Great Ponds & Gardens

Garden landscape design and construction tips


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No sun, no problem

hostaPlanting for the Shade
What to do in your shady areas can be a challenge even for the most experienced gardener. Fortunately there are many shrubs, trees and perennials that will thrive in shady conditions. One of my favorites is the Hosta. Layered against garden accents, water features or amongst other shade-loving plants, the Hosta adds texture to your surround. As a general rule, gold and yellow varieties produce their best colour in slightly more sun. Blue varieties produce their most intense colour when grown in dappled shade. The top five Hostas include: Sagae, Sum and Substance, Great Expectations, Patriot, and Pauls Glory.

http://www.pinterest.com/greatponds/plants-hostas

Your August Garden checklist

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Flowers for your garden

Hydrangeas lots of colour, little effort – Hydrangeas are the workhorses of the garden producing sumptuous petals of colour. Most species can be grown in either full sun or partial shade. The colour of pink and blue varieties is determined by the degree of soil acidity. Resistant to most insects and diseases, they are also hardy preferring rich, moist soil. Avoid dry windy sites, as their large, soft leaves lose water quickly, especially on the hot, windy days of summer, causing the foliage to wilt.
Flowers are produced on the new growth; therefore, it is important that hydrangeas be given some care each season to ensure that vigorous new growth occurs. Irrigate plants weekly to replace moisture loss. Prune flower stems after they have bloomed.
www.pinterest.com/greatponds/flowers-hydrangea

Hibiscus thrives in northern gardens – The bright, showy blooms of the hibiscus plant will add a tropical feel to any landscape. With hundreds to choose from – dwarf varieties that grow to between 2 to 3 feet to plants that can exceed 8 feet in height – you’re sure to find one right for you. There are 2 types of hibiscus common to gardeners: tropical and hardy. In the Canadian climate, you’ll need to select the hardy species that withstand below 0 temperatures.
www.pinterest.com/greatponds/flowers-hibiscus


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Consider Fido in Your Garden Design

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There’s a lot of interest these days in creating landscapes that are also functional for pets.
The first thing to consider is always safety, then comfort. Consider,

  1. pool and pond safety – be sure to teach your pet to swim and exit pool, enclose your pool area and use a pet-friendly cover;
  2. fencing and gates that are high and low enough to avoid escape;
  3. using pet-friendly materials: fertilizers, weed control and mulches (horticultural vinegar is a great way to remove weeds) and NEVER ever use cocoa shell mulch; and
  4. supervising small pets particularly in rural areas (to avoid run ins with local wildlife)

Your pampered pooch may also enjoy outdoor furniture designed for them, a heated/air conditioned dog-house or a doggy cabana with all the amenities. Cat cages allow cats to play outside within a safe and confined space.  See for yourself www.pinterest.com/greatponds


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Tips for selecting a contractor for your garden landscape needs

Is it time for a garden touch up or perhaps, a complete overhaul? There are many advantages to turning over your footprint to a landscape expert. Before you do, here are six tips:

Landscape Contractor Checklist

  1. Do you know what you want? Like a carefully planned kitchen, it’s important to understand the functionality and look you expect from your garden; www.houzz.com and www.pinterest.com/greatponds are great resources to see what’s possible and to create your outdoor “ideabook”; a well-designed garden landscape will incorporate your expectations for functionality, colour and texture; the successful landscape contractor should spend a lot of time asking questions and listening to your needs before presenting solutions
  2. Hire locally – a resource in your area, like www.greatponds.ca for Oakville and Halton, saves time and money by reducing transportation time
  3. Beware of startups – hire a credible, experienced contractor that has referrals and repeat business; your contractor should be knowledgeable about techniques, grading requirements, resources, local bylaws, local issues (such as dealing with clay soil in Oakville and southern Ontario) and plant species appropriate for your area
  4. Inspect previous landscaping work – specifically installations that are a few years old so you can see the quality of workmanship and how it stands up to our Southern Ontario temperatures
  5. Timing – you may have to wait to get the best landscape contractor for your needs; be sure to start early so you don’t have to compromise and to allow for ordering of special materials
  6. Respect the environment – ask about the landscape contractor’s disposal procedures to ensure they follow local bylaws