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 ☀️

Continue reading…

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 🥇

Continue reading…

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!
Continue reading…

How to Resurrect Your Dead Lawn

Dead grass is a blemish that can leave the wrong impression on your home’s curb appeal. Summer is just around the corner, and if your grass has struggled in the past to survive in the sweet summer heat of Southern Ontario, we have some keepin’ green tips for you!

A happy family on their front lawn.

Tips for How to Resurrect Your Dead Lawn

Your initial task will be to check if your grass is actually dead, or dormant. Cool-season lawns in northern climates like ours will often go dormant during midsummer droughts.

So, before we implement any procedures to rescue your grass, we need to gently examine the crowns—the white/beige part at the foot of the plant, where each blade of grass roots from. If these crowns are still living, your lawn should recover on its own, so long as you water it on a more frequent basis. On the other hand, if these crowns are brownish-yellow and completely withered, the grass has probably seen better days. RIP little grasslings.

If your lawn has a few small dead zones, you might be able to play Doctor Green Thumb yourself. But, if you need to restore your entire lawn, you may need support from a professional lawn care provider, like us!

Here’s how to bring those dead patches of grass back to life:

  • Use a high-quality herbicide or manually tug-out weeds to eliminate nasty, grass-killing plants from your lawn.
  • Dethatch your yard to encourage the circulation of air and water; this will also help to disburse nutrients down to the soil below.
  • Add some really rich organic compost to improve nutrient density, loosen clay soil, and improve the water retention of sandier soil. Pro Tip: till your soil approximately 5 or 6 inches deep.
  • You’ll also want to play chemist and sample your soil to determine if there are sufficient levels of phosphorus. If not, you can supplement with some ‘grass-starting’ fertilizer—you’ll suddenly notice some serious bright green growth!
  • Reseed the section and cover the grass seed with a small coating of soil. A slightly less economical shortcut would be to lay new sod. Just ensure the new sod portions are placed securely against any surviving grass and that their roots are touching fresh soil.

Want to know whether you’ll require new sod or If you can simply reseed? Give us a shout.

Avoiding Dead Grass in the Future

Okay, so you’ve managed to bring your lawn back to life—it’s alive! But how do you keep your neighbors green with envy?

  • First things, first. Make sure to irrigate your new lawn to preserve moist soil. Remember: you don’t want the grass to be squelchy (yuck), and you want those baby roots to establish themselves; slowly lessen the amount of water so that it can establish itself.
  • Secondly, mow your lawn no more than once / week.
  • For the first year, fertilize through the fall season (every four or five weeks). From then on, feed your grass one time in spring and once in the fall.
  • Don’t forget to dethatch and aerate every year to maintain circulation within the soil.
  • Keep Banjo off the grass. A puppers urine can be highly acidic and damage your grass. If your pets need to ‘use the lawn,’ dilute the soiled area with some water afterward.

Maintaining a healthy and less-stressed lawn during the summer months can be a challenge, no doubt. If you don’t have the expertise, time, or equipment to revitalize your lawn, call our professional lawn maintenance team for a free no-obligation quote. We offer an extensive assortment of lawn care services, from landscaping design to lawn maintenance, and everything in between!

Continue reading…

Benefits of Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

According to Mike Holmes of HGTV Canada, outside projects account for almost 40% of renovations and include such projects as decks, patios, outdoor kitchens, firepits and poolside landscaping. They also include adding water features, walkways, pathways and fencing. One of the most critical aspects of your renovation projects is the addition of outdoor lighting fixtures to enhance the overall effect of your property.

Outdoor lighting fixtures are one of the best ways to turn a dark environment into magic by installing low-voltage landscaping lighting. Landscape lighting adds interest and intrigue to any backyard setting. Lamp posts, front entry lanterns, driveway lights and spotlights add not only beauty and charm to your home, but they provide a safety feature for your family, friends and guests.

Ambience

Landscape lights provide a soft ambience for guiding people along your garden’s pathways. They can add a subtle glow to trees, shrubs, pathways and patios. They can illuminate any dark zones in the backyard, artfully accentuate your property’s best features, or highlight your home’s architectural design. Front entry lanterns and lampposts offer a welcoming feature to your home while driveway lighting provides guidance and safety to the property.

Safety

Low voltage lighting can also provide added safety features near steps, rockery, or around the pool area. They can add additional light to brighten a patio area for outdoor entertaining. Low-voltage lighting is economical because it consumes about one-third the electricity compared to high-voltage systems, and it is far less expensive to install.

Selection

Consumers have many choices today because landscape lighting is very popular. There are many options to select from, such as durable plastic or corrosive-resistant metal. The lights come in a variety of colour finishes, so finding a set to suit your taste, and the budget is relatively easy.

Unlike solar fixtures, which require a certain amount of exposure to sunlight daily, low-level landscape lighting provides a consistent output of light in all different types of weather conditions.

Outside fixtures like lamp posts, front entry lanterns and driveway lights come in a variety of styles, material and colours that will add beauty and charm to the front of your home while providing visitors with the safety features of guiding lights.

DIY

By following some simple steps and basic guidelines, anyone can master the art of installing landscape lighting. Whether you’re a novice, or you’re handy with tools, the benefits of adding these decorative accents will create an ambiance of charm to any outdoor setting.

Plan your outside lighting layout by using a simple diagram of the area that is the focal point of your design. By doing a layout first, you will have a better sense of the quantity of materials that you require before moving on to the next phase.

Check around at your favourite retailer for a boxed set, and style, that you like. Whatever you decide, these kits provide you with everything that is needed, like the transformer, the outdoor lighting cable, the fixtures, and the low voltage light bulbs.

Professional Installation

If installing outdoor fixtures yourself is more than you can manage, a professional landscape company can help you design a plan and take the headache of installation out of your hands. They will work with you to create a landscape lighting paradise that will enhance your home and property while providing safety features that keep your family and friends protected from unnecessary accidents on the property.

Beauty-Safety-Ambiance

Whichever route you decide upon, outdoor light fixtures offer beauty, safety and ambiance to any home and property. They provide a unique visual appeal that will set your home apart from others and increase the overall value of your home.

Continue reading…

Top Trending Backyard Designs

Every year there always seems to be some top trending backyard design that is being promoted and this year was no different. Backyards have become the new resort away from the maddening crowd and long drives from the cottage. Homeowners want a beautiful backyard with designs, additions and features that are both functional and an alluring retreat.

backyard

Regardless of the size or shape of a backyard, a makeover can turn a lacklustre yard into an appealing oasis of relaxation and entertainment. Creating a striking environment may seem like a challenge, but with planning and creativity, you can turn your backyard into something special and increase the value of your home. Here are five top trending backyard designs.

Patios

Patios play an important role in most backyards. It’s the perfect place for relaxing with family and friends. It’s an engaging outdoor room and entertainment area where grills, fire pits, outdoor furniture, hot tubs, planters and décor are all combined. To have the best and most functional patio design, you need to consider exposure to sun and shade, proximity to the house and outdoor views. Enhancing a patio area can be done easily and very economically.

Water Features

The beauty and tranquillity that a water garden adds to a backyard are incentives enough to create one of these stunning landscaping features. Water gardens can transform any outdoor living space into a natural oasis of serenity while creating a habitat to attract birds and butterflies. Complete pond kits will help you easily install a beautiful water garden. They come in a variety of sizes, specifications and can suit any size budget.

Landscape Lighting

One of the best ways to turn a dark environment into magic is by installing low-voltage landscaping lighting. Landscape lighting adds interest and intrigue to any backyard setting. The lights provide a soft ambience for guiding people along your garden’s pathways. They’re used to accent special trees or plantings. They can add additional light to brighten a patio area for outdoor entertaining. The lights are an important feature to improve safety and security near steps. Low-voltage lighting is economical because it consumes about one-third the electricity compared to high-voltage systems, and it is far less expensive to install.

Arbours

An arbour is a great renovation idea for the backyard because it enhances your outdoor living space with a beautiful garden structure. It can define an entrance, guide a visitor through the garden, provide purely aesthetic beauty or be a functional part of the landscape by supporting a gate, a bench or a climbing plant. You can even install arbours in your vegetable garden. Metal arbours are reminiscent of the Victorian era, while wooden arbours make an entrance feel casual and inviting. In a cottage garden, a simple wooden bench arbour can give you a beautiful place to sit in your garden. Arbours come pre-made and ready for installation, or you can buy an arbour kit and put it together yourself.

Flagstone Pathways

Flagstone walkways are a beautiful addition to any landscape. Because flagstone comes in so many shapes and sizes, it is possible to create the ideal pathway for your backyard. Installing stone walkways throughout your garden invites guests to stroll through the yard while taking in the beautiful landscape. A flagstone path makes a great addition to your outdoor décor because they work well in any garden, are easy to maintain and fit into most layouts. While many paved walkways look out of place in a yard, flagstone provides a beautiful alternative.

Finishing Touch

Whichever design project you decide upon, one of these five features will make your backyard a place to relax and enjoy with family and friends.

Continue reading…

The 7 Biggest Advantages of Installing Interlocking Brick

When designing a walkway, driveway or patio, the choice of materials can be overwhelming! One popular choice in the Hamilton area, however, rises above the rest: interlocking brick pavers.

interlocking brick

Interlocking pavers are beautiful, versatile and make a great statement on your property. Here are seven of the biggest reasons why interlocking brick is one of the most popular materials in today’s landscape design projects.

1. Many Designs Available

Gone are the days when homeowners had to choose between beauty and durability in outdoor landscaping materials!

Besides coming in many different colours, shapes and textures, interlocking brick can be used to create a brick design that uniquely suits each property owner. Whether you want an old world look for your property or something that is more contemporary, interlocking pavers can provide the solution.

2. Made to Last

Constructed out of concrete, interlocking pavers are made from a durable material that will withstand weather, weight and foot traffic.

When professionally installed, interlocking pavers can last over 40 years!

3. Non-Slip Surface

Interlocking pavers’ non-skid and non-slip surface makes them safe to walk or drive on, even when they get wet. This is the main reason why many homeowners choose this material around their pools!

4. Easy to Maintain and Repair

Interlocking brick pavers that have been professionally installed rarely require any maintenance or repairs.

Since the gaps between the pavers are filled with sand or stone, weed growth is minimized. A seal is also created that helps keep the gravel foundation dry, preventing shifting.

Want to remove any dirt from the surface? Simply hose down the area or use a pressure washer for a deep clean.

If unevenness, staining or chipping occurs, repairs can be conveniently completed since individual pavers can be targeted.

5. Quick and Easy Installation

Since most pavers come pre-sealed, there is no need to re-seal interlocking pavers following their relatively fast install.

Plus, your driveway, patio or walkway can be used right away since there is no curing time (unlike asphalt and concrete).

6. Environmentally Friendly

Permeable interlocking pavers help prevent excess water run-off and erosion. Pavers capture stormwater run-off and permeate filtered, retained rainwater back into surrounding soil.

This type of material also traps suspended soils and processes nutrients and oils sustainably.

7. Winter Weather Proof

The paver’s breathable joints created by its interlocking, mortar-less system means snow melts quickly. Any snow removal is easy due to the paver’s smooth surface.

Interlocking pavers can easily withstand Hamilton and surround area’s freeze-thaw climate without any unsightly, dangerous cracks forming!

Choose Interlocking Pavers for Your Next Landscape Design Project!

Looking to add a personal touch to your property’s landscape design with a durable material that doesn’t require much maintenance? If so, interlocking pavers are the answer!

For more information on interlocking pavers or to get a free quote, contact us today.

Continue reading…

How You Can Maintain a Beautiful Lawn This Summer

When it comes to lawn maintenance during the summer months, many Hamilton area homeowners look to the experts to help them determine how to keep their lawn healthy all season. There is a ton of information out there that provides tips for achieving a beautiful carpet of green grass but maintaining it during the hot summer season requires a few tricks for success.

lawn

Here are some guidelines to help you achieve a beautiful lawn, but more importantly, keeping it lush, healthy and well maintained all season long.

Weeding

Weeds are a fact of life in lawns, but you can improve its appearance by being proactive. Pull weeds, roots and all with a handheld weeder. You might have to use chemical herbicides if weeds are out of control. By controlling weeds, you give your lawn a chance to improve its appearance because grass pushes weeds out.

Continue reading…

Reinvent Your Backyard Space

With the nasty, long winter months melting away and warmer days of spring finally arrived, now is the perfect time to consider some backyard renovations. Spring is the perfect time to think about how you’re going to morph your backyard into an alluring entertainment retreat for family and friends.

Hardscape Backyard

Regardless of the size or shape of your backyard, a makeover can turn a lackluster yard into an appealing oasis of relaxation and entertainment. Even if you’re on a budget, creating a striking environment is possible with planning and creativity in order to turn your backyard into something special. With a little research, you can design your outdoor space to be more functional and livable while increasing the value of your home.

There are many ways to create a striking environment in your backyard and turn it into something unique. Thoughtful backyard improvements bring two undeniable benefits for homeowners, one is financial, and the other is personal satisfaction. Creating an appealing retreat where you can escape the hustles and bustles of the outside world is worth every dollar spent.

Continue reading…

Remember to Spring Clean Your Backyard

Now that spring is right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about waking up your backyard by giving it a good spring cleanup. As the snow melts away from your lawn, shrubbery and trees, you’re going to finally see the unsightly remains that winter produced and the mess it’s left behind.

After the rough winter we’ve had these last few months, you’re going to discover the packed leaves and fallen branches that remained on the property over winter. However, if you get a jumpstart with a good spring cleanup, you’ll be better prepared for the new growing season.

landscaped front yard brantford

Raking & Yard Cleanup

Cleaning up the yard is your first priority because the winter leftovers are pretty disgusting. A good raking around the shrubs will clear out any leaves, broken branches and rubbish that may have blown into your yard during winter storms.

You should rake the rest of the lawn to remove any lingering leaves and plant debris. Once the remnants are removed, your property will look neater. You will also be removing any lingering plant debris that might harbor disease or homes for pests.

Continue reading…