Top 10 Apps for Landscape Architects

Landscape architecture? Yes, there’s an app for that. There are actually quite a few handy apps that every tech-savvy landscape architect should consider adding to their virtual toolbox. Let’s take a closer look at the applications that made the top 10.

Landscaper’s Companion

Landscaper’s Companion is a comprehensive reference guide to flora covering more than 25,000 trees, shrubs and flowers. The database covers 17 categories of plant life found in North America, the UK and Australia. Information provided for each plant species includes growth habit, aspect, USDA zone, plant size and water requirements. Users can enter location attributes, flower color, bloom time and size parameters and the app will generate a list of suitable species.

Leafsnap

Leafsnap is for those moments when you simply cannot remember the botanical name of a species. It includes a visual recognition algorithm that can identify trees from photos of their leaves. The process is quite simple; place a leaf on a white background, snap a photo and upload it into the app. Leafsnap is currently limited to tree species found in the Northeast U.S., but it is being expanded to cover the entire country. The Smithsonian Institute, University of Maryland and Columbia University are collaborating on the project to further develop the app.

AutoCAD 360

What happens if you are away from your computer and you have to work with an AutoCAD file? You used to be out of luck, but AutoCAD 360 gives you the ability to download and work with DWG files right on your iPhone. Once the file is downloaded you do not even have to be online to work with it. The app allows users to work in both 2D and 3D drawing, so you can update renderings on the go and send them to colleagues or clients.

Planimeter

Planimeter allows architects to quickly obtain rough measurements of site boundaries in the field.
The app uses measurements on imperial and metric satellite maps to calculate the area, perimeter and distance of a given site. The surrounding area can also be measured, allowing architects to obtain all the measurement data needed when on a site visit. The numbers obtained can then be used to estimate the scale of the project and the resources it will require.

Dropbox

Landscape architects are constantly exchanging information with designers, landscapers and clients, and Dropbox allows that information to be shared across numerous devices. It works with iPhones, iPads, iTouch and any other device on which Dropbox is installed. It is the ultimate communication app and is a must-have for landscape architects who spend their days sending and receiving project files.
Drawings, photos and files of any kind can be stored in one program and distributed as needed to other devices. Sending large files via email is a slow and problematic process, and one that Dropbox users never have to worry about. The files are securely stored and transferred, and users can allow a third party to access specific folders in their Dropbox. The app claims that it simplifies the life of the user, a claim it certainly follows through on.

Morpholio

Morpholio was created by architects as a platform through which designers can collaborate, critique and share in the creative process. It weaves social media, the cloud and device culture into the mix and allows artists across a number of creative disciplines to interact with each other. There are even features that enable users to upload work for critique by the community of Morpholio users. This is a fun new iPhone/iPad app with exciting potential. Download it from the iTunes App Store here.

Houzz App

Houzz

Houzz is an architecture and design app with a monstrous database of images to inspire new projects. It covers mostly indoor spaces, but there is a dedicated section to outdoor architecture and design. It is the perfect brainstorming app to help get the creative juices flowing and come up with new ideas. The outdoor section contains over 240,000 photos of inspired outdoor spaces. The images can be filtered by space and style, with separate sections for deck, patio, landscape and pool designs. A range of designs are covered, with emphasis on unique, high-end architecture and design.

My Measures and Dimensions

My Measures and Dimensions is an app designed for the storing and sharing of space and object dimensions. It benefits architects, carpenters, real estate agents and other professionals who work with dimensions on a daily basis.

Simply take a photo of the object you wish to store dimensions for and use angles, arrows and text to record the dimensions. Save the file and refer to it as you wish or share it with others.

Application Features:

  • Record and store dimensions on a photo
  • Organize saved images into folders
  • Easily share multiple folders or files
  • Export photos and dimensions to the photo library
  • Send saved files via email
  • Landscape and portrait formats supported
  • Supports metric and imperial units; feet, inches yards, meters, centimeters, etc.
  • Leica laser meter supported (depending on connectivity).

Evernote

Evernote is a clever app that helps professionals get organized, plan projects, get reminders and store project details. You can write notes, capture images, record audio…and have it all stored in an easily accessible system. It is marketed as a tool that captures experiences, but it is also a powerful organizational tool that lets users record any type of information at any time and access it later. The broad features of this app allow users to customize its use to suit their specific needs and lifestyle.

SketchBook Mobile

SketchBook Mobile is a nifty painting and drawing app made by Autodesk for android devices. It includes a suite of sketching tools delivers through an intuitive, well-designed GUI. It can capture ideas as rough sketches, add embellishments to existing work or produce drawings on the go. The paint engine is borrowed form SketchBook Pro, so it offers a wide selection of sophisticated pencils and brushes.

Features:

  • Full-screen mode to maximize work space
  • Pen-only mode for pen-input supported devices
  • Pressure sensitivity support
  • Touch input not recognized by canvas (menus, panels and tools only).
  • Multi-touch interface with zoom navigation and two-finger panning

These apps help landscape designers capture and share data, collaborate with colleagues, organize projects and communicate with clients all from the convenience of their mobile devices. The creative tools also allow users to be prepared whenever inspiration hits. Some of the apps are even free, so grab your phone and start downloading!

How to Choose a Landscape Design Professional

Choosing a landscape designer to create the outdoor space of your dreams is a big decision. A skilled landscaper will overcome all of the necessary hurdles to give you the space you want, while a general contractor may fall well short. Landscape design work is not cheap, so before you write a big check make sure the designer you have chosen is well qualified to do the job right.

The design options for outdoor spaces are virtually unlimited these days, which enables homeowners to transform their current landscapes into beautiful, functional spaces they can enjoy. Smart landscaping can also increase the value of a home and make it more attractive to potential buyers.

Deciding on a landscape designer to hire takes a bit of time and research, but it pays off in the end when the project goes smoothly, comes in on budget and leaves you with a yard your neighbors envy. Bad landscape design work cannot be fixed easily, so getting it right the first time is of the utmost importance. The tips that follow will help you navigate the process of choosing the right landscape designer for your space, budget and tastes.

Do Your Homework

Spend some time searching for landscape designers in your area online. Most will have websites with portfolios of previous work, references and pricing guidelines. You should have a good idea of what your project will entail and what you want the finished product to look like upon completion. This will enable you to look through the portfolios of various designers for projects similar to yours. Look for designers who have completed similar projects with pleasing results and make a short list of the best potential candidates.

Talk to Family, Friends and Neighbors

Talk to people you trust and are close to and ask them if they have had any landscape design work done. If they have, find out who they used and what their experience was like. This is a great way to get inside information about professionals in the area.

Once you have your list of hopefuls, it is a good idea to go to their places of business and meet them in person. Here you can look at more previous work and ask questions regarding their experience, pricing and availability. You will also get a gut feeling about the company, which is equally important.

Further Research and References

After meeting with the designers you should have a list of two or three companies to choose from. At this point you want to do more extensive research on the potential companies to find out what kind of reputation they have and what past customers have to say about them. Look for reviews online, specifically on landscape design forums. You can also check with the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects or the American Nursery and Landscape Association to see if the companies are members.

Ask each candidate for references, as reputable businesses will be ready and willing to provide them. Consider what former clients chose to emphasize in their references. Did they say the designer was easy to work with? Knowledgeable? Friendly? You want the work to be top-notch, but you also want a designer who is easy to work, flexible, and who provides great customer service.

Get a Bid from Each Company

Price is another thing to consider, so get bids from your top two or three companies so you can compare price alongside the other data you’ve collected. You may find considerable differences between the bids you receive, which will help you narrow down the field and make an informed decision when it comes time to hire a designer. Do not just choose the designer who offers the lowest bid. Consider all you have learned about the various companies and factor all of the information you have collected into your decision. Sometimes it is worth your while to pay a bit more for better quality work.

Final Considerations

Flexibility is an important quality in a landscape designer and one you should consider when you are down to a couple potential candidates. Does the designer seem willing to having small changes implemented once the project starts? Do they seem confident with regard to any special considerations or challenges your project presents?

Reliability is another thing to consider carefully. Does the designer finish projects on time and within the prescribed budget? Does the team show up when they are supposed to? Did the company promptly return any phone calls you made when inquiring about their services? An unreliable landscape designer is a headache waiting to happen, so answer these questions carefully.

Take the appearance of their place of business, design team and equipment into consideration as well. Landscapers aren’t always the most clean-cut bunch, but they should make a reasonably professional appearance. Does the office seem neat and organized? Do the work trucks and equipment look clean and well maintained? The answers to all of these questions will allow you to make a well-informed decision with regard to which designer to hire.

Looking for a professional landscape designer in Toronto for your backyard or garden project? Get in touch with us today and let us help you design and develop your dream landscape. You may also want to learn more about us or the products we offer.

History of Garden Fountains – From Ancient World to 20th Century

Ancient World

The Egyptians began planting gardens around their homes as early as 3,000 BC. Their gardens evolved to be commonly situated around fish ponds of various sizes, with flowers, plants and fruit trees planted around the decorative ponds.

The Persians and Assyrians of the Mesopotamia highlands irrigated their garden spaces with pools of flowing water. The gardens were set in large plains, shaded by planted trees. Such gardens are often depicted on traditional Persian carpets.

Homes in ancient Rome and Greece were decorated with elaborate colonnaded gardens, particularly those of wealthy and high-ranking citizens. Public baths were also adorned with garden spaces.

Non-Western World

The hot, dry desert climate inspired the gardens Muslims created, which were centered on water. They consisted of close courts full of decorative shrubs and trees and had passageways defined by arches and supporting columns. Pools, fountains and ornate tile work enlivened the spaces.

In 14th century Spain, the Moors built similar gardens full of fruit trees and flowers, incorporating water as a centerpiece and for irrigation purposes. The Mughals in India favored unified compositions, but built gardens with similar components. The Taj Mahal is the most notable example, attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year.

In China, gardens were created in pots for seasonal changes and adorned with pools in courtyards around homes, temples and palaces. A notable example is in Beijing, where the gardens of Imperial City are elaborately sculpted with beautiful flora, man-made lakes, bridges and hillocks.

Japanese gardens were inspired by those of neighboring Korea and China. The gardens of Kyoto were elaborately built with evergreens, waterfalls, still pools, rock and sand. Constructing a garden was an art form practiced by many painters and monks in which every element was placed deliberately and the components carefully edited.

Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Periods

The garden spaces of 9th century medieval Europe contained partitioned segments for flowers, fruits, herbs and vegetables. Monastery gardens had fountains as centerpieces and were bordered by cloistered trails, borrowing from Persian gardens to create ideal spaces for meditation.

In Italy during the Renaissance gardens were surrounded by cypress trees and filled with fountains, ornate sculptures, balustrades and geometric flower beds. Notable gardens from the 15th century include those found in the vicinity of Florence in the Medici and La Pietra villas. Highlights from the 16th century include the Villa Farnese in Caprarola and the Villa Lante of Bagnaia. Rome boasted the breathtaking Villas Medici and Madama, while Tivoli was recognized for the sublime Villa d’Este.

The 17th century saw an even more dramatic and complex baroque style which featured myriad fountains, pools and waterfalls; heavy use of serpentine lines and displays of exquisite, dynamic sculptures. Standout gardens from this century include Lake Maggiore’s Isola Bella, Villa Giovio of Como, Colodi’s Villa Garzoni and the famous Villa Aldobrandini of Frascati.

The baroque gardens of Europe and the Renaissance inspired masterpieces of Italy inspired the region. The gardens of Alcazar in Seville combined Renaissance and Moorish elements, while the Loire valley chateaus boasted formal gardens with similar aesthetics elements. Chateau Chenonceaux and Chateau Chambord had especially inspired gardens surrounded by forested parks.

In 17th century France, Louis XIV commissioned acres upon acres of gardens in tight symmetrical arrangements as part of a wide-reaching building program. The grandeur of these indulgent gardens was unequalled. Tree-lined radiating alleys intersected the grounds, which were studded with incredible flora, pavilions, fountains and sculptures. The splendid gardens of Versailles were imitated but never equaled throughout the countries of Europe across the following century.

Romantic Period

The 18th century saw a number of aesthetic changes, many of which were attributed to the rise of romanticism. This affected the arts as a whole, bringing about a new sensibility in landscape architecture. The uptight symmetry of the 17th century, typified by highly sculpted and structured spaces, gave way to informal arrangements of trees and shrubs surrounded by ponds, winding paths, gentle hills and sprawling grass. Gardens at grand estates such as Chatsworth and Blenheim Palace began to take on the unplanned qualities of the wilderness—a dramatic change from the gardens of previous centuries.
The romantic style caught on all over Europe, with the garden at Ermenonville in France becoming a template for Thomas Jefferson’s estate at Monticello. This is also the style in which Central Park in New York City was designed in the late 1850s.

20th Century

In the 20th century gardens became more integrated parts of the home, sometimes extending from the yard into the home. In areas with mild climates such as southern California, landscape designers explored the possibilities such an amenable climate offered, coming up with unique new designs using exotic flora and varied flowing water elements. In urban areas where space is limited, indoor fountains and pools are commonly seen in shopping malls, office buildings and even inside homes.

Garden fountains have evolved over the century, as have the gardens they are found in. The traditional styles from these periods are incorporated into modern designs intended to add water elements to backyards, patios and indoor living spaces.

Garden Ornaments in Toronto

Based near Toronto, Beyond the Veranda offers a large selection of luxury garden ornaments by Haddonstone. Delivery and installation of these pieces is available to residents and professional contractors located in and around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Cast stone garden ornaments are elegant, refined choices for any type or style of exterior or interior space. The most impressive stone designs provide the ultimate in craftsmanship, by offering designers, landscapers and homeowners access to artistry that is virtually unparalleled. If you’re searching for lawn ornaments that are truly a cut above, you’ll find that Haddonstone has a range of signature designs and collections that include antique-inspired elements which evoke emotion and bring beauty to any form of outdoor design, from patios to backyards and courtyards.

Today, garden ornaments are available in a variety of styles, shapes, colors and materials. Stone garden accents remain the best and most traditional choice for bringing a sense of emotion and artistry to a landscape design. The best way to select these ornaments is by matching the available styles and materials with your personal style and current garden design. Whether you love a more contemporary look like the Bay Planter or classically-influenced styles that recall the beauty of the most applauded English gardens (see our statues), you’ll find a design that gives you the look and mood that you’re after.

History of Garden Ornaments

Garden ornaments were used in Ancient Rome, so they’ve been around for a very long time. In fact, some antique examples of these decorative works of stone were excavated from the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. During the Italian Renaissance, they became central design elements in outdoor landscapes. Since that time period, preferences in lawn ornaments have evolved. Today, elements of kitsch (cutesy style) are quite common. However, high art influences are still very prevalent.

As you can see, for centuries, men and women have sought to make their outdoor worlds more pleasing to the eye, through the addition of sophisticated or playful decorations. These days, the old influences continue to provide inspiration for the most well-known designers of the modern age.

Asian countries were also home to stunning garden accents that are mimicked today. For example, classical Chinese gardens were often adorned with Chinese scholar’s rocks. Today, many home owners add beauty to their exterior environments by adding rock gardens into the mix.

Planters

When it comes to creating a focal point that draws the eye and pleases the senses, choosing a stylish cast stone planter and beautiful flowers to go with it is an excellent strategy. You may choose stone, glazed ceramics, fiberglass, terracotta or metal. All containers have their pros and cons, so it’s important to consider the properties of the type and material of each container before making a final decision about what is best for your situation.

Things to think about as you select the right planter include the weight of the piece, its price and whether or not the material is able to last your climate. Some planters come unfinished, while others, such as glazed ceramics, are very shiny, vibrant and colorful.

Fountains

If you love the look and sound of rushing water, you’re not alone. That’s why so many people choose to add centerpiece fountains to their outdoor spaces. These accents provide incredible drama, without being over the top. Like most ornaments, fountains come in sleek, modern styles or traditional, classically-inspired designs. Styles of garden fountains include self-circulating, wall and tiered. Water features of this type vary widely in price, and typically require professional installation.

Garden Statues

Garden statues feature depictions of people or animals and many designs are replicas of family sculptures from ancient times. If statues or men, women and animals don’t really suit your style, consider more modern and abstract designs that are crafted from stone or metal. You may find mass-produced statues for gardens, but cast stone ornaments are longer lasting and make a great investment as the more weathered and aged they are, the more they can be worth.

Enjoy Comfort and Style with the Right Garden Furniture

If you want to add seating arrangements to your courtyard, garden or other landscape, you will find that wrought-iron and cast stone designs fit the bill perfectly. There are many different types of garden furniture available including benches, garden tables and seats. Scale your requirements to your budget. If you don’t have a lot to spend, choose basic designs that don’t have a lot of embellishments. If you’re willing to pay more for top quality, then choose handcrafted designs that are produced by skilled artisans such as those made by Haddonstone.

Looking for quality garden ornaments in Toronto for an interior or exterior design project? Browse through our extensive collection of statues, planters, fountains and more and then get in touch with us to discuss you project’s requirements.

27 Pool Landscaping Ideas Create the Perfect Backyard Oasis

In this post we have collected the most inspiring pool landscape designs that we could find to help you visualize and plan the backyard oasis that you’ve always dreamed of. The photos in this collection cover a variety of styles, sizes and price levels of pools and backyards and are best used as a starting point for further research. The right choice of hardscaping, garden decorations and plants can make the difference between a cold, uninviting area and a warm, welcoming outdoor atmosphere. Create a backyard getaway like one of the ones below and all your friends, family (and possibly neighbors) will jump at the chance to visit your private summer retreat.

You can choose to design the landscape yourself or enlist the help of a professional such as a landscape architect. Water fountains, planters, garden furniture, colorful flowers as well as stone retaining walls and pathways all add to the relaxing feel of the landscape. There is nothing quite like enjoying a cold drink and soaking up the sun’s rays beside a clear, refreshing pool on a hot summer day. Enjoy the photos below and let us know if you found the ideas useful by leaving a comment.

Traditional Pool Landscape Design
By Boston Landscape Architects & Designers

Raised Wall Pool Idea
By Norwalk Pools and Spas

backyard patio and pool
By Nutley Landscape Architects & Designers


By Aquacon Pools and Landscaping

Small Backyard Pool

Modern Infinity Pool Landscape
By Chantilly Pools and Spas

mediterranean pool and slide idea
By Tampa Stone, Pavers & Concrete

Tropical Beach Like Pool Landscape
By Mill Valley Landscape Architects & Designers

Tiered Contemporary Pool Design
By Austin General Contractors

Traditonal Patio and Grotto Landscape
By Kennett Square Photographers

elegant mediterranean pool design
By Pittstown Pools and Spas

tropical garden pool design
By Florence Pools and Spas

Traditional Pool and Landscape
By Los Angeles Architects & Designers

Small Backyard Pool Stone Edging
By G & R Pools & Spas

Peaceful Landscape Ideas
By Harold Leidner Landscape Architects

Mediterranean Landscape Water Fountain Idea
By Studio H Landscape Architecture

Simple Pool Landscape
By Carville Landscape Co

Pool Within Large Garden
By Cipriano Landscape Design

Pool and Hot Tub With Fountains Idea
By Harold Leidner Landscape Architects

Swimming Pool Landscaping Idea
By Lehigh Lawn & Landscaping

Poolside Trees and Flowers
By Liquidscapes

Pool Waterfall With Natural Look
By Sitescapes Landscape Design

Hard Landscaping Ideas
By Silver Creek Stoneworks

Pool and Fire Pit for Small Backyard
By Apex Landscape

Tiered Pool With Waterfall and Decor
By Paragon Pools

Relaxing Swimming Pool Landscape Design
By The Green Scene

Modern Pool Beside Dining Area
By Leisure Pools

Small Backyard With Fire and Water
By Lone Star Landscaping

Cast Stone Garden Statues in Toronto

Beyond The Veranda is a provider of premium quality cast stone garden statues located in Toronto, Ontario. Our extensive collection of handcrafted creations by Haddonstone can be delivered and installed by our team of landscaping professionals for projects located around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and across Canada.

Many people consider statues to be one of the highest forms of art. Sure, we appreciate a vibrant oil painting with a blue theme that reminds us of the clearest starry night or with a yellow theme which makes us think of the sunflowers that grow against the grey walls of a garden shed. But it is the stone statue appearing suddenly in an English garden that makes our eyes grow a bit wider, our heart beat a little faster and our mouth open just a little.

A Historic Art Form

It may well be our history as humans that draw us to small concrete statues of men and women who once walked among us. Human beings have made statues since the early days of civilization. Travelers to the vibrant land of Egypt will not soon forget their first sighting of the Great Sphinx of Giza, thought to be finished between the years 2558-2432 BC. It rises from the ancient sands as a cat would, its front appendages stretching out before it, its serene demeanor emanating out into the desert. Breathtaking.

The early Egyptians were not the only people to leave us stunning sculptures; it seems it is in our nature to give physical form to the people, animals or spirits that we want to celebrate. The Greeks gave us Venus de Milo. It stands in the Louvre and is seen by millions of people every year.

The statue continues to be an artistic way for people and cultures to express their gratitude to a deity or admiration of the ideas of a particular man or woman. The Amitabha Buddha in Ibaraki, Japan for example stands 260 feet tall and reigns over all in its sight.

The modern garden statue lets us bring a part of our rich history as humans to our landscaping design. The The Royal Horticultural Society of Briton has recently decreed that even the lowly backyard garden gnome is now allowed to be part of the Chelsea Flower Show.

Materials

A sculptor chooses their medium instinctively. It may be a large grey stone with streaks of white running through it that appeals to them, or the flexibility of using cast stone. An old wooden box filled with glittering glass might be another source of inspiration. Glass, cement, wood, bronze, natural stone, cast stone, stainless steel and more are a few of the more common materials used to craft garden sculptures.

Types of Garden Statues

A traditional statue is usually of a human, animal, or spirit and is typically portrayed in its full form. Busts on the other hand depict the head or top portion of a human or animal. There are many creative techniques being developed in the field of sculpture creation, and the concept has expanded, or exploded, far beyond its traditional roots.

A garden sculpture could be made out of recycled wine bottle that has been refashioned into the likeness of a brilliant lemon tree, or an old-fashioned crab apple tree of the variety that are found on old farm lands in colder climates. A bulky piece of wood could be carved to resemble a popular historical or mythological figure. These rustic wooden sculptures are often painted in bold colors so that they stand out in the midst of your eclectic country style garden.

Get in touch with us today if you are looking for a trusted provider of cast stone garden statues in Toronto. Our knowledge, experience and products make an excellent pairing with any landscaping project.

Types of Garden Ornaments

Brief History

A garden ornament is defined as one of a number of items used to decorate and enhance gardens, parks, or other landscapes. The garden ornaments that will be discussed in this article are bird baths, fountains, sundials, furniture, statues, pedestals, and planters. These are some of the most commonly used ornaments, but they are by no means the only ones available. The earliest record of the use of garden decorations dates back to Ancient Rome.

Since then, the major styles that have cropped up have been the Italian Renaissance garden, the French garden, the English landscape garden, and Japanese garden. Gardens of these types are considered high art, and they can be difficult but rewarding to create and maintain.

Bird Baths

Regardless of the style of garden you choose to pursue, a bird bath can be an essential part of it. A bird bath is an artificial or man-made puddle in which wild birds can bathe and from which many animals can drink. They can take many forms, be simple or complex and can be made from a wide variety of materials. Chances are you will be able to find one that suits your style. If you keep it clean and full, you can turn a normal garden into a hot spot for a wide variety of beautiful birds.

Fountains

Water can be used to decorate your backyard in other ways, too. While fountains were originally created for a strictly functional purpose – to provide people with water to drink – they have long been superseded by indoor plumbing and are now a beautiful way to decorate gardens of all types. There are many types of fountains to choose from, including tiered, self-contained, wall mounted and disappearing.

Sundials

Sundials are used to indicate the time in a given geographic location based on the position of the sun. Sundials work by using the sun as a source of light and using a stationary object called a gnomon to cast shadows onto a surface. The position of the shadow indicates the time. To work properly, a sundial must be properly constructed and the gnomon must point to celestial North. Adding a sundial to your yard can be a fun way of tracking time, enhancing the space and it makes a great conversational piece. Just make sure you know what you’re talking about before you install one!

Furniture

Garden furniture has been around for hundreds of years, and it dates back to the first use of garden ornaments in Ancient Rome. Like its indoor relatives, garden furniture is used to enhance a person’s comfort and experience. Furniture can be made out of hardy materials like metal and harder woods that are able to stand the harsh conditions of wind, rain, and sun. Some common pieces are chairs, swings, tables and benches.

Statues

Statues are a type of sculpture that typically represent select animals or individuals. Statues are usually life-sized versions of the characters they are meant to represent, and sometimes they may even be larger. The oldest known statue has been dated to over 30,000 years ago. Statues are an integral part of stately traditional gardens. Some people choose to decorate their yards with elegant statues depicting beautiful women or woodland creatures, whereas other people adorn their patios with whimsical representations of small woodland creatures or garden gnomes.

Pedestals

If you choose to adorn your personal garden with statues of any sort, you may want to think about investing in pedestals as well. The word “pedestal” typically refers to the stand upon which statues rest, and they are great for showing off statues that have great meaning or ones that are particularly central to the décor of your garden. Pedestals are also typically used as a platform for elegant vases and planters, though that type of pedestal is typically used indoors. Another name for a pedestal is a “plinth.” Raised pedestals are sometimes called “acropodiums,” which comes from a Greek words for “topmost” and “foot.”

Planters

If you want to grow plants in places other than the ground in your garden, you may want to consider using planters in your landscape design. A planter can be anything from a simple terracotta or plastic pot, to an elaborate jardinière hung from a window cill. Even a simple gardening supply store will carry a wide variety of planters. They come in many shapes and sizes to accommodate whatever type of plant you want to add to your collection. Many planters have holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain from the pot, which helps prevent root rot.

Cast Stone Fountain Designs, Materials and Size Guidelines

Selecting the right fountain – the one that you just couldn’t take your eyes off of at your go-to landscaping shop – can unify and complete your garden design. Coming upon a garden fountain suddenly when walking through a well-designed landscape is like happening upon a magical place. Who doesn’t want that in their backyard?

Perhaps you’d like an outdoor water feature that can serve as a centerpiece, bringing the lyrical sound of flowing water and living art to your outdoor space? Or perhaps a smaller fountain that serves as an accent and complements your overall design? Grab your pencil, sketch out a budget and you’re ready to get started on your quest to find the right type of fountain.

Thinking Big or Small

You have some searching to do. You need to choose one that fits your landscaping scheme, physically and in style. If you have a simple garden design, you may want to complement it with a Japanese-style fountain, creating a meditative space.

If you’ve created an ornate, lush design that is overflowing with striking plants that run up against deeply manicured lawns, you may opt for an ornate stone fountain that conjures up a sense of history. Perhaps you are working with a small patio space? If so, a wall fountain could act as a unifying backdrop to your decorating scheme.

Cast stone or ceramic? Fiberglass or metal?

Know that whatever your garden style and size, there is a fountain out there for you that comes in a material that will stand up to the elements while looking smashing. The most common materials for an outdoor fountain are cast stone, ceramic, fiberglass, and metal. Each has its advantages.

Cast stone
Sculptors and designers of fountains love cast stone as it takes any shape that you ask it to. If your I-want-to-be-an-artist niece sketches a dream garden fountain, it can be custom made in cast stone. We all love a stone statue, and while cast stone is lighter than the real thing, its appearance and durability is very similar.

Fiberglass
A fiberglass fountain can be constructed so that it mimics the look of many desirable materials, like worn copper, simple lead or antique iron. The material is lightweight, meaning that you can easily place it where it fits in your garden design.

Ceramic
Perhaps the most artsy looking of all the materials, ceramic brings a substance and brilliance of color to the humble garden fountain. Ceramic fountains shine on decks and patios, but they are relatively small and can easily be lost in wider, open spaces.

Metal
Metal fountains are gorgeous. They bring a sense of the old world to a new world garden. Imagine ornate scrolls covering an upright square metal fountain; the spout is golden and water trickles out of it gently. Aluminum, bronze, copper, and steel often find themselves being shaped into fountains.

Wow, that fountain is huge!
Not what you want to hear as your friends take a stroll in your garden before dinner. You would probably rather hear something like, “What a perfect garden fountain!” Your garden fountain should be of a size that fits naturally with its environment, not so small as to disappear and not so large as to overwhelm.

Some landscape architects use this guideline: if your fountain is higher than one-third of the height of your home, it is too high. Oh, and a deep fountain is the green way to go. Why? They use less water. They are also less expensive to move and to take care of.

There you have it. Now you want to head over to our store to peruse our collection of premium cast stone fountains, right?

Patio Design Ideas & Tips

A well designed patio adds a functional outdoor living space to a home, and can be the perfect place for a number of outdoor activities including lunch by the pool, backyard barbecues and family games night. The larger the space, the more features will fit onto the patio. A simple design may just be an open space with a table and a few chairs, while a more amenable space might include a large barbecue grill, several pieces of furniture, and have an awning to provide shade and protection from the elements. A well-designed patio will also increase the value of a home, as functional outdoor living space is a sought after feature. After our previous post on general patio makeover advice, this post contains more specific, actionable advice concerning the style, design and size of a patio.

There are certainly an abundance of choices when it comes to patio design. Its size and shape, where it will be placed, the style and type of furniture, how to pave it, and whether to cover it are some of the choices made during the design stage of the project. The following ideas and tips will help you narrow down the choices and come up with an appropriate design for your situation.

Patio Styles

There are a few different styles to choose from when designing a patio, each serving a different purpose.

Bistro Patio: A bistro patio is ideal for smaller spaces, and typically houses a small table with two to four chairs. It is a nice spot to have breakfast or enjoy a glass of wine on a warm summer evening. To comfortably fit a small table and the chairs it is recommended to set aside a minimum of 36 square feet (6’ x 6’) of space.

Living Room Patio: For larger spaces, an outdoor living room is a wonderful choice, as it brings all of the amenities families enjoy indoors into their backyard. These spaces typically feature cushioned patio furniture, a large grill, and a shade feature for hot, sunny days. The space for a living room patio should be at least 16 feet by 16 feet to comfortably accommodate the chosen amenities.

Outdoor Dining Patio: An outdoor dining patio is a great option for medium to large spaces, and is the perfect spot to enjoy a nice meal outdoors. As it must be able to fit a dining table and chairs, this type of patio generally requires a 12 foot by 12 foot space. The size of the table and chairs should be determined by the number of people the homeowners expect to entertain. The patio should be situated so that it is close a kitchen to make delivering food as convenient as possible.

Sundeck Patio: Sundeck patios are generally smaller spaces located next to outdoor pools. They only have to be large enough to accommodate a chase lounge or two and a small end table for beverages.

Paving Materials

The functionality of a patio will determine the best paving materials to use for it. If it is next to a pool it will require a slip-free surface. If it is surrounded by a garden; rustic, earthy pavers are an ideal choice. Price is also a factor to consider, as options run the gamut from affordable to quite pricey.

Some of the most popular paving options include:

  • Brick
  • Concrete
  • Pavers
  • Tiles

Determining the Ideal Size for a Patio

There are several factors to consider when determining the ideal size for a patio. The first is the available space. A clear area of relatively flat ground is required to build a patio, so homeowners must assess the space they have and come up with a placement that makes sense. Another thing to consider is the intended use of the space. Will it be a small patio with a couple plants, or a larger outdoor space with furniture and amenities? How many people will be using it at once? Considering these factors will help homeowners determine the appropriate size for their patio.

Patio Placement Consideration

In most cases, the ideal spot is right outside the back door of the home. While there are some exceptions to this rule, it does make the most convenient placement. Some other things to consider include the view from the patio, how much sun and shade it gets, and the function the patio will serve. All of these factors must be carefully considered before work begins to ensure that it best serves its intended purpose.

5 Common Landscape Design Mistakes

The design process of a landscaping project sets the stage for the whole endeavor, and to a larger extent, determines how pleased the property owners will be with the final result. This is not a step that should be rushed, as any mistakes that exist in the design will detract from the finished project. Given the time and monetary investment involved in a major landscape renovation, it pays to get the design just right before any work is started. These five mistakes are among the most common made in landscape design projects, and should be avoided by homeowners during renovations.

Mistake 1: Squeezing features into spaces that don’t provide adequate square footage.
This mistake is commonly made with regard to patios and walkways. A patio should not only contain sufficient space for a table and chairs, but should also allow space for the chairs to be pulled out, and for people to walk around the table. A minimum of 100 square feet (10 x 10) is required to comfortably fit a table and chair set that is 5 feet in diameter.

Walkways must be wide enough to accommodate items like lawnmowers, garbage cans and wheelbarrows, so a minimum of four feet of width is recommended. This allows for easy passage with larger items.

Mistake 2: Creating too much contrast between indoor and outdoor décor.
When furnishing a patio that sits adjacent to an indoor space with a glass sliding door, it is import that there is some continuity between the décor in the two spaces. They do not have to be identical, of course, but the general aesthetic should make it so the eye travels easily from indoors to the outside and vice versa. Using similar colors, textures or patterns can accomplish this, and makes the outdoor space feel like an extension of the home rather than a totally separate space.

Mistake 3: Creating elements separately without considering the whole.
This is a common occurrence when a landscape project is done in phases. Rather than looking at elements as part of a larger whole, they are seen and designed individually, with the final result lacking flow and continuity. Even if a project is being done one piece at a time, it is important to have a cohesive design to work off of from the start. This ensures that the final result comes together harmoniously, and looks as if it is one cohesively designed space rather than a jumbled mix of disparate elements.

Mistake 4: The misuse of plants and bushes in the design.
Homeowners have a tendency to go overboard with plants, and often fail to consider how the design will look once the plants and bushes have fully matured. The result of this is overly crowded spaces that require a ton of maintenance. Plants are wonderful, but if you have too many, or the ones you have are too large, they infringe upon your space and litter it with dead leaves and debris. When selecting plants for a space, homeowners should consider how the full-grown plant will fit in to the area, and how much maintenance it will require. For patio areas, it is wise to choose plants that do not shed much to minimize the cleanup. Try to limit the patio to no more than 3 or 4 planters. This is also important around entryways, as overgrowth limits accessibility.

For these reasons, it is important for homeowners to be aware of the characteristics of any plants they choose to include in their landscapes. This allows them to choose the right plants for the right spaces, and to avoid the extra maintenance and inconvenience caused by overgrown or messy plants and bushes.
This also applies to the planting of trees, as larger breeds can easily overwhelm a space, and be difficult to cut back without detracting from their appearance. It is important for homeowners to plant trees that will fit comfortably into their space at full maturity. Also, trees planted in the vicinity of a pool or water feature should be chosen carefully to prevent a big mess in the fall when they lose their leaves.

Mistake 5: Failing to see the importance of a well thought out design.
Many ambitious do-it-yourself enthusiasts start on landscaping projects without any real idea of how the finished project will look. This usually results in disappointment, as the elements will not flow together correctly, and the space will look disjointed. It is much better to get things right the first time by working from a premade design than to have to redo elements of the space later due to poor planning. For larger, more complicated spaces, it really does pay to use a professional landscape designer. The expense is justified in the timely completion of the project and the superior results, and additional time and money will not have to be spent to correct mistakes.

Let us help you craft your dream landscape. Call us today at 905-655-9300 or send us an email using the contact page.

Container Gardening Ideas & Tips

Container gardening is a wonderful way to add richness, dimension and personality to any outdoor space. Whether you’re decorating a garden, a front doorstep, a courtyard or any other type of landscape, you’ll really appreciate the options that container gardening brings. Since containers come in a wide array of shapes, styles, colours and materials, they are an excellent way to display all manner of gorgeous blooms, plants and herbs. In fact, when it comes to gardening with planters, the only limitation is really your own imagination.

To help you learn some exciting and creative strategies that to add character and style to your property, we’ve compiled a list of handy container gardening tips & ideas.

Choosing a Planter
Containers come in a range of materials. In order to find one that perfectly fits a given space, it’s important to learn the properties of each type. Here’s a quick overview of the characteristics of each:

Types of Containers

Get ready to add a little style to your outdoor space. The following are the different types of planters. Be sure to choose ones that are most suitable for your climate, budget and personal preference.

  • Cast Limestone containers are made from dry, pulverized limestone. This porous material provides a wonderful, antique look that becomes even more appealing the more it is aged by weathering. If you want a container that will stand the test of time, you’ll enjoy everything that cast limestone has to offer. Typically sold in natural hues, such as greys and light browns, this type of container costs more than those crafted from other materials. However, due to their substantial weight (as well as their ability to look great, year after year), they are quite often worth the financial investment. For an example of an attractive design, check out the beautiful Jubilee Urn.
  • Cast Concrete containers are made from a wet combination of cement and aggregates. Available in a wide assortment of styles and sizes, these designs don’t do very well when left out in cold climates. The process of freezing and then thawing can cause cracks or other imperfections to form. Therefore, it’s important to consider climate before investing in concrete designs. Color may be added to concrete containers by staining them. Obviously, concrete planters are not lightweight. This option is great if you want strength and substance.
  • Terracotta of high quality and authentic crafting is still created in the scenic Tuscany region of Italy. It is sometimes referred to as Impruneta Terracotta. If you want rustic style with a touch of European panache, you’ll find that terracotta provides the ultimate mixture of earthy beauty and refined elegance. Typically sold in a distinctive, red-orange hue, Terracotta adds smooth, earthy tones to outdoor environments. You may need to pay more for Terracotta designs, especially if they are of top quality craftsmanship. However, this popular perennial design will fit well in your garden’s design for years. Terracotta weighs less than concrete.
  • Glazed Ceramic is a non-porous material that retains water. If a self-watering planter and is a practical choice for your landscape design. Placed either on the ground or as a hanging planter, glazed ceramic designs offer a healthy “home” for your plants. You may choose unglazed designs of this type if you prefer, and then finish them with painting, staining and/or glazing. However, it is easier to choose a glazed ceramic design that comes in your preferred color.

Now that you know more about the different types of containers, you’re ready to add elegance or a whimsical charm to your outdoor world through the addition of garden containers that mirror your personal sense of style. Whether you prefer antique design elements or more modern, streamlined effects, you’ll find that the variety of garden containers by Haddonstone we offer will allow you to create any look that you want, from traditional English garden to funky, fun patio.

Types of Garden Fountains

Gardens are a place to relax and take in the beauty of nature and the outdoors. It takes a considerable amount of time and effort to design and implement a complete garden design, but the time and money spent can be well worth it if you spend a considerable amount of time relaxing, entertaining and working in your garden. A well designed landscape can be a great investment as it can raise the market value (known as the “curb appeal” for front yard gardens) of a property. Adding plants, containers, sculptures, paving and water features are just a few of the ways a landscape’s design can be enhanced. This article focuses on the function and use of 5 different types of fountains.

When a water fountain is added to a garden, it changes it’s entire look and feel. What was at first a very ordinary garden can be transformed into an outdoor oasis. The sound of flowing water has a relaxing effect and it can also attract birds and other wildlife, changing the atmosphere entirely. A fountain also becomes a focal point of any backyard or garden.

Garden fountains are available in varying sizes, materials, and styles. They can be wall-mounted, tiered, disappearing, or freestanding. They can be customized according to the space where they are to be installed, your budget, and the amount of maintenance you are willing to perform. Many fountains come completely prefabricated.

Landscapers generally follow a rule when installing fountains. They typically make use of two fountains, one big and one small. The bigger fountain is the focal point of the garden and the smaller one is the accent element. Another consideration is the type of garden where the fountain is to be installed. The professionals at Beyond The Veranda can provide you with tips and ideas for adding the right fountain to your garden. Call or email us today to get help with your landscape design or installation project.

Here are 5 different types of garden fountains:
Neapolitan Large Tiered Fountain

Tiered Fountain

Tiered fountains are very popular and have been used in gardens for years. These tiered fountains are popular in Mediterranean countries like Spain and Italy. They are installed in the courtyards and plazas. The design of a tiered fountain can be simple or complex like carvings depicting people, animals, and others.

Tiered fountains look great in a traditional or classical landscape setting. The fountain should look as if it has been in place for years and the color of the fountain should blend with the paving.
Obelisk Disappearing Fountain

Disappearing Fountain

This water feature is also known as a pondless fountain. The water reservoir in this type is hidden beneath the ground. This feature looks good when it is positioned close to a patio or path, as it adds an attractive appearance and sound to the area. Popular styles include millstones, ceramic urns, granite columns, and natural looking waterfalls, among others.

A disappearing fountain can be an ideal choice for your gardens for a number of reasons including:

  • Since the water reservoir is underground and there is no open water pond or basin, there is no drowning risk. It is therefore safe for children.
  • As the water body is underground, the water does not evaporate. Therefore, less water is used compared to traditional fountains.
  • It requires very little maintenance. Dirt, debris and leaves cannot enter the reservoir and the sun cannot cause algae growth.
  • It takes up a very little space and can be installed almost anywhere. It is most suitable for small patios and backyards.

Japanese Fountain

Every Japanese garden has a water fountain. It symbolizes spiritual and physical cleansing and therefore, they are located at the entrance of a Japanese temple or home. Japanese fountains typically have simple designs, with the focus on the water rather than the basin.

A water fountain with a bamboo spout can be installed. Water trickles from this bamboo spout into the basin of the fountain, which is usually made from stones. It should have jagged edges and should look old and weathered down by outdoor elements. This fountain typically appears to be in harmony with nature, hence, it is installed among rocks and surrounded by evergreen plants and ferns. In short, this fountain is more than just an ornament or décor.

Another idea is to install a stone fountain on a gravel bed, and surround it with live bamboo and rocks. With the passage of years, moss grows on the stone, and it begins to look more like part of the landscape.

People who have a plenty of open space can consider having a big water feature. They can create a meandering pond or stream and add fish to it (such as a koi pond).

It is not necessary to have water present in a Japanese fountain. Many Japanese gardens use sand, gravel, or stones that represent water. These gardens can also have flat stones from the river, which are laid together tightly, making it look like a moving stream of water.

Haddonstone Wall Fountain

Wall Fountain

A wall fountain looks perfect in a courtyard or a small patio as it gives the sense of relaxation. This fountain does not take up too much space and can be customized to fit on a particular wall. It requires a spout, water basin, internal tubing, and a pump. It can be either freestanding or mounted. Its styles include traditional, modern, antique or Asian.

A freestanding wall fountain, also known as floor fountain, is usually quite large. The basin of this fountain is placed on the ground.

A wall mounted fountain on the other hand, is integrated onto an existing wall or built into a new wall. This fountain adds a cohesive look, which makes it look like a part of the landscape instead of an added feature. This natural look is quite the work of art.

Lotus Self Contained Garden Fountain

Self-Contained Fountain

Self-contained fountains are popular because they are affordable and can be installed quite easily. They contain all the working parts including the plumbing and pump required to function. “Self-contained” can also refer to fountains that have their own water reservoir and therefore don’t need to be placed in a pond or pool.

These fountains are great for decks and patios as installation is relatively quick and easy and they don’t require any major construction. This also makes it a simple task to move the fountain to another location.

To install the fountain, the landscaper will first ensure that the land where the fountain is to be placed is level. If the ground is uneven (which is often the case on a lawn or garden), then he will level and compact it. The fountain will then be placed, and the water will be added to it. Finally, it is connected to a power source such as a solar panel, batteries, or an electrical outlet.

A self contained fountain is very convenient as it does not require external piping, plumbing, or connection to a body of water. They can be placed anywhere in the garden, though they are often used as a centerpiece or focal point. They can be made from cast stone, metal, ceramic or fiberglass, among other materials.

Be sure to consult a landscaping professional if you need advice or help with getting the right look for your garden.