Chinook Landscaping and Design – Landscaping Calgary Specialists
Calgary, Alberta
Mon-Fri 8:00 AM- 5:00 PM.

Installing landscaping in the wrong order

This is a surprisingly common landscaping mistake in Calgary. Homeowners and even some Calgary landscapers can install their landscaping components in the wrong order. Building a landscape using an ordered plan is extremely important. If you are not careful you can end up with a real mess on your property. Your yard can quickly become a clutter of landscaping materials strewn all over with no real direction noticeable. As well as the mess, there may be a real possibility that you will not be able to bring in some of your landscaping projects like large trees if you do not install things at the correct time. Of all the common landscaping mistakes this is one we run into most frequently. There are some very important steps to take when installing your landscaping; doing things in the wrong order can cost you money and time. Most of these errors could easily be avoided with a little time and research.

Landscaping without a clear vision

Not having a clear vision regarding what your landscaping should look like upon completion is a very common mistake made by Calgary homeowners and landscapers.  When working without a landscape design, the vision you have compared to your landscapers can be very different.  We do not use landscape designs for about half of our landscape installations but we always make sure the customers vision is the same as ours so there are no surprises. Using photographs to show you landscaper exactly what you want is one way to make sure you and your landscaper are on the same page. Make sure to obtain a clear and detailed estimate from your landscaper.  Estimates can often include a lot of grey areas so take the time to go through each item one by one with your landscaping company.    One of the first steps we take before starting our landscaping projects is to spray out all of the landscaping components on the ground such as garden bed borders, patios and walkways, etc.  We walk through every project with our clients to make sure we are on the same page as them.  There is nothing worse than paying thousands for your landscaping only to have it turn out to be much different than you envisioned.

Signing a contract without knowing the hidden costs

It is unfortunate but there are still many instances where homeowners end up with a bill for their landscaping that is much larger than their original estimate.  That is why it is so important to obtain a clear and detailed estimate from your landscaper.  Make sure to ask them if there will be any costs incurred over and above what is on the estimate. If so, ask them why this might be the case. At  Chinook Landscaping Calgary  we will never add on costs to our landscaping projects and only charge you for what is on the estimate.  There will be additional charges of course, if you request an extra tree or more square feet for a patio than is listed on the estimate, We make sure to give you a detailed estimate that includes the dimensions of patios walkways, mowing pavers and other landscaping components.  Signing a contract without knowing the hidden costs can be upsetting for many Calgary homeowners so make sure you know all the details.

Installing landscaping in Calgary before the sub surface has settled

This common landscaping mistake happens with newly built homes. Settling around your foundation occurs on new homes for about a year or more after your new home is built. The original hard ground was disturbed when your foundation was installed; now the ground is soft beneath the surface.  Some homeowners or landscapers will be in a rush to install the landscaping so they will build patios and walkways on top of ground that has not properly settled.  They assume that if they put a layer of compacted gravel down then will not have to worry about sinking or setting.  However, it is the subsurface where the settling is an issue many feet below the surface.  So, if this sub surface sinks then so does the the gravel and whatever was built on top of it.   If you build your landscaping on top of this unsteady ground your landscaping is likely to sink. Wait a while, or speed up the settling process by thoroughly soaking the area around your foundation, and as far out as 10 feet. Don’t rush your landscaping or you may end up wasting a lot of money installing your landscaping twice.

Paying deposits to landscaping companies

We highly recommend you do not pay a deposit to a landscaping company in Calgary. Especially if your project is below $50,000.  Reputable Calgary landscapers will not ask for deposits, but instead may request progress payments as the work progresses. Paying out deposits is a risk that may have you waiting long past the agreed installation date for your landscaping to begin. It could be a very long summer. Landscaping companies in Alberta are not legally allowed to accept deposits unless they first have a bond for security. This bond protects you should the company encounter financial issues.  So make sure you ask your landscaping company for proof of the bond before you pay out the deposit.  Paying out progress payments is reasonable if you see that there has been adequate progress on your landscaping.  Establishing the progress payments with your landscaping before hand is a good idea.  Chinook Landscaping and Design does not ask for any deposits or progress payments for projects below $50,000.  Payment is only due upon completion.

Using too much sand for paving stones

This may sound like a trivial mistake in our list of common landscaping mistakes but it happens all the time and it can be a very costly mistake.  This is a common mistake for DIY or landscapers in Calgary who are new at installing paving stone patios or walkways. Never use over and inch of sand as a levelling base above your crushed gravel. Too much sand will cause the pavers to shift or wash out over time and destroy your walkway or patio. Laying paving stones can be a lot of work so prepare the base properly. A fine skiff of sand is best, to use only for helping you grade before adding pavers. Make sure you use a reputable landscaping company in Calgary to install your paving stones or do some research on paving stone installation if you are going to do it yourself.  Be sure to make certain your landscaping company is laying down a sufficient base of compacted gravel before they install the skiff of sand.  Chinook Landscaping and Design installs a solid base of compacted gravel before our grading sand is installed.

Not excavating enough before installing walkways, patios and retaining walls

Many homeowners and inexperienced landscapers choose to cut corners by excavating less than they should before installing a compacted gravel base and their paving stones.  It is very important to remove all soil until you have reached clay and then install your gravel base.  If you do not excavate to clay, it is likely you will end up with frost heaves and an uneven patio or walkway.  We spend a lot of time during the season repairing sunken walkways, patios and retaining walls by homeowners or landscapers.  Haul out from a large hardscaping project can be one of the biggest parts of the job so many cut corners and excavate only a minimum amount.  This means your gravel base will be to shallow and frost heaves will likely occur.


If you need landscaping advice we are here to help.
Ph: 403-452-8552