How a Snow Removal Company Can Be Your Best PR

We all have snowstorm horror stories, but one of our clients had a particularly harrowing one to share.

His sister rented a storage unit for a trailer she used for her business. Early one morning, after an overnight blizzard, she went to the facility to retrieve her trailer, only to find a massive snowdrift piled against the door. When she contacted the manager for help, she was told, “We don’t offer plowing services.”

Maybe the company did have a ‘no plowing’ clause somewhere in the fine print. However, when you run a business in Hamilton, working with a snow removal company can improve tenant or customer experience (as well as your bottom line).

Here’s why!

It shows that you care

When you keep entrances, walking areas, and parking lots clear of snow, it sends the message that you care. You’re proud to run a business where safety and accessibility matter. Properties that neglect snow removal also look abandoned in the winter- is that the message anyone wants to send?

You keep the property (and people) safe

When you engage professional snow removal services, the likelihood of someone being injured on the premises goes down. Expensive lawsuits aside, the goal of a business is to keep tenants and customers coming in, and the best way to do that during winter is keep all walking surfaces free of dangerous snow and ice.

People can get in and out

Aside from safety, you want people to be able to enter the building without issue. No one wants to struggle through knee-deep drifts or inch across sheet ice to get inside. A snow removal contractor can be on site when you need them, plowing away snow and laying down de-icer to make pedestrian traffic flow more smoothly.

No one gets snowed in

Maintaining a clear parking lot is critical in the wintertime. Who wants to emerge from an hour of shopping to find their car buried? When the snow is thick enough to cover up the painted parking lines, you’re looking at one big mess. A professional snow removal company will keep your lots clear, supporting safe and orderly parking (and more shopping).

Safety indoors as well as out

The more snow people have to walk through to get inside, the more slush they’ll bring in, which can make your floors dangerously slippery. With commercial snow removal, you can mitigate this problem by clearing the walkways and leaving less snow for people to track in. Your maintenance team will still have to clean up any messes, but they will be smaller ones.

How to choose a snow removal company

Not all snow removal companies are the same. So how do you determine which ones do quality work and which ones will force you to finish what they started?

When a company focuses on snow removal services during winter, they’re going to have the right equipment and a big enough team to handle everything from a regular snowfall to a snowmageddon. If your business is located in or around Hamilton, Green Collar Landscaping will get your snow problems under control and keep them that way until spring rolls around.

Looking for a snow removal company you can rely on?

You can manage the most opulent property in Hamilton, but if it becomes a messy hazard during winter, its public image will take a dive. Do you really want to put your profits on hold until the spring? Or would you rather boost safety and curb appeal no matter how blustery it gets?

At Green Collar Landscaping, we provide our commercial clients with reliable and time-sensitive snow removal services that keep your property safer during inclement weather. Our experienced staff is highly responsive, so when you need scheduled or emergency snow removal, we’re there to protect your customers and your reputation. To get a free quote on our services, call 289.339.8746 today.

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Snow Removal: DIY or Go Pro With Winter Care?

Snow Removal. Wintertime keeps property managers on their toes. All it can take is a few hours to turn clear lawns and walking surfaces into the type of winter wonderland no one wants to write a song about. 

While you can’t control the weather, it’s still your responsibility to respond to those day-long ice storms and 5:00 a.m. blizzards.

So how do you keep the premises safe for tenants when snowstorms (and if you’re really unlucky, freezing rain) can happen at any time?

When you manage a commercial property in Ontario, you have two options: 

In this post, we’ll show you how to act on either one safely and successfully.

Clearing away snow yourself

If you live nearby or your properties are close together, you can invest in the equipment needed to remove snow and ice hazards. You’ll need a plow truck for driveways, a snowblower for sidewalks, and de-icing solutions to eliminate slip hazards on steps, walkways, and common areas like parking lots.

While the DIY approach may be less expensive after investing in resources, it’s not ideal. Your schedule will have to be flexible enough to ensure that you keep the property free of snow and ice so that tenants and their guests can come and go safely and on time. If you manage multiple properties or an especially large one, it may make sense to hand that demanding job over to the pros.

Hiring a snow removal service

Turning the bulk of your snow removal needs over to a professional is not only convenient- it ensures a rapid response to both forecasted events and storms that the weatherman missed. 

Look for a local company that has good references as well as the equipment and personnel needed to keep your properties clear of snow when the weather takes a downturn. When negotiating a service agreement, confirm the following:

  • How early their plows will arrive when snow falls overnight
  • How return visits will be scheduled during continuing snowfall
  • What services they offer for ice removal 

If you don’t have a snow-clearing contractor yet, line one up as soon as possible. That way, you’ll rest assured that when the weather gets aggressive, you’ll stay on top of all your snow removal needs.

Always be alert!

Even when you work with a reputable and reliable snow removal company, you’ll still need to do a certain degree of your own winter maintenance. This means:

  • Checking the exterior regularly between contractor visits
  • Having a supply of de-icer on hand for steps or walkways leading to entrances and exits
  • Laying a mat down to absorb water tracked in by tenants
  • Promptly clearing melted ice and snow off the floors
  • Asking maintenance staff to attend to these details in your absence

Keeping on top of winter maintenance will ensure that safety hazards are addressed as soon as possible, giving your tenants a safe and positive experience.

Looking for a snow removal company you can trust?

For years, Green Collar Landscaping has been the Greater Hamilton Area’s trusted choice for commercial snow removal services. Our experienced technicians are there when you need them, clearing snow and ice away from your property so that you and your tenants enjoy safety and peace of mind. To get a free quote on our property maintenance services, call 289.339.8746 today.

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Snow Piles: A Hidden Danger

When Southwestern Ontario is slammed by its usual winter blizzards and city plows get to work, the snow piles can be pretty impressive. We may not struggle with 93-centimetre drifts like Newfoundland got last year but we definitely get our share.

While these piles are fun for kids and a nuisance for parents waking up to blocked driveways, they can also be a danger. Snow may not be as hard as ice, but when piled high, there are some inherent hazards that property managers should be aware of. In this blog, we’ll explain what they are and how the winter maintenance team at Green Collar Landscaping can help.

Hazard #1: They’re not as sturdy as they look

Snow piles may look like mini-mountains, but they’re far from durable. Children enjoying a lively game of King of the Castle can suddenly penetrate an air pocket or soft spot and fall through, injuring themselves. If small children are playing alone and snow caves in, they can become trapped and suffer from hypothermia before help can arrive.

Hazard #2: They obstruct vision

Children playing around the snow piles in tenant parking areas aren’t usually paying attention to approaching vehicles and it can be difficult for drivers to spot them, especially in the evening. Even if they do see them, it’s too easy for a child to slide down the slope and into the path of an oncoming vehicle before the drive has a chance to stop, resulting in serious injury or worse.

Hazard #3: They turn into skating rinks when they melt

Snow doesn’t stay piled high for long. When the sun comes out and temperatures warm up, these piles will melt and create wet conditions that become extra-hazardous when the next cold snap hits. Sidewalks, walkways, and parking lots suddenly become dangerously icy, and people stepping on them before salt can be laid out risk serious injury.

Hazard #4: They can hide critical services

When a blizzard hits, the first priority for city snow plows is getting roads, streets, and public parking lots clear as quickly as possible. In their haste, they can pile snow onto fire hydrants, stop signs, and handicap accessible locations. Not only does this make accessibility to nearby buildings difficult, but accidents can occur and emergency personnel won’t be able to safely do their jobs if something happens.

Green Collar Landscaping Snow Removal Services

At Green Collar Landscaping, we help owners and managers of properties such as apartment buildings, townhomes, condominiums, retail establishments, and industrial sites by providing timely and thorough snow removal and hauling services. We will-

  • Give you peace of mind by arriving on site as soon as weather conditions worsen.
  • Pile the snow away from building exit and entry points and gather it near a drain so that water can be captured as it melts. 
  • Salt the area around the piles to avoid slippery conditions.
  • Ensure that fire hydrants, street signs, and other safety assets are not obstructed.

Our experienced snow removal team will also pile the snow in areas where it won’t present a safety risk, allowing you and your tenants to face each winter with confidence. To get a free quote on our property maintenance services, call 289.339.8746 today.

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Winter Curb Appeal That Can Sell Your Home

The weather outside is frightful- does this mean that any attempt to sell your home in the wintertime is going to be just as abysmal- or worse?

A house with beautiful curb appeal during the winter season
Pro tip: paint your front door a colour that pops.

Not quite. While it’s true that most Hamilton homeowners wait until spring to put their property on the market, hanging out your ‘For Sale’ sign now beside the inflatable reindeer or plastic snowman can actually be a great idea. Here’s why, and how you can spruce up the home’s curb appeal for a faster sale.

Benefit #1: There’s less competition

With everyone else waiting for spring, you’re going to have less competition for the buyers who are now out there, checking out homes while they do their holiday shopping. While the warm weather season is definitely a buyer’s market, winter is arguably a seller’s paradise.

Benefit #2: People are there to buy

Buyers looking for a new home between December and early April tend to be more serious about making a purchase. In the spring, your home will be overrun by classic ‘tire-kickers’ who may be more interested in making their afternoon fly by than buying a home. Few of the people who visit your house in December will be “just looking.”

Now that you’re putting your home on the market at the ideal time, here are some ways to make the most out of it.

Tip #1: Maintain Curb Appeal

When it comes to curb appeal in the winter, you’ll have to get creative. You can’t rely on a well-manicured green lawn to attract passers-by, but you can work with a Hamilton landscaping company to make sure that the property looks irresistible even under six inches of snow. 

Examples include:

  • While you can’t paint the home’s exterior when it’s minus 20 outside, you can still ensure that the property looks well-maintained. On milder days, use warm, soapy water to wash the siding and arrange for a professional window cleaning any time the winter winds cause grime to accumulate on the glass.
  • Painting the front door a solid colour. If you’ve got a stone house, red paint will stand out like a cheery beacon amidst the grey and white. During the Christmas season, hang a festive wreath on the front door and draw the curtains so that your indoor lights can be seen easily from the road. 
  • Adorning your yard with well-trimmed winter greenery. Your landscaping contractor can recommend some bright and beautiful options for your location. They can also ensure that existing shrubs and tree branches don’t bend dangerously low under the weight of snow and ice and obstruct walkways.
  • Clearing mud and puddles from the porch and setting out a clean welcome mat for each showing.

Don’t forget to salt your front steps and the path leading up to your front door. If snow accumulates, have your landscaping contractor shovel it away from the various walkways on your property so that visitors can easily -and safely- access the grounds.

Tip #2: Do some winter staging

Stage your property to make it feel cozy, comfortable, and inviting. Potted evergreens, plush throw rugs across the sofa, and a cinnamon or clove-scented candle will make visitors feel welcome and present the home as a cold-weather haven. Bonus points if you’ve got a pile of freshly baked gingerbread or molasses cookies on the kitchen counter during the showing.

If you schedule showings in December, it’s fine to leave the ornaments out, but put away any gifts or personalized decorations like stockings. You want to make potential buyers feel as if they’re going through their future home, not someone else’s. Great decorating options include plant urns full of pine or cedar boughs and a mantelpiece with sprigs of holly, silver ball ornaments, and gold ribbon woven throughout.

Tip #3: Brighten the interior

Ruby red or deep black accent walls are a nice dramatic touch, but they can also look a little gloomy in the dead of winter. After doing a thorough decluttering, repaint the walls in a light, neutral yet appealing colour. 

Other ways to create a warm mood on a freezing winter night include:

  • Scented candles and bowls of potpourri in the main rooms
  • Having a pot of apple cider simmering on the stove (Even better if there’s a pile of cups and a nearby note that says ‘Please help yourself.’)
  • Leaving a fresh pot of coffee on, along with disposable cups, creamers, and sugar

You’ll also want to keep the floors looking pristine, so put rubber mats in the foyer for muddy boots and leave out a small pile of one-size-fits-all slippers for visitors to wear while they are viewing the property.

Tip #4: Don’t forget to turn on the heat!

Your exterior looks amazing and people are requesting showings- congrats! Now don’t lose the opportunity for a great sale by forgetting to turn on the heat. If your home is currently not occupied, go to the property and make sure that the heat is turned on several hours before any showings are scheduled. No amount of flawless staging or holiday glamour will persuade a potential buyer to go through a house that’s freezing cold.


When you list your home months ahead of the often-frenzied spring market, you’ll be dealing with more serious buyers and have more time to carefully consider their offers. Remember: all those life events that motivate people to buy a new home (a growing family, new job, or even retirement) aren’t things that only happen when the weather is warm. If you present your house as cozy, cheery, and welcoming even in the depths of December, you may find your perfect buyer sooner than you think.

At Green Collar Landscaping, we keep homes and businesses looking enticing all year round by providing superior landscaping and maintenance services. To learn more about how we can boost your home’s curb appeal before you place it on the market this winter, please contact us.

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The Benefits of Landscape Lighting On Your Commercial Property

Commercial landscaping is all about maximizing the beauty, functionality, and safety of your commercial property grounds. What you may not realize is that the right choice of outdoor lighting can be just as important as mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges, and keeping the flowers blooming during spring and summer.

Your commercial property will benefit from commercial ighting in many ways.
Installing landscape lighting on your commercial property can have some proven benefits to boost value, improve security, and improve tenant satisfaction.

When positioned strategically, landscape lighting shows off the architectural features of your building and creates an alluring ambiance that will attract potential tenants even after sundown.  In this blog, the team at Green Collar Landscaping shares tips for making the most out of this unique landscaping strategy.

Benefit #1: Curb appeal

As you survey the property, identify its most appealing features. Is there a majestic weeping willow tree in an area where tenants like to socialize or spend their lunch breaks? Spotlight it with some classy solar flood lights. Are there unique architectural details like ivy-covered brickwork or an ultra-modern silhouette? Call attention to them with accent lights or a wall-washing effect. If there is a fountain in the courtyard or an outdoor pool, use underwater LEDs to capture their nighttime tranquility.

Benefit #2: Extend tenant spaces

Homeowners have mastered the art of using lighting to turn outdoor spaces into an extension of their living areas. Path lights that lead the way to a beautifully-lit garden or socializing area will encourage tenants and their guests to use and enjoy the building’s outdoor spaces even after dark.

Benefit #3: Tenants feel safer

When common spaces like the courtyards, pool areas, walkways, and parking lots are well-lit, you don’t have to worry about tenants stumbling over anything or groping around in the darkness when they enter or leave the building. Properly positioned landscape lighting also makes the ground less appealing to potential intruders, as there are no dark areas where they can conceal themselves.

Benefit #4: Highlight the holidays

When the Christmas holidays roll around, few sights are more festive than a commercial building awash in traditional colours. When skillfully applied for decorative purposes, neon shades can invoke feelings of cheer and good will during the chilliest December.

Which lighting technique should you use?

With landscape lighting, your choices range from compact, standalone solar lights to more elaborate mounted options hardwired into the building’s electrical system. However, lighting type doesn’t matter as much as the way you apply it: the right technique will highlight important features after dark and make them even more inviting.

Below are some of the lighting arrangements we routinely set up at Green Collar Landscaping:

  • Path lighting: Place small standalone light fixtures along the borders of the property’s driveways, walkways, and outdoor seating areas to let tenants move around safely at night. These lights should be positioned so that they illuminate the path but aren’t close enough for pedestrians, cars, or snow plows to knock them aside.
  • Accent lighting: This is a term used to describe lighting designed to draw attention to a specific feature. Use carefully-angled lights to point out a climbing garden, vintage architectural asset, or similar feature. Here’s a tip: add an aura of mystery to your accent lights by using narrow beams from concealed fixtures.
  • Highlighting: One of the most popular landscape lighting techniques, highlighting is done by positioning a spotlight at the base of a key feature, like a statue, fountain, or especially breathtaking tree. For larger assets, you may need at least two fixtures to get the ideal amount of illumination, but once you hit the right combination, the results can be spectacular.
  • Silhouetting: Create an illuminated backdrop for dense features like blooming trees, shrubbery, and statues by placing a spotlight behind them and aiming it toward a nearby wall. The visual effect will be especially striking when the sun sets.
  • Shadowing:  Like silhouetting, shadowing positions the fixture at the base of the target feature and aims the light at an adjacent wall, but the goal is to produce a gentle yet dramatic shadowing effect. This technique works best with trees that have light foliage, as they throw more artistically-shaped shadows.
  • Up-lighting: If the side of your building has an impressive artistic touch like a mosaic, sculpture, or living wall, placing spotlights close to the wall will make the smallest details visible from a distance.
  • Down-lighting: Like up-lighting, down-lighting is used to highlight an accent feature. In this case, the fixtures are placed high up, inside a tree or eave or on a roof, and cast downwards over a wider area. This technique is often used to illuminate a pathway or show off a garden.
  • Wall-washing: This technique is similar to up-lighting, but the glow-like result is more subtle and soothing. The fixture is placed a few feet away from the facade and angled sideways to throw a subtle and even ambient lighting. For best results, use a wide-angle flood light with a low-wattage bulb.
  • Moonlighting: If you’re looking for a more natural result, the moonlighting technique involves placing a large light fixture with a glare guard up in a tree and angling it downward to create the impression of moonlight shining through the branches. The resulting shadow patterns on the ground are stunning without appearing staged or overdone.

Show off your commercial property 24-7

At Green Collar Landscaping, we specialize in commercial landscape lighting that will turn your building into an around-the-clock showpiece. Our experienced technicians will design, position, and install an LED illumination system that suits both your functional and aesthetic goals while remaining energy-efficient. For more information about how we can make your office building, residential highrise, or other commercial property look modern and appealing even at night, call 289.339.8746 for a free quote today.

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How to De-Ice Your Property the Eco-Friendly Way

When kids (and their parents) see the white stuff start coming down, their first thought is “Snow day!” If you own or manage a commercial property, however, all you are likely seeing is a big job ahead of you.

A recently plowed commercial asphalt parking lot.

In Ontario, property managers are responsible for keeping their premises safe for tenants and the public. That includes ice and snow management, which can result in costly personal injury lawsuits if not performed correctly.

Ice control has traditionally been an area of concern for those worried about environmental impact. Most ice melter products contain calcium, sodium, chloride, and other products that can accumulate on sidewalks, parking lots, and roadways and run into the storm sewers once warmer weather hits. This runoff can have a negative effect on water quality as well as affect soil and plant life.

At Green Collar, we help commercial property managers safely manage snow and ice buildup when Ontario winters are at their finest. If you’re looking for more eco-friendly ways to make your surfaces less slippery, we’ve compiled a list of all-natural deicers that are effective enough to meet the rigorous needs of commercial use.

Homemade deicer

This solution is both easy and cost-effective because it consists of ingredients available in most kitchens or utility rooms. For smaller surface areas like a driveway or sidewalk, mix the following in a bucket:

  • 6-8 drops of dish soap
  • 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol
  • A half-gallon of hot water (approximately two litres)

Pour the mixture onto the surface. The ice and any accumulated snow should bubble up and melt. Once it stops, clear away any remaining chunks of ice.

Coffee grounds

With property management, you start early and stay on the job until late, so chances are that your coffee maker is always in use. Take those leftover coffee grounds, which contain nitrogen and safe, natural acids, and toss them over freshly-shoveled pavement. Traction will immediately improve and the acids cause the ice to melt faster. (You’ll also have a valid reason to increase your coffee budget!)

Wood ashes

If you have access to a wood-burning fireplace, sprinkle the ash across icy areas to create traction and accelerate melting. Wood ash is full of potassium salts that will make surfaces safer to walk on without harming the environment.

Sugar beet juice

You can use the juice from sugar beets, either alone or as a salt diluent, to banish ice outside the building. It lowers the freezing point of water and won’t harm humans, animals, or the environment. Because sugar beet juice has been known to work in conditions as cold as -25⁰C, it has been adopted as a deicer by municipalities across Canada.

 It is important to note that canned or bottled beet juice is not the same thing: you need to buy a special sugar beet-based deicer from your local garden centre or on Amazon.

Alfalfa meal

Commonly used as fertilizer, alfalfa meal contains nitrogen, but not in sufficient quantities to harm lawns, gardens, or the water system. You can buy a bag at a gardening store and use its grainy, dry texture to provide traction for pedestrians while it melts ice and snow. A potential drawback is that you might find alfalfa sprouting on your lawn in the spring, but it’s an outcome that’s easily dealt with.

Cheese brine

If you can get it, cheese brine works great. The salty baths used to make cheeses like provolone or mozzarella is usually discarded as a waste product, but some areas (many of which are in Wisconsin, unsurprisingly) use it to make roads and walkways ice-free. Cheese brine has been found to speed up the melting process and it also has a lower freezing point, which is perfect for January and February in Ontario!

What about sand?

Sand doesn’t melt ice in and of itself: it is mainly used during winter to provide traction for pedestrians. However, if you lay it out on a sunny day, it can heat under the sun’s rays and encourage melting. On cloudy days, go for one of the natural deicers listed above.

How to prepare a surface for de-icing

Before applying your favourite sustainable de-icer, you’ll need to clear away all the snow. This is when you want to work with a reputable and reliable company that offers commercial snow removal services during the winter months. Depending on the terms of the snow removal contract, they may come to clear the property when snowfall is greater than one inch or supply deicing services after an ice storm to avoid unsafe walking conditions.

An experienced snow removal company will also:

  • Ensure that the snow is piled in areas where any melt will not run off into pedestrian areas and possibly pool and freeze. Instead, the contractors will pile snow in places that allow it to melt into landscaped areas or surface drains.
  • Follow proper safety protocols during the most difficult removal conditions and remain up-to-date with the latest technologies, guidelines, and occupational safety standards.
  • Carry liability insurance to give you peace of mind. Accidents can still happen despite one’s best efforts, and you want to work with a business that is adequately insured, otherwise, your own insurance rates could skyrocket.

We support property managers all year round

At Green Collar, we are prepared and equipped to help you keep your commercial property free of snow and ice hazards this winter. Southwestern Ontario has been getting record snowfalls lately, and our team is up for the challenge. We’ll also work with you to ensure that only sustainable deicers are used, so that your building operation is green even when all you’re seeing is white! Get your free quote today by calling 289.339.8746.

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What Weed Is This? Southern Ontario’s Most Pesky Plants

Did you know that every square foot of your garden has weed seeds sitting below the soil? Yep. But only the lucky few, in the top inch of the ground, can suck up enough light to germinate 🌞

When they do, you need to be ready. So, what weeds are most popular in Southern Ontario, and how do you get rid of them? Let’s get started.

Dandelions: Root ‘Em Out

Who: Recognizable by its yellow flower head, the dandelion is a familiar perennial weed on most lawns in Southern Ontario. Whether you view the simple dandelion as a trendy addition to your salad or a gardening nuisance, there will be a time when you need to remove some 🌻

Where: They love suburban lawns, flower gardens, highway ditches, and fields of grass—Timbit soccer goalies love to chat and pass the time with them.

How to remove: They are difficult to eradicate completely, and there really is no substitute for manually removing the entire plant (it may grow back if you leave any root behind). We recommend physically weeding by hand, then overseeding to crowd out this pest for next year.

Chickweed: Cut Regularly

Who: There’s Common Chickweed, and then there’s Common Mouse-Ear Chickweed. The Mouse-Ear variety 🐭 is the one that you need to worry about.

Where: Warmer winters, combined with a wet spring, is precisely what cool-season weeds like Chickweed need to germinate. And just in case you’ve been under a rock for the past decade, you’ve noticed that we’re experiencing more of these seasonal weather patterns here in Hamilton each year.

How to remove: Chickweed creeps and doesn’t root very deeply. So, before you reach for a chemical solution, try raking your lawn with a medium grade rake to lift the roots out of the soil. You might have to give it a few rounds to get it all out and keep an eye to see if it starts to grow back. Also, regular lawn maintenance will work wonders — mow your lawn frequently and these little guys won’t stand a chance.

Canadian Thistle: A Prickly Haircut

Who: It goes by many names.  Introduced into North America in the 1600s, Canadian thistle, creeping thistle or field thistle, is an invasive species that spreads aggressively and grows like… you got it, a weed.

Where: Thistle will grow just about anywhere. They flourish in exposed, low-quality soil areas, during wet seasons. Their knack for surviving in any habitat makes them challenging to get completely get rid of.

How to remove: Use your razor-sharp eye and an even sharper set of garden shears ✂️. Feel for the base of the plant and cut the thistle at their base. Warning: Don’t pull this prickly plant out, or you might split the root and cause it to grow back x2!

Looking to Weed Out a Different Culprit?

Although not a Canadian reference, the University of Minnesota does have a useful tool to identify some of our native weeds. Use its “Is This Plant a Weed?” tool to click through a chain of photos in order to eventually ID the plant you see in your lawn. We’ve officially gamified weeding. What a world 😊

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How Your Landscape Helps You Manage Anxiety

COVID-19 continues to impact all of us in many different ways.

These aren’t the most relaxing times and, although we are transitioning back to normalcy, we are still not entirely sure when this will be behind us.

Fortunately, support is here for us from friends, family, and one often-overlooked source—as close as your nearest front or back door ????????

Woman gardening in her front yard.

Various studies, over decades, have indicated that the time we spend outdoors helps us to manage our fears, anxiety, and stress. This has never been more applicable during long periods of isolation and social distancing.

We know that sunshine increases the production of vitamin D. Findings also prove that the outdoors helps to increase serotonin levels—a proven stress reducer.

As the pandemic continues, it’s comforting to see members of our Hamilton community outdoors; there are more bikes, children and parents playing outdoors, and hiking trails are steady. Ontarians are taking advantage of this downtime and using it to improve upon family relationships and for self-care.

Landscaping is our top-secret trick to fight stress

A gorgeous and well-managed landscape can elevate the therapeutic effects of nature. Our neighbors will be enthusiastic about spending more time outside more often if they genuinely appreciate the scenery around them. We call this your lifescape.

Money might be extra tight right now. We get it. So how can you improve your lifescape without breaking the bank? Take it one step at a time and ENJOY!

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Some of us have never planted a flower or touched a garden trowel before. But what better time than now? And don’t worry about ‘messing up’—working outdoors is almost always forgiving.

Firstly, try setting some achievable goals that don’t overwhelm you. Then tackling these assignments in a focused way, beginning with a handful of relatively simple tasks, think raking or weeding.

There are quite a few resources on our blog to help you. Just get out there and get your hands dirty!

Look to the Experts When in Doubt

Gardening is excellent therapy for the mind and body by diminishing stress and stimulating physical conditioning.

Also, keep in mind that, as gardeners and landscapers—experts and hobbyists—we’re all in this together. If you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed with your project, connect with a local landscaper for some help. Instead of thinking of hiring an expert as an additional expense, please think of us as a valuable resource. We can a) help safeguard and improve your most significant financial asset, b) offer professional advice to manage your landscaping project and budget, and c) help you find your very own lifescape.

Note: social distancing is much more natural when you’re outdoors. We’re also following recommended protocols to keep our team and customers healthy and safe. So let’s all get out there and get some Vitamin D ☀️

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How To Turn Your Backyard Into A Staycation Haven

So far, it’s been an unprecedented year. That’s why spending time with your family, at home, is such a priority.

The team at Green Collar Landscaping recognizes that we’re all looking for ways to enjoy this summer in our own backyards—this is an amazing opportunity to connect with our loved ones.

But how do you transform your backyard into a space where you can experience the ultimate staycation? Let’s look at a few considerations to help enhance your outdoor living quarters.

Hammock in a backyard landscape.

Create Your Little Sanctuary

Resting in a hammock is the quintessential image of relaxation and we can’t disagree! Lay back and read a book, enjoy an afternoon nap, or simply watch the clouds above. With such popularity, the vast assortment of sizes and colours are endless, and finding something that fits your space should be as easy as one, two…Zzzzzzz.

Pro tip: Find sturdy, healthy trees that exhibit no signs of disease or weak branches. If you don’t have two perfect trees, try installing solid wooden posts.

An Outdoor Area for the Entire Family

This time of year is great for watching your favourite movie outside, in the privacy of your own backyard. You most likely have a flat exterior wall out back somewhere, right? If you’re fortunate enough to have one, try projecting your flick right onto your house, or you can pin up a light bedsheet onto those same two hammock posts couple and project onto that.

You don’t own a projector, right? Too bad. Just kidding!

Over the last few years, projectors have dropped in price considerably. Check Amazon and have one shipped directly to you. We promise that the kids will love it ????

Create Forever Memories

It’s no secret that gardening and even taking care of plants is a mental health vacation or, staycation. During these times, it’s super important for everyone to get some fresh air each day.

So why not take this opportunity to make an awesome memory with the kids? Teach the kiddos how to plant a tree or tend to some flowers. Teachable moments don’t come by as often as we would want. Helping your children see the benefits that landscaping and gardening can have a positive impact on their ability to connect with nature.

Who knows? They just might be part of the next generation of team Green Collar ????

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Planting Bulbs Next Fall Will Illuminate Your Spring Garden Landscape

We love spring at Green Collar Landscaping. For us Hamiltonians, the dark, frigid winter has disappeared, Mr. Sun is smiling down on us, and the sweet smell of regrowth is in the air.

But hold on…there’s one last hurdle before full bloom.

Early spring has that drab brown-grey dull transition lull before the vivacious growing season.

Gardening and landscaping with bulbs.

March to May (sometimes more and sometimes less) is a gamble; Mother Nature is preoccupied with creating new growth, but it’s not yet very vibrant, and that makes for boring gardens. So, we patiently wait for the bloom of our favorite season. Thank goodness, we have a sneaky little trick to beat these dark days: bulbs.

Bulbs are quite possibly the most valuable and practical ‘back pocket’ tools a landscaper can have. With a little care, bulbs can almost effortlessly provide an early splash of much-needed garden color after a long winter!

A Tiny Window with Bursting Color

You’re using ephemeral plants when you are working with bulbs; fleeting plants, with a relatively short lifecycle. But they won’t let you down during their tiny seasonal window—they are on display—and they’re going to flaunt every color in the spectrum ????

Surprisingly, there is a massive variety of bulbs, so it makes understanding your inventory critical so that you know how to care for them individually. Tulips and narcissi are probably the most common bulbs, but there are countless others like camassia, crocus hyacinths, scilla, lilies, and too many more to count.

Fall is the Best Time to Plant Bulbs

Correct. Consider that you’re planting them during the fall season as storage—we’re planting them so that they can get ready to grow as soon as the frost melts and the ground warms.

Pro tip: ensure that all your squirrel friends have settled in for hibernation before planting your bulbs; that way, they won’t dig them up while looking for their sleepy snacks.

Heck, you can even wait to plant them in the winter.

Here are a few lawn maintenance and bulb planting tips for those that have never planted bulbs before:

  1. Stay away from areas that hold lots of water and aim for slightly sandy soil to preserve bulbs from rot
  2. ‘Not too deep but not too shallow’ is the trick to digging the perfect bulb hole.
  3. Trying keeping bulbs in tight proximity to enhance the effect of deep color (just don’t have them touching)
  4. Softly blanket your bulbs with soil and pat them down firmly
  5. Twiddle your thumbs until spring and enjoy the colors!
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