Landscape Design and Construction
At M.D.S. Projects Ltd., we offer comprehensive landscape design and construction to Guelph residents. We take a systematic approach to landscaping, which ensures you get exactly what you had envisioned. This also means cost benefits and quicker project completion since there will be no modifications to the design once the project starts. Below is a detailed look at our process.
1. Initial contact
The first step is the initial contact by the customer. This is done via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (519-827-7057). People who come to us hear about us from recommendations from past clients, including recommendations through reviews and testimonials in home improvement magazines and in different sites, our social media profiles, through search engine queries, and through our online and traditional ads.
2. On-site consultation
During the initial contact, we will settle on a date that is most convenient for you for an on-site consultation. We provide this service FREE of charge. We will give you multiple time slots so that you can pick the time that best suits you. The on-site consultation allows our team to grasp the scope of the project and to capture your dream for the yard as accurately as possible.
During the on-site consultation, you and our team will discuss if the design will be part of the job or only construction is involved. If landscape design is required, another consultation meeting will be arranged. A registered landscape architect will visit the site at a time that is most convenient for you.
The landscape designer/architect is responsible for bringing your dream to life. We pride ourselves in having the best landscape designers/architects in Guelph. Some of the qualities we look for when hiring landscape designers/architects include:
Other than what they learn in class, landscape designers also need knowledge in biology, ecology, engineering, and other fields. Each client has unique landscaping needs. As an example, a client may require a complicated lighting system and the landscaper will need to deliver.
Landscape designers need to marry art and science. To produce truly unique landscape designers, they have to go out of their comfort zone and come up with innovative solutions.
Most Canadians today are environmentally conscious. Guelph residents are looking for landscape designs that are “green”. Our landscape architects use green materials and offer green solutions (such as the use of LED lighting) to clients. Our team also encourages clients to incorporate gardens in their yards for the growth of organic food.
Landscape architects are often asked for solutions that are complex and difficult to implement. Our designers will not say no – they will always find a solution.
Our team anticipates your needs, even when you have not vocalized what you want. We know the latest trends and will advise our clients proactively so that they can make an informed decision.
Good communication skills are important in the industry. Our landscape designers are communicative, which enables them to express themselves so that the client understands exactly what they mean. They not only express themselves through talking, but also through drawings, technical language, and specifications. Good communication skills mean the designer is able to build consensus, to tell a good story, to collaborate with landscape contractors and other project stakeholders, and to be a strong voice that is able to command respect at the table.
We have a low tolerance for laziness. Our designers will deliver on design drawings and other components of the project in good time and to the required standard.
Today’s design has moved to computer-aided design (CAD). We insist that our landscape architects have CAD skills as this betters their scientific and technical understanding.
Our designers have demonstrated the power of imagination. They are able to envision a project from inception to completion just by what you describe, they are able to visualize the potential of even the most underwhelming place, they can think in three dimensions, and they are able to envision multiple scenarios.
Longevity in the business is proof that a landscape designer is credible and reliable. This experience is often the difference between a good landscape and a great landscape. As an example, we will advise you that some trees like ginkgo biloba, pine, and sweetgum are messy to maintain. An experienced designer will not install plants along your wall’s foundation, and will not plant ground cover that is overly aggressive. An experienced designer will advise you on how to take care of your yard after the completion of the project.
On all on-site consultative meetings, you will lay down what you want, including the use of landform and features, the positioning of different items, and other relevant details that will help our team come up with an accurate quote.
3. Landscape Design
If you task our team with landscaping design Guelph, our landscape designers will then sit down and come up with the design. We will review this with you to confirm it is what you need. This will be done several times throughout the design process and necessary adjustments to the plan will be made along the way.
Note that the registered landscape architect is an expert and you will be charged for the design. We will give you a quote for his/her hand-drawn landscape design at this stage. The draft design will include all the desired elements, including the plants, lighting, patios, and other features. It will also include settling on the materials, other products, and colors to use in the landscape.
Although all landscape designs are different, there are several qualities of a landscape we hold dear and that you will find in all our landscapes.
We ensure all our landscapes are aesthetically pleasing. All our landscape designs also complement the rest of your home décor, particularly your wall paintings, your fence, and the rest of your yard.
Our landscapes are designed to give an inviting atmosphere not only for your family but also to guests and to the community. We consider the community because we understand that even a single bad landscape can create an eyesore and even reduce the property value of the rest of the properties.
A good landscape is one that is not only pleasing to the eye but one that is also functional. For functionality, we include such things as clean walkways, benches, overhanging trees free of loose/damaged branches, and gardens.
Also important to us is having landscapes that are practical. We know you will be doing most of the maintenance once we are done with the construction. We will not leave you with a landscape that you will spend all your free time maintaining (such as collecting leaves, cleaning, and weeding).
Your landscape should be an expression of who you are. We incorporate values like simplicity/extravagance, modernity/tradition, and several others in the landscape design.
Other things we take into account when coming up with each project include:
- The specific climatic conditions of Guelph, particularly the sunlight, the wind, the rain, the humidity, and the temperature and how they affect different plants.
- The soil vis-à-vis the plants you want to plan. Note that we could always get soil from outside if this is required to support certain plants.
- The size of the yard – we don’t want to squeeze too much in a small space as it will feel cluttered.
- Community by-laws
- Your preferences
We will then come up with the quote for everything needed for the construction, which includes a quote for the demolition, for construction, and for clean up after the project. The quote is very detailed so that you know exactly what you are paying for. It includes the steps to be taken and the quantities of the materials and supplies needed. The quote also includes the payment terms, the applicable deposit, and other relevant details.
Most people use the terms ‘quote’, ‘estimate’, and ‘proposal’ interchangeably. Given the scope of a landscaping project, it is important you differentiate the three.
A quote is a figure that contractors get from suppliers detailing the price of the materials that will be used in a project. Quotes are, therefore, time-sensitive since the prices of most materials, most of which are commodities, are volatile.
On the other hand, an estimate is used by a contractor to calculate the cost of the entire project. Contractors look at the project specifications to approximate raw material requirements and factor in the cost to come up with an estimate. The contractor then goes to suppliers to get quotes for the different materials to be used and this figure is factored into the estimate. Estimates include such things as subcontractor and equipment costs, overhead, and taxes.
Finally, proposals are detailed documents that contractors submit as part of the competitive process (to enable them to win a bid). Proposals include quotes from suppliers for raw materials, proposals from contractors, and estimates of taxes, cost of labor, and other overheads. Some contractors refer to proposals as ‘contracts’ and you usually have to sign to accept them.
Even as we give you our quote, we know you are probably also looking at quotes from other landscape design and construction companies. When comparing quotes, it is important that you always remember the old adage – cheap is expensive. Landscapers who have overly low rates are probably cutting corners. We guarantee that we have some of the most competitive landscape design & construction rates in Guelph.
5. Demolition & Preparation
If the yard had landscape features before, these will need to be demolished. We will clean up all the debris and dispose of it. We usually start demotion from the back and work our way towards the street.
We will then start grading preparation and drainage construction in preparation for construction (also referred to as earthmoving). The preparation we do varies from one project to the next. Some of our most common preparation services include:
- In-ground trampoline drainage and hole
- In-ground pool/spa preparation (retaining walls, hole, soil removal, and drainage)
- General earthmoving (site establishment)
- Rotary hoeing/block clearing/post hole auger
- Concrete removal
- Fencing (auger work for retaining walls and posts)
- Stump and tree removal
- Green waste disposal (such as agapanthus and garden removal)
- Large tree replacement
- Leveling the area
We use heavy earthmoving equipment for the preparation. These include front end loaders, bobcats, diggers, and trenchers or 1.5t excavators.
Once construction begins, you will start to see big changes in your yard very quickly. You will begin to see trees and shrubs come up and patios and decks take shape. Most of our clients do not know what to expect from the construction process:
Prepare for some noise once the construction begins. Saws, excavators, trenchers, and other equipment can be a bit noisy. We, however, ensure we do not start working with noisy equipment too early in the morning or too late in the evening. We don’t want your neighbors filing an injunction against the project.
You expect to lose the use of your yard during the duration of the project. You expect to deal with dirt, dust, and large stacks of hardscape material. Although we always maintain a clean worksite, some of the dirt and dust may find its way into your home, so you expect to do general cleaning more often than you are used to. You may be forced to park beside the road and your kids may be forced to play in the community park.
Your yard will be a construction zone that will have obvious hazards. Although our team is trained and experienced in following safety practices, this is not the case with your family and pets. You should always be on the lookout for heavy equipment, uneven ground, ditches, punctured gas pipes, and tools lying around that pose a safety risk. It is your responsibility to ensure kids and pets stay away from the construction site.
Although we offer guarantees on timely completion of our projects, delays are commonplace in the industry. Unforeseen circumstances like puncturing a water mains line or a gas line may delay the project. In the aftermath of a delay, we will double our effort to recover the lost time. We will not charge you extra for delays that are our fault, but nobody can predict acts of God (force majeure) such as an unexpected heavy snow downfall that pushes the completion date forward. The greatest cause of delay in landscaping projects is requested changes from our clients such as change of plants to use. We encourage you not to deviate too far (in a way that affects timelines) from the original plan as this will have a cost implication.
You should own the project and be proactive in such things as making your neighbors understand your goals and timelines. This way, they are less likely to bring issues like noise injunctions and protest against crew parking on the streets.
We have a team of landscape contractors for landscaping construction Guelph. We are very careful about who we hire to do the job since poor workmanship not only prevents us from getting referrals from our clients, but it could also expose us legally and even create a safety risk. Some of the qualities we look for in our landscape contractors include:
One of the biggest ones in Canada is the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA), a not-for-profit federation of landscape & horticulture association from 9 provinces. Membership to professional organizations is proof of credibility and reliability since these organizations do thorough vetting before admitting members. Membership to these organizations is also important because members have to abide by the set industry standards at the risk of expulsion. Another leading professional organization in the field is the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA).
Guelph has extreme climatic conditions and some contractors only work when it is nice and dry. At M.D.S. Projects Ltd., we work throughout the year. Our rates are lower during ‘low’ seasons and you can always take advantage of this.
Our contractors are trained and experienced in masonry, gardening, welding, plumbing, and all other crafts needed for a successful landscaping project. This is important because it ensures we do not outsource the service, thereby bringing down your cost and ensuring quicker turnaround time.
To ensure you reduce your carbon footprint, our contractors only use sustainable landscaping methods and use sustainable materials. As an example, we only use natural and interlocking stones from suppliers who have a proven track record. We prefer locally mined materials since we can easily verify how sustainable the mining method is and because emissions from the plant to the site will lead to fewer emissions.
All our contractors are insured. This is important because it means you will not be held liable in case of an accident at your home. The workforce is also licensed by the relevant local authority, which ensures there will be no legal problem and which ensures your manufacturer warranties are honored. Our workforce is also bonded, which means you will be compensated in the unlikely event we fail to meet our end of the bargain.
Our team is well equipped to handle any job. They have all the vehicles, tools, and equipment needed for any type of landscaping job. This ensures quick turnaround time and better quality job.
Our suppliers offer manufacturer warranties and we offer workmanship warranties. Should there be a problem post construction as a result of our team’s negligence or poor workmanship, we will be responsible for the ensuing changes.
To look professional, all our employees wear a uniform. This is also important for your security since you will be in control of who enters your compound. Our team also has safety gear which prevents accidents at your premises.
Our landscape contractors have handled many projects successfully. They have learned from these mistakes and successes and are able to anticipate problems. We only use contractors who have not only the training but also the experience.
Landscaping projects are usually labor intensive and often take time. You do not want to be stuck with a team that begins work at 8 O’clock and leaves at 4 O’clock without uttering a word to you. Our team will engage you throughout the project, which is important because you will be able to pass your dream across and we will be able to give you tips on what to, and not to do.
Our team’s credibility and reliability can be demonstrated by our high BBB (Better Business Bureau) rating, the positive reviews we get in customer testimonials, comments sections, and reviews on different online forums, and our longevity in the business.
We will clean up after each working day to make your life resemble normal as much as possible. You will not find things like loose nails and cups on your yard, or worse still, on your neighbor’s yard when you get home from work. Once the project is over, we will do general cleaning to your satisfaction.
We are always available for follow up after the project. You can also enlist our services to maintain your landscape. This is particularly important when you have planted new trees or shrubs in your yard because we have the experience necessary to keep the plants alive.
Avoid the common temptation of DIY landscape design and construction. Although there are many landscaping sources of inspiration in different websites and home improvement magazines, DIY landscaping is greatly inconveniencing, you will not have the tools, equipment and safety gear needed for the job, which means you end up spending a lot of money buying them, and you will most likely not get manufacturer’s warranty.