These days, it seems like there is an app, program, or software designed to help people do most things themselves. So, it may come as no surprise that there are plenty of online and phone app options that have been developed to help gardeners and landscapers alike plan and execute the perfect design for their yard.

As it turns out, landscaping software can save homeowners time and money when it comes to planning and executing their outdoor projects. There are a variety of different landscaping programs available on the market, each with their own unique benefits and uses. Let’s look at some of the most popular landscaping programs and how they could be helpful to both landscaping companies in Calgary, and the modern homeowner.

Landscape Design Software

Designing your own landscape can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not sure where to begin. That’s why there are several types of landscape design software available for homeowners. These software packages give users an easy way to plan out their landscaping project from start to finish. Some of these programs even have 3D renderings so that you can get an accurate view of what your finished project will look like before you start working. Keep in mind that it’s not just people who like DIY projects who use this software, but professional landscaping companies in Calgary, too.

Garden Planning Software

If you have a garden in your yard, then garden planning software can help make sure that all your plants are properly spaced and in the right location for optimal growth. With this type of software, you simply input the types of plants you want to grow, and it will generate a plan based on those parameters. This type of program is especially useful for people who are just starting out in gardening as it takes some of the guesswork out of planting and caring for your garden. If you find yourself overwhelmed, even with the help of a program, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local landscaping company – they’ll be able to help you work out any problems you encounter.

Irrigation System Software

An irrigation system is one of the best ways to keep your lawn looking its best throughout the year, but setting up such a system can be complicated. Fortunately, there are several irrigation system designs available through various landscaping software packages that will make installing an irrigation system much easier. These programs offer detailed instructions on how to set up your system correctly so that it runs efficiently while conserving water at the same time. Need professional help? Between working with a Calgary landscaping company and some great gardening software, you should be able to develop whatever garden plan you’ve been dreaming of.

Final Thoughts

Using landscaping software is an efficient way for homeowners to plan and execute their outdoor projects without spending too much time or money on them. Whether it’s designing a new landscape or setting up an irrigation system, these programs offer detailed instructions that anyone can follow to get the job done quickly and correctly. So, if you’re looking for an easy way to spruce up your yard without breaking the bank, consider taking advantage of landscaping software today!

Transform your home and increase its value and curb appeal while working with the best landscape company in Calgary with Tazscapes. Our award-winning team of landscape contractors and designers is recognized for creating and delivering stunning landscape designs in Calgary that are beautiful, functional and affordable. We offer various services, including landscape design, residential, commercial and acreage landscaping, hardscaping, such as retaining walls and concrete patios, and softscaping, such as sod and artificial grass installation. Our eye for details, meticulous planning and unique landscaping methods and eye-catching results is why we’re a two-time Consumer Choice Award Winner. Contact us today at 587-578-0747 or [email protected].

Winter Landscaping Tips For 2022

When the first snowfall hits Calgary, there are two types of people that reveal themselves – those who love it or hate it. 

For lovers, blankets of snow bring to mind a wonderful winter wonderland. As for haters, the snow seems like an inconvenience that ruins everything it touches. 

Those in Calgary planning on landscaping during this time, they might either find doing so to be either daunting or enticing.

Whether winter is your most hated or loved season, being able to landscape effectively during it shouldn’t be a problem!

If you’re thinking about landscaping this winter, check out our 3 winter landscaping tips for this year below.

Tip #1: Evergreens As A Focal Point

Nothing compliments fresh snow than evergreen trees. It conjures up images of snow lightly dusted over tree branches like powdered sugar. By adding evergreens into your landscaping, it accents the predominantly white backdrop of snow.

Also, did you know evergreens aren’t always green?  

If you’re not a fan of green or just looking to bring something unique, you can go with evergreens that can come in either yellow, blue, and any other colours that might catch your fancy.

Evergreens are easy to spot here in Calgary, so finding any to help with landscaping is not an impossible task.

Tip #2: How Hardscaping Can Help 

For those unfamiliar with the term ‘hardscaping,’ it’s where you utilize inanimate elements while landscaping. Some examples would be stone benches, arbours, or even a garden statue.

So, how does hardscaping during the winter help?

Some recommend not doing so because of weather conditions. However, hardscaping can be beneficial during this time.

While landscaping, you can catch missing focal points more prominently during the winter and can rely on a form of hardscape to embellish your landscape.

In addition, choosing to hardscape during the winter can surprisingly be easier on your wallet.

Knowing people in Calgary, people don’t like to face the winter’s harsh elements, so the price of hardscaping does go down a bit.  

Tip #3: Adding The Beauty Of Berries  

When you think of winter, especially here in Calgary, you practically see every plant begin to wither away. It almost seems like no beautiful plant is immune to winter’s frosty grasp.

But did you know there are gorgeous greenery you can use in your landscaping even during winter?

Hard to believe, but there are some and they’re just as lovely as plants during the spring and summer. 

When winter landscaping, you can find trees or shrubs that have berries in them that bring a subtle pop of colour.

Holly berries in particular are a great staple to include to your landscape. It pairs nicely with evergreens as well if you’re thinking of including them into your winter landscaping revamp.

Landscaping during any season in Calgary can have its challenges. However, we do hope with some of the tips listed that it brought your mind to ease when considering what to do for winter landscaping.

If you still feel you need some insight on winter landscaping, don’t hesitate to email us directly at [email protected] for uniquely lavish landscaping ideas.

If I had a dollar for every client who told me that they want a “low maintenance yard” or “no maintenance yard,” I wouldn’t be writing this blog.

Let me first clarify something: there is no such thing as “no maintenance landscaping.” Sorry to say, it just doesn’t exist!

Sure, you can choose not to maintain it. However, to think that you don’t need to do any maintenance and it will look flawless until the end of time is foolish.

Now that we’ve gotten over that hump; let’s analyze why people are under the impression that there is such a thing as a no maintenance yard.

Typically, it’s because no one wants to spend their weekend hours gardening in the hot sun. It makes sense, but you can’t expect that magazine photoshoot backyard to be there when you peak outside your window.

So here are my 7 tips to a low maintenance landscape design in Calgaryso you can spend more time enjoying the yard rather than working in the yard. Leave that to one of Calgary’s professional landscaping companies!


Tip #1: Get ready to spend money on a low maintenance yard.

Low Maintenance Yard landscaping calgaryYou have to realize that the fewer headaches later, the more money now. Chances are you’re going to have to invest in elements that will be more costly compared to if you went with a lower cost option.

Think about it. If you don’t want to do the work, then you have to pay for the work to be done. Make sense?


Tip #2: Hardscaping: Patio & Decks

You probably want to ensure your landscape design proposal comes with more hardscaping elements, such as a patio or deck, instead of grass or plant materials.

On top of that, you will have to choose Calgary paving stones that are more durable, or Calgary deck construction that will last longer.

They may be more expensive, but it’s a lot less maintenance in the long run.


Tip #3: Softscaping plant materials

Choose shrubs and perennials that are native to our zone here in Calgary so they can withstand the chinook weather. You should also do a sun diagram test to ensure that you are choosing plant materials for the right areas.

Shrubs and perennials need to get the exposure (or lack of exposure) that they need. Otherwise, you will have problems with their growth and overall health.

Don’t choose trees that drop fruits such as crab-apples or other fruit trees. It can get really messy!

Go with native trees that are hardy to our region, and they will grow great when planted correctly and require very little care.


Tip #4: Softscaping groundcover

Mulch groundcover (also known as wood-chips) are better for your plant materials because they absorb water and release necessary nutrients to your plants when they need it. However, they eventually decompose over time and need to be cleaned out and topped up.

During the decomposition process, the mulch actually can give your plant beds a horrible look. It’ll seem like they might even need a complete makeover, but it’s just nature doing its course.

Going with small decorative rocks that have fabric underneath will let you avoid worry about topping up. It’s a done deal!

Decorative rock groundcover also gives planting beds a much cleaner look for longer without having to get in and get your hands dirty.


Tip #5: Softscaping artificial grass & synthetic lawns

Low Maintenance Yard landscaping calgary fake grassSod is a lot of work. A lot.

Cutting grass regularly, then making sure it doesn’t die from heat stroke in the hot sun. It is watering non-stop only to see it riddled with yellow patches over time. It’s a mess!

After all the maintenance in the world, there is no guarantee it will be lusciously green. Even if the Calgary landscaping company you hired did a great job, sod is one of those products that can be hard to predict.

But, it is much cheaper.

Artificial grass in Calgary is starting to boom because people are willing to pay the extra little bit to have year-round green grass they never have to touch.

The artificial grasses available in today’s market are very realistic, so you never have to worry about that dreaded “fake” look. With options for different colours, textures and patterns, synthetic lawns have developed into a must-have, or at least worth considering.


Tip #6: Irrigation

No one wants to worry about how much water to give their lawns or their plant materials. That applies even more to families that travel a lot.

Today’s irrigation systems allow you to control the watering of your Calgary lawn with the touch of a button on your smartphone from miles and miles away.

It’s very convenient and can leave your landscaping in pristine shape without you having to turn the hose bib on once. Call a reputable Calgary landscaping company to do your blow-outs in the fall time, and have them restart it in the springtime and you’re good to go.


Tip #7: Introduce a rock garden

Low Maintenance Yard landscaping calgary deckI’m still puzzled as to why more landscaping companies in Calgary don’t propose this in their low maintenance front yard landscaping  ideas.

I’ve proposed it a few times, and I often get a little push back from my clients. I know that happens because they haven’t seen it anywhere before.

I often refer them to Japanese zen gardens. They’re a highly popular concept in other countries and require very low maintenance, but look stunning. Do a bit of research on it and give it a chance!

Hopefully, this gives you some low maintenance landscaping ideas for your yard here in Calgary. Feel free to give us a call for any landscaping Calgary needs so we can propose a low maintenance landscape design for your Calgary home!

I’ve been fortunate enough to work on some major acreage landscaping designs. I’ve been put in positions by other landscaping companies and some high-end clientele, including Home Builders, to foster creative acreage landscaping ideas.

I’m not going to lie – it’s not easy.

Coming up with acreage landscaping ideas can be a real challenge primarily because of the abundance of space that is available for me to work with.

One mistake many landscape designers in Calgary make is that they think that you have to “fill up” space.

But having worked on hundreds of landscape designs myself, I’ve come to realize that the famous architect Mies Van Der Rohe was definitely on to something.

Over the past several years, I’ve learned a lot when trying to create beautiful acreage landscaping designs. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll be able to see your property in a new light.


Acreage Landscaping

Calgary is a prairie-dominated region resting in the southern part of the province of Alberta, where the Elbow and Bow Rivers meet.

Located on the foothills of the Grasslands and Parkland Natural Regions, Calgary is home to several acreage properties.

Owning a property with 5-gallon acres of land may sound impressive to homeowners. When it comes to landscaping, however, Calgary is one of those regions where proper planning is absolutely essential.

Vastness of Space

A rural landscape is very different from an urban or suburban landscape. While small yards with a limited variety of trees and shrubs are sufficient for the suburban market, rural acreage landscaping requires extra consideration. This is primarily due to its vastness of space, the open air and the exciting views.

“Space” is a big restraining factor in the suburban and city landscape. That’s why urban landscaping design requires meticulous planning with a focus on utilizing even the smallest of space in a useful way.

However, in rural landscaping, there is often ample “space” which causes some owners to feel perplexed while designing their acreage landscaping projects.

It’s crucial that you can distinguish actual usable space in your yard. It is often the case that with large acreages, there are a lot of existing trees and even natural un-usable areas.

So in turn, the 3-acre landscape you thought you had to design really isn’t that much – because once you take into account your house, your driveway and the natural surrounding (trees / un-usable space), you’re left with very little around your home for landscaping.


Assess the Existing Landscape

In rural landscaping, the idea is to create consistency along your existing landscape, not chaos. Make sure that your newly-proposed design is based on the existing characteristics of the site.

Careful planning will help you build a secure yet beautiful landscape for your acreage property. You need to take into consideration how much space is to be allotted for outbuildings, gardens and windbreaks among other elements.

Creating acreage landscaping ideas that will be functional as well as aesthetically appealing can pose to be a daunting task for many. So, let’s dive into learning more about exciting acreage landscaping ideas that you can implement in your Calgary property.


Fundamentals of Acreage Landscaping Ideas

acreage landscaping ideas design blueprint

The crucial point is to ensure an overall sense of familiarity and intimacy across the acres of your plot. This can make you feel like the yard is simply an extension of the house, no matter what its size is.

Taking the project as a performing art will help you view it as a creative endeavour and not a dreadful chore.


Here are a few ideas that you can use for your acreage landscaping project:

Land Division: You might love owning a vast property, but sometimes it can be overwhelming.

However, if you divide the land and create individual ‘pockets’, you can create a more intimate space.

There are endless possibilities if you decide to divide your property. You can use screens like fencing and hedges and build physical barriers.

Solidify Destination Zones: Close to your house, you should create a space dedicated to “landscape engagement.” This is where you aim to spend most of your time.

This “Destination Zone” can fall under three different categories: cooking, dining, lounging and sometimes, play.

Play can be for kids or adults, even putting greens are a great feature on an acreage.

It is best to keep these spaces close to the house as it can give you a feeling of intimacy rather than the exposure you might currently have.


Curvilinear or Rectilinear Forms:

It’s wise to use the existing terrain to establish a conceptual form to your landscape.

Lines and sharp angles in the design will tend to make a landscape with sloping terrain appear odd and strange. It’s better to use curves rather than straight, hard lines to make the landscape design appear more natural.

For example, the paths need to be curved instead of pin straight for them to correlate with the landscape contours. Retaining walls should look smooth as it rolls with the terrain.

Designing rounded borders and beds rather than straight edges in the garden will also allow you to integrate curves in the overall landscape. The result can flow quite beautifully.


For outdoor water features consider excavating for natural water bodies in your land.

Outdoor Water Features

These can be interesting and exciting methods to a better acreage landscape.

If you want to add purpose and beauty to your Calgary acreage, consider excavating for natural water bodies in your land.

Ponds can retain water that can help you with waterfowl rearing and plant irrigation. Lands with clay soils can prove quite beneficial for ponds.

If your area is covered with rocky or sandy soil, you will need thick liners for retaining water in the ponds.

You can also improve the look of a pond by adding alluring vegetation like reed grasses and willows along the rim.

A flagstone path extending from the house right up to the pond will also enhance the aesthetic value of the landscape.


Importance of Windbreakers

In Calgary, wind can pose to be a huge problem, especially with the warm Chinook winds blowing all across southern Alberta.

In fact, Chinook winds can be as powerful as a hurricane, with a case of Chinook gusting (171 km/h or 106 mph) the Lethbridge in November 1962. These winds can derail trains and blow snow across the roadways in winter. It can even increase the temperature in the summertime.

Chinooks are common in Calgary, a natural wind tunnelling city.

Consider berms with large Colorado spruce trees to give you wind protection all year round. I’ve been on acreage properties both south of the city (Priddis) or north of the city (Bearspaw). They have winds so strong that they end up killing off most newly-planted shrubs.

Mass tree plantation can also prevent damages due to water erosion in low-lying areas. Aspens and spruces are among the quick-growing tree varieties that can protect you from windbreaks. They are very hardy for our climate and will give you sustained protection throughout the year.


Calgary Planting for Acreage Properties

The crucial thing to consider is that acreage landscapes provide excellent scope for planting trees, shrubs and perennials or grasses.

You may consider starting your own vineyard or apple orchard in a part of your property, or even a complete vegetable garden. However, plants and lawns require proper maintenance.

Native plants don’t require much weeding or additional water for maintenance. Moreover, they offer a more natural look to the landscape, thus welcoming wildlife to the property.


Top Tips for Planting on Acreages:

Tree sizes

For the most part, you’ll want the most mature trees. Choose high caliper trees (over 80 mm minimum) on deciduous trees. For coniferous trees over three meters is the minimum.

Anything smaller on acreages looks off the scale. It could take a while before it really stars to grow in and fit in on your land fully.

Shrub Sizes

Most landscapers will try to sell you on 5 gallon shrubs – stick to two gallons.

Yes, I know they’re smaller, but the 5 gallon shrubs are already established and given the harsher climate (more wind) on acreages; it’s best to stick to younger shrubs.


Acreages have the best chance to get creative given the ample space there is to play with.

Creativity Within Your Acreage Landscape

Acreages also have the best chance to get creative given the ample amount of space there is to play with.

But think outside the box.

Stop hiring landscaping companies or landscape designers that give you the same boring patio, fire pit and pergola package.

Push the envelope, and I say that with caution because I know everyone has a high budget. However, creativity is not expensive. At least, it doesn’t have to be.


“Out of the Box” Acreage Landscape Design Ideas to Consider

Rooftop Garden:

These are also called green roofs and are planted on an existing or new roof structure with the help of specialized, solid membrane that protects the building.

It has been proven through studies that rooftop gardens can increase the lifespan of any standard roofing system two-fold.

Green roofs are also highly cost-effective in the long run. Having a rooftop garden will increase your property’s value, especially if you invest in an intensive green roof.

Furthermore, let’s face it. The future is landscape sustainability so why not bring something unique and environmentally-friendly to your property?


Outdoor Living Walls:

Living walls are great for growing plants both on the exterior and interior of any house.

Installing a living wall around a retaining wall or gazebo can really give your space a major pop.


Nature-Scape: Be all Natural

Natural landscapes are in vogue these days, and they offer an informal and relaxing look by implementing winding paths and curvy lines rather than harsh geometrically straight lines.

They’re also great if you are having to landscape several acres of land, as the “unmaintained” areas can blend into the overall concept of the design quite easily.

Wildflowers, rustic elements, native plants and natural building materials provide a warm and inviting look to the landscape.

Imperfections like twigs and logs, salvaged wood, bark chippings, natural stone and unfinished surfaces make your acreage property landscaping more charming and eco-friendly.


Imperfections like twigs and logs, natural stone and unfinished surfaces make your acreage property landscaping more charming.

Natural Stone Retaining Walls:

The use of natural rocks and boulders in acreage landscape design is also quite reasonable. Thus, incorporating natural stone retaining walls for your acreage property will not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of the land but is also highly beneficial from a functional standpoint. This is especially the case if you have many large slopes on your acreage property.

Moving large, natural boulders to create terraces (levels) in sloped yards will cause the soil to cut back and create a flat surface, or ledge.

The natural boulders settle in the terraces to hold the soil back, creating retaining walls along your landscape.

Moreover, you can dry set, nestle, and stack the natural boulders together without having to worry about it looking “perfect”. This adds to a rustic,  natural theme.


Natural Water Features and Ponds:

Yes, this may be expensive but it really can bring your whole yard to life.

Water is something that really strikes people as it plays on the human senses of sight and sound. By incorporating large water features and ponds, you can create tranquil scenes in your yard.

The natural boulders are a great compliment to the lot, especially if it is in sync with the natural retaining walls.

You can also do creative things with water features such as wrapping the stream around your patio to give an island feel or have waterfalls cascading from different elevations.


Conclusion

Finally, it is important to remember that designing a landscape in Calgary or any other province, requires patience, especially if it is your first time.

Trying to come up with landscaping ideas for acreages isn’t easy and different landscapers, and landscaping companies will steer you towards the direction they want you to go.

But if you’re well informed and understand the underlying concept of what you’re trying to achieve in your yard, it’s just a matter of finding the right landscape designer to turn that vision into a reality.

Call Tazscapes Landscaping at (587) 578-0747 today if you are looking for an experienced and creative landscape designer for your acreage properties!

Many houses in Calgary have mundane front yard landscaping – mainly because it’s not usually a top priority for home-owners. However, some residents understand the importance of “the first impression.”

As a full-service landscape design and construction company, we often find that front yards are usually more challenging to design for than backyards. Solely because of scale: front yards have a much smaller area to work with.

However, if you keep the following tips in mind, you can come up with some pretty awesome front yard landscaping ideas to accentuate your biggest investment: your home.


 

Tip #1: Front yard landscaping has to make sense

During my landscape design studies, one of the underlying concepts we learned was relationships of forms. The dominant, sub-dominant and subordinate design forms, to be exact.

Think about it, when you look at a front yard – what’s the most dominant factor standing out? You guessed it: your house.

You now have this hunk standing on top of your property dominating the space. You have to surround the rest of it to make it make sense.

If there is a slope, I always recommend doing a small retaining wall. To some, spending $3000+ on a tiny front yard may seem crazy, but trust me when I tell you that slopes should always be taken care of with retaining walls in Calgary. This would be your sub-dominant form.

The subordinates are, most often than not, your softscaping: plant materials, groundcover and grass.

Add colour. Depth. Scale. You have to make sure you’re doing this. Otherwise, it’ll look just like another boring front yard.

They seem minor, but they make a big difference!


 

Tip #2: Clarify access

We’ve all been there. Walking up to a house and pausing for a minute and saying to ourselves: “Wait…Which way is the entrance?”. Sound familiar?

As someone who goes to the homes of Calgary all the time for landscaping consultations, I come across this issue often.

Make sure you direct people to where the entrance is. If you need to build steps because of slopes, do so – but the key is to make sure it’s easily readable because no one likes to walk on your grass. This goes especially when there’s snow or mud on the way to the front door.

By creating clear and concise access for the user, you will have hit the functional part of the front yard landscaping that many often miss.


Tip #3: Frame your house

There is something about the human eye that tends to enjoy symmetry. When I go to a house and want to design a grand entrance or give it an estate feel, I often use big trees to frame in the house. This gives symmetry to the front and invokes an emotion of comfort that smoothes to the space.

By using plant material to bring verticality to the space, your front yard landscaping ideas will start to follow in rhythm. Now, you are understanding the importance of the forms in conjunction with one another and complimenting them accordingly. In this case, with trees.


 

Tip #4: Borders and edges

This is very similar to the idea of framing but on the ground. Even if you have no grass and only plant material, you must define your groundcover borders.

I love poured decorative concrete curbing. It is not just aesthetic; it makes the planting beds more pronounced. Also, it acts as a very functional element in the landscape by holding in your ground cover. It’s also durable enough so that your lawn-mower doesn’t come in contact with the plant materials.

By investing in curbing, you are now highlighting the subordinate form within your landscape. This can have the front yard looking more vibrant than ever before!


 

Tip #5: Feature pieces

At Tazscapes, one of Calgary’s leading landscape design companies, we like to propose a feature piece when considering front yard landscaping ideas. Implementing a feature gives the eye something visually appealing to observe.

Often, due to budgetary constraints, I recommend an address boulder.

You can also do something a little more creative, such as front yard privacy landscaping. Use miniature privacy screens – maybe to hide a utility box – and have your address number plated on it.

The lowest-cost option, however, is selecting a specialty tree. Pick something that blooms vividly, like a flowering crab.

Whatever the case, I personally always put something in the front yard to draw the eye to a ‘wow factor.’

And if you need something truly creative, you can reach out to Tazscapes to come by and give you a few incredible proposals!

It’s hard to come across great backyard landscaping ideas for a small-sized yard. It’s always nice when I can walk into a backyard, and there is ample amount of space for a landscaping proposal, but that’s not always the case.

I have come across many clients who have a small backyard but feel very limited in their options. Often times, they have no landscaping ideas for their small space and feel that their dreams of outdoor living is non-existent.

On the contrary. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

It’s challenging – I’m not going to lie – but as a landscape design expert with academic training and years of experience, I feel confident enough to go over 5 tips with you should keep in mind when you’re trying to design easy landscaping ideas for your small Calgary yard.


Idea #1: Choose your destination and make it cozy!

Backyard Landscaping Ideas for small yard calgaryIn Calgary landscape design, one concept I’ve always stressed is the importance of choosing your destination points. These points are often categorized as either cooking, dining, lounging, or play.

In a small backyard space, it may be difficult to fit all of them in so you may have to choose just one.

Ask yourself: above all else, what do you like to do outdoors? It could be as simple prioritizing an open green space because you value giving your kids the ability to run around. Perhaps you just need a small space for the occasional weekend fire pit party. Whatever the case, you need to choose a limited number of destination points and get ready to make it your cozy nook.

By bringing a private intimate feel to your small backyard landscaping design, you create an escape for yourself from the daily rat-race. This makes that destination point so much more meaningful. You’ve now connected an emotion to your little alcove.


Tip #2: Think vertically when it comes to small backyard landscaping.

When it comes to small backyard landscaping, think on vertical plane.Many people often look at Calgary landscaping in a horizontal plane or axis. Think about it. If you had ample space in your backyard, you would say something like: “Patio here, garden beds on the left, grass on the right,” and so on and so forth.

You are thinking about landscape design in a horizontal manner – there is nothing wrong with that, I do the same. But when you’re dealing with smaller spaces, the horizontality of the space can be somewhat limited. Therefore, we have to start thinking outside the box and look at the space on a vertical axis.

Softscaping

Columnar trees  are best. Swedish Columnar Aspens, and if you’re wanting a year-round coniferous option, Columnar Blue Spruce is a great choice. In terms of shrubs, I always recommend Karl Foerster Grass because they are very hardy, look wonderful year round, and are columnar.

Hardscaping

Landscaping structures like pergolas, privacy screens and arbour scan do wonders for your yard. The main thing they do is draw your eyes up, and anytime your eye links the landscape with the sky, it’s a wonderful feeling. Trust me, look at the sky next time you’re looking at a beautifully done landscape, it invokes an internal emotion.


Tip #3: Choose a focal point: Hardscape or Softscape

You have to make a decision for backyard design between hardscaping and softscaping. You have to make a decision. Do you want more hardscaping or more softscaping in your backyard?

Sure, technically you can do both, but (depending on size) ultimately one will dominate the space. Your destination point will dictate that answer.

For example, if you want a lounging area, chances are that you are going to have a deck or a patio dominate the space. As the rule of thumb goes: 12’ x 12’ for comfortable seating whether it’s cooking, dining or lounging around a fire pit.

Conversely, if your destination point is to play, you have to decide if you want your kids being able to play sports (which sport?), or if you’re investing in a play structure. This will dictate the overall soft landscaping required in your small backyard.

Make a choice, stick by it. That destination point – hardscape or softscape – is the focal point in your small backyard landscaping design.


Tip #4: Form follows function

Landscaping projects should first intend the function of the space, then let the form follow from it.All design fields, both interior and exterior, have always adhered to a famous concept propounded by American architect Louis Sullivan. He said that projects should first intend the function of the space, then let the form follow from it.

You need to know what you’re designing before you begin to put forms to it, whether they’re rectilinear or curvilinear. Spacing and scale becomes paramount, and even more so when trying to propose a landscape design for small spaces because the room for error is so little.

This ties into our first tip: your destination point. Understand what you need the space for, then allow that to determine what size you’ll need it to be.

Once you establish the type (dining?) and size (12’ x 12’?) of that destination, you can begin to form it according to your taste in conjunction with the overall space you have to work with. Some like the rectilinear shape while others prefer the curvilinear shape.

I personally look at the lay of the land, the existing form of the house and allow those elements to form my form (no pun intended!).


Tip #5: Color and texture

Selecting the right product and color that will yield particular textures to your landscape.So, you know you want a patio space as a dominant destination point in your small backyard. You also know you need ample space to entertain your friends on a Saturday night around the fire pit.

You’ve measured things out and realize you have the space for it, and have created a beautiful form that compliments the house for your space.


All done right? Wrong.

There is one last step: selecting the right product and color that will yield particular textures to your landscape. This, in turn, can make or break the landscape design of your small backyard.

Often times, Calgary landscapers tend to go with a small handful of paving stones to sell to the client. This is for a couple reasons: one, the cost is cheap. Two, it’s easy to install.

You need to fully explore different options (and grab samples if you have to) so you can try to match the house.

As a landscape design expert in Calgary, I always encourage my clients to understand the patterns and textures that will be created with the selected products. I want them to understand the color options they clients have, and then show them how my landscape design proposal will accentuate their small backyard.

Proposing viable landscape design ideas for small backyards or small spaces isn’t difficult. It just requires a little more ‘out of the box’ thinking and finding landscaping companies in Calgary that can do this.

Give Tazscapes a call and see if we can design your small yard into your own personal oasis!

As a trained landscape designer, I regularly visit home-owners to help them with Calgary backyard landscaping ideas.

I’m often amazed that the first thing they do is take me to their space and begin complaining about what they have to work with.

However, where people see constraints, I see opportunity. It’s just how I was trained!

Here are my top five tips to home-owners who want to know how to propose landscaping ideas for backyards:


Tip #1: Know and understand your lifestyle

calgary backyard landscaping lounging area

Not everyone needs a fire pit. That’s just an example, but it’s one that stands out at me among the thousands of home-owners I’ve met. Everyone says they want a fire pit, or rather, everyone feels like they need a fire pit.

Don’t get me wrong, fire pits are great. Along with proper lighting and water fixtures, the addition of a fire feature can take your backyard to another level. Their ability to hit key emotional triggers make them perfect for a cozy space.

However, you should not be spending thousands of dollars for a yard that has no use in your everyday life.

Many Calgary landscaping companies (not all) tend to do the same cookie cutter tactics in every backyard they enter. Why? Because it’s easy.

Their crews know it, the product is readily available and they can get it done with their eyes closed. On top of that, they charge you the same as someone who proposes a more intricate project.

I can’t tell you how many landscaping contractors in Calgary will propose a 12’ diameter circle paving stone kit with a central stack-stone fire pit.

Don’t get me wrong. This is something I too have proposed in the past. However, only when I deem it necessary for the particular yard, as per the client’s lifestyle.

Simply put, you have to propose a landscape design for your yard so it will be a useable space for you, your family and your friends.

Questions you should be asking yourself first and foremost are:

  • How many people will we entertain?
  • What will we be doing out here?
  • What time of day are we most likely going to be out here?
  • Do we have children? Pets?
  • How much time are we spending outdoors?
  • Is this for mostly Weekdays? Or weekends?
  • Who is going to maintain this yard for years to come, so our money isn’t wasted?

By understanding your lifestyle first, you can then move on to the next step of actually come up with landscaping ideas for your backyard!


Tip #2: Mark your destination points

One of the worst things you can do is have Joe Blow landscaping company design your backyard for you. Do yourself a big service and hire a professional landscape design company in Calgary. This is worth the investment – you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches later, trust me.

A destination point is where you or your family will be engaging with your landscape. I tend to lean toward the three most common points of interest: cooking, dining, and lounging.

Know your destination points. This will give you a great framework to work with when trying to figure out different ideas for your backyard landscaping. This may also open doors for you to look into landscaping features such as outdoor kitchens, privacy screens, fireplaces, and water features.


Tip #3: Mark your transition points

Once you have your destination points marked, i.e. What you want and where you want them placed in your backyard, you need to tie them with one another.

One thing I often see landscape contractors do is “plop” things anywhere in the yard without understanding proper circulation patterns.

There needs to be a flow in the yard. How do you get from one place to the next? Does it make sense to place the outdoor kitchen 20 feet away from the back door so you can’t conveniently get to your barbecue in the winter, for example? Understanding proper circulation patterns will allow you to tie in your destination points, thus giving your transition points a very experiential tone.

Choice of plant material becomes essential as well here. Colour schemes and scales also play a big part. Also, considering the selection of ground-cover and borders to outline those transitional spaces is important.


Tip #4: Inside to outside

Photos Showing Contemporary / Modern Landscaping Ideas for Calgary Backyards

I always like to pay attention to the details of each client’s home, in particular, newly-built homes. This is because more often than not, the home-owners have selected the colour schemes and textural patterns themselves.

For example, a very contemporary style house with contemporary style furniture tells me that my clients will love the contemporary/modern landscaping ideas for their backyard.

Essentially bringing what they have inside their home to the outside is ideal. Why? Two reasons: one, because it’s a style I know they will love. Two, because the outside of the house should flow with the inside of the house as well. This will make it a much more beautiful, comprehensive landscape design.


Tip #5: Seek advice from a Calgary backyard landscaping professional.

When coming up with landscaping ideas for backyards, you can certainly try to sketch up what you are thinking. Alternatively, as most people end up doing, you can check out inspirational landscaping company websites, like Houzz for ideas.

This is alright to do as a secondary resource, but I often tell my clients to keep one thing in mind: every yard is different.

Every home-owner needs custom planning as it relates to their particular yard. The grades, the size, and sun and wind exposure all differ within just one quadrant in Calgary.

Hence, hiring a professional landscape design company in Calgary that has a trained landscape designer can add real value.

Often, home-owners will go through the flyers they get in the mail and call 3-5 landscaping companies asking for a “quote” or “estimate.” What you have to realize, however, that the money you’re spending on your yard today can make or break the value of your most significant investment: your home.

Thus, seeking professional landscaping consultation from a professional landscaping design company in Calgary will open your eyes to a variety of possibilities that can bolster and accentuate your property.