Category Archives: Landscaping Burlington

How to Landscape a Backyard for Kids- Landscaping in Oakville Before & After

Many people wait until their kids grow up to complete their landscaping. We think that you shouldn’t wait- your kids don’t want to spend time in an unkempt backyard either!

If you are the parent of young children, adding active play space to your backyard landscape may be the smartest move you ever make. When the kids are restless and cranky or are making you feel that way, send them outside to burn off some energy in their own backyard. There is a huge range of options for home playgrounds. You can mix and match to get the exact play set you and your kids want.

The “before” photo shows part of a typical suburban Oakville backyard; lawn with some overgrown shrubs around the edge and a wood privacy fence. There is not much to keep kids busy and entertained. The “after” photo shows a new wood play structure with several activities for the younger set, including an entertaining surface for the adults- you can drink your coffee while supervising your children playing.

before after

Home Playground Options

Play equipment today is designed to be flexible and adaptable. Modular units usually allow you to choose and piece together the components you want for your home playset. Swings, slides, climbing walls and ropes, houses, sandboxes, zip lines and more are all available in a variety of sizes and configurations. The size of your backyard may be the only limitation.

We will gladly assembly any set that you’d like integrated into your outdoor space.

Safety Considerations

It’s important to have a soft landing surface at the bottom of slides, under swings and anywhere a child might fall. As shown in the photo, a thick layer of shredded bark mulch is often used for this purpose. Sand and interlocking rubber mats are other options.

An interlocking border that is flush with the ground was installed to keep the mulch in place, and prevent grass from growing into the play area.

When the Kids Grow Up

When the playground is no longer needed, this leveled space can easily be transitioned into a more elegant feature. Options good include a gazebo, an additional patio surface and bistro set, or it could be absorbed by the bordering planting beds for a feature garden.

Get a Consultation Today

Get a head start on your landscape planning for the spring, and contact us now for a consultation.

Landscaping Burlington: Stone Steps Before & After

Almost everyone has steps in their landscape. Usually, steps are needed to get to the front door of your home, but with some unique, sloping properties in Burlington, it’s also common to have steps in your backyard landscape. Think of steps as a design opportunity; they can do more than just take you from point A to point B.

In the “before” photo, you see a typical set of backyard steps. They are narrow, and the height varies from step to step- which is a safety issue.

The new steps in the “after” photo are much more elegant. Let’s take a look at what makes them better.

before after

Materials for Backyard Steps

Concrete pavers for walks and patios almost always have complementary blocks and pavers for walls and steps. The materials and colours match; the size and shape may vary as needed. The steps shown here match the patio below and the walkway above. Everything ties together. Even though they are separate spaces, there is now a visual connection between them.

How Wide Should Backyard Steps Be?

Backyard steps should be wide enough for two people to walk side by side. They should also be less steep than indoor steps.

The steps shown here meet those requirements. They look comfortable and inviting- notice how they are nestled into the landscape? If you are connecting two levels of a patio or deck, outdoor steps can be even wider.

Sitting Opportunities

Outdoor steps are great places to sit and hang out. When you have a party or group of friends over, you need lots of places for casual gathering. The steps shown are wide enough for sitting. The walls on either side of the steps make them even better. Even if you don’t want to sit on your steps, extra space provides places for potted plants or small lawn sculptures.

Steps to Fit Your Budget

If you have budget concerns, get estimates for different materials and widths of steps. Different varieties of manufactured interlocking bricks and natural stone are all good materials for landscape steps- and there are products available that fit in all budgetary ranges. Many offer features that payoff in the long run, like lifetime warranties.

Most landscapes are constructed in phases. If you install steps in an early phase, additional features can be added later. For the steps shown here, low level landscape lights could be added on either side of the steps. Some additional landscape planting is also a nice way to enhance steps and blend them into the surrounding yard.

Though sloped backyards can be challenging, with creative design work they can turn into a wonderful collection of places to spend time outdoors. In a yard with different levels of patios, walkways and gathering spaces, your backyard steps will become an integral and inviting part of your landscape.

If you’re interested in getting a head start on landscaping in the spring, contact us today for a consultation.

Landscaping Oakville- How to Landscape a Side Yard

Side yards are one of the most difficult areas in a home landscape to deal with.

Most suburban Oakville homes have narrow side yards that leave little room for activity or ornamental landscaping. Though you probably don’t spend much time there, your side yard is often visible from the road or front yard; you don’t want it to be cluttered or unsightly. Also, you usually need access through the side yard to get from the front to the back of the house.

In this before and after photo from one of our recent projects, a new walkway has nicely solved some of the typical side yard issues.

Side yards

Before

The “before” photo shows an old unit paver walkway that had become weedy and unsightly. The narrow landscape strip between the walk and the house had also become weedy. The paver walkway and planting strip both need some regular maintenance, probably more than most people like to invest in a little-used part of their yard.

After

In the “after” photo, the old walkway has been replaced with a new manufactured stone interlocking walkway.

The material has been stamped and coloured to look like real stone, but its regular shape and width allows it to be installed more easily. The larger paver size leads to fewer joints- leaving less room for any plant life to establish.

There are almost unlimited options with colour additives and stamped patterns for pavers, and they can be made to work with any style of house and landscape. Note how the pattern on the walk continues as it wraps around the house and becomes the backyard patio, connecting the spaces and creating interest.

The new walkway also eliminates the narrow planting strip next to the house. For front and back yards, it is usually nice to have some ornamental planting between the house and paved areas. For a very narrow side yard, landscape planting is a lower priority.

How to Complete a Similar Project on a Lower Budget

If the landscape budget is limited, there is room to bring the cost of the project down by selecting a lower cost paver. When installed properly, a low cost product should offer the same results.

Future projects for this side yard could include the addition of separation from the next door neighbour’s yard. Some like the feeling of privacy and ownership that comes from an ornamental fence marking the edge of their yard and property. A narrow hedge could also be used, though in this narrow space, it would require regular pruning.

Low Maintenance Landscaping Oakville

Thoughtful design solutions can improve the look of your home landscaping while reducing maintenance and making life a little bit easier. Even a simple side yard can be made to look like it is an integral part of your overall landscape. If you have an overlooked, little-used area in your landscape, there is probably a creative way to make it more functional and attractive.

Contact us today to discuss your project.