Streetscape Mississsauga Judging Underway

If you haven’t seen him (“the Gnome”) yet, you will soon enough! The Gnome and Streetscape Mississauga’s expert judges have been visiting various residential gardens all over the city in search of that winning garden. Here is an inside scoop of what the gnome and judges consider to be a potential winning garden.

Judges tend to favour more complex gardens with a mix of evergreens, shrubs, perennials and annuals, but there are always exceptions to every rule. Judges also look for gardens that are unique in some way that make it stand out from the rest.

As the judges come and visit your garden, you can simply avoid losing points by taking a couple of simple steps such as:

  1. Using artificial plant materials in the garden or in planters.
  2. Lack of maintenance such as uncut grass, no weeding and deadheading, poor pruning techniques, clutter or garbage left in the garden.

You also have to keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect garden because gardening is always changing. To manage pets, diesase, and better environmental friendly practices, chemical products used in the past are no longer considered to be an option. More gardeners today are incorporating environmental methods into their garden maintenance e.g. leaving grass clippings on the lawn; leaving seedheads on plants as a wildlife food source etc. In recognition of these issues, Streetscape judges will be more lenient when judging general maintenance, in the following ways:

  1. Gardens will not be penalised for spent flowers, fruit or leaves on the ground, unless they are diseased, as these are part of the natural garden cycle.
  2. So long as a lawn is generally healthy, some lawn weeds are acceptable. Weeds in flower beds are not.
  3. Spent flowers and seedheads may be left on plants if they have a decorative quality or if they provide a food source for wildlife. General deadheading will still be required.

What we are expecting is that you use judgement and common sense in maintaining your garden, without necessarily striving for a pristine appearance so Good luck and Good Gardening!!

For more information on Streetscape Mississauga, you can visi them here. For other advice on landscaping, please contact us and we will be more than happy to help you out.

How to Pick/Hire a Contatctor

It’s summer time. Say hello to warm weather and the perfect time to start that garden or landscaping DIY you have been meaning to do. For those home owners who are not confident enough to attack the project themselves; do your research. There are many contractors who claim to be able to do the job but many of us have heard horror stories of contractors who have done terrible jobs or even worse, those who have taken your money and did not complete the job, so consider these points before hiring a qualified contractor.

1. Ask for recommendations and references from friends and family
Start with friends and family that would have similar work done. This will also give you a chance to find out firsthand from an actual client how well a particular contractor performed and the work that they’ve completed. If a contractor you are considering has a good track record of happy clients, he will have no shortage of past customers who will be willing to give favorable testimonials.

2. Research your contractor(s)
It’s nice to rely on friends to give you leads, but you should also do your own research. You can check out many rating and review sites out on the web to see if you can find them and see what others have been saying about them. Also check to see if they have a website that gives you more information that rating and review sites. Information such as their areas of knowledge, process, before/after photographs, and customer testimonies. By having a web presence it may mean that they are legitimate business (eg. business license, insurance, WSIB, etc.) and you as a consumer may have recourse if things don’t go right.

3. Get bids and different quotes
Get at least 3 estimates or quotes in writing. A detailed quote listing labour costs, materials costs and time will help you understand what you’re paying for and help you compare the various bids. Everyone likes a good deal but if a quote comes in much lower than the others, that contractor most likely will be cutting corners somewhere or may incur additional charges midway through the project.

4. Check credentials and qualifications
Once you have decided on several candidates, the next step is to inquire about their license, as well as the insurance (liability and worker’s compensation) they carry. This is a very important step. By making sure everything is in order, you will greatly reduce the risk of any liability on your part if things go wrong with the construction project.

5. Be involved with the process
Think beyond the price and choose a contractor that you can trust to work closely with you
towards the realization of the project’s goals. Make sure you ask questions, understand the
scope of the project and what the contractor is doing. Stay on top of the project. When
something isn’t right, bring it up immediately.
Stay away from contractors who are uncommunicative or unaccommodating. This could be a lengthy process, so it would be in your best interest to hire one that you get a long with.

6. Get it in writing & payment
Every project should have a contract, no matter the size of the estimated work. Every detail about the project should be included in the contract- labour costs, description of the work, materials and work timetable. Protect yourself should a dispute arise.
Reputable contractors also do not demand for all the payment up front. If a contractor insists that you pay a large deposit or the total bill before the work even starts, this may not be a good contractor. Make periodic payments as the contract completes certain portions of the projects and reserve a significant amount to be paid only when the job is completed to your satisfaction.

We can recommend a contractor called Interlocking Plus. Or if you are looking for more advice on selecting a interlocking contractor, please contact us and we will be more than happy to help you out.