Basic Landscape Design Principles that Boost Your Chances of Success

landscape designBeautiful landscapes aren’t created by chance. It’s almost impossible to simply “throw together” a landscape design and have it turn out to be exactly what you are looking for. Why? There are just too many factors involved and if everything is not perfectly aligned, the chances of your landscape thriving are minimal at best. Quality landscape design takes careful planning and a good measure of experience, but the one thing that all successful landscape contractors do have in common is the fact that they follow the same set of basic principles, which, if you look carefully enough, you will be able to spot in any good landscape. This is because these principles represent the “code” which landscape design is built upon. If you are attempting to implement a new landscape design in your yard, having knowledge of these principles would put you at a significant advantage, which is why we are going to guide you through the main ones during this post.

The Main Principles that Combine to Form the Landscape Design Code

Many people fail at landscape design, even some so-called “pros”, simply because when formulating their plan they do not consider Line, Form, Texture, Unity and Colour, which represent some of the main landscape design principles that simply cannot be ignored. To have the best chance of succeeding always consider the following when making changes to your yard.

  • Line – There are many different types of “lines” in a good landscape design. Some will be used to outline each individual section of the landscape (you may feature some practical areas, while others might be designated for purely aesthetic purposes). Other lines should be used to draw these various areas together, just like the needle and thread on a patchwork quilt. The lines that are used in a landscape design can also have a big influence over how people look at the landscape since our vision naturally follows lines.
  • Form – What do we mean by form? While in sports this word is used to describe how well a particular player has been playing lately, in a landscaping context, form is used to describe the shape of the plants and other features that are incorporated into the landscape design. Different plants grow to different heights and have different size leaves and branches, and it’s always advisable to include an assortment of sizes in the design to make it visually appealing.
  • Texture – This is usually associated with how something feels when you touch it with your hands, but in the landscaping world it refers to how something appears when you see it. Form can have an impact upon the texture as can the appearance of the leaves and branches of a plant. One thing that you have to bear in mind is that there are several factors that can influence, and even change, a feature’s texture including your proximity to it and the lighting.
  • Unity – A landscape design that contains many different features that just don’t seem to fit together well doesn’t typically appear attractive. Your landscape design should be unified and one of the best ways to achieve this is to use a certain amount of repetition throughout the design (although not too much otherwise it can have the opposite effect and look boring).
  • Colour – Just as with interior design, colour can have a big impact upon the overall mood and feelings that are created by the landscape, which is why the colours used should be carefully considered. This is the one design principal that homeowners make mistakes on most commonly as they typically select colours that they personally like, rather than those colours that complement the features that have been included in the landscape design.

At DonRos Landscape Construction we always try to be as thorough as possible when coming up with a landscape design for our clients, looking at it from every angle and factoring your requirements into the equation. If you live in either Thornhill, Richmond Hill or Woodbridge and are looking to make changes to your yard, contact our team today at 416-984-0180 or 416-688-8511.

any questions on landscape design, contact us today!

A Few Tips to Help You Achieve Pool Landscaping Perfection

pool landscaping richmond hillA swimming pool can make the perfect addition to any landscape design and is seen as a status symbol in today’s society. However, if it’s not surrounded by the right landscape it can stick out like a sore thumb and actually make your yard look unappealing. Your primary motivations for having a pool installed at your property were probably to help you relax and have endless hours of fun with your friends and family under the warm summer sun, so any landscaping around the pool area needs to be low maintenance, otherwise it kind of defeats the purpose of having a pool in the first place. If you’re really struggling to come up with some pool landscaping ideas, we’re going to try and help you get the ball rolling by sharing some of our favourite tips that have helped many homeowners in Thornhill, Richmond Hill and Woodbridge integrate their pools with the rest of their landscape design.

Clueless About Pool Landscaping? Here’s Some Ideas that Could Help

Swimming pool landscaping has the ability to transform even the most basic of swimming pools into a stunning centrepiece that enhances the appearance of your landscape and gives it that “wow” factor that everyone is trying to achieve. But just how do you come up with a quality landscaping plan for your pool area?

  • Use Potted Plants – This is a great way to add character to your area without spending serious amounts of money to make significant changes to your pool landscaping. Potted plants can come in all shapes and sizes, and if positioned together in tight clusters they can mimic the look and feel of a flower bed. They also work well in the transitional spaces between two of the features in your landscape design, such as between the pool and a patio area.
  • Landscape Lighting – There’s few other pool landscaping features that can claim to add the same amount of class and elegance to a swimming pool area as landscape lighting does. You can use pathway lights to illuminate the areas leading to the pool and spotlights to accentuate the shape of the pool during the evening period to create the perfect ambience for some late night wining and dining during the warmer summer months. The great thing about landscape lighting is that it doesn’t cost as much as you might think.
  • Trees? – Shade is an important consideration in any pool landscaping project and if you want to go the natural route to achieving this, planting some carefully selected trees is your best bet. If you are going to incorporate trees into your pool landscape design, you should choose these before looking at other plants and in particular look at species whose growth is relatively easy to control and that doesn’t shed much debris, as this would increase the maintenance demands of your pool landscaping (remember swimming pools are supposed to be fun!). Some of the most popular are paperbark, copper beech and maple.
  • Make Use of Flowering Shrubs – Flowering shrubs make a great addition to pool landscaping simply because they are a type of plant that requires relatively minimal care and attention to prosper, yet are stunning and aesthetically pleasing. They also adapt exceptionally well to most types of environments and the number of choices available to you runs into the hundreds, meaning you won’t be short of options on shapes, sizes and colours.

The possibilities with regards to pool landscaping are virtually endless and it’s possible to achieve what you perceive to be “perfection” with even the simplest of designs. We’ve been one of the top landscaping companies in Thornhill, Richmond Hill and Woodbridge for many years and are accustomed to not just meeting our clients’ expectations, but exceeding them.

would you like the assistance of a pool landscape professional, contact us today at 416-984-0180.

Not Sure Whether an Outdoor Kitchen is Right for Your Home?

Outdoor kitchen Richmond HillIn terms of trends in outdoor landscaping there’s no feature that’s more popular nowadays (except maybe a decked area) than outdoor kitchens. In recent years we’ve been contracted to help design and install dozens in Thornhill, Richmond Hill and Woodbridge, and that trend doesn’t look like it will stop any time soon. While they might seem like a recent phenomenon to us, they’ve actually been around for thousands of years; food was always prepared outside. It’s when food preparation was moved inside that the real change was made. Nevertheless, going back to our roots and dining outdoors has been a revelation and it’s a great way to make use of the outdoor space attached to your home. If you’re still not sure about whether it’s an investment that you want to make, keep reading to discover some of the main reasons to make 2014 the year that you have an outdoor kitchen installed at your property.

The Reasons Why You Should Have an Outdoor Kitchen Designed & Installed at Your Property

Just as with any other serious investment (an outdoor kitchen isn’t the cheapest landscaping design change that you could make), you do have to carefully consider all angles, including whether you actually need one, whether you can afford it and whether you have the space for one, before “pulling the trigger” and committing to the project. Providing you answer in the affirmative to all of the conditions that we just mentioned, there’s certainly enough reasons to make you want to say “yes please.” Some of these include:

  • Enjoy Your Outdoor Space – Do you have a landscape design that you worked extremely hard to implement? If so, it would almost be considered a crime if you didn’t get to enjoy the fruits of that labour on a regular basis. An outdoor kitchen will get you outside and enjoying that space much more often than you would if you had to prepare food inside all year round. Not only that, but food preparation becomes much less of a chore and something to actually saviour each day, as you feel the sun’s warm rays gently touch your face and the breeze through your hair as you prepare dinner for your loved ones. Sounds great, right?
  • Great For Entertaining – If you frequently host get-togethers among your friends, you’ve probably experienced that all-too-familiar scenario of everyone eventually meeting and standing around the kitchen inside even though the “party” started outside and it’s the middle of summer. This is because you run out of food, drinks, napkins and before you know it everyone is inside offering help to make more. An outdoor kitchen cuts out the need to keep going inside when the supplies on the table run low.
  • Increases Your Home’s Market Value – The benefits of having an outdoor kitchen at your property aren’t purely practical either. Home seekers across Thornhill, Richmond Hill and Woodbridge actually look for features like an outdoor kitchen when they attend house viewings and it’s something that makes your home more desirable and; therefore, increases the market value of your property. Return on investment is an important consideration when making any addition to your home and an outdoor kitchen certainly gives a good one.
  • Cut Down on Your AC Bill – If you’re anything like the millions of other homeowners that live in and around Toronto, you most probably crank up the AC when the temperature warms up outdoors, otherwise it can get pretty hot and sticky inside, especially when preparing food. You wouldn’t have that problem with an C though as you’ll be outdoors in the fresh air, meaning you don’t need to have your AC turned on all day.

The team at DonRos Landscape Construction is experienced at designing and installing outdoor kitchens that are tailored to our clients’ needs and if you are interested in having one installed at your property, we would be more than happy to carry out a free onsite consultation at your home.

We can be reached at 416-984-0180 for all your outdoor kitchen questions.

What to Look for When Hiring Landscaping Contractors

Landscaping ContractorsIf you’re like most other people in Thornhill and Richmond Hill, your home is most probably your primary financial investment, which means any time you hire a contractor to do work at your property, whether inside or outside, it’s a decision you shouldn’t take lightly. It’s a well known fact that a quality landscape design, that is professionally installed and cared for, can increase the market value of your home by as much as 20 percent. There are very few investments that can compete with it in terms of the return that it provides, which can easily be in the region of 100 to 200 percent. However, this is only possible if the landscaping contractors that you decide to work with know what they are doing. The relationship between you and the landscapers that you collaborate with is extremely important if your vision is going to be brought to life. During this article we’re going to talk about what you should look for when interviewing landscaping contractors in your local area (yes, we would advise you to stick with a local provider and interview several landscaping contractors before making a decision).

Quality Landscaping Contractors Generally Share Many of These Characteristics

While every landscaping contractor has their own “way of doing things”, those contractors that produce a consistently high standard of work invariably share many of the same characteristics, some of which include:

  • Strong Communication – Whether you want a completely new landscape design drawn up and achieved in your yard, or you just want the current design to be “tweaked”, strong communication is vital to the success of your project. Your landscape contractor needs to understand exactly what you’re looking for, because if they don’t, how can they be expected to deliver the desired result? Look out for landscaping contractors that ask lots of questions and seek to obtain as much information as they possibly can during the initial consultation, as this shows they are invested to achieving the end result that you want. They should also point out all of the choices that are available to you and advise you with regards to the pros and cons relative to each option.
  • Willing to Be Flexible – Remember that you are the client and you are paying the bill, which means that your words should count for something to potential landscaping contractors. If you want to get involved and take on part of the work that is required or you don’t have the finances available to have all the work done in one go, your landscaping contractor should be able to work with that.
  • A Proven Track Record – If a landscaping contractor is unproven and has never before attempted to do the kind of work that you require, how can you be sure that they are capable of doing it? It’s always wise to bump those landscaping contractors with more experience up your list and make contacting them first a priority. Contractors that have “done it all before” will usually be willing to prove this by supplying you with references and an up-to-date portfolio.
  • Solid Guarantees – Landscaping contractors that aren’t willing to offer guarantees on the work that they do obviously don’t have much faith that it’s going to last. In terms of softscape features, should plants fall victim to disease then you would expect the contractor to replace them no — questions asked for a certain period of time after they are first introduced to your landscape, while it’s not unreasonable to expect hardscape features to be guaranteed for much longer periods of time, covering you in the event that damage is sustained.

Selecting a landscaping contractor can be an overwhelming experience these days with so many vying for your attention, but it’s important to be thorough and take the time to speak to several contractors at length before making a decision. When doing so, be sure to look out for the characteristics that we just discussed.

Contact DonRos Landscape for top landscaping contractors

Landscape design Tips & Advice

  1. When hiring a contractor be sure that he can provide you with a WSIB Clearance Certificate and Liability Insurance before any work is started, if the contractor cannot present you with a Certificate you as a homeowner may be liable for anyone doing work on your property or any damage cause to your or any property.
  2. A smart contractor will always call Ontario One Call to locate any services ( hydro, gas, telephone and cable). Remember it’s Free if your contractor calls or may cost you if he doesn’t.
  3. Always request several quotes and to ask the contractor for References of similar work performed.
  4. Remember that a solid base,like anything in life, will prevent settlement of any products that you use on driveways or walkways.
  5. Always have drainage slope away from any foundations to prevent water damage.
  6. Before installing new sod add approximately 3 to 4 inches of screened topsoil to allow roots to germinate easily.
  7. One of the most important steps when building a retaining wall is drainage, a perforated flexible pipe should be installed at the rear of the wall either with filter cloth or clear gravel wrapped with filter cloth, if the steps these steps are followed your wall should stand up to our winters.