Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Planning for Your New Organic Gardening Project

Indoor Landscapes: Interior Plants, Office Landscaping, image montage by wobuilt.comImage Montage by Wo-Built: Indoor Landscapes
Image Credits: Travels with Zen-Aida +
Plantscape - Interior Plant Service, Indoor Office Landscaping

What is organic landscaping?
... working with nature to help it achieve its highest expression, so that it can freely give back all it has to give.

I know it is really difficult to imagine that it is going to be warm and sunny again, especially if you just were visited by Jack Frost with Arctic cold and a dump load of snow. But now, in the middle of winter, is the time to plan for a gardening project, because spring is only a few months away and time flies. Also you may be surprised on what is required during the planning process.

The best time to do the new garden is in spring, so you can enjoy it during the summer months and if the changes are significant it has time to grow to weather the next cold season.

In our opinion organic landscaping using natural stone and materials is the best way to go. It creates harmony, flow and a positive energy. These are spaces that you want to spend time in and relax. Your own oasis in the City!

We have already written about our project in Toronto's Bloor West Village last year (peapodlife blog - Organic Landscaping: Better than “Man-made;” more than “Nature’s Way”) and our definition of organic landscaping, but here we would like to talk about the necessary steps required to make a project like this successful.

Image Collage by PeapodLife, Division of Wo-Built Inc: Organic Landscaping in Bloor West Village, Toronto

Image by PeapodLife, Division of Wo-Built Inc: Front Yard Garden in Toronto featuring Rhododendrons and Real Stone

Image by PeapodLife, Division of Wo-Built Inc: Image: Backyard Garden in Toronto with integrated sprinkler system

What is required during the planning process for a gardening project?

First, like any project you need to figure out what activities and how you would like to use the space. From there you can plan the layout.

Organic landscaping does not mean you cannot have your separate distinct areas. They just flow into each other seamlessly, creating a harmonious flow. This is more difficult to achieve than a structured geometrical layout which many landscapers prefer. The aim is to achieve balance between the spaces and this is partly an intuitive process.

Nevertheless, the first step is to produce concept drawings and then detailed drawings, outlining size, level changes, type of material, type and number of plants etc. This is important as it is very easy to get carried away in landscaping. Much more so than in a building renovation!

The detailed drawings will fix the budget, form a baseline for the contract and will give an indication on the length of project. The project above took several weeks for the front and several weeks for the back.  

And yes, you do need to sign a contract for the work with the company you hire. The scope of work, timing, payment schedule and obligation of the parties have to be defined like in any other renovation contract. You have to have ways of resolving issues and conflict.

Also, prior to starting extensive landscaping work which will include level changes you need to see if you require permits for the level changes, change of use etc. You should also check out the location and state of your underground services (water, gas) to see if they would be effected by the landscaping or if they need repair. Access to the services afterwards may be more difficult.

The next step is the tender. Ideally you already have a design and build landscaping outfit that specializes in organic landscaping. However, if you are tendering, visit prior projects of the different firms. This should be possible as the landscaping is outside the house and most likely can be seen from the road. Try to compare ‘apples with apples’, so to speak.

The steps above should make your landscaping project a success and provide you with the best garden in the neighbourhood. We had many positive comments from the neighbours while we were doing the above project, from ‘love it’ to ‘wow’. It was certainly noticed.

We can make this happen for you and make your own amazing oasis in the City!

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

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