During our initial viewing of this property, we ended up walking down the driveway into the backyard trying to find an entrance way. It was immediately apparent that this property needed a better flow and direction of the landscaping to maximize the limited available space.
As the home was built in 1913, we wanted to create a visually pleasing outdoor area while not appearing too modern and out of character with this heritage home. Taking into consideration the budget and needs, we came up with a three year plan that touched on all aspects and desires, namely keeping the property in a livable state while construction was carried out and spread the costs over a longer period of time.
First we checked the drains. Having a qualified company conduct an on site visit and perform a full camera scope inspection of the sewer and storm drains is an important step. Any home owner, when conducting major landscaping alterations should be sure to check and repair any major problems with drainage before spending time and money on landscaping. Next we prepped the new pathways and cleared out the existing overgrown gardens so we could create a smooth traffic flow off the driveway and from the street to the yard.
The front door was located at the side of the house with a small deck and staircase that was becoming a safety hazard. We designed a new deck and decided on running large posts up all the way from the ground as supports for the deck framing and railings. This made the deck and railing solid as a rock. The same was done to the deck off the front of the house in order for the designs to match.
After going through loads of samples, we eventually picked out the colors to paint the exterior of the home next summer, and painted the decks after the wood had seasoned through summer. All screw holes and imperfections were filled and sanded to give the boards a solid hardwood look, then a high-quality primer and 2 coats of paint were applied.
An arbour with a trellis to hang an address sign and a spot for the mail box were built at the front of the property. This created an entrance place to arrive from and pulls the visitors in from a destination.
We then installed an interlocking brick pathway where again the pattern and colors were carefully selected to match the house. Conduit tubes were laid underneath the pathways for lighting and sprinklers which were installed later on. A good solid base of compactable road gravel was added, levelled out and compacted. Next came a thin layer of washed sand and we screeded out the pathways. Hard plastic edging was hammered in using galvanized spikes. Care was taken to round out the curves and get everything looking great. Once the whole pathway was in we swept in Polymeric Sand which is a product that when installed correctly fills all the cracks in between the bricks and then hardens up and prevents weed growth. We then prepped the house for the fall/winter season, doing some exterior waterproofing, gutter repairs and cleaning, and minor roof repairs.
Next, we installed a sunken garden to hold excess rainwater and then transplanted some of the existing plants to better locations. We also installed the slate patio (as always using a good layer of road base before cutting/laying the slate) and created a pathway as well. Each piece of slate was hand-selected and precisely trimmed so that a wonderful flow was created with equal gaps between each piece was maintained. Once the patio slate was all cut and placed, we made a mixture of sand and cement and created a solid base for each piece. Before progressing to the next step, we carefully lifted the newly laid pieces and applied a layer of compo (a cement and water based mix provide exceptional adhesion) to both the underside of the rock and the base cement. After allowing the patio to ‘cure’ we then added a special draining type of soil and planted creeping thymes and ground covers which will fill in the gaps over time.
Custom-made Adirondack chairs were purchased which adding the finishing touch to the patio area and additional unique plants found from a variety of local nurseries was added to the gardens. New Zealand flax, echinacea, tropical fuchsias, grasses, along with an eucalyptus tree were used as the garden is on a north facing wall and receives lots of shade and little direct sunlight.
Lastly came the task of painting and repairing the actual home to bring it back to its original natural charm from 1913.« back to projects