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Landscape Design: It’s All About Choices

Congratulations! By choosing to read this article you have taken the first steps in thinking about how to enhance your outdoor living space.  2016 brings you more choices than ever to beautify your landscape. I have worked in the world of horticulture both in the U.K. and Canada for over 30 years, and I am really excited and inspired by the modern design ideas, quality of workmanship and incredible selection of materials and plants that are available this Spring — yes I said Spring! It’s just around the corner, so now’s the time to do your homework on choosing the right design for your garden. 


When you first look at a landscape, what elements do you immediately like? Formal straight lines, flowing beds of colour, a natural feel, a place to relax, or perhaps  a place to play;  gardens are often a reflection of our personality.


A landscape can be comprised of many elements. You should start by noting the types of surfaces you favour, such as natural stone, pavers, wood, gravel or grass, followed by how you feel about vertical features such as fences, hedges, sculptures, and waterfalls. To complete the picture jot down your likes and dislikes regarding plants, colours, fragrances, shade and edibles. Sometimes the task can be overwhelming, in which case it’s often advisable to seek some advice from the professionals. Just as it’s important to match the style of your landscape with the style of your home, it’s equally important to select a Landscape Designer and contractor that are in sync with you.


Your entire landscaping project should be a positive experience from start to finish. researching ideas and talking with experts should be enlightening, fun and rewarding. Yes, it can take some work on your part, and an enormous amount of work by the designers, consultants and contractors, but at the end of the day, if you’re sipping a cool drink in the midst of your own oasis this summer, it will all be worth it.


And speaking of “worth it,” the subject of budget will often come up in conversation, and that’s just a reality. Like any home improvement project, some research to get a feel of what projects cost is a good idea. Try visiting and click on Awards of Excellence to view hundreds of projects in various budget categories. Whatever your investment, you always want to be assured that the work is going to be of high quality and comes with a guarantee. Therefore, it’s important to check some details before hiring a designer or contractor.

In addition to your own list of questions, be sure to check the following:

  • Ask for their profile and work history
  • Ask for references, and check them
  • Ask for proof of liability insurance and safety certificates

The site mentioned earlier,, is a homeowner’s top resource for inspiration, and connecting with companies. The members of Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association, representing the province’s green industry professionals, created the site to help you enhance your property, and optimize outdoor living space for your family. You will find a wealth of plant information, design tips, the huge photo library mentioned earlier and the Find-a-member database to search for an expert in your area.

Choices, after all, are a good thing. Choose to beautify your landscape this 2016 season!

Blog post written by

Denis Flanagan

Director of Public Relations

Landscape Ontario

To find out more about Landscape Ontario visit their website

About Denis Flanagan

After graduating from Horticulture in Surrey, England Denis was involved in many projects including work for the Royal Family and achieved a Gold Medal at The Chelsea Flower Show.

Following a successful transplant to Canada, Denis continued designing award winning gardens including many for Canada Blooms, he has taught at several community colleges including Humber and Seneca.

Denis is well known for his Gardening shows on HGTV and continues to promote the joys and benefits of horticulture through the ‘Green for Life “program at