Author Archives: Erin Rector


How Residential Landscaping Offers A High ROI

It is well known that quality, professional residential landscaping can offer a much higher return on investment (ROI) compared to other home improvements. In a recent Society of Real Estate survey of appraisers, 99 per cent of the respondents agreed that landscaping enhances the curb appeal of residential real estate, making it likely to sell faster. Ninety-five per cent of the respondents also agreed that buyers had no problem paying 10 to 20 per cent more than the original value of the home before landscaping.

Home Landscaping For Best ROI

The home improvement that keeps improving
Residential landscaping not only increases your property’s value and selling price, but also keeps the price going up as the landscape matures. It is extremely satisfying to know that your investment will continue to increase the value of one of your biggest assets over time. And when you decide to sell, purchasers will pay a premium for mature and well maintained landscape.

This is because well-tended landscapes – that are not overgrown – give potential homebuyers the impression that the sellers are responsible, and that the inside is also likely to be well cared for. Real estate agents agree that most homebuyers get more excited when visiting homes that look inviting than those that seem dreary, with the exception of flippers.

It extends your living space
Transforming your yard into an attractive space gives you extra square footage you can enjoy instantly and for years to come. Hardscaping, which includes adding firepits, seats, fireplaces, and patio pavers, among other things, allows you to do anything that you would do inside your home outside and in the comfort of your compound.

To continue enjoying your landscape without detracting from it, consider:

  • Keeping the garden tidy: Trimming shrubs, pruning trees, and keeping the yard weed-free are all inexpensive ways to keep your landscape looking neat. You can manage weeds by using pre-emergent herbicides (dependent on what province you’re in) that kill weed seeds before they grow, or by applying mulch and raking it periodically to maintain a fresh, earthy look.
  • Planting many trees: The value of trees increases over time. In fact, landscape appraisers claim that a $10 sapling can be worth between $1,000 and $10,000 when mature. This is a huge return on investment, and the more trees you have the greater your ROI. If you plan on staying in your current home for more than five years, plant small trees. But if you plan on selling sooner, buying larger trees will be better so they mature just before selling.
  • Adding an outdoor entertainment area: Among the most desired outdoor elements among homebuyers are firepits and permeable paving, along with low-maintenance landscaping, which add the most value to your landscape. You can make your own firepit as a DIY project, or purchase one for a few dollars. Permeable paving is also quite affordable at about $600 per 100-sq.-ft.-area.
  • Drought preparedness: Installing an automated sprinkler system promises potential homebuyers a virtually maintenance-free yard. But with longer drought spells, you can have an even bigger impact on potential buyers if you landscape with drought-tolerant plants. Considering that nearly one-third of household water goes to landscaping, opting for environmentally friendly plants can mean a huge reduction in your water bills. Xeriscaping — low-water-use-renovations — is a worthwhile investment that will reduce your water costs in the short term, and pay off with higher home value when you decide to sell.
  • Add some seasonal plants for beauty: Although low-maintenance landscape offers the best ROI, you can take advantage of perennial flowering plants to act as a backdrop. Most flowers are annuals, but opting for more perennials will reduce the workload for replanting (redoing the landscape) each spring as they can survive for years. Options for perennials include lavender, rosemary, catmint, and sage, which add colour, scent, and can be used in recipes. Other less thirsty landscaping plant options include succulents, such as aloes and agaves, and vines, such as wisteria, grapes, and honeysuckles.

Safeguard your investment: Hire professional landscape contractors
Quality, low-maintenance residential landscaping projects typically cost about 10 per cent of the home’s value. Assuming that the improvements increase the value of your home by 15 per cent, it means that you get back 1.5 times your investment, or a 150 percent ROI. Seek professional help to identify responsible landscaping choices that will increase your ROI, such as those that add beauty and comfort, require minimal maintenance, and are economical.

When done right, investing in landscaping can make you feel good even in tough economic times. But this requires coherent, sophisticated design that can only be achieved with a skilled and experienced contractor. So, homeowners looking to increase their property’s value should protect their investment by working with the right licensed, professional residential landscape contractors. Otherwise you risk ending up with a disorganized space that detracts from your home’s curb appeal.

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Landscaping Around A Pool: Tips And Ideas

The next step after adding a pool to your backyard is to complete the scene with a well designed landscape that adds colour, interest, privacy, safety and convenience, while requiring minimal maintenance.

Modernize Your Pool Landscape

Custom landscape services can help you create a relaxing atmosphere, similar to a resort, around your pool. You don’t want to be distracted by withering plants, or spend a lot of your free time fertilizing, trimming, or cleaning leaves and twigs from your poolscaping. You need to keep it simple. Here are some tips to help you make the right landscaping selections.

  1. Choose Mess-Free Plants for Pool Landscaping

    Plants are great for landscaping around the pool as they add beauty and privacy. However, you should be careful to choose the right plants so they won’t cause any inconvenience. The right trees and shrubs soften the loud lines of pool equipment, make the pool blend more naturally with the landscape, and provide privacy screens—especially if they grow tall. However, you should:

    • Avoid deciduous trees as they shed their leaves in certain seasons, increasing the need for frequent skimming;

    • Avoid trees such as gum trees, sycamores and pecan trees, as they drop needles, sap, and other debris periodically;

    • Avoid weeping willows, oaks and other trees with far-reaching root systems that could compromise your pools foundation and increase repair costs;

    • Avoid fruit trees because they are messy, plus they attract bees, insects, pests and other creatures with their flowers and fruits.

    Broadleaf evergreen bushes like Hetz Japanese holly and other plants with thorns are generally mess free and beautiful for landscaping. However, they should not be planted near walkways or sitting areas to reduce the risk of getting jabbed. Instead, grow them on a side of the yard with minimal activity.

    You can grow a mixture of foliage plants and flowering ones to ensure visual interest year round—even when the flower plants are not blooming. Keep in mind that flowers will attract bees, so you might want to keep these plants to a minimum.

  2. Fence Around the Swimming Pool

    It is essential to fence around your swimming pool, especially if you have children, for safety purposes. The fence can help to mark the border between the swimming pool area and the playing area of the backyard. Some fences also provide privacy.

  3. Pool Deck or Patio

    These are important pool structures that not only add beauty to the landscape, but also improve the safety of the pool area. A scarred concrete patio provides a slip-resistant surface for people to climb onto when leaving the pool. Brick patios are also pretty popular, though they should have a rough surface. Keep in mind that they require more maintenance work because of the moss that grows on them.

  4. Gazebo

    A closed gazebo is a great addition to the landscaping around an outdoor pool as it provides a place for your friends to change into and out of their swimwear. A gazebo can also provide you with shade on very sunny days.

  5. Outdoor Furniture

    Outdoor furniture around the pool offers a great deal of convenience. You may also include a full outdoor kitchen, or some basic kitchen equipment, such as a barbecue. Use updated pool furniture to modernize the poolside, and consider options such as outdoor lounge chairs, sculptures or a poolside mini-bar. You will also need to invest in proper outdoor lighting so you can enjoy the pool area day and night, all season long.

Designing Your Landscape

Here are some things to keep in mind when designing your landscape around a pool.

  • Emphasize your personal taste. It is important that you communicate your ideas and vision to the landscaping contractor before any work begins. The indoor and outdoor design preferences are usually the same. If you like clean, simple lines, or ornate, intricate designs inside, you will probably want the same outdoors.

  • The choice of colours can be inspired by your home’s decor or your personal fashion preferences. Pick a theme and use it to inspire the types of flowers that will be planted, the kind of mulching that will be used in the garden, and the colour and style of all outdoor structures and furniture.

  • Consider the amount of time you can dedicate to tending the landscape, including cleaning the pool. You may choose to hire a professional company to assist with upkeep.

  • Watch your budget. You don’t require a big budget to design the landscape around your pool, but you can spend as much as 15 to 20 percent of the property’s value depending on how much you want to transform the space.

Before installing a gazebo or any other structures, it is important that you create zones around the pool for different activities—dining, lounging, playing, or gardening. Creating these zones beforehand will ensure that every need is accounted for, so that nothing ends up getting squeezed out.

Proper planning, with the help of professional custom landscape services, will also ensure that the walkways and seating areas are easily accessible, without the risk of trampling the plants and flowers.

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5 Landscaping Ideas For Spring

With the cold, snow, and ice out of the way, it is time to reclaim your outdoor space with some spring gardening and residential landscaping as you prepare your home for summer or resale. In fact, reports suggest that landscape design can increase the resale value of your home by as much as 20 percent, provide an ROI of over 50 percent, and make your home sell faster.

Transform Your Yard This Spring

If you are looking to sell your home, experts argue that you should invest about 10 percent of the total value of your home in landscaping. Even if you have no intention of selling your home, you can still add a dose of charm to your yard with these simple spring landscaping ideas.

  1. Planting Shrubs or Trees

    You can plant one tree or shrub or as many as your yard can handle, taking into consideration the correct spacing for a mature tree. Planting a single tree can provide you with a nice shaded area that you can enjoy in the years to come.

    Taking care of several trees is not very involved, as long as you provide basic care, which includes watering, trimming, mulching, leaf and branch removal, and for fruit trees, fertilizing. However, you should make sure to choose shrubs or trees that offers the greatest aesthetic value, in terms of shape, colour, and even texture. A good choice for nearly all climates is the Japanese maple, which can enliven any landscape with its colour and form. Other common options include eastern red cedar, northern red oak, and Colorado blue spruce.

  2. Colourful Mulch

    Since most yards already have a few trees, plants and a lush lawn, you can easily add colour and texture by applying mulch. For instance, mulch in a dark, roasted coffee bean colour can offer a beautiful contrast to a green lawn. For a landscape featuring flat lawns and well trimmed low shrubs, you may consider introducing some pine cones to add texture.

    Other interesting mulch colours for giving life to your bland landscape include cedar, gold, red and even black. It’s easy and cheap to add mulch to your landscape. Simply choose a colour and texture, dump it on your garden, spread it evenly, and leave it. However, mulching should be done away from the house and other structures, as it can hide insects and trap moisture that rots wooden surfaces.

  3. Clear Garden Pathways and Fencing

    A neat yard can make a huge difference for the beauty of your landscape. If you have overgrown shrubs or flowers that seem to be spilling over from the garden beds and onto the walkways, then edging could help to perk up the landscape. You could also do some pruning and cutting just to restore order.

    You could go a step further to mark the boundaries of your garden and walkways in a creative way. You can use large rocks, bottles planted neck down, or some other item that is readily available, provided they go the entire path. Alternatively, you can plant low-maintenance groundcovers, such as vinca, pachysandra, lamb’s ears, or lily of the valley to add colour and texture to the walkways.

  4. Outdoor Lighting

    Installing fancy outdoor lighting can dramatically enhance the appeal of your landscape without breaking the bank. Proper outdoor lighting will allow you extend your outside activities even after the sun sets. Lighting can also increase the security of your home, help to accent the beauty of your garden and lawn, and make your home more marketable and attractive to prospective buyers.

  5. Creating a Focal Point

    Residential landscaping ideas can be inspired by your own passions and desires. You can discuss your design ideas with a skilled and experienced contractor to find ways to bring your vision to life, and create a focal point that is meaningful to you.

    For instance, you can choose to install a statue, fountain, pond, patio, or anything else that will give you pleasure every time you look at your lawn. Water features such as hot tubs and swimming pools can also blend into the natural landscape.

    Decks and patios are the most common landscape installations because they increase the value of your home by about 12 percent. These projects are quite expensive, so it is important that you hire a skilled contractor who will maximize the comfort and beauty of your outdoor space and ensure that everything harmonizes with the landscape.

Final Note

Spring residential landscaping can mean the difference between selling your home sooner and at a greater profit, and waking up to the same bland landscape through spring and summer. There are many different ways to improve your outdoor space, depending on your design needs and budget. Whatever softscapes and hardscapes you choose to invest in, make sure that you work with a skilled landscape professional who can bring your vision to life within your budget.

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Tips For A Drought-Tolerant Landscape Design

With the climate constantly shifting, droughts are becoming more and more prevalent. Preparing for a drought isn’t easy, especially if you are looking to maintain a beautiful landscape. You don’t know exactly when a drought will occur, leaving you with a shriveled landscape that looks like a desert wasteland has taken up residence on your property. In order to create a drought-tolerant garden and greenspace for your property, any decent landscape design company will recommend xeriscaping. This is a special technique that involves meticulous insight, but yields incredible results. Below you’ll find important tips for a drought-tolerant landscape design that will ensure that your plants and greenery flourish even when rainfall and water sources are scarce.

Tips For A Drought-Tolerant Landscape Design

Planning Your Landscape

Take a look at your yard. Identify the shady spots and any existing vegetation that cannot be removed. When you understand the space you’re working with, it’s easier to come up with drought-tolerant landscape ideas. Keep an eye out for areas where the ground naturally slopes because these areas will play a key role in the natural drainage system of your landscape. Furthermore, determine the purpose of the entire area. Determine where the most foot traffic will be, and if it’s necessary to create a path for people to walk on. Stone paths can compliment any landscape and don’t need to be watered.

Analyze the Soil

Most custom landscape services involve soil analysis. This gives you an idea of the type of soil you’re working with, so you know how much improvement is necessary. A soil analysis also helps determine which types of plants will flourish in your space and which ones won’t grow at all.

Go Native

Once you have an idea of the type of soil you’re working with, you can select plants. A good rule for creating a drought-resistant landscape is to stick with native plants. Any plant that naturally grows in the region will require less watering and be well adapted to the local climate. When you bring in seeds from other places you’re looking at more watering and maintenance to help them grow.

Learn to Strategize

Group plants together based on how often they need watering. You should also come up with a watering strategy. For example, only water plants in the morning when the weather is cool, so that when the sun comes out, the water doesn’t evaporate. Moreover, avoid watering plants at night, because it can result in the growth of mould and fungus which are hard to get rid of during a drought. Finally, water your plants at their base, so there is less chance of evaporation.

Mulch Organically

Use organic mulch to help cool the plants’ roots and slow down the water evaporation process. Organic mulch is compatible with any soil and retains moisture efficiently, so if there is a drought, you can rest assured that your landscape won’t suffer.

Limit the Turf

Unless you are landscaping a soccer field, you should limit the use of high-input turf grass. This is only ideal for sports fields and not particularly drought-resistant. Although high-input turf may always seems to be a sparkling emerald green, it is difficult to maintain, and cannot stand up to a drought.

Collect Water Where You Can

Because a drought can hit without warning, you need to collect water when you can. This involves installing a rain barrel to capture rainwater, and taking advantage of downspouts. You can also collect water from basement dehumidifiers and pools. However, if there is a drought, you probably won’t be filling up your pool.

Weather Controlled Irrigation Systems

Weather controlled irrigation is the ideal solution for areas that experience frequent dry periods – and a strong investment for your property. These systems are programmed to irrigate at certain times per day when the soil will use the water most efficiently. The most advanced of these systems are connected to weather reports and will not turn on when it is predicted to rain.

Custom Landscape Services to the Rescue

The most effective way to design a drought-tolerant landscape is to take advantage of custom landscape services. Hiring a professional landscape design company will help you get the garden and foliage that you want, without sacrifices. Any reputable landscape design company will create the perfect drought-tolerant set-up for your property, whether it’s for a commercial space or your home.

Maintenance is Key

A little maintenance goes a long way. If you are trying to maintain a large property, you will probably want to hire a professional landscaper to handle upkeep. Even if you’re not dealing with a commercial space, custom landscape services are probably the best way to maintain your greenery. The better maintained your landscape is, the more drought-tolerant it will be.

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Weed Control

10 Most Common Weeds And How To Control Them

An important part of maintaining a commercial property is landscaping. Although you may do your best to cultivate attractive flowerbeds and grasses around the property, invasive weed growth is something that infects all green spaces. The best thing to do is to invest in commercial weed control services. If not properly controlled, weeds will spring up without notice and ruin the look and health of your landscape.

Most Common Weeds And How To Control Them

Below are the ten most common weeds that grow on commercial properties. Some look like traditional flowers, and you may not even realize that they are harmful plants looking to destroy your beautiful landscape. Furthermore, certain weeds are toxic, and therefore require the professional services of a commercial weed control company.

  1. Annual Sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus): Although it has “annual” in its name, this weed is actually perennial. It spreads by seeds and can reach 18 inches in height. Annual sowthistle flowers from July through October.
  2. Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense): This perennial weed spreads through seeds and rhizomes (a mass of roots). Canada thistle can reach heights of five feet and shows up from July through October.
  3. Common Cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium): Spreading through seeds and flowering from August through October, this annual weed grows up to four feet.
  4. Common Purslane (Portulaca oleracea): Common purslane flowers annually and its stems can grow up to 14 inches. Like most weeds, it spreads by seeds, and it sprouts from August through October.
  5. Common Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia): From July through October, you’ll find common ragweed. It can grow to heights as tall as three feet and spreads through seeds. This weed is also known to cause allergic reactions and hay fever through its pollen.
  6. Crabgrass (Digitaria species): Appearing in the mid-spring all the way through summer, crabgrass is an annual weed that spreads through seeds. This weed only requires a little rainfall to sprout and can grow to more than two inches.
  7. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): Growing up to 1 foot in height, dandelion can flower at any time as long as temperatures permit. This weed spreads by seeds, and the young leaves are actually edible.
  8. English Daisy (Bellis perennis): Reaching 3-6 inches in height, English daisies (also known as lawn daisies) are more common in the spring and early summer before the temperatures soar. Although they may look like flowers, they are actually weeds.
  9. Poison Ivy (Rhus radicans): A perennial weed that flowers in May and June, poison ivy also causes allergic reactions if touched. It appears as a vine or shrub and spreads by creeping rootstock.
  10. Redroot Pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus): This weed spreads annually through seeds and can grow up to 6 feet. Redroot pigweed appears between July and November.

Weed Control: What You Need to Know

The aforementioned weeds need to be taken care of before they ruin your landscape. Commercial weed control techniques are required to rid your garden of these intrusive pests.


If you are able to pull weeds, roots and all, directly from the soil, you should be able to remove them. You will need to wait until the soil is wet, and you must be careful to grasp the weed by the root as close to the soil line as possible, in order completely remove it and keep it from growing back.

Corn Gluten Herbicides

These are powdered herbicides that are made out of corn gluten. They are effective on crabgrass and keep it from germinating. Do not use corn gluten on newly seeded lawns because the herbicide will prevent the flowers and plants you actually want from growing properly.


In order to cultivate weeds, you will need a hoe or tiller. Once weeds have their roots cut or tops mangled, they will die. Cultivation works best when you slice weeds when the soil is dry and only cultivate the top 1-2 inches of soil.


This is a technique that, if done correctly, can act as a weed barrier and prevent them from growing altogether. The mulch needs to be more than two inches thick in order to keep weeds from germinating. When mulch (especially organic mulch) is spread, it stops weed growth by blocking sunlight and locking moisture into the soil.


A great way to reduce weeds is to overcrowd your plants. When plants grow closely together they take up the necessary room needed for weeds to grow. Simply put, when you limit the amount of space available for weeds, you limit the number of weeds that can grow.


Weeds require a small burst of flame to be killed. You will need a flamer, which is a portable gas torch that produces intense heat. However, toxic weeds like poison ivy cannot be burned because the fumes are harmful.

The most effective way to keep weeds at bay is to take advantage of commercial weed control services. These services, offered by professional landscaping companies, limit the effort required on your part. Companies that offer weed control for commercial properties take care of adding mulch, planting new foliage, flaming and creating barriers that keep weeds away.

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outdoor fireplace

10 Meals You Can Make With An Outdoor Fireplace

An outdoor fireplace is an important feature that attracts many people to an outdoor kitchen landscape design for their home. Backyard fireplaces are a great way to enjoy the outdoors, and can be used to prepare some of your favourite meals. You can also get creative and make gourmet dishes, depending on your outdoor fireplace design. For the most part, all you need are oven mitts and a grilling rack to make a large number of different dishes. If you’re looking for culinary inspiration, here are ten meals you can make with an outdoor fireplace.

Meals You Can Make With An Outdoor Fireplace

  1. Scrambled Eggs
  2. All you need is a cast-iron skillet to have a great breakfast outdoors using your fireplace. In addition to eggs, you can cook bacon, sausages, beans, oatmeal and pancakes on your outdoor fireplace. You can make a complete breakfast for your family to enjoy outside, hot off the grill.

  3. T-bone Steak
  4. There is no better way to cook a T-bone steak than over an open flame, and it takes under ten minutes to cook. Simply season the meat and place it directly on the grilling rack, turning after five minutes. When those perfect grill marks start to appear, you know the meat is done. You can also place the steak directly on the embers at about four minutes per side. Once removed from heat, brush the meat off to remove any embers that are clinging to it.

  5. Fish
  6. This is one of the easiest meals to make on an outdoor fireplace. Simple seasonings like salt, pepper and lemon juice are all you need for delicious fish. Drizzle a cast-iron skillet with olive oil and place it on the heat for about two minutes (or until hot). Then, place the fish of your choice on the the hot, cast-iron skillet. Flip after about three minutes (four minutes for salmon or other thick-cut fish). Cook for another three minutes before serving.

  7. Roasted or Baked Potatoes
  8. Whether you use sweet potatoes, white potatoes, yellow ones or red ones, roasted potatoes are easy to make on an outdoor fireplace. In fact, you can bake the potatoes directly on the fireplace embers if you so desire. For roasting, you can leave the potatoes whole if they are small, or cube them, and place them in foil on a grilling rack. You can season your potatoes with salt, pepper, chives, garlic—it’s your call.

  9. Catalan Tomato Bread
  10. This is an easy fireplace recipe that takes no time at all. With garlic, ripe tomatoes and the bread of your choice, you have an exciting side dish. All you need is to rub some roasted garlic and halved tomatoes on the bread, getting as much juice out of them as you can. Then drizzle with olive oil and place on the grilling rack for two to four minutes. Remember that bread burns quite quickly so do not take your eyes off the grill.

  11. Onions
  12. Onions can be cooked over any open flame, so they work great on any outdoor fireplace. Cooking onions outdoors is easy because they can be placed whole directly on the fire or on a grilling rack. You can also wrap them in foil and cook them with other vegetables like mushrooms and peppers.

  13. String-turned Roasted Chicken
  14. Depending on the outdoor fireplace design you have, you should be able to easily set up a truss to roast your chicken. This works best with a whole chicken, and you will need a fireplace-safe pan to catch the drippings that fall as the bird cooks. You can also use the drippings to make a gravy or sauce to accompany your roasted chicken.

  15. Roasted Beef Tenderloin
  16. To make this dish, you will need to wrap the tenderloin in a clean towel (you can use a dishtowel if it’s thick enough). The meat needs to be closely wrapped in a towel so that you can place it directly on the fireplace. You will have to dampen the towel first otherwise the meat will stick to it, or it could catch fire. Roasted beef tenderloin on the fireplace takes about thirty minutes. For best results, turn the meat after fifteen minutes.

  17. Pizza
  18. To make perfect pizza it will depend on your outdoor fireplace design. If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor pizza oven then you’re all set. If you have a traditional fireplace, don’t fret, you can still make pizza on it. You will need a grilling rack to place your pizza on and you will want it to be very hot. When removing the pizza from the fireplace you will need to wear oven mitts, otherwise you will burn your hands.

  19. S’mores
  20. Everyone’s favourite childhood camping trip treat is easy to make on your outdoor fireplace. All you need are graham crackers, marshmallows, dark or milk chocolate and foil. Simply build your s’mores, wrap them in foil and place on the the grilling rack for one or two minutes. Alternately, you can skewer the marshmallows and hold them over the flames for about two minutes. Remove the marshmallows from the skewers and build your s’mores from there. If you have young children they will probably get a kick out of being able to roast their own marshmallows.

If you have an outdoor fireplace and you’ve wondering what to do with it, now is the time to unleash your inner chef and get to grilling! If you’re looking for outdoor kitchen landscape ideas, contact us. We can convert any outdoor fireplace design into a reality.

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snow removal

Questions To Ask Your Commercial Snow Removal Company

Winter brings us a snowy wonderland that may look beautiful, but can create a lot problems. If you’re stuck shovelling on your own, you could find yourself shivering outside for hours clearing your driveway and steps. Plus, you risk back and arm injuries, not to mention catching a cold. For these reasons and more, many people turn to a commercial snow removal company to clear away mother nature’s debris.

Questions To Ask Your Snow Removal Company

If you’re looking for a commercial snow removal operation to take care of shovelling and clearing, you should do your research before settling on a company. Ask around to see which companies other local businesses use, and read online testimonials if possible. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few snow removal companies, give them a call and ask the following questions. The answers will determine if they’re the right commercial snow removal company for you.

Do you have insurance?

Any reputable commercial snow removal company will have general liability insurance. Moreover, they should also have a workers compensation program in place for their employees. If something happens on your property that is out of anyone’s control, the snow removal business must be covered. You must be covered as well, so contact your insurance provider and make sure that your house insurance includes accidents related to snow removal (it probably does but it’s better to be safe than sorry).

What services does your company provide besides commercial snow removal?

Snowfalls come in all shapes and sizes. Does the snow removal company have other services in place to deal with the different conditions associated with snowfalls? For instance, will they salt the area as needed? Will they haul the snow away if the accumulation is too great? Will they provide a shovelling service to clear walkways and maintain your safety? Most snow removal businesses will provide these additional services. If the company you are speaking with does not, move on to another one.

Will you be assessing my property before the first snowfall?

Any company that refuses to visit your site before taking you on as a client is not one you should work with. There is ample planning that must go into snow removal and any company that is willing to wait until the first snowfall before assessing your home and street shouldn’t be considered for the task of snow removal.

Are you in good standing with the Better Business Bureau?

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Canada is an organization that holds companies accountable and provides consumers with trust. If the commercial snow removal company you are considering isn’t in good standing with the BBB, move on.

What kind of equipment will be used?

A regular truck is not going to do the job of commercial snow removal. In order to ensure the company you are looking into has the right equipment for the job, make sure they use high-grade snow removal equipment like skid steers, plows, pushers and front-end loaders.

How many clients do you currently have?

This questions ties in to the one above. A snow removal business that has forty clients should have the equipment and manpower to service each one in a timely manner. If the company only has two trucks and forty clients then your needs will not be met and you’ll be waiting for hours for your snow removal service. Make sure that the commercial snow removal company you choose has enough equipment and employees to deal with each of their clients properly.

When do you get to work?

Any reputable snow removal business will get to work as soon as there’s a centimetre of accumulation. Companies that wait any longer before starting their snow removal process are putting you at risk. Black ice can form quickly, leaving you with a greater chance of someone slipping or skidding and increasing the likelihood of collisions on your property.

Do you work with any subcontractors?

A worthy snow removal operation will not use subcontractors. If they do, then consider everything they told you about equipment, insurance and manpower meaningless, because a subcontractor could operate within their own set of rules that have no bearing on the company you have agreed to do with business with.

How much do you charge for your services?

Ideally, you will find a commercial snow removal company that charges a flat-rate for the season and not per snowfall. It’s easier to sign a contract for the winter at a fixed price then to be billed after each snowfall. If you live in a place that receives constant accumulation this can quickly exceed your budget and take a toll on your finances.

Do you have a dispatcher to respond to emergencies?

Snow doesn’t always fall on command, and ice build-up and other problems can arise without snow even falling, which is why you want a removal company that is available 24/7. Any company that does not employ a dispatcher for emergencies isn’t one you want to work with.

Any Canadian city will be hit with more than one snowfall during the winter months. It’s important to find a commercial snow removal company that you trust, and that will be attendant to your needs.

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Ten Ideas For Better Landscaping Solutions

A great way to improve your home is through landscaping. With so many landscaping option out there what should you choose? Do you go with a new patio or add a swimming pool? What about a colourful garden or space for the kids to play? Are you looking to cook more outdoors or cultivate a relaxing atmosphere? We’ve come up with ten ideas for better landscaping solutions that look great and compliment any home.

Ten Ideas For Better Landscaping Solutions

  1. Stone Path Dividers
  2. Whether it’s your back or front yard you’re looking to improve, stone paths can be used to divide any area. Adding stone paths or walkways to separate certain areas of your yard allow you to keep certain spaces separate from others. For instance, if you have a stone path that divides your yard into two areas, you can have a barbecue station in one and a swing set for your kids in another. Or, you can have stone paths around your home that connect the back and front yards. No matter what you choose, stone paths are proven landscaping solutions.

  3. Outdoor Kitchen
  4. Do you host a lot of barbecues? Do you like having people over for meals? Why not try this ultimate landscaping solution: the outdoor kitchen. You don’t have to install a full kitchen but speciality appliances like brick stoves and pizza ovens work great outdoors. It is also a good idea to install an outdoor sink to make cleaning up after barbecues a breeze.

  5. Meditation Garden
  6. If you’re looking to create a zen-like atmosphere in your backyard, a meditation garden will do the trick. Meditation gardens don’t necessarily need to be used to meditate. They’re actually stylish and offer a tranquil aspect to your yard.

  7. Swimming Pool
  8. The perfect landscaping solution for your home might be a swimming pool. Besides giving your family a place to cool down when the sun’s out for revenge, a pool is like an at-home gym because swimming is a great overall body workout. You don’t have to have an in-ground pool, an above-ground one with a deck built around it is a great landscaping option.

  9. Water Features
  10. If having an in-ground or above-ground pool isn’t a good landscaping option for your property there are other water features you can install that take up less space. Ponds, waterfalls, ceramic and stone fountains all make for beautiful landscaping ideas. You can even have fish in your pond to create an idyllic scene. Just remember that the fish will need a home in the winter when your pond freezes over.

  11. Privacy Shrubbery
  12. One of the more practical considerations of landscaping is ensuring that you have enough privacy from your neighbours. Traditional fencing is fine but if you’re looking to spruce up your property, try privacy shrubbery instead. Evergreen shrubs, bamboo plants—basically any tall hedge—will work to keep your home separate from your neighbours’. However, some shrubs will lose their greenery in the winter, so keep that in mind when choosing your plants.

  13. Kiddie Corner
  14. If you have kids, don’t neglect them when it comes to landscaping. Swing sets and jungle gyms can be incorporated into your backyard but if you really want to keep your kids busy for hours on end go for the fun option with a sandbox. Since you will already be dividing your backyard with beautiful stone paths, you can keep the sandbox separate from the “adult” areas of the yard like the outdoor kitchen and pool.

  15. Deck and Patio
  16. Depending on the size of your property, a deck or patio may be the right landscaping solution for you. You can go with a gorgeous stone patio or try the brick option. On the other hand, a treated-wood deck could look great in your yard. It all depends on the space available and what your tastes dictate.

  17. Theme Garden
  18. Another landscaping solution for your home is to add your own spin to a traditional garden. Theme gardens allow you to explore different colours and plant species. Everything from tropical to woodland to beach to rock garden is up for grabs and since this is your property, whatever theme you choose for your garden is perfect. You can match the rest of your yard to your theme garden for a little symmetry.

  19. Fireplace
  20. A simple landscaping option would be to add a fireplace or firepit to your yard. Fireplaces and firepits add a cozy feeling to your property and are easy to maintain. Plus, with a firepit or place you can entertain outside all year round.

If you are planning on undertaking a large landscaping project for your home, seek professional assistance. There are a great many things to consider, not the least of which being that many aspects of landscaping work can be dangerous. Contact the professionals at Infinity Gardens instead to help you every step of the way.

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Yard Design

12 Ways To Make Your Yard More Inviting For Guests

Entertaining doesn’t have to be reserved for the living room. The next time you have people over, encourage them to sit outside and enjoy the yard. How do you get our guests to want to hang out in the backyard? It’s not as hard as you may think. Here are 12 ways to make your yard more inviting for guests:

Ways To Make Your Yard More Inviting For Guests

  1. Keep Bugs Away
  2. Because we spend most of our daily hours at work, we usually only utilize our yards in the evening and that’s when the bugs come out in full force. To keep bugs away try citronella candles and have plants around that repel insects like basil, mint and chrysanthemums. There are also light fixtures that you can buy that zap bugs on contact. However, they can be noisy and distracting when you’re trying to entertain.

  3. Furnish with Relaxation in Mind
  4. A great way to get people to want to enjoy your yard is to cultivate an atmosphere that looks relaxing. Comfortable seating like padded garden furniture and patio sets that look inviting create the perfect match of style and comfort. Do not put indoor furniture outside. It will get ruined. Make sure you get furniture that is specifically made for the outdoors.

  5. Light the Way
  6. During the day you’ll have the sun to provide natural illumination but at night you’ll need candles, torches and outdoor lights. You don’t have to light up your yard like it’s a Major League Baseball diamond but you should provide enough lighting so that people can see each other while they hang out. LED and solar powered lights are a nice green option if you’re looking to conserve energy in your yard.

  7. Avoid Clutter
  8. A yard with too much stuff in it, will not be inviting to guests. Avoid cluttering your yard with too much furniture and fixtures. An easy way to stay away from clutter is to pick a theme for your yard and stick to it. You won’t want to add items and furniture that don’t fit with your theme.

  9. Add Water
  10. If you have a pool then you’re already one step ahead of the game. If you don’t have a pool and there’s no option to get one, try a small water feature like a fountain. Not only do water features add a touch of style to your yard, the bubbling sounds can be very calming and contribute to the relaxing atmosphere you’re trying to cultivate.

  11. Let Your Yard Bloom
  12. Flowers and greenery make any yard more inviting for guests because they look beautiful and stimulate the senses. Keeping your yard in full bloom (which may not be possible in the winter, making it all the more desirable when it’s warm out) creates swaths of colour and adds a nice fragrant touch.

  13. Keep the Grass Trimmed
  14. Unkempt grass will make everyone stay away from your yard. Besides keeping your grass trimmed and cared for, ensure that there’s enough green space available for kids (and adults) to run around on. With a grassy area in your yard, you can have games for everyone to enjoy like lawn bowling and beanbag toss.

  15. Throw Some Shade
  16. Your yard will get very warm, perhaps unpleasantly so on a hot day. Keep an area of your backyard shaded to give your guests somewhere to escape the sun. You can have a canopy or tent put up in your yard, or if you have large trees, use them as a refuge by hanging a hammock where people can get out of the sun.

  17. Fire It Up
  18. If you’re looking to extend the outdoor season well into the winter, invite your guests over to sit by your outdoor fireplace or firepit. The warm glow of the fire, coupled with the hot cocoa you’ll make in your outdoor kitchen (see #12) will make your guests feel cozy.

  19. Deck the Yard
  20. Deck the yard with…a deck. If you don’t have one already, having a deck put in gives you an extra incentive to have people over. Decks are easy to clean and maintain and you don’t have to stick to the traditional wood option. Stone patios are equally as inviting as wooden decks. If you have a fireplace or firepit installed, you might as well house it on a gorgeous deck or patio.

  21. Project the Entertainment
  22. Movie projectors are easy to make these days. All you need is an app for your smartphone, a light coloured sheet and a wall. Invite your guests over for outdoor movie nights and serve popcorn that you’ve popped directly on your fireplace or firepit.

  23. Keep It Cooking
  24. Another option to make your yard the place to be, is to add an outdoor kitchen. Many people already have barbeques and other cooking appliances outside, why not have an entire kitchen so you don’t have to run back into the house every time you need to make dinner for your guests?

These 12 ways to make your backyard more inviting for guests are so appealing that you may have trouble getting your guests to ever leave!

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snow removal

Tips For Booking A Commercial Snow Removal Service

Winter is just around the corner again and that means snow, lots of it. This is usually a busy time for snow removal companies, so booking one might not be as easy as you think if there is high demand. Also, there are things you should look for and questions you should ask before signing the dotted line with any snow removal company. It will save you a headache and money later on. Some of the things you should look for include the specific services they provide, reviews from previous clients, their equipment as well as insurance.

Commercial Snow Removal

Insurance Coverage

Some smaller contractors can’t afford the adequate insurance that is required of snow removal companies. While this can enable them to offer you a competitive rate, the downside is that there is little or no coverage in the event of an accident or claim. Contractors should have at least $5,000,000 in coverage and include a “snow removal” rider in the coverage. Ask the prospective contractor for a WSIB clearance certificate before negotiating services.


Even though a contractor might offer you an attractive price up front, be careful of additional costs that come after. The contractor can make additional charges that were not covered in the contract, so make sure to look at the details before you sign. While contractors should not be outrageously expensive, don’t be fooled by very low prices either. Also, find out exactly how much is being charged for what service. Also, do they charge by the hour or by the project? If it is by the hour how soon can they do the job?


A snow removal contractor should be accessible. Even if the contractor himself is not available to take your call, there should be someone at the office you can speak to. This helps to facilitate trust with the customer and it helps handle any issues that might have come up. If the company does not have a physical address, then you should probably steer clear of it. Any professional contractor should have a physical address that can be found.


What kind of staff does the snow contractor hire? Is it full-time staff or part-time? How experienced is the staff? These are factors that could determine the level of service you are likely to receive. Don’t be afraid to ask the contractor these questions. If there is a website, check it to find out more or make a phone-call if there is an office.


The equipment is probably one of the most important things you should consider. The type of equipment the contractor uses will determine the cost and quality of the service. Plow trucks tend to break down frequently, and this can affect the contractor’s ability to carry out the promised service. Ask if the contractor has backup equipment or if they are relying on just one vehicle. Although the best equipment can mean a higher price, it is worth paying knowing that you will receive the best possible service.


Talk to previous clients of your contractor or look for reviews online. This is one of the best ways to know what you might be getting for your money. Ask friends or neighbours who they are using. The best contractors often get marketed by word of mouth. Hopefully the reviewers should not have a vested interest in recommending the contractor. They can tell you the specific things that you need to know.

Call Many Companies

Call at least three companies of a similar size and compare. Don’t go with the first company that is available, shop around a bit. Sometimes you might be able to get some discounts or special offers. There are many companies offering this service, so you don’t have to go with the first one that you come across. Snow removal companies vary in size, quality of service and cost. It is only by doing a little research you can come up with a shortlist of the best ones to hire that are within your budget.

Read The Contract

Read the contract thoroughly before you sign and make sure there are no surprises. The contract is going to be the first point of reference for anything, so be sure to read the details. Verbal agreement is not enough; you should always have everything documented in writing.

Snow removal is necessary but it doesn’t have to be costly. The best way to protect yourself is to gather as much information as possible about the company and the services it offers. Always read the contract and shop around. If you would like more information about snow removal, or you are thinking about buying equipment, then give us a call or browse our website to look at our catalogue. Best of all, come visit us! With the right services you don’t have to worry about the winter.

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