennials. This will help to moderate soil temperatures, maintain soil moisture, deter weeds and make your soil more friable by increasing the population of beneficial soil microorganisms.

8. Check the pH of your soil with a soil test kit, available at garden centers and home improvement stores. Most plants grow best in soil with a pH between 6.0 to 7.0.

9. Start your new plants off right by thoroughly soaking the plant roots before putting them in the ground. Once plants are in the ground, be sure to water them thoroughly, keeping the soil slightly moist at all times during the first growing season until plants become established.

10. Create drifts of color and texture by arranging your annuals and perennials in odd numbered groups such as three, five, or seven.

Interested in even more tips for getting your lawn and landscape ready? Give us a call at 647-955-8382 or send us a message with your questions and comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Scourge of the garden, weeds are a reality that we would all love to be rid of. So how exactly do you go about removing these evil doers from your garden? Well, there are many ways you can achieve this, some of them organic, some of them not. We, of coarse, believe that the organic way is the best way to go, and we’re going to give you some ideas on how you can organically remove the weeds from your work of art.

Organic tip numero uno would be mulch. A thick layer keeps light from reaching the dreaded weeds. Though they may seem to be creatures of darkness, weeds cannot survive without light. Keep this in mind when battling them.

The second tip today is using your hoe. Annual weeds die when you sever the stems from the roots just below the soil surface. Forget about the square-headed traditional garden hoe for this job. Instead, go for an oscillating or a swan neck hoe.

Our final tip for now is the dreaded hand pulling. We’re sure you didn’t want to read that, but its really not as bad as you think. Wet the soil first, as weeds will slide out a lot easier. Also, wear waterproof gloves and consider a comfortable sitting pad for extensive weeding.

If weeds have taken over your landscape and it’s time for a complete re-model we can help! Give us a call at 647-955-8382 or send us a message. We’d love to hear from you!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

An interlocking driveway offers is an attractive alternative to more common asphalt driveways. Created using interlocking blocks of concrete, an interlocking driveway does require some maintenance; fortunately, the maintenance is relatively easy. There are three primary steps you should keep in mind:

  1. Power Wash – (safety glasses and rubber boots are required) Power washing can scrub out unwanted plant growth, caked in dirt, and automobile marks. (there are specific chemicals you can buy to help with problem marks and stains on the surface) High pressure water is best, use extra care on the joints so as not to remove too much sand from the joints, you may need to spray the joints extra hard in some cases to remove the weeds, if you do remove too much sand, don’t worry you can fix that later. (If you are inclined you might consider doing the cleaning on a rainy day as this may help to soften the soil build up on the surface of the stones making it a little easier to clean)
  2. Apply Polymeric Sand – (the surface must be completely dry before you apply polymeric sand) Sweep off your driveway to clear out any debris, and then apply a layer of polymeric sand to fill in any gaps that may have developed between bricks. This will ensure that the bricks remain stationary and secure. Once the sand has been applied, spread it around with a broom for complete coverage (remove all excess sand from the surface) then gently spray with water from your garden hose.
  3. Strip and Seal – Even a carefully maintained driveway will take a beating from the elements. If your driveway has become faded and lackluster, it may be time to strip off the old sealant and apply a fresh coat. You’re often better served hiring a professional for a task like this, to save you time and ensure the job is done right the first time (which also saves you money).

Be aware of the weather before your start your maintenance, particularly stripping and sealing. This part requires 24 hrs of previous dry weather and 24 hrs of dry weather after the work is done and it should be above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If your driveway has been sealed in the past you are advised to use the same type of sealer which was used previously (EI water based on water based and solvent based on solvent based) pay close attention to the joints to make sure they are dry, a wet joint with solvent base may turn white and requires a lot of extra work to fix it.

Keeping these steps in mind will help ensure your interlocking driveway continues to serve as a safe and attractive portal to your home for years to come. If you’ve got more questions or need help with yours, give us a call at 647-955-8382 or send us a message with your questions and comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Image credit: Unilock (Hofstetter Landscaping is a Unilock Authorized Contractor.)

Need a sanctuary to escape the office and traffic jams? Then an Asian-inspired landscape will do the trick. Here’s your guide to designing an Asian-themed atmosphere for your backyard.

  1. Think water, rock and plants, which are positive elements in Feng Shui garden designs.
  2. Plan an open landscape to allow chi (also known as energy) to flow freely.
  3. Choose a colour palette to balance the flow of energy.
  4. Use bamboo wind chimes for soothing sounds.
  5. Add Asian décor, like a wooden bridge. Tortoise and koi fish décor are also ideal, which signify stability and happiness.
  6. Install a waterfall, water symbolizes wealth
  7. Or opt for a small pond with fish and water plants.
  8. Plant white flowers for a trace of colour amongst greenery.
  9. Use trees and bushes to construct a natural fence.
  10. Build your own Japanese rock gardenout of white sand and large stones.
  11. Add small, eye-catching stones to your rock garden.
  12. Follow this Japanese rock garden rule: keep one stone hidden. Only reveal an even number of rocks.

Start your landscaping plans now to experience the ultimate backyard retreat this spring and summer. With your needs and budget in mind, Hofstetter Landscaping can help you create an appealing yet peaceful backyard landscape. Call 647-955-8382 or email through the online form.

 

Image: Shutterstock

Did you know that there’s such a thing as an unsafe backyard for a dog? According to Thomas Barthel in his book Dogscaping, your pooch “can become gravely ill after ingesting toxic plants and chemicals commonly found  in the yards they delight in exploring”.

Your backyard needs to accommodate your dog’s daily habits too, like digging and running. Otherwise, you could run into behavioural issues – and you don’t need your neighbors complaining about your dog! Here are 10 landscaping tips for a dog-friendly backyard.

  1. After your dog urinates, water the the area to reduce lawn damage.
  2. Designate a digging area with sand, soft soil and wood mulch.
  3. Place gravel around flowers to prevent your dog from digging.
  4. Assign a grassy spot as a “potty”.
  5. Inspect your fences for holes. Fences should be three feet into the ground to prevent the dogs from digging out of the yard.
  6. Watch out for metal lawn edging; if your dog steps on it, he could injure his paw.
  7. Install a dog house for shade; keep a water bowl nearby.
  8. Create a stone path for a running area.
  9. Avoid flowers and plants that are toxic for dogs, like Chrysanthemums.
  10. Also avoid thorny and sappy plants.

To be absolutely sure your backyard is dog-friendly, your best bet is to consult a landscaper. Call Hofstetter Landscaping  for professional advice and a free quote at 647-955-8382 or send an email through the online form.

 

Image: Shutterstock

Imagine lying in a hammock amid beautiful, lush foliage, sipping on a Pina Colada – in your Toronto backyard. That’s right, you don’t have to fly to Jamaica for a relaxing vacation. Here are 10 landscaping tips that will transform your Toronto backyard into a tropical paradise. (Bonus: You save money on plane tickets and hotel accommodations. )

  1. Achieve dense, textured gardens; let plants overlap each other, layer shrubs small trees.
  2. Use plants with colorful foliage.
  3. Plant low maintenance trees and shrubs to reduce your gardening chores. Lavander, for example, doesn’t require much water.
  4. Another way to cut down on on your gardening tasks: place your plants on self-watering containers.
  5. Complement your fences with vines.
  6. Add more natural elements, like rocks and boulder stones.
  7. Install a pond and surround it with lush greenery. Go ahead and add lily pads and koi fish to your pond, too.
  8. Create a soft atmosphere with ferns which are appropriate fillers for tropical backyard landscapes.
  9. Shop for comfy, long-lasting outdoor furniture, like those made of polyethylene and aluminum frames.
  10. Install outdoor lighting with spotlights or downlights, or opt for simple candles.

Start your landscaping plans now to experience your tropical backyard when summer hits. Hofstetter Landscaping can provide you with more backyard advice (plus a free quote) if you contact them now – call 647-955-8382 or email their landscaping experts through this contact form.

 

Image: Shutterstock

Spring time is just around the corner. Have you thought about landscaping your backyard yet? With time flying by so quickly, you’ll need to prepare a functional, beautiful backyard soon for you family barbecues. Solidify your landscaping plans now by avoiding these backyard mistakes:

  • Not user-friendly:  Many homeowners concentrate on backyard aesthetics rather than how the yard will be used. Who’s using the backyard? How will each person use the yard? Knowing these info will help you make realistic landscaping goals.
  • Excessive décor: Too many decorations steer attention away from a scenic yard. Stick to one decoration that suits your backyard theme.
  • Forgetting the indoors: When you look out your window from the inside, you want to see an attractive yard, not unappealing objects. Keep this in mind as you position plants, containers, etc.
  • Overlooking wildlife:  Consider the animals in your yard and how they’re attracted to plants. For example, you may need a fence to ward off rabbits from gardens.
  • Ignoring upkeep: Regular maintenance is a must for owning a beautiful backyard. Do you have time to weed garden beds? If not, you need to find someone to do this.

If you prevent these landscaping mistakes form the start, you can enjoy your backyard as soon as the warm weather arrives. Hofstetter Landscaping Toronto can help you reach this goal by providing landscaping expertise. Call 647-955-8382 or use the online form to contact Hofstetter Landscaping Toronto.

 

Image: Shutterstock

It’s that time of year when the installations have died down, due to the onset of winter. It is January now and it’s getting time for all of our manufacturers to put on their yearly product update seminars. There will also be lots of training seminars. We have just completed the Landscape Ontario Congress show which was held in Toronto from January 8th- 10th  2013. Three jam packed days full of training and seminars and thousands of pieces of tools products and equipment, which is not open to the public, just the landscaping and horticultural trades and service sectors. It is a great way to charge up our batteries for the oncoming season.

All the crews are getting excited about the 2013 season and can’t wait to get started again. Our main suppliers: Unilock, Permacon and Techo-Bloc have already put together there 2013 season kick off programs and we will be attending these meetings in January, February and March. Our lighting and water feature suppliers have us booked for January, and have some very exciting news and products for us, and this year a program with new water feature and product training has been added. We are very excited to be involved this year with Unilock for their Authorized Contractor Program (only available to those of us who have proven to be the best contractors, following strict manufacturers guide lines for installation)

All of our equipment and tools will be fully serviced, cleaned and repaired if necessary and as usual all of our vehicles will go in to be Certified and receive their Certification Yellow stickers. (which is the law) Our 2013 sales and marketing  plan is being worked on by  Liana and Victor from WSI. www.wsiwebconnects.com . This will certainly help with our Google placement.

New recruits will be hired this year to add to our labour force and everyone of us will be taking our safety training courses and Red Cross or St. John’s Ambulance  training. Look for our ads in local papers and booklets coming to your door. We are planning a door to door campaign, we may be knocking, dropping off catalogues, door hangers or flyers, and this year we are thinking of working with builders in new neighbourhoods, and setting up permanent display areas to showcase our products and have weekend BBQ meet the contractor days. I am sure this will help greatly with increased  sales in new communities. Social media will also be one of our major focuses this year with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Linkedin, Yelp and others just to mention a few.

By the way if you know of anyone looking for landscaping services of any kind or if you want some yourself, please contact us.  If we have done work for you in the past,  please drop us a line to let us know how things are going, or if you need any service work and we’ll take care of you.

Thanks, Rick Hofstetter and the Whole Gang here at Hofstetter Landscaping