1. Are you insured?
  2. What training/experience do your staff have?
  3. What is your payment schedule?
  4. Can our job be done in stages over a number of years?
  5. What kind of warranty do you offer?
  6. What do you use for base material and how deep to you make it?
  7. If I have the materials, what is your hourly/daily labour rate?
  8. Why do you not install concrete, stamped concrete or concrete that is patterned?
  9. While you’re installing our landscaping, could you do some
    work on our deck/fence/irrigation/foundation/etc?
  10. Do you subcontract work, or can you recommend other companies
    who specialize in other trades?
  11. What colour(s) should we choose for our interlock/retaining
    wall? Should we try to match the house colour?
  12. What kind of design services do you offer?
  13. How will you edge the gardens? (Do you use plastic edging?)
  14. Can you provide references?
  15. Will you install interlock made by any manufacturer?
  16. What type of garden soil do you use?
  17. Can I order (or arrange delivery for) the materials myself to save money?
  18. Do you install driveway curbing?
  1. Are you insured? Yes we are insured. We have a general liability contractors policy through State Farm with $2,000,000 liability coverage.
  2. What training/experience do your staff have? Our staff have a wide range of experiences. The company owner Ryan Heath has 18 years of experience in landscape construction. Some of that time was spent working for companies such as Kangrow, Holland Valley Nursery, Avalon Landscape Technologies and Tom Madsen Custom Interlocking and Landscaping. Ryan has taken the techniques and strategies used by each of these companies and selected the best of each to use in his landscape installations. Ryan is well versed in plant species from his employment in various garden centres. Both Ryan and all the full time staff spend the winter months training with Landscape Ontario and various other horticultural organizations. Ryan is a CLP (Certified Landscape Professional) and a CLT (Certified Landscape Technician), national designations given by the CNLA (The Canadian Nursery Landscape Association ). Some staff have completed college and apprenticship programs in horticulture and many are currently working towards their CLT (Certified Landscape Technician) designation.
  3. What is your payment schedule? Our payment schedule varies depending on the size and cost of the job. Generally, any job expected to take less then 8 working days or cost under $16,000 will require a retainer of 25% payable at least 2 weeks prior to the start date of the job. Without this retainer, no start date can be given or garanteed. Upon completion of the project a payment of 65% is due. The remaining 10% is due within 30 days of the completion of the job. For jobs lasting more then 8 working days or costing over $16,000 a 20% retainer is required at least 2 weeks prior to the job start date is required. Again we must insist that without this retainer, no start date can be given or garanteed. The next 70% of the payment will be made in instalments based on the progress of the job. The progress of the project is judged on a weekly basis and the materials and labour for each portion is used to determine the payment required. Invoices for progress payments are submitted on Mondays and must be paid in full by the end of the work day on Friday. The remaining 5% of the cost of the job is payable within 30 days of the completion. Missed progress payments will result in the crew ‘droping tools’ and vacating the jobsite. Progress payments unpaid for 30 days can result in a construction lien being placed on the property.
  4. Can our job be done in stages over a number of years? Yes your job can be divided into a number of different stages. We understand that it isn’t always financially reasonable to landscape your entire property at once. We will often do a job over a number of years, first installing the most needed hardscape (such as a front walkway) and later add gardens, plantings or perhaps work in the backyard. Dividing the job up can’t always be done (or isn’t always feasible) in situations where installing one landscape element will limit further access to the property but this is dependent on the particulars of each property.
  5. What kind of warranty do you offer? We guarantee our hardscape installations against heaving or settleing for 3 years for aggregate foundations and 5 years for Ultrabase foundations. Our plant material has an optional one year replacement garantee which some customers choose. Should any problems such as breaking of bricks or settling of interlock or steps take place within the warrenty period, we will repair/rebuild as necessary. We will not repair/replace bricks damaged after installation (by snow plows, stained with rust or oil, or other damage resulting from action of the homeowners) free of charge. Settling and heaving resulting from water flow who’s direction was altered after completion of the job (downspouts emptied on interlock, or water damage from removed eavestroughes) will not be repaired free of charge. If any settling or heaving is likely to occur, it will most often happen in the first year and certainly within the first three years after installation. Our guarantee protects your investment and ensures it will look good and be functional for a long time. For more detailed warrenty information, please consult our contract.
  6. What do you use for base material and how deep to you make it? This is an area that we differ from most other landscape contractors. We used to build as per the installation specifications outlined by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, using an aggregate with mixed sizes ranging from 3/4″ to sand sized (such as A-gravel or 3/4″ crusher run) compacted in 3″ layers. For walkways and patios we use approximately 6″-8″ of compacted base. On top of this base a 1″-2″ thick layer of HPB (High Performance Bedding, also refered to as 1/4″ chip) is used as our screed bed. The mixed aggregate bed is increased to12″-24″ for driveways and commercial applications. The new methods that we have been using almost exclusively for the past 2 years employs a new concrete product called Ultrabase. Ultrabase is a cementicious aggregate manufactured by some ready mix companies. It is a zero slump concrete that is installed in a 4″-6″ layer and once cured has better drainage than most granular materials and the rigidity to function as a base over ever the most water logged clay.
  7. If I have the materials, what is your hourly/daily labour rate? Our standard labour rate is $50 per hour or $1500 per day. This rate provides for a landscape foreman and 2 labourers, all standard hand tools, power tools, use of gas masonry saws, compaction equipment (vibratory plate tamper or jumping jack), a skid steer and a limited supply of sundry items such as construction adhesives, masonry cement, landscape fabric. In situations where different amounts of manpower or types of equipment are required (such as an excavator, etc.) individual rates can be calculated.
  8. Why do you not install concrete, stamped concrete or concrete that is patterned? Have you ever heard the saying, “the Jack of all trades, is the master of none?” We believe that landscape construction is such a huge field that to install all varieties of hardscape would reduce the quality of each. We instead specialize in interlock and natural stone and leave the stamped concrete to other companies.A second question related to the first is whether we recommend concrete, stamped concrete or concrete that is patterned. We DO NOT recommend concrete, stamped concrete or concrete that is patterned as a viable hardscape surface here in Ontario. In southern California, many people cover their entire properties with concrete, but here in Ontario where the freeze/thaw cycles can be quite harsh, large concrete surfaces WILL NOT stand the test of time. Even though concrete (stamped, patterned, textured or otherwise) can be repaired and ‘touched up’, the only way to achieve that initial perfection again is to completely resurface the concrete, or tear it all up and start again which can be quite costly. Interlock on the other hand can be lifted and relayed reasonably quickly and inexpensively reusing the original materials.Remember that most interlock manufacturers warrantee their paving stones for a minimum of 50 years and many for life. So your original investment in the material costs of your job are not lost if a repair is needed. I don’t expect there exists a company installing concrete that would be dumb enough to even offer a 10 year warranty on their work, let alone a lifetime guarantee. For homeowners who have had large projects completed with concrete, stamped concrete or concrete that is patterned they will relate to the saying that “if it’s not cracked, it’s not concrete.”
  9. While you’re installing our landscaping, could you do some work on our deck/fence/irrigation/foundation/etc?Although we specialize in landscaping, we may be able to do a few other odd jobs on you property. However, we prefer to concentrate our time and efforts on landscape construction, and only the areas in which we specialize. We can often recommend another company who may offer other services such as lawn maintenance, sprinkler installation, etc. which we do not offer. We go as far as to warn customers to steer clear of landscape contractors who claim to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all your needs unless it is a large company with 50 or more employees. A small company generally does not have enough employees or enough equipment to specialize in all the different outdoor trades you may require for your property. I don’t know many electricians who also do plumbing, drywall and roofing… so why let one landscaper do all the outdoor tasks on your property?
  10. Do you subcontract work, or can you recommend other companies who specialize in other trades?We prefer, whenever possible, to avoid dealing with subcontractors. We feel that all to often the lines of communication become weak when the customer is not dealing directly with the installer. As stated above, we can recommend other companies for you to contact to meet your needs, but warn against anyone in the landscape industry who has no employees but instead subcontracts all the work to other companies. There are too many horror stories of projects gone wrong to list here, but needless to say, your control over the work being done decreases every time another person is added to the chain of communication.
  11. What colour(s) should we choose for our interlock/retaining wall? Should we try to match the house colour?The simplest answer here is to let the landscaper choose the colour of the materials for you. Generally, what they choose for you will be what is most widely appreciated. It may not be your absolute favourite in all cases, but will still be very nice. All too often customers try to match the interlock colours exactly to their house colours. This proves to be quite difficult for a number of reasons (such a colour may not exist, interlock colour will fade more over time than house brick/siding/stucco), but more so it often does not result in an attractive result. We once did a job where we installed a large salmon front walkway, with salmon driveway curbing, and a salmon retaining wall, all in front of a house with salmon house brick. I’m sure you can picture the result… too much salmon, with everything looking alike and very little interest in the job. Six years later, the interlock colour has faded a little and no longer matches the house very well… so what do you do?The next option that is often suggested is having the interlock colours colours contrast the house colours. Although contrast is an important design element, it can be distracting and affect the unity of the job when done to extreme. What we recommend is a combination approach where normally one of the step/wall material or the interlock/flagstone material will have similar tones to the house, and the other will have contrasting tones. Using Permacon’s wide selection of colour blends this is easy to accomplish and has wonderful results. We are able to provide samples showing product colours to assist in colour selection, but don’t be concerned with this decision. Our first pick for colour selection is quite often the homeowner’s first pick as well, so you can rely on our help when choosing.
  12. What kind of design services do you offer?Our primary design service involves the creation of a ‘concept plan.’ A concept plan is a sketch (usually hand drawn on graph paper) outlining the broad activity areas (lawn, walkway, patio, staircase, garden, etc.) and traffic routes of the area to be landscaped. From this concept plan and after taking a few measurements an estimate can be created (as well as a planting design if need be). This service we offer free of charge. For clients with larger more elaborate projects or those who would like a better graphical presentation of the potential changes to their property we also offer full two dimensional computer aided design (or CAD) service. This is done using a software called Dynascape Pro, which is hailed by many to be the best landscape design software on the market today.This service has a charge-out rate of $75 per hour with a full third of an acre property taking approximately 5 hours. This fee can be partially recuperated and considered a portion of the deposit should the work be confirmed.
  13. How will you edge the gardens? (Do you use plastic edging?)
    Gardens are typically edged with a traditional ‘cut’ edge between the turf and the garden soil. This edge does require regular maintenance but results in the most effective and cleanest edge for any garden bed. To reduce the maintenance to an annual occurance, the beds and cut-edge can be filled in with mulch reducing erosion.
  14. Can you provide references?
    We will happily provide references upon request. We can direct you to homes in your neighbourhood that we have worked on. Also, we can provide a list of satisfied customers that you may contact at your convenience.
  15. Will you install interlock made by any manufacturer?
    We can install any brand interlock, but whenever possible, we preffer to only use interlocking pavers produced by Permacon, Unilock, and Oaks. Other manufacturers produce pavers using lower strength concrete which will have a direct impact on the finish product (ie. the walkway or patio). Also, the top three manufacturers have lengthy warrantees that they stand behind, a claim which cannot be made for all manufactures of concrete landscape products.
  16. What type of garden soil do you use?
    Our primary soil blend is ‘Multi-Mix’, produced by Zephyr Peat Land Harvesting. Zephyr Peat blends compost, peatmoss and sand to create a soil blend high in organic matter to try and counter all the high clay soils found on many properties.
  17. Can I order (or arrange delivery for) the materials myself to save money? In general, we prefer to source all our materials ourselves. Most customers assume this is because we like to inflate the costs of materials, however this is not the case since. We generally prefer to supply the materials ourselves because of a number of reasons. Firstly, when we select a product we want to make sure it is the best suited for the particulars of the situation. It takes years of experience to determine this, and most homeowners do not have the requires knowledge. The result is often a nice product but not the best choice for the needed installation. Also, many homeowners are unable to detect differences in the quality of certain products. For example, random flagstone varies widely in quality and this will both affect the time required to complete the installation as well as the quality of the final product. Lastly, because of the relationships we build with our suppliers, we are able to ensure that materials can be picked-up/delivered when we need them. Too often a homeowner tries to help out by ordering materials that either show up 2 weeks early and take up half of their driveway, or are
    delivered 2 days after we need them, requiring us to make other arrangements and possibly move on to a new job in the mean time.
  18. Do you install driveway curbing?


A Gravel:

Armour stone: Also referred to simply as ‘boulders’ or ‘armour stone boulders’ are any pieces of natural stone that are thicher than 8 inches. The armour stone is most often described by the location it was quarried and its composition, such as Muskoka Granite armour stone. Armour stone is commonly used to build retaining walls in residential and commercial landscapes. It also can be used decoratively in gardens, are part of a water feature or engraved to display a house number. Armour stone is quite heavy with a small piece (2′ long, 2′ wide and 16″ high) weighing upwards of 750lbs. Installation is commonly done using a skid steer, a crane, or an excavator with a thumb. Most installations involve the stone sitting level with any visible stratasfication oriented horizontally.

Broadleafed Evergreen:



Concept Plan: A concept plan is a basic sketch by hand or drafted on computer that outlines the main functional areas of a property, such as walkway, dinning patio, vegetable garden, lawn, etc. Concept plans don’t specify materials such as plant selection or type of paving, but rather what the area is used for. A concept plan should be able to show a uniform style through the orientation and shape of the different areas. A ‘to scale’ concept plan if often the minimum required for the preperation of an acurrate quote of a commercial or residential landscape project.

Crusher run: Crusher run is most commonly found in 2 size gradations; 3/4″ crusher run and 2″ crusher run. Crusher run is a mixed aggregate, meaning that it contains particle sizes from dust up to its maximum size of either 3/4″ or 2″. Crusher run is produced by grinding up the most locally common type of rock (limestone in the GTA, granite up in the Muskokas).

Differential Compaction:

Dry-cast concrete:

Edge restraint:



French Drain:

Frost Heave:

General Liability:



Interlock: Also called concrete pavers, lockstone, Unilock. Interlock is a catergory of paving products characterized by the strength that results from taking individual pieces of paving stone and vibrating sand into the joints of the stones locking the surface together. Interlock is most often made of concrete, but can also be found  made out of clay, natural stone and even recycled glass. Interlock is typically between 50mm (2 inches) and 100mm (4 inches) in thickness. Interlock comes in many shapes, sizes, finishes and colours. Previously, the most commonly produced interlock was the 4 by 8 aslo known as the traditional, or Holland Stone. Because most interlock is manufactured using dry-cast production techniques, it is made of higher strength concrete than can be achieved when pouring a slab of concrete or patterned concrete on site.

Jumbo Flagstone:

Landscape Fabric: Formally called ‘Geotextile’, but more commonly called ‘filter cloth’, is a fiberous cloth material made of polypropylene that is permeable to water but does not allow fine particles of sand and soil to pass through. Landscape fabric is primarily used to prevent the movement of soil particules, to resist erosion and to provide reinforcement during construction on unstable soils. It is produced by many manufacturers world wide and is available from many local retailers. Lower grade products are sold in 3 foot wide rolls, can be torn by hand and will only last 3 to 8 years in most installations. Commercial grade Geotextile is produced most commonly in rolls 15 feet wide and 360 feet long. This heavier grade product cannot be torn by hand and will last more than 20 years in use.


Limestone Screenings: Also referred to as ’stone dust’


Mixed aggregate: Mixed aggregates, such as crusher run or A gravel, are the most commonly used construction materials for base preperation during road construction. The wide range of particle sizes results in the possibility of high levels of compaction being achieved.


Polymeric Sand:

Pop-Up Emitter: This is a plastic fitting, manufactured by a company called NDS, that attaches to 3″ or 4″ pipe and permits the outflow of water from the pipe. These commonly release water that has been collected off of a roof from a downspout and out into a garden or onto a lawn. The benefit of the ‘pop-up emitter’ is that it is spring loaded and remains closed until the hydrostatic pressure in the pipe forces it open during a heavy rain storm. By remaining closed except during use, the emitter prevents animals and objects from getting into the end of the pipe.

River rock:

Skid Steer: Is a type of construction machinery used very often in landscape construction for excavating, and moving heavy material such as aggregate, boulders and pallets of interlock. Skid steers are manufactured by dozens of companies but are often called ‘Bobcats’, named after Bobcat company, who invented the skid steer back in 1960. Skid steers are available in a number of sizes most often described by their lifting capacities. Skid steers are generally narrower than other construction equipment like a backhoe, with some as narrow as 36″ that can fit through most fence gates. The name ’skid steer’ comes from the fact that the tires skid sideways when the machine turns. This skidding can cause damage to grass and other soft surfaces but does allow a skid steer to do a complete 360 degree turn in a very small space. Skid steers are also quite versitile due to the number of attachments that are available to them. The most common attachements are the bucket or the pallet forks, but many other exist such as an angle broom, trencher, excavator, tree spade, graple bucket, rototiller, vibrating roller, snow plow, dozer blade, etc. Skid steers have also become availlable with 4 wheel steering and with rubber tracks, both resulting in reduced ground disterbance.


Flowering shrub: Is a woody plant found in nature and available in garden centres to be purchased and installed in a commercial or residential landscape. Flowering shrubs have some type of flower, eventhough they are sometimes very small and insignificate.


Ultrabase: Ultrabase, a term developed by Lafarge, is a cementicious aggregate manufactured by some ready mix companies. It is a zero slump concrete that is installed in a 4″-6″ layer and once cured has better drainage than most granular materials and the rigidity to function as a base over ever the most water logged clay. The use of Ultrabase creates a uniform and consolidated base under the entire hardscape, taking away any possibility of settlement in problem areas, such as car tire tracks or areas immediately adjacent to the house foundation. The Ultrabase also guarantees that edge restraint will be securely fastened preventing any migration of the last row of interlock. Ultrabase offers more flexibility than a regular slab of concrete would provide, and thus is less likely to have problems with cracking.

Wet-cast Concrete:

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