Chinook Landscaping and Design – Landscaping Calgary Specialists
Calgary, Alberta
403-452-8552
Mon-Fri 8:00 AM- 5:00 PM.
23 Apr 2019
Picture of David Abbott on the Marc and Mandy Tv show

Chinook Landscaping and Design on The Marc and Mandy Show

Chinook Landscaping was proud to be part of The Marc and Mandy Show.  The show is airing now on City TV in Calgary.  We shared “Tips from The Pros” and discussed several important ways to improve your landscaping.  You can watch the City TV segment on Youtube here Chinook Landscaping and Design on The Marc and Mandy Show.  Here is a sample of what we discussed on the segment.

How to prevent water from pooling around your walkways.

Preventing water from pooling around your walkways can be a challenge.  It is one of the most common issues we face as landscapers in Calgary.  Many homeowners or landscaping companies choose to bury their downspouts in order to divert water away from their walkways.  This is not necessarily the best solution.  Burying downspouts can often cause even more issues.  These new issues can arise because the the area that is buried can take longer to thaw in spring time.  Therefore the above ground free flowing water can run into an ice plug underground.  This causes your eavestroughs to overflow or even worse, it can lead to frost heaving under your walkway.  Frost heaves can cause cracks in concrete or high and low spots in your paving stones.  To prevent burying your downspouts we often recommend and arbor be used.  An arbor is a wood structure that can be simple or decorative.  We typically build these arbors from cedar because they look more attractive. Arbors provide drainage solutions by straddling walkways and diverting water away from your walkway.  We simply run the drain pipe over top the arbor and down the other side.  It is a simple solution to what could be a very serious drainage issue. Arbors also provide great curb appeal for your front yard and they are inexpensive to install.

The best way to create curb appeal for your property.

Defining your borders! This is the key to great looking curb appeal.  We discuss watch the video segment of Chinook landscaping and design on the Mark and Mandy show to learn more.  Defining your borders simply means cleaning up those edges around your garden beds. If you check out the TV segment Chinook Landscaping and Design on The Marc and Mandy Show you will see some great examples of how to create great curb appeal.   Overgrown messy garden beds are not attractive and they distract from the overall look of your landscaping.  We often see great looking garden beds with a nice selection of shrubs and perennials but the borders are not defined.  Clearly defined borders look great and can be done easily without breaking the bank,  You can define your borders by using a simple spade edge but this needs to be done annually.  A spade edge means digging out sod or perennials around your garden bed in order to create a defined border.  A better way to define your borders is to use mowing pavers or raised stack stone or even a vinyl edge.  Mowing pavers are very practical because they allow you to mow your lawn easily by mowing right over the pavers.  Mowing pavers mean you do not need to trim up against a garden wall or edging.  A raised garden wall is another way to create curb appeal for your property.  Garden walls create a bolder and more obvious defined border than other methods. Raised garden walls are more expensive than mowing pavers.  Unlike mowing pavers, if you have grass bordering your garden wall you will need to trim up against it. You can eliminate the trimming by adding mowing pavers in front of your garden wall.

Watch Chinook Landscaping and Design on The Marc and Mandy Show.  Click here to learn more about Marc and Mandy

31 Mar 2019

Paving stone repair

We get a lot of calls from Calgary homeowners asking us about paving stone repair.  Paving stone patios and walkways or paving stone driveways are common in Calgary.  Over time the paving stones can heave due to frost heaves, drainage issues or tree roots.  Many of these paving stone structures have been there for many, many years so the paving stones themselves are old and outdated.

How to repair paving stones

For paving stone repair to be done properly you have to start by creating a proper base. As with all landscaping components, preparation is the most important part of the project.  Simply removing the paving stones and adding or removing a little of the base is not sufficient.  The best way to repair your paving stones is to remove the paving stones from the heaved or sunken area.  Also remove the paving stone from a portion of the affected area even if they are not in need of repair.  Then remove the sand and check to make sure there is an existing compacted gravel base.  If there is not an existing gravel base then that is likely the cause of your paving stone issue.  To properly re-install the paving stones you will need to add a compacted gravel base.  This gravel base will prevent frost heaves and damage from drainage issues.  IF you are looking for a quick fix then you can simply add or remove some sand but this won’t be a good long term fix.

Are roots the cause of your paving stone issue?

Tree roots are often the cause of paving stones heaving and they can cause real damage to patios, walkways and driveways.  You many be dealing with a city tree that cannot be removed.  Or, you like the look of the tree but you don’t like the damage it is doing to your paving stones.  If tree roots are the cause of the paving stone damage, then notching out the tree root might be your best solution.  Spruce tree and poplar roots are the most common culprits and their roots can be cut or notched out with a hand or power saw.  If the root is very large then notching out a piece is probably better than cutting through the entire root. Then, cover the notched out area with sand or a compacted base.  The root will likely continue to grow and will eventually lift your paving stones again in the future.  Removing the root entirely reduce the chances of the heaving returning in the future.

Should you consider new paving stones?

If your paving stones are very old and outdated it is probably best to start fresh with new modern paving stones.  Paving stones have come a long way and there are now so many great styles and colours to choose from.  It often costs the same to repair your old paving stones as it does to install entirely new paving stones.  Paving stone repair is an extensive process and most of the costs are in preparation of a proper base. You can add real value to your property by adding new modern paving stones.  We always recommend completely replacing your paving stones if they are older and outdated.

Call Chinook Landscaping and design today for your free paving stone consultation and estimate.

Ph:  403-452-8552

Or visit our estimates page

31 Mar 2019

Problems with poplar trees

If you live in one of Calgary’s older communities you are probably already very familiar with problems with Poplar trees.  

The city of Calgary planted thousands of Poplar trees in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Many of these trees were planted on Calgary boulevards.  Unfortunately, many were also planted in front of residential homes.  Over the years these Poplar trees have become huge and their size and evasiveness has caused numerous issues with Calgary residential properties and sidewalks.  It is likely the city of Calgary regrets planting these very destructive trees as they have cause so much damage throughout the city.

What are the problems with Poplar trees?

Poplar trees can grow to be  very large.  There are many problems with Poplar trees . Their roots do not run deep but instead they are very shallow.  These shallow roots can be up to 12″ across and they have the power to lift sidewalks, paving stones, driveways and retaining walls.  We have seen many examples of this destruction while visiting with our Calgary clients at their homes.  Poplars have a need to breed and their root structure is extensive.  Their root system also creates new shoots that can become full grown poplar trees over time.  Poplars not only have very evasive root systems but they are also have very fragile branches.  Considering Poplars are such a huge and strong looking tree, they are surprisingly fragile>  You may have witnessed the aftermath of a wind storm in Calgary and seen the branches strewn allover the streets.  The majority of these branches are from Poplar trees.  Poplar tree branches are extremely fragile.  A small child can easily break these branches off without much effort.  In high winds these branches break off and at times even entire limbs snap and fall to the ground, damaging cars, homes and surrounding landscapes.

Is your poplar tree a city tree?

If your Poplar tree is causing you grief, you may find that getting rid of it will cause you even more grief. Poplars are protected to an extreme in Calgary.  As destructive and evasive as they are, the city has made it a priority to protect them.  Removing them or even pruning them may be a battle especially if the trees is fronting your property and is deemed to be the property of the City of Calgary.
Is a city of Calgary tree on your property?  

The city of Calgary has come up with an exhaustive list you must conform to in order to have them consider allowing you to remove your Poplar tree.  This list includes getting permission from your neighbours to remove the tree, paying for the removal yourself and planting a replacement tree.

For more information visit this link to learn more from the City of Calgary about Problems with poplar trees 
Chinook Landscaping Calgary  has great options for great looking trees to include in your landscaping Calgary project.Check out our trees Calgary page for more information.

 

 

 

24 Mar 2019

Pruning Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass

Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass are a very attractive ornamental grass that grows very well in Calgary.  Pruning Karl foerster feather reed grass should be left until late spring.  The dead stalks are attractive and add interest to your landscape if left over winter time.  Karl foerster are very easy to prune, much easier in fact than most other shrubs.

How to prune a Karl Foerster

As we mentioned earlier it is best to leave your Karl foerster un pruned until late spring.  This will preserve the beautiful stalks over winter.  Pruning a Karl foerster feather reed grass is quick and easy and can be made even easier if you use a bunny cord or rope.  Simply tie the cord around the base of the Karl Foerster and then trim below it.  We recommend trimming about 6 inches up from the base of the grass.  When you are finished you should be left with a tidy bundle of stalks.  Discard these stalks in your composting bin and you are done.

There are many other ornamental grasses that are ideal for Calgary’s climate.  To learn more about ornamental grasses visit Ornamental grasses ideal for Canadian Climates

Find out why we are landscaping Calgary specialists.  Give us a call to discuss your landscaping project.

Ph: 403-452-8552

18 Mar 2019

Ornamental Grasses ideal for Canadian Climates

 

Ornamental grasses are a beautiful way to add a soft, natural look to almost any landscape.  Ornamental grasses are ideal for Canadian climates.  There are many popular grasses that grow well in Canada and Calgary’s climate.  The great thing about these grasses is they are extremely hardy and so the chance of winter kill is very rare.  Grasses are also drought tolerant and need far less moisture than most other shrubs and perennials.  Ornamental grasses are also very low maintenance.  Here are some ornamental grasses ideal for Canadian climates.

Karl foerster reed grass

Karl foerster reed grass is the most popular ornamental grass we plant in Calgary.  It is very drought tolerant and low maintenance.  The Karl foerster provides great colour year round.  They have beautiful seed heads that can be left on during the winter to provide lovely fall and winter colour.  Once spring arrives you can simply cut them back in spring and wait for the new growth to appear.  Karl foerster can grow to over 6 feet in some cases and look best when planted in groups of odd numbers.  For photos of Karl Foerster reed grass visit  shrubs Calgary  

Watch our video on Pruning your Karl Foerster feather reed grass

 

Avalanche reed grass and overdam reed grass. 

If you are looking for a little more colour and variation in your ornamental grass, you can consider avalanche reed grass and overdam reed grass.  The blades on these grasses are variegated meaning they have a mix of green and cream white.  These grasses are also very rough tolerant and in some cases can be left throughout the summer with little or no tap watering required.  Both the avalanche reed grass and the
overdam reed grass will not grow as tall as Karl Forester but will grow to a similar width.  Like other ornamental grasses, they look best in groupings.  We prefer to group them in odd numbers of three or five plants.


Blue Oat grass

Blue oat grass is one of our favourite ornamental grasses ideal for Canadian climates.  Blue oat grass has a rich grey blue colour that compliments any garden bed.  They are a lower, mound growing form of ornamental grass that look great in a modern or traditional landscape.  We often use them in a modern landscaping Calgary project as they give a feel of modern Palm springs or Palm desert homes.  From a distance, they can be mistaken for a type of dessert cactus that is popular in gardens throughout the Phoenix and Palm spring areas. Blue oat grass are super hardy and super tough early handling our Calgary winters.  Their blades can be left on in the winter to provide winter interest in your landscaping.  Like the Karl Forester it is best to prune the dead growth back once spring arrives.

Fescue grass

Fescue ornamental grass is a dwarf ornamental grass that is much smaller than the grasses mentioned earlier.  Fescue grass looks great bordering garden beds when placed in the front.  Fescue requires very little water throughout the summer and they are very low maintenance.  These grasses are often used more as ground cover rather than as feature plantings.   Fescue grasses come in different colours and add great highlights to your low maintenance landscaping  If you are planning on including fescue grass for your landscaping project please remember that they can tend to seed easily.  This means they can take root in other areas of your garden bed and will eventually need to be thinned out.

 

 

15 Mar 2019

Drainage Solutions

Spring is just around the corner and so you know all that snow has got to go somewhere.  Is your property able to property manage drainage from snow, spring runoff and the inevitable spring rain?  Lots of snow is beneficial to trees and shrubs but it can cause serious drainage issues around your property if the grading is not adequate.  Drainage is a key concern for many Calgary homeowners.  Homeowners are concerned about water draining towards and around their foundations.  They are also concerned about water setting around patios and walkways causing freezing and slipping hazards. We can provide you with drainage solutions for your property and here are a few examples of drainage solutions you can implement to keep your property safe.

Positive drainage away from your foundation

It is imperative to have positive drainage away from your foundation.  This is done by creating a slope where the high point is against your house and the low point is away from your house.  You will want to create this slope with the soil before you add sod, decorative rock or any other topping.  Creating this positive drainage will help to keep water away from your foundations.  We grade our slopes at about one inch for every eight feet. We implement this on all of our grading including patios and walkways.  You may find that over time your property has settled and therefore your lawn or patios or walkways have settle along with the sub surface.  In some cases this may require removing the surface layer of sod or walkway and regrading the property so the proper slope is present.

Proper downspout placement

We constantly encounter issues where downspout placement is inadequate or where downspouts are not placed in the correct areas.  We find this issue to be most common around walkways, especially high traffic walkways in front yards.  Downspouts need to be placed in areas where they will not allow water from your eavestrough to drain onto walkway.  Sometimes this will require adding to or adapting your existing downspouts so they will help with drainage.  Many homes have neglected downspouts that remain in bad areas for years.  This can eventually cause erosion to your property, wash out of soil and gravel and even water making its way through foundation cracks and into your basement.  Try to place your downspouts in an area where it will serve your property best. Some times placing your downspouts into or towards garden beds will help provide your trees and shrubs with water throughout the season. Just make sure the garden bed is not right next to your foundation.

 Avoid burying your downspouts

If at all possible it is important to avoid burying your downspouts.  We find this to be one of the most common landscaping mistakes  Buried downspouts can cause all sorts of long term problems so whenever possible make sure to run you water overland and not underground.  One of the main reasons buried downspouts are an issue is simple.  The water below ground thaws last in the spring time.  The water on your roof, in your eves troughs and downspout drains first. So during Calgary’s big thaw in spring time all of the thawing water from above ground runs into a solid iced plug that is located underground.  This means your eavestroughs will not drain properly because there is no where for the water to go.  The backed up water will likely freeze again as cool weather returns and that can cause all sorts of problems to your landscaping.  We have creative drainage solutions such as using an arbor for a drainage aid.  This process involves running your drain pipes over to the arbor, allowing you to avoid burying your downspouts.

Use an arbor for a drainage aid

We often use decorative arbors as a drainage aid.  We use these arbors to straddle walkways and we run the drain pipe or downspout over top of the arbor and to the other side of the walkway.  This diverts the water and drainage away from the walkway.  The arbor also provides an attractive landscaping feature in your front or back yard.  The drain pipes can be hidden in the arbor so that they are not visible.  See our page arbors and pergolas for your front or back yard for more on this subject.
If your property would be improved by the look of a beautiful cedar arbor you could consider this option as one of your drainage solutions.

Use plantings to absorb the water

You can use plantings to absorb the water from some of your drainage.  Trees, shrubs and sod can really help with drainage issues especially if they are located in key areas.  If you are planning a new garden or new landscaping then  Planting trees and shrubs  in these key areas would be a great idea.  We find that larger trees and shrubs work best for this application as they require more water.  When planning this method make sure that you are not diverting too much water to your trees and shrubs as overwatering trees and shrubs can be as harmful as under watering.  Using run off water for trees and shrubs is a great way to recycle and it will save you time and money as your hand watering will be minimized.

Rain barrels

Rain barrels have become very popular in landscaping in Calgary.  The idea behind rain barrels is to capture the run off from your downspouts or rainwater and use that water for other purposes around your gardens or landscaping. You will see most rain barrels at the side of homes next to the downspouts.  Some homeowners use small pumps in their rain barrels that lead to a hose for hand watering trees, shrubs and perennials. Rain barrels are a great way to collect water and recycle the water.

French drains

French drains are often used as a last resort when overland drainage is not possible or if there is just too much water for your property to handle.  Most properties in Calgary are designed to manage the drainage overland without the need of underground drainage solutions.  French drains involve digging a deep hole somewhere on your property and filling the excavated area with washed rock.  The water is then diverted to this area away from your home and foundation.  The diversion can be done naturally or with the use of weeping tile or Big O drainage pipe.  French drains if built properly can handle a very large amount of water and will greatly reduce the amount of water you have on your property.  They don’t require any substantial maintenance and can be left alone for years.

Our estimates include all sorts of ideas for drainage solutions.  Contact us today for your free consultation and estimate. 
Ph:  403-452-8552

13 Mar 2019

Transform your pillars with stone or wood cladding

Calgary has many older neighbour hoods with older homes built in the 1960’s and 70’s.  Many of these homes are located in communities just outside the city core.  They include Lake Bonavista, Acadia, Haysboro, Lakeview and many other communities.  Many of these homes have old style pillars built at their front entrances or straddling their front steps.  If you want to look at other options besides simply painting over the steps then you may want to considering cladding your pillars with wood, stone or both.  You can transform your pillars with stone or wood cladding and it will totally change the look from old and dated to new and fresh.

Wood cladding for your pillars

Wood cladding for your pillars is a great choice for existing pillars that need a quick makeover.  Cladding your pillars with would can quickly change the look of the pillars to something bold and fresh.  Your pillars may be located in the front of your property, straddling your front entrance or porch.  Pillars can also be found bordering back yard patios.  For wood cladding you can choose from various kinds of wood but the most popular choice for wood cladding around pillars is cedar or Meranti hardwood. Both Meranti and cedar cladding will require annual staining or oiling to keep the rich wood tones looking vibrant.  There are various style options to choose from including shaker style as seen in the photo to the right.  Using wood cladding for your pillars will be a less expensive option than stone cladding because wood cladding is much less labour intensive.  Make sure to have a qualified professional or journeyman carpenter install your wood cladding to guarantee you will have great looking pillars as your finished project.  Wood cladding compliments patios and walkways
and many front step ideas work well with this application.  IF you have arbors and pergolas on your property the rich wood tones of your pillars will match nicely with those components as we

Stone Cladding for your pillars

Stone cladding is another way to transform your pillars.  Stone cladding is a more costly option than wood because it is more labour intensive.  There are endless possibilities when it comes to stone cladding.  These include natural stone and cultured stone, often called artificial stone. Some high end cultured stone can looks as authentic as natural stone.  If you want to insure the look remains the same for many many years then natural stone is the way to go.  Natural stone will not fade or change colour over time. Cladding your pillars with stone will give your pillars a bold and rich look and the stone matches very well with natural wood cladding.  Stone cladding goes extremely well with paving stones  exposed aggregate or concrete patios.  Stone cladding can also be installed on the facing of your actual house in the front or back area.  If you have some front walkway ideas you could consider matching your new front pillars with the new ideas.  Both natural wood and natural stone cladding will go very well with any natural stone you have on your property.  The two are meant to be together!

Chinook Landscaping and Design works with a number of great natural wood and stone suppliers.  You can visit their websites by clicking on the links below.

Amico stone
Stone Concept
Kayu Canada

 

12 Mar 2019

Landscaping ideas for Calgary gardens

Garden beds can become overgrown, tired looking and outdated if you don’t keep on top of the plant growth. We would like to offer you some landscaping ideas for your Calgary gardens that will help get your gardens looking great again.  There are some basic and inexpensive things you can do to spruce up the look of your gardens.

Define your borders!

Defining your borders is one of the most important landscaping ideas for your Calgary gardens.  Grass from your lawn over time will grow into your garden beds and/or your garden bed plants will encroach on your lawn.  We see this everywhere in Calgary gardens and often one of our first tasks as a landscaper is clean the borders up.  The simplest and least expensive method to define your borders is of course by using a natural spade edge.  This is done by simply taking a spade and edging around your border.  Make sure to dig the full depth of the spade ( about 5 inches ) in order to have a long lasting border. Remove the old sod or plant material from the area you edged and discard.  A spade edge is a great option of you are on a budget.  A big draw back to a natural spade edge is that over time the grass or plants can grow back into your spade edge.  In order to prevent this you will need to re-edge annually.  If you are looking for a more permanent solution, you can consider installing a vinyl edge, mowing pavers or a raised garden wall.  These are more expensive options for landscaping ideas for Calgary gardens than a natural spade edge but this solution will last much longer over time.  It will also save you a lot of labour.

Thin out overgrown or unwanted plants

Overgrown plantings are nut unusual if your garden has not been maintained properly.  In order to thin out overgrown or unwanted plants you will will need to decide whether to just prune them back or to remove the plant in its entirety.  Start this process by first establishing if your plant is healthy or not.  If it is unhealthy then it is probably best to remove it from your garden.  Some types of plants look great when they are compact but when they are overgrown they can tend to look ragged and weed like.  You can start by pruning them back then step back and take look to see if that creates a nicer visual appeal.  If they still don’t look good then simply remove all of the plant.  After you thin out overgrown or unwanted plants you may be left with larger open areas than you initially envisioned.  If you like you can choose to plant some replacement shrubs in these areas.

Group your new plantings

We have found that most gardens look best if we group our new plantings.  Grouping you new plantings means using several plants of the same variety in your garden.  So, for example, in a garden bed you could plant three Karl forester grass, three Cherry bomb barberry and two Calgary carpet junipers.  This looks better than eight plants of different varieties.  If you group your new plantings you will notice they look more orderly and natural and grouping will draw your eye to these areas where the colour is concentrated. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder of course so grouping plants may not be for you.  The vast majority of our customers prefer plant grouping and it is one of our favourites for landscaping ideas for Calgary gardens.

Plant perennial gardens separately from shrub gardens

Mixing perennial and shrub gardens is not always a good idea especially if you are going to use a weed barrier for your garden areas.  Perennials require much more maintenance than shrubs.  Perennials come up again from the soil each spring so you do not want to restrict their growth with the landscaping fabric.  We often recommend that customers have separate beds for perennials and shrubs.  This allows you to work your perennial garden including weeding and cutting back perennials. Shrubs do not require as much room to work around and often they won’t require maintenance for many years.  Shrubs can be left alone aside from watering and occasional pruning.  So you can apply a layer of landscaping fabric to your shrub beds and enjoy a mainly weed free garden.  If you want a very low maintenance garden then you may want to choose only trees and shrubs at your plantings.  If you enjoy working your garden and pruning, weeding or turning the soil then plant perennials.

 

Give your garden beds a fresh topping

Adding a wood, rubber or stone mulch to your garden beds can make all the difference in the overall look.  If you are going to add a mulch topping of any sort you may want to include a weed barrier around the plants before adding the topping. This weed barrier or landscaping fabric will greatly reduce the amount of weeds you have in your garden. Make sure to tuck your fabric in around the base of the shrub so weeds will not encroach on the base of your shrub.   You can choose a wood mulch with options such as cedar mulch, bark mulch, bark nuggets or black mulch.  There are endless options for stone mulch.  Some stone mulch include 20 or 40 mm Rundle rock, rainbow rock, limestone and tan washed rock

Visit these pages for more landscaping ideas for Calgary gardens

Shrubs Calgary – Pictures of shrubs that grow well in Calgary
Trees Calgary– Pictures of trees that grow well in Calgary
Yardsmart and the Calgary Horticultural Society
Garden bed edging

Download our handy materials calculator app at the apple app store

ChinookLandscaping by ZealousWeb Technologies
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/chinooklandscaping/id786154404?mt=8

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Call us for your free consultation and estimate
Ph: 403-452-8552

 

11 Mar 2019

Front Step Ideas

Front step ideas are often not talked about much in the world of landscaping.  You can create a beautiful new landscape but forgetting about your old, cold, concrete steps can make for an eyesore in the middle of your Oasis.

Boring broom concrete is not a pretty site

The term most commonly used for the standard front step in Calgary is broom concrete.  This means a simple grey concrete mixture is poured and then broom finished.  Boring broom concrete is not a pretty site and often the concrete is stained, faded and chipped.  Dressing up your front step does not have to be costly althoughthere are some more expensive front step ideas we will get into later.  There are many inexpensive ways to spruce up your step that should be within the budget of most Calgary homeowners.

Pour dyed concrete over your step

You can choose to pour dyed concrete over your existing step.  The least expensive option of a pour over would be to have the concrete dyed before it is poured.  Concrete dyes for steps are usually some shade of grey.  A darker grey definitely looks better than the traditional light grey concrete look and it will hide stains much better than a light concrete step will.  In order for the new poured concrete to last and not chip or crack you will need to make sure you have at the bare minimum one inch between the existing step and your front door jam.  Any less than one inch and the concrete will chip away in no time and you will be left with no inexpensive options in order to have it repaired.  This is our first choice for front step ideas if you are needing to watch your costs.

A pour over with stamped concrete or exposed aggregate

One of our favourite front step ideas is a pour over with stamped concrete or exposed aggregate.  This is not a very expensive option and it will basically look like you have poured an entirely new step from scratch.  You can choose to have your concrete stamped in many different patterns that imitate natural or modern looking stone work.  A dye is also included with stamped concrete to help give it a rich finished look.  Exposed aggregate is another great option and works especially well if you have existing exposed aggregate walkways.  Exposed aggregate steps also look very good with paving stone walkways or traditional broom finished concrete walkways.  As with the dyed concrete option you will need to make sure you have enough clearance above your existing step in order for a pour over to work and last for many years.

Installing tile over your front step

Of all the front step ideas to choose from installing tile over your front step is one of our top picks. You need less than a half inch of clearance below your door jam for this option so it means you won’t need to break out and haul away your old step.  So, although the costs for tile are higher than a pour over you will at least save on the break out and haul out of your old step. In most cases, unless your step is crumbling you will be able to install tile over top.  You can choose from a vast array of natural stone tile for your front step and most of the natural stone tile is suited for Calgary’s climate.  As well as being suited for our climate, the tile will not be very slippery at all and certainly not more slippery than a traditional concrete step.  Installing tile over your front step should always be done by an experienced tile setter. Tile setting is an art and if you aren’t careful choosing your installer you can end up with poorly installed tile that becomes uneven or cracks over time.  Tile is one of the most costly options for your front step but the finished look is well worth it.  Tile matches very well with patios and walkways of varying styles

Break out the old and bring in the new

Maybe it is time to start from scratch and break out the old and bring in the new. Removing your old concrete step may be the only option if you have limited clearance between your existing step and door jam, making a pour over impossible.  If you want to start from scratch with an entirely new front step you will need to first have the existing concrete jackhammered out and hauled away.    Once that has been done you can choose between the poured stamped concrete or exposed aggregate we talked about earlier in this article.  Or you can choose to have a new step built out of either paving stones or wood.

Paving stones for front steps

Although paving stones inset in stone retaining walls are often used for steps in Calgary this is not an option we typically recommend.  This usually our last choice for front step ideas.  The reason for this is simply because there are more components to this method and therefore the chances of your steps lasting for a very long time are minimized.  Poured concrete of some form is in our opinion the best option for a front step.  Front steps get a lot of use over time and therefore a very solid structure is imperative.  In order to have paving stones as part of front steps retaining walls will have to be built.  These retaining walls will then need to be filled with compacted gravel and then sand and paving stones are installed.  These multiple steps mean there are many areas that can become weak over time.  If your retaining walls settle even a little then your steps will be uneven and start to be a tripping hazard and a headache to shovel.  There is no question that over time a solid poured structure will out last paving stones inset in retaining walls.

 

 

 

 

 

09 Mar 2019

Modern Landscaping Calgary project

Many of our Calgary clients are looking for more modern landscaping components for their Calgary landscaping.  In this video David Abbott from Chinook Landscaping Calgary discusses some of these components including:

Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens are becoming more and more popular in Calgary.  Even though our winters can be long and cold don’t let that stop you from enjoying outdoor cooking.  For this landscaping project we used a Techo bloc outdoor kitchen The Techo bloc outdoor kitchen is made of precast stone and includes a electrical outlet, double burner and granite counter top.  Granite counter tops are ideal for outdoors in Calgary because they can handle the cold and stay looking great year round.

Kayu hardwood deck

We installed a beautiful kayu hardwood deck next to the outdoor kitchen.  Kayu is a beautiful mahogany type hardwood that is much more durable than cedar.  Natural woods like Kayu can really warm up your outdoor space and are especially important if you have a lot of cold landscaping components like concrete or paving stones.  Placing the deck boards on a forty five degree angle gives your deck a sleek modern look.

Basalt bubbler water feature

Basalt bubbler water features are low maintenance water features that don’t require much for winterizing like ponds or waterfalls.  These subtle yet soothing water features give you a realizing calming element to your landscaping.  The water flow can be adjusted to increase or decrease the amount of water coming out of the top of the basalt bubbler.  This in turn increases or reduces the volume of the feature.

Cedar Pergola

This simple cedar pergola creates a cozy feel to the back yard and compliments the kayu hardwood deck very well.  It is built with basic cross beams that are not too ornate and therefore they don’t take away from the rest of the landscaping.  The cedar pergola provides some shade but not too much to block sunlight to the plantings underneath the Pergola.   Cedar Pergolas are a wonderful addition to any modern landscaping project.  Both the pergola and the deck will require annual staining each spring for fall in order to maintain their rich natural wood tones.

Learn more about our modern landscaping wood structures by visiting Pergolas and arbors .

You can also visit our arbors, pergolas and privacy screens page

Ask us about what components to use for your modern landscaping Calgary project.