With the unofficial kick off to summer this weekend and more warm weather on the horizon now is the perfect time to start thinking about your summer planters. If you caught our previous blog post, we talked all about how to design the perfect planter.
Check out our suggestions below for some unique plants to complete your perfect planter:
– Creeping Jenny
– Sweet Potato Vine
– Diamond Frost Euphorbia
– Elephant ears
– King Tut
– Silver Falls
– Creeping Jenny
– Sweet Potato Vine
Most annuals are available in a 4” and 6” size. The larger size is typically double the cost of the smaller size, but are twice as large. We recommend the larger size for more bang for your buck, especially because it’s a relatively short growing season.
Fertilize regularly when watering, at least weekly. When watering, water heavily and allow excess water to drain. This will help pull out any salinity build up and allow for better nutrient uptake.
Skip the work and leave it to us! Our group of professional gardeners would love to create the perfect custom planter for you. Inquire today >>>
As it begins to finally feel like spring, we can look forward to new blooms as gardens come to life. One of the easiest ways to add colour and interest to your garden? Annuals! Here are a few of our favourites. >>>
Annuals for SUN
– Marigolds: Thrives in the sun and comes in many different colours and varieties. We love “Lemon Gem” and “Orange Tangerine”.
– Salvia: Beloved by butterflies and comes in many colours. Try “Red Hot Sally” for a vibrant pop of colour.
– Bidens: Acts as a great, colourful ground cover and are easy to grow. We love the “Campfire” variety for its fire like colours of red, yellow and orange.
Annuals for SHADE
– Coleus: Great for borders and containers. Gets its interest from its colourful leaves.
– Begonias: Fast growing with lots of colour pay off.
– Lobelia: A great addition to a pollinator garden. Most commonly seen in a vibrant blue colour but can also be found in a variety of other colours.
– Hibiscus: Provides tropical interest to your beds and containers. Best grown in the sun and comes in many colours.
– Castor Bean: Boasts stunning star shaped foliage that adds texture to your garden.
– Amaranthus: This showy and exotic plant is great for accenting your garden. They love sun and come in many different colours.
Once the risk of frost is gone, go ahead and plant those annuals! In our area, that is typically around the May long weekend.
Annuals do best when evenly spaced. Use spacers or string-lines for accuracy. Leave 12-18″ of open soil space between the edge of the garden and the first row to allow for growth and ‘framing’ of the garden
Cultivate to remove weeds and loosen the soil. Rake out the garden so all plants are planted at the same height. You want even distribution and even height (no planting in divots or mounts – even if they are small – you will see it once you’re done). Pack the soil around the plant. This is important! It puts the soil in direct contact with the root ball and gives some structure for the roots to establish into.
Annuals require a lot of water, especially when first planted. Be sure to take extra care early in your watering routine. Adding fertilizer is essential for annuals to get to the flowering growth and vigor we all want. They need fertilizer once a week to every other week. Pinching is helpful to avoid plants getting long and leggy (and then falling over). Annuals should be pinched to encourage thicker stems and compact growth. Once the flower is spent, deadheading is needed as soon as possible to encourage prolific flowering.
A modernist design solution to working with grade change…
After major home renovations, this residence presented a unique design challenge: to deliver a multi-functional yard while navigating challenging site topography. With a clear modernist aesthetic, the outdoor space accommodates a variety of uses including cooking, dining and entertaining.
Previously, the elevated rear property line funnelled surface drainage towards the house. The homeowner wanted a functional patio space, level with the first floor, but the rear of the property needed to be retained at a higher elevation.
The challenge provided a powerful design opportunity to instantly transform the look and feel of the yard with the use of a striking 18” Corten steel retaining wall.
Complimented by low-level planting and built-in moss rocks, the feature wall allowed for the installation of a large concrete patio built with epoxy coated rebar for maximum strength.
It’s the perfect time to think about winter planters. We’ve talked before about how to design the perfect planter.
Check out our suggestions below for some unique plants to complete your winter display.
– Classic Christmas Colours
– Globe Boxwood
– Red Dogwood Twigs
– Pine and Cedar Boughs
– Pine Cone Garland
– Woven Willow Twigs
– White Birch Branches
2022 Winter Trends
– Silver and Gold Accents
– Fern Fronds
– Geometric Topiary
– Hemp or Jute Rope
– Coloured Feathers, Dried Flowers, and Grasses
– Dwarf Evergreen Holly
– Acorn and Walnut Garland
– Curled Willow Twigs
– Smoke Tree Branches
– Rosemary and Lavender Shrubs
Many dwarf or miniature evergreens like Boxwood, Yew, and Juniper are available at DIY or department stores. These plants can be transferred to a garden bed in the spring and provide beautiful colour for many years.
Spray paint in silver or gold can turn a spray of ferns or dried flowers into eye-catching seasonal decor. A coat of paint also protects these delicate materials against wind and moisture.
The goal of this project was to blend the rustic environment with the client’s modern taste. The challenge was to do this in a way that would look intentional in a rural farmhouse setting. Our design solution focused on selecting materials with the natural environment in mind and implementing them in a modern way. The project featured a square cut flagstone patio that slowly transitions into the surrounding lawn. The Corten fire pit adds a modern shape while still maintaining a rustic appearance. Natural stone steps and mossy boulders continue to blur the lines between the natural and the built environment. The result of this project produces a balanced ‘modern farm’ style
With the desire to get outside, our client wanted to capitalize on the beauty of their home and enhance their property to be able to enjoy their space. Having a spot to dine with friends and family was a must while also keeping in mind the change in grade from the house.
In the front yard, there was a strong desire to create a welcoming approach from the driveway. The blending of interlock stone from the street to the front steps creates a sense of continuity, while the offset orientation intuits a sense of flow. These elements help direct foot traffic towards the front door and provide an open, welcoming feeling on the way there. Careful consideration was given to the paver color and texture to ensure the landscape materials complimented the style of the house.
In the backyard, the focus transitioned towards entertaining and creating an aesthetically pleasing space that functionally integrated the landscape with the house. A large deck was built off the kitchen door to incorporate the BBQ and bistro set, while the under-deck area doubles as a storage shed complete with a custom-built barn door. Descending from the deck, a raised patio landing features a large dining area set under a soft-lit, open-air pergola for nightly entertaining. Using interlocking pavers and custom timber beams, feature walls and planters were created. Vegetation helped soften edges and settle the constructed elements into the surrounding landscape.
This simple yet modern space, based in Toronto, faced many obstacles through the process of design. From the connecting of spaces with significant grade change to permitting and zoning issues, this property demanded innovative design solutions. The main concept for this project was to connect the upper-level space with the lower level, creating a few main living spaces. On the upper level, the client wanted a large open deck space where they could entertain. With original plans to have a larger deck disrupted by zoning bylaws, the overall vision had to change to incorporate a small coffee area instead. This Azek deck and staircase allowed for a smooth transition from upper deck to the lower levels.
Custom Azek screens and a structure make the space feel private while the glass inserts on the railings softened the staircase as you descend. The height of the deck allowed an opportunity to create another living space beneath, taking advantage of every inch of the city yard. This spot allowed for a covered eating space out of the elements. Next to this is a lounge area nestled into a simple, shading loving garden. Being the only uncovered space, the lounge area allowed for full enjoyment of backyard greenery and occasional bits sun that shone through. Large slabs were used to create a cohesive look through both spaces, while sections of planting bed were incorporated with the interlock pattern to soften the space and integrate it into the natural landscape. To finish this space off lighting and a Dekko fire feature were added creating a soft evening ambience.
It’s time to add gardens to your to summer cleaning list! While we don’t recommend removing plant material solely based on which plants spark joy, rejuvenating your gardens will help declutter your landscape and leave you feeling satisfied with your outdoor space! Check out our tips and tricks below to bring your garden back to life and find peace in your space once again:
Gardens, when not maintained, grow thick, full, woody and lose their vigor/ flower show. Some shrubs and perennials can be rejuvenated, while others should be removed and replaced.
Shrub and perennial removals and/or heavy pruning are often necessary due to tight planting spaces that are no longer allowing for full potential of each plant.
Medium woody shrubs (dogwoods, large hydrangea etc…) can be pruned to encourage new, vigorous and colourful growth from the base
Large shrubs can be pruned(thinned out and lower branches removed) They then can add strong structural aspects to the design. Otherwise, it is advantageous to remove them to allow for smaller additions to the planting design
Old spreading perennials (black eyed susans, hostas, lungwort, grasses…etc) can be dug up, divided into multiple sections and replanted apart from each other allowing for room to grow and regain vigor. Perennials often thrive from division and transplanting if done properly and at the right time.
Soil should be overturned and amended with organic matter (ie. leaf compost or manure)
Steps to Rejuvenating Your Garden
Prune: Before you remove a plant see if it can be pruned back to full health. Proper practices for pruning and perennial division must be maintained for a successful reorder and healthy growth of existing plant material
Edit: Enlisting the help of a good garden designer would be very beneficial to ensure the right design aspects are taken into consideration when selecting which areas to keep and which areas to remove and adjust. Self assessment may lead to removing material that is still healthy and just needs rejuvenation. Always edit with caution if you are not sure about a plant.
Add New Material: Adding new material will keep your garden looking refreshed and on trend. Designs are built on principles such as proportion, order, repetition and unity. When selecting how to renovate or rejuvenate a garden, these principles must be considered. Additional plant material can be considered once existing plant material has been worked into the design.
Need help deciding what stays and what goes? Our expert gardeners will help edit your landscape and help create a refreshed garden.
Limited travel opportunities combined with record high temperatures have pushed many of us into our backyards this summer. Perhaps it has become your safe haven or a place where you can detach from work. However, without relief from the sun you may find yourself back inside.
Shade is essential to the enjoyment and use of your backyard space. With the right design, a covered area and the right plants your backyard will be your favourite destination this summer!
Creating Harmony: Balancing shade and sun
Creating a backyard space that is enjoyable throughout the day and evening requires a design that will balance sun and shade based on your exposure. A landscape designer will be able to recommend options for managing the amount of sun in key areas of your backyard. S/he will ask you questions about what time of day you use different parts of your backyard and how much sun exposure you want. Do you want space for lounging in the sun or for a vegetable garden? Do you want some shade at all hours of the day or just part of the day? After you determine how much shade you need and where you want your shade, your designer can recommend the best methods of creating it.
There are many ways to create shade. What is best for you? Here are a few advantages and disadvantages of each:
Structures: Structures provide a range of coverage from full to partial. Structures that are fully covered offer an extension of the inside allowing more time outside. Partially covered structures offer relief from the sun but keep an open air feeling. Structures provide immediate coverage and are more durable than temporary solutions however they are also a bigger financial investment.
Trees: Trees provide a natural relief from the shade. If you already have trees in your backyard consider a seating area to take advantage of the shade they create. If your yard is treeless, consider the advantages and type of trees to achieve your goals. Trees are a great long term investment. Mature trees add value to your home as well as visual interest. You want to pick a tree that will have a large canopy as opposed to a columnar structure. In the short term, you may want to consider pairing a moveable shade solution with your newly planted tree until the tree is large enough to provide the shade you want.
Movable Options: If you aren’t looking for the commitment of a permanent option you might want to consider moveable shade options. Umbrellas, sun shades and awnings provide an escape from the sun quickly and conveniently. Moveable shade options may be a smaller upfront investment but what you save on cost you may lose in lifespan.
If your backyard is fully shaded:
If your backyard is already fully shaded you will need to think carefully about what plant material will be successful in conditions without sun. Most plants need a good amount of sunlight though there are a few that will survive in shady conditions. Here are our suggestions:
Shade Loving Perennials
Astilbe: Provide lots of colour in shady gardens and when planted as a mass, creates a stunning effect. Our favourites areAstilbe thunbergii ‘Ostrich Plume’ and Astilbe arendsii ‘Colour flash’.
Ferns: While they don’t flower they provide texture, varying heights, and softness to a shade garden. They also can be used to provide a more natural woodland setting or a more formal look. Check out the varieties, Japanese painted fern for colour and Ostrich fern for height.
Lungwort: Beautiful flowers are usually pink and blue in spring. Great for the front border and looks best planted on mass.
Shade Loving Shrubs
Yews: Easy to grow and fairly fast growing, from dark green to light green. Provide good texture and colourful berries. With many varieties can be great for formal or informal gardens.
Viburnum: Great texture on leaves, large flower balls, beautiful fall colour, and many varieties to choose.
Dogwood: Many varieties, adds bright colour, open and airy, responds well to pruning. Best in dappled shade.
Whether you have ample shade or too much sun, getting help from one of our talented designers will ensure you are taking advantage of your current sun conditions. Set up a consult today>>>
Another summer arrives and cold weather is a distant memory. You are ready to put in that pool you’ve been thinking about all winter long.
“How to do I find a contractor?” Your search proves to be a difficult one. Many are already booked and there are so many things to think about that you’ve never considered. Who knew there were so many shapes and styles? Where do you begin?
The truth is, it’s never too early to start thinking about how a pool will fit into your backyard landscape. Incorporating a pool into your yard is a process that takes a lot of time and thought to ensure it is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Designing a pool and the surrounding backyard landscape can seem like a daunting task, but working with a skilled designer can make your backyard paradise an achievable goal. To ensure your pool is everything you’ve dreamed of, you and your designer will want to consider the style, placement, and finishing touches of your backyard landscape. With these elements in mind, you’ll be one step closer to your ultimate escape.
Your Pool Style
There are many different options when it comes to the style and layout of your pool. Style is a personal choice but if you pick a pool design that conflicts with your existing space, your serene get-away will end up feeling chaotic and overwhelming. Your designer will help you achieve a balance between your personal style and a style that blends well with your existing backyard space.
Pool shape and layout are important to consider as well. You and your designer will have to discuss what your goal is for your pool. Organic shapes can be fun and creative but they aren’t as practical when it comes to pool upkeep.
If you are looking for lower maintenance, simple shapes are more accommodating to automatic pool covers that provide safety for young children and shelter from debris. Consider the pros and cons of both styles.
Once you’ve settled on a style, you’ll want to think about where you are going to place the pool and the equipment that goes with it. Consider the role you want your pool to play in your backyard landscape. Do you want it to be the focal point or a destination? Often it is more practical to have it off to the side.
Talking to your designer will help you determine a location best suited to your backyard. The pool’s relationship with the house will also shape your backyard experience. Your designer will help you think about site lines from inside which are important for young families and pet owners. The proximity of the pool to the house determines the ease of use.
If your pool is too far from the house you may end up feeling disconnected from inside spaces. On the other hand, having your pool too close can cause it to become an eyesore once winter has taken over. A proper balance can be achieved through discussions with your designer.
Just as important as pool placement, is the placement of the pool equipment. Pool equipment is noisy and unattractive yet an integral part of a properly functioning pool. You want equipment to be easily accessed yet hidden from sight.
The location of your equipment should not impede future development. The last thing you want to have to do is move your equipment to add a few new features to your yard. Improperly placed equipment can really have a negative impact on your backyard setting. Talk to your designer about how to seamlessly incorporate your pool equipment into your landscape.
Backyard Finishing Touches
Finishing touches can really highlight your pool and make it feel like a cohesive part of your backyard. Whether these features go in right away or become a future endeavor, a good pool design will allow for additional elements to be incorporated down the road.
Water features can add interest and movement to your landscape. Waterfalls offer soft background noise that can add to the tranquility of the space. Consider how your space will be used at night. Will you be hosting backyard parties in the evening?
Garden lights are a functional addition but you may want to also consider adding pool lighting to highlight your new investment. Different light colours and sequences can allow your pool to become a centrepiece or conversation starter during evening events.
It is important to think about the daily use of your pool. The pool may be a refuge from the hot summer sun but do you have a spot to dry off and have a drink?
Pergolas can provide relief from the sun while still allowing you to enjoy the pool. Outdoor kitchens and patio spaces can also allow you to bring inside living outdoors, allowing for extended use of your pool.
Planting is another element that can work with or against the design of your pool. Think about the type of plants you are using. Plants with thorns or sharp grasses can be unpleasant on bare skin if implemented too close to the pool deck. Play around with ground covers like thyme or moss that are easy on bare feet.
Plantings can help define the space by providing privacy. Just be careful not to create a barrier in which seeing children or pets becomes a challenge. Use planters to add colour and fragrance to the pool deck. Talk to your designer for more recommendations on how to finish your backyard space.
Now that you have the tools to start thinking about planning your pool, the next steps are hiring a designer to help you through the process. Get started today with one of our talented designers.
Homeowners who value creative design and exceptional craftsmanship, trust Earthscape’s simple step-by-step process to transform an outdated or non-functional landscape into an exceptional outdoor escape.