Leslieville Backyard Transformation

This is another great "before and after" landscaping project. This Leslieville backyard was originally sloped up to the back fence, and wasn't the most functional space.  A large tree in the corner of the property made it difficult for sod to thrive, resulting in a rather mucky mess. For this project we excavated out the slope of the yard, and levelled an area for a natural stone patio. We cleaned up and edged in the gardens, and installed a retaining wall with steps leading up to the back laneway. 

We installed up lights in all three garden beds to illuminate the tree and larger shrubs, which gives the project more depth and a lovely atmosphere when viewed at night from the kitchen window. We also installed drip irrigation to the garden beds, and step lights on the deck, although you can't see them in the photos below.

THE COMPLETED PROJECT - READY TO ENJOY

THE COMPLETED PROJECT - READY TO ENJOY

 
BEFORE PHOTO

BEFORE PHOTO

THE 3D CONCEPT PLAN - CREATED BY TREVOR LITTLE

THE 3D CONCEPT PLAN - CREATED BY TREVOR LITTLE

PRODUCTS UTILIZED:
Patio
- Banas square cut 'Kota Black' flagstone
Retaining wall and steps - Unilock Rivercrest 'Coastal Slate' with Banas 'Kota Black' coping
Lighting - In-Lite
Irrigation - Hunter controller with rain-bird drip lines

CHALLENGES:
While it was a fairly straight forward project, our main challenge was the limited access we had to the back yard. The project required the removal of almost 40 cu. yards of excavation to get the yard to the grade we needed for our base. As is typical with many Leslieville properties our access down the side of the house was very narrow (31"), considering the amount of fill we had to remove we knew this would be a big challenge. To assist us and keep things moving swiftly on site, we brought in a Cormidi Mini Track Dumper which we used to fill a bin in the front yard (photos in slideshow below).

VIEW THE WHOLE PROCESS BELOW:

Function, meet natural elements

This was another radical transformation which we finished earlier this spring. The objective of the project was to replace the boring grass lawn with some visually appealing raised planter beds that could double as functional walkways.

The solution?

We pulled in some large natural bolders to frame the design - not only did it create a lovely focal point in the space, but they matched nicely with the natural stone coping and Unilock Rivercrest wall units.  

This project really shines with the planting our clients did after we left, so I will have to go back for some photos once the gardens are in full bloom this summer. But here's the final look as we left the job site, and scroll down to see more in the slideshow below.

COMPLETED CONSTRUCTION - READY TO PLANT!

COMPLETED CONSTRUCTION - READY TO PLANT!

 
THE BEFORE PHOTO

THE BEFORE PHOTO

 
CONCEPT DRAWING BY TREVOR LITTLE The product selection changed a little during the process, but here is the origional concept we decided on.

CONCEPT DRAWING BY TREVOR LITTLE
The product selection changed a little during the process, but here is the origional concept we decided on.

PRODUCTS UTILIZED:
Walls - Unilock Rivercrest 'Coastal Slate' with Banas 'Slate Grey' coping.
Rocks - Armour Stone
Walkway - Unilock Brussels Block 'Sierra'

PROJECT GOAL:
Create a visually stunning walkway with ample space for planting, and a unique look & feel.

SEE THE WHOLE PROCESS BELOW:

The final result really complimented the house perfectly and is high in function as well as style. We're quite thrilled with how it tuned out! A perfect example of how thinking outside the box can pay off.

MODERN Backyard makeover: CEDAR & UMBRIANO

Alright, winter is here, so we finally have time to share some of the projects we worked on over the 2015 season. Starting from the beginning: we kicked off our 2015 season with this very fun little project!  This design involved an interlocking stone patio, two custom cedar privacy screens, and the recovering of the existing deck & steps. We also built a new fence along the south side of the property which is shared with the neighbour, along with a couple matching gates to tie it all together.

We also ran electricity to the back of the property, and added gas lines around the perimeter of the project for future upgrades to lanterns and a fire table.  We installed a simple drip irrigation system in each of the planter beds. We also installed low voltage lighting under the trees, on the privacy screen and embedded in the steps for ambient light and a perfect ambience in the evenings. For an added upgrade, the shed was painted and re-shingled to match the modern look of the project.
(Scroll down to see the slideshow of the full completed project)

FINISHED BACKYARD, LOOKING OUT FROM THE BACK DOORS

FINISHED BACKYARD, LOOKING OUT FROM THE BACK DOORS

 
THE 'BEFORE PHOTO'

THE 'BEFORE PHOTO'

3D CONCEPT BY TREVOR LITTLE

PRODUCTS UTILIZED:
Patio: Unilock Umbriano EnduraColor in 'Winter Marvel'  24"x24"
Border / Accent: Unilock Umbriano EnduraColor 'Winter Marvel' 12"x24" with Unilock Copthorne 'Basalt'
Carpentry Materials: Western Red Cedar
Lighting: In-Lite
Natural Gas lines: Mike the Gas Man

PROJECT GOAL:
To create a more functional and visual backyard space with a surface that the kids could play on, that can grow with the family and function as an adult living space in the coming years. 

SEE THE WHOLE PROCESS BELOW:

It's never to early to start thinking about your next landscape project - we can help you with everything from concept to design, to product selection and execution.

Enjoy your new backyard guys!

Leslieville Semi - A complete property makeover

This was a really enjoyable project we completed last August, and a great example of how with a little planning you can create an entirely new space for the whole family to enjoy.  Its a small property, but one with lots of potential; the homeowners were looking to make their outdoor space more functional and welcoming.  They wanted to create a space that their kids could enjoy which also required minimal maintainance.  

Enter the LITTLE Landscapes crew!

With a stunning design that was created by Sylvie De Brabandere, and a modern grey colour scheme created using Unilock Umbriano stones in Midnight Sky and Winter Marvel we were able to create an inviting, eye catching space that makes you excited to be outdoors with family & friends.

MODERN COLOURS & ACCENT TEXTURES
We kept the palette clean and sleek with tones ranging from dark slate to light grey, and tied it all together with easy-to-maintain hostas from the client's previous gardens.  The seat walls are made out of Unilock's new Rivercreast wall system, and are topped with Banas Kota Black coping stones.  This feature offers extra seating when entertaining or relaxing with the kids in the summer, and separates the two areas beautifully. To take you up to the back patio area, we tied it all together with a stunning Banas Kota natural stone step which compliments the colours of the design and keeps the overall look clean & modern.


SYNTHETIC TURF - THE MINI LAWN ALTERNATIVE
One of the elements this couple was excited about was the addition of a section of synthetic turf.  This is a high quality, very natural looking product that offers comfort for tiny feet as well as the added bonus of a zero maintenance lawn.  No more worrying about watering the grass-patch or having to cut the lawn. Since this is the only "grass" on the property it was a perfect way to cut down on maintenance while leaving all the added function of a green space. 


LIGHT UP YOUR SPACE - THE FINISHING TOUCH
Another stunning feature of this job was the addition of carefully placed lighting fixtures.  Outdoor lighting is a detail that not only adds safety and visablity to your space but also an element of elegance.  Here we inserted lights from InLite into the new deck steps, and on the edges of the Natural Stone Step in the backyard. You'll notice that we've also added accent lighting in the front yard and in the garden areas as well.  The extra hint of light in the evenings offers both functionality and beauty.  

Design by Sylvie De Brabandere

Photography by Larissa Issler

 

Simple Leslieville Front Entrance

I really have to find the before photos of this job for you to get the full effect, but all the same we are very happy with how this little job turned out.  We replaced their crumbling concrete steps and garden wall with Unilock Brussels Dimensional in the 'Limestone' colour.  The landings are filled in with Unilock Brussels Block interlocking stone, and the garden wall is finished with Banas Kota Black coping.  

Winter Maintenance and De-icing

How to protect your investment through harsh Canadian winters.

 

If there is one question that remains in the minds of many people, it’s the question about the performance of paving stones during the winter. The question covers such concerns as durability, skid resistance, snow clearing and de-icing. Durability is one of the things that Unilock paving stones are known for. Unilock paving stones have some of the highest compressive strength and lowest water absorption levels in the industry. The advantage of this is that the concrete will not absorb and trap water in its micro-voids, minimizing the risk of any water freezing and expanding, ultimately damaging the concrete. Skid resistance is one of the greatest benefits of Unilock paving stones. Many styles of Unilock paving stones have excellent skid resistance because of their textured surface. If skid resistance is a concern because of a sloped surface, you should select a Unilock textured surface for all or part of the installation. Snow clearing on paving stone surfaces is much easier than you think. Almost all Unilock paving stones have a slight bevel around the edge of the stone. Not only does this facilitate the movement of rainwater across the surface, but it also protects the edges from potential chipping by snow clearing equipment. We recommend that you always use a plastic snow shovel for paving stones. This means that your snow blower should also be fitted with a plastic shoe on the adjustable gliders and on the scoop edge. Hint: If you hire someone to plow your driveway, you must have your snow clearing firm confirm in writing that it has protective edges on the snowplow to avoid scratching the surface. Although the metal on snow clearing equipment will not adversely affect Unilock paving stones structurally, the contact of any steel on concrete can potentially leave tiny particles of metal in the surface of the concrete which will rust and leave unsightly brown streaks after a couple of months. (A good example of this can be seen on the municipal curbs at the street. Take a close look and you will see what the snowplows have done.) De-icing substances, when used in proper amounts, will not damage good-quality concrete. They will, however, speed up the surface wear on some styles of pavers. Many of the exposed aggregate products and tumbled products are unaffected by virtue of their style.

There are three types of de-icing salts:

Sodium chloride (common rock salt) is the most popular de-icing salt. It is widely available and it will melt snow and ice at temperatures down to approximately 16° F (-9° C). Below 16° F (-9° C), rock salt stops melting snow and ice. Sodium chloride can damage adjacent grass, plants and metal. Apply with caution and use as sparingly as possible.

Calcium chloride is another de-icing salt. It generally looks like small, white, round, pellets. It will melt snow down to about 0° F (-18° C). It can irritate skin. Studies indicate that depending on the concentration, calcium chloride is less damaging to grass than sodium chloride is. Heavy concentrations of calcium chloride can chemically attack concrete.

Potassium chloride is a de-icing salt available in some markets. It will not hurt skin or damage plants.

However, it melts ice only when the air temperature is above 15° F (-9° C), but it can be combined with
sand to improve effectiveness. Hint: If you do not know what is in your de-icing material, do not use it on concrete surfaces; just use sand to prevent slipping and sliding.

Note: Fertilizers that contain ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate should not be used for de-icing since these substances attack the integrity of concrete. Always read manufacturers’ recommendations for use and heed all warnings and cautions.