What is Landscape Design and Construction?
Landscape design involves the generation of an integrated master landscape plan as well as the specific garden design of the plants and other landscape elements. It also involves ensuring the yard is environmentally sustainable, practical, and has aesthetic appeal.
In their design, designers consider such objective factors as resource building and municipal codes, climate and microclimates, groundwater recharge, site drainage, topography, orientation, soil, irrigation, recreational amenities, vehicular and human access and circulation, lighting, furnishings, safety and security, and plant habitat botany, among other things.
Designers also consider such subjective factors as client requirements and preferences, genius loci (special qualities in a site that needs emphasis), desirable elements and plants that are to be retained, replaced, or modified, spatial definition and development (such as the use of lines, balance and symmetry, and a sense of scale), and artistic focal points.
Landscape designers work closely with civil engineers, architects, surveyors, artisan specialists, botanists, and landscape contractors. Top landscape design and construction companies like M.D.S. Projects Ltd. do both landscape design and construction, which offers unparalleled convenience and cost benefits.
Landscape design is broadly categorized into softscape (soft landscape) and hardscape (hard landscape). Softscape involves incorporating plant life into the landscape, from trees to grass and from flowers to shrubs. Softscape changes naturally and evolves over time. It is affected by such factors as time of year and climate. When doing softscape, landscapers have to consider the amount of maintenance that would be required to maintain plant life.
On the other hand, hardscape involves incorporating inanimate elements into the landscape. These are unchanging elements (although they can be moved and can even adapt to the environment) such as walkways, dry river beds, fountains, waterfalls, ponds, gazebos, fences, and walls. Some hardscape elements can impact softscape elements such as paving increasing water-runoff which in turn affects grass.
While landscape design mostly involves conceptualizing these design elements, landscape construction involves bringing them to life. An example of softscape construction is planting an ornamental bed while that of hardscape construction is stonework to make a fireplace.
Today’s landscape designers use CAD (Computer Aided Design) drawings to make design easier. However, the design could simply be the concept drawn or sketched on a piece of paper. Since landscape construction is meant to bring the work of the designer to life, landscape construction experts need a certain level of expertise to interpret the dreams of the designer and to execute the design. Examples of these skills are horticultural skills, construction skills like masonry, and drainage and irrigation system skills.
Landscape construction can be permanent or semi-permanent. You should consider it an investment in your home. You can get landscaping ideas from such resources as home improvement magazines, Yardhookup.com, books, and even from recommendations by your landscape design and construction company.
Landscape construction has its roots in early Great Britain and European public parks. Parks were popular for leisurely strolls, carriage rides, and courtship rituals and people wanted to imbue them with a sense of civilization and culture while maintaining and preserving the beauty of Mother Nature. Landscaping involved clearing away dead trees and unsightly rocks, providing shelters and benches, and defining board paths for pedestrians and horses.
Some of the reasons to do landscaping include:
1. If you are a tree hugger, landscaping allows you to connect with nature. Since it is not possible to go on vacation at will, a relaxing landscape is a temporary retreat that your family can have every time you are home. Plus you reduce all the travel expense.
2. Grass, shrubs, trees and other plant life reduce soil erosion. Soil erosion is one of the leading causes of water pollution because it carries fertilizers, sediments, and pesticides into the water.
3. If you care about the environment, landscaping helps you reduce your carbon footprint because a tree removes up to 26 pounds of CO2 from the air each year. Plant life also provides shelter for wildlife, especially birds, insects, reptiles, and small mammals. Being woken up by birds in the morning is a heavenly feeling.
4. Plant life takes in CO2 and gives out O2, meaning your family will be breathing in enough oxygen when you have plant life in your yard.
5. Although Guelph has warm, humid summers, temperatures in June, July, and August often hit highs of mid 70s. A large tree lowers temperature by as many as 10 degrees. Trees can absorb as much as 85% of direct heat from the sun, allowing you to enjoy your time outdoors.
6. If you select your plant life properly, it could save you up to 20% in cooling and heating costs.
7. If you want a quiet, serene environment for your family, planting trees, shrubs, and tuff reduces noise pollution by as much as 50%.
8. Your property is better protected against fire by a healthy lawn turf since fire will be obstructed as it spreads, giving you time to use firefighting equipment.
9. Human beings are visual creatures. A gorgeous lawn means you will spend more time outside be it reading, having a barbeque, playing with the kids, or holding a spontaneous gathering. This has a big impact on your quality of life and is great in stress relief, meaning it can add days to your life.
10. Landscaping allows you to turn unused spaces into functional ones. As an example, you can remove rocks and plant grass in your yard to build a play area for your kids. Another example is removing dead trees from the yard and replacing this with furniture for a seating area.
11. Landscaping allows you to set areas for specific activities. You can set the yard in such a way that you have different areas for cooking, holding barbeques, entertainment, playing, and so on.
12. One of the greatest benefits of landscaping is that it greatly increases the resale value of your home. Guelph has no shortage of good homes – a good landscape could be all you need to make your home more valuable than that of your neighbors.
How to Select a Landscaping Company
There are many landscape design and construction companies in Guelph and in southern Ontario. Some of these are better than others and choosing between them is not always easy. So, how do you ensure you end up with the best company?
First-hand testimonials and reviews from people who have used the services of a landscape design & construction company are the best sources of information since they will be honest. All companies self-promote themselves in Ads – but testimonials will give you the pros and cons of the company and allow you to make an informed decision.
Common sources of testimonials and reviews are home improvement magazines such as Landscape Ontario Magazine, word of mouth from people you know (such as simply walking up to your neighbor who has a good lawn), comment section in blogs, and independent comparison websites.
Social media is changing the way businesses market themselves and you will find that most landscape design & construction companies have a social media presence. Comments are a good way to gauge whether a company is credible and reliable since they come from unbiased people, some past users of the services of the company. Industry blogs are important in not only explaining how landscaping works but also in helping you gauge if the company is an authority in its field.
Consumer protection agencies like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) rank businesses based on several factors. They are an effective and efficient way of gauging whether a company is credible and reliable.
Comparison sites like Angie’s list and the websites of professional organizations like the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA) and the Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association list and sometimes rate landscapers. These bodies are unbiased and their opinion is important because they are led by experts in the field.
If there is another professional working for you such as an architect or a contractor, you can ask for tips on good landscape design & construction companies. These professionals will have worked with landscapers in the past and have industry know-how. They will also guide you on such matters as how much you should be looking to pay.
Once you have identified a landscape design & construction company, the next step is visiting the company website and premises. A website allows you to compare different designs and to gather information that you can use to vet the company. Visiting the company’s premises allows you to look at such things as the type of equipment and vehicles the company has.
Trust your gut when picking between landscapers. Always insist on seeing past work done to see if you are on the same page. Do not be guided by cost considerations – you expect to pay for quality service. Once you pick a designer, stick to him/her – the lawn will be ugly for many weeks before it takes shape and people are often tempted to change designers when they see this.
Why should you choose MDS Products Ltd.?
MDS Products Ltd. is one of the leading landscape design and construction companies in Guelph. There are several reasons why we are the preferred landscapers in Guelph.
Professionalism is at the core of our company. Our core values are honesty – we deliver what we promise and respect – we treat your home and neighborhood with the respect they deserve. Our team has professional cladding and the necessary safety gear.
We have invested heavily in our team’s skills to ensure they give you the best quality workmanship. Redoing landscaping can be very expensive – we don’t want you to be stuck with an eyesore.
We believe in positive client experience. We will answer all questions you may have at the beginning of the project and throughout the project. We always welcome feedback, including criticism since it is the client who knows exactly what they want. Our team is always ready to talk to you. You can reach us through 519-827-7057 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even if landscaping involves earth moving, we clean up after a day’s work and do a thorough cleaning after the project is over. We believe in a clean workplace not only to prevent an eyesore but also for the safety of your family and our staff.
We carry workman compensation insurance. This is important because it means you will not be held liable should anything happen to any member of our team or even a neighbor as a direct result of the project.
We are licensed to do landscaping by the relevant local authorities, meaning you will not have a problem of municipal officials harassing you. We assist clients to get licenses from Guelph authorities. We are also bonded, meaning your investment is safe.
We have some of the most competitive landscaping rates in Guelph. Once we analyze the scope of work in a FREE on-site consultation, we will give you a written quote breaking down the cost of every task. Other than the cost and the scope of the work, the quote also includes a description of the steps to be taken, a list and description of the materials that will be used, timelines, payment terms, and other contract details. We do not have any hidden cost – the quote we give is final. We, however, advise that you do not change the scope of the work mid-project as this would have an impact on costs.
We are able to deliver on all projects within the set timelines. We have the tools and equipment necessary for the job. Among these are hand tool, trailers, and excavators. If you did the job yourself, you would have to buy or lease these tools and equipment, which makes the project more expensive than hiring a pro.
We only work with top North American manufacturers when it comes to landscaping materials. Our team knows, from experience, the best plants to use given Guelph’s climate. Even as we advise on the materials and plants to use, we let you make the final decision.
At MDS Products Ltd., we take a systematic approach to landscape design and construction. We do this to ensure the client always knows what to expect from us and to ensure our team has a structure to follow throughout the project. Below are the steps:
Our team is experienced in working with interlocking stones. Interlocking stones make for great pavers because they create a formal or casual design and they come in different colors, shapes, and sizes, meaning there is something for everyone. The stones are easy to repair – you simply need to lift them up and replace them without much hassle. With concrete slabs, you would have to demolish the slap and start over. Not only are these pavers easy to repair, but they are less susceptible to cracking since each unit has joints that allow the stones to move around. This means interlocking stones are cheaper to maintain.
Other benefits of interlocking stones are that they are environmentally friendly since vegetation can grow between the grid systems and because storm water can seep back into the ground for re-use, they are 3 times stronger compared to poured concrete and they have over 50 year life expectancy, you can come up with your own unique design by mixing and matching different stones, and they are perfect for freeze-thaw conditions.
We start interlocking stone construction projects by digging the base, bringing in the sand of different grades, building a concrete restraining wall around the paving area, and then placing the stones. We then compact the field using a vibrating plate compactor and then complete the process with joint sand (a high-performance specialized polymeric paving sand). We sometimes seal the pavers where resistance from weed growth and oils is required. We only deal with the highest quality stones.
Natural stones are popular features in Guelph landscaping projects. The stones are a popular alternative to landscape coverings like patios, walkways, driveways, and courtyards and can be used anywhere outside the home. Natural stones enhance the aesthetic value of the home, increasing its resale value.
People are attracted to natural stone because each piece of stone has a unique blend of tones and colors that make your landscape completely bespoke. Natural stones retain their look over time and are more durable than concrete (including frost and wear resistance).
If you care about the environment, natural stones not only give you a feeling of being close to nature, but they are also a sustainable building material. Stones are available in plenty and nature and using them ensures you do not use processed materials.
Natural stones are easy to maintain. In the unlikely event that a stone is damaged, you only need to remove and replace it without affecting the other stones. The stones are strong and durable and are able to withstand the weight in high traffic areas, including the weight of vehicles.
Natural stones are the ideal fit for Guelph’s weather since they are non-slip, sun resistant, freeze-thaw resistant, frost free, and snow can be easily removed. The stones are versatile and can be placed on any surface.
At MDS Products Ltd., we have a passion for nature and our team is experienced in working with natural stones of all sizes and shapes to create different designs.
“Our new porch is way better than anything we envisioned.”
“If you are looking for a reliable company to meet your landscaping and building needs, look no further. MSD Projects are reliable, easy going and extraordinarily thorough in their work. It was a true pleasure working with them. Our new porch is way better than anything we envisioned.”
– Claire Barron
“I was extremely happy with Mike and his professionalism, his state of the art drawings and his attention to detail was outstanding. The pride he takes in his work and his business is what all contractors need to strive for. I will always recommend him and his team and he will be the first to be called for every project I need.”
“MDS did a great job extending my interlock patio and installing new stone stairs. The end result was great – better than I expected. The work was performed on time and on budget and Mike and his crew were a pleasure to deal with throughout.”
“Our new deck was done with care and precision. Mr. Mike Scott is a gifted craftsman and the custom deck he designed and executed is awesome. He has restored my faith in contractors and I have asked him to come back and complete the remainder of my renovations inside my home. I completely trust him and his workers.”