How to Choose the Best Commercial Landscape Contractor in Your City

Today every homeowner, property manager and business in Toronto is looking forward to adding aesthetics to their premises. Just by adding simple elements like flora fauna, lighting, terrain shape, or bodies of water, they are able to transform the whole aura around the property.

There is no doubt that landscaping has a great potential in enhancing the quality of surroundings as well the life of the people residing in it. The addition of green elements produces clean and fresh air along with giving a tinge of uniqueness and beauty.

But, planning the right kind of landscape is a challenging job. Some people call it an art and some refer to as science. However, when observed carefully, it is both science and art.

  • Art – because every single thing has to placed in a way that it compliments other elements around and maximum functionality can be derived out of it.
  • Science – because it demands proficiency in horticulture, soil biology, engineering and a clear understanding of how the planned layout will work out.

Having said that, assistance from a professional is a must if you want to get the job done with great perfection and efficacy. Getting the right kind of commercial landscaping company on board is essential for transforming your dreams into reality.

However, with so many landscaping companies operating in the market, how do you choose the best one? Well, don’t panic. Simply follow these tips and find the right one for your needs –

What you need VS What the company offers

This is the first thing you should do for getting one step closer to the most suitable landscaping company in your city. Asking yourself about your needs and whether or not the company will provide you with the same is a double-edged question which will be helpful in picking the best contractor.

Getting a landscaper for your property can have an array of purposes. It can be either to create a sustainable surrounding or adding aesthetic appeal to the property or to increase its sales value of. Whatever it is, just have clarity in mind first and then discuss it with the contractor.

Some of the common landscaping services that you might need are:

  • Mowing
  • Mulch
  • Fertilization
  • Aeration
  • Leaf Removal
  • Irrigation
  • Outdoor Lighting Installation and Repair
  • Designing and Enhancement
  • General Maintenance

Sustainable Practices

Sustainable landscaping is the demand of today. The awareness regarding such surroundings has increased manifold with more and more people shifting towards the companies that indulge in eco-friendly practices for protecting the planet.

With so many major environmental challenges being faced by the world currently, a lot of brands are supporting sustainability and undertaking conservation practices. Many renowned companies have started including sustainable practices of landscaping as a major part of their plans and strategies which not only help in contributing to the well-being of the community but also save money and efforts of clients on its maintenance.

That is why it is important to ensure that the landscaping company you hire should:

  • Encourage plantation of native plants requiring less water and maintenance
  • Use organic materials for improving the lawn
  • Use water-conserving irrigation systems
  • Install energy-efficient outdoor lighting
  • Help you in recycling waste like leaves, clippings, fallen branches, etc.

Experience and Qualification

While it may seem obvious, a lot of people tend to turn a blind eye towards the level of knowledge and experience a landscaping company carries. As mentioned previously, a landscape contractor should have great proficiency in horticulture and must be able to understand your landscape site well.

So, when you go about narrowing down your list of potential companies, make sure you carry out extensive research beforehand to avoid unpleasant outcomes later. Speak to your friends, relatives, colleagues or neighbors around to get reliable feedback. Check out the company’s website and online reviews or complaints (if any).

The following things will give you a clear picture of the company’s background and legitimacy:

  • Year of the company’s establishment
  • Licenses to carry out commercial landscaping work
  • Certifications available to the company
  • Insurance and Affiliations
  • Tools & Equipment to work on the landscape

Make sure the company is able to provide you with documentation of each of the above-mentioned aspects as this will have you rest assured in terms of quality of services being offered.

References and Work Portfolio

If you are hiring a landscaping company for the first time, the whole experience can be overwhelming. You cannot figure out properly who is most suitable for your requirements and who will perform the job up to the mark.

In such a scenario, nothing works as wonderfully as taking reviews of the past clients who have similar property likes yours and have hired the services of the prospective landscaping company before. Contacting the references and visiting their site in person can be a great way to have an idea of what can be expected out of your landscape contractor.

A professional landscaping company would never hesitate in providing you with a list of references and photos of their previous commercial projects. They would happily let you evaluate every aspect about them in detail without hurrying you to taking a decision. They trust their capabilities and so will you.

Price Estimates

Nothing in this world comes without cost, nor does the conversion of your plain, monotonous property surroundings into a beautiful landscape. So, planning a desired budget range is crucial for every project.

You have to jot down the kind of transformations you are looking for in your landscape and accordingly decide on a price you are willing to pay to get it done. As per your budget, the landscape contractor would suggest an array of designs and it will be up to you whether or not to go for it.

But remember, there would always be differences in prices of landscaping companies. It might be because of the stuff competition prevailing in the market, or probably because of low-quality materials and equipment being used by them. So, be alert and look for a cost-effective deal. Don’t get enticed by the low prices or go on throwing away your money in the name of quality.

Finding the Best General Contractor for Home Renovation

Nothing is as exciting as giving life to the thought of having your own dream home. But, along with this hefty investment, comes an onus on the homeowner to maintain it properly and keep it in a great condition as always.

With multiple things going on in a house, there happens a lot of wear and tear within a few years of construction. Those fading wall paints, drafty and non-efficient old windows, ripped off floorings, etc. demand repairs and renovations from time to time for maintaining the overall look of the property.

There are also situations where people resort to home renovation just to revamp certain area of the house to attain a new and fresh feel. Anything that looks out of the place can be mended and utilized in a better way.

However, just like every other thing in the world, renovating a home calls for a substantial amount of money and efforts. So, before you go ahead with renovating your home, you should have your mind prepared to encounter stressful experiences and unpleasant surprises lying behind the walls.

Also, you should call for an expert advice from a reputed general contractor who will help you in planning a perfectly constructed building and get you acquainted with reliable electricians, plumbers, manufacturers of building materials, etc.

A general contractor plays a crucial role in renovating a building, so you need to ensure that you hire the right one. Here are some tips to help you in this search process –

Evaluate Your Needs

Assessing your needs should be the first and foremost thing to do for getting one step closer to the best general contractor in the market. You need to have a plan and decide what exactly you want to renovate. Only then you will be able to explain it to the contractor and see if he understands your vision in the same manner or not.

Usually, the general contractors are hired for projects like:

  • Remodeling a kitchen, bathroom or any other area of the house
  • Building an additional space in your house
  • Constructing a new building from scratch

So, spend enough time in identifying your goals and devising a detailed plan. This will ultimately help you in getting an accurate budget range in hand and executing your ideas to perfection.

Carry Out Some Research

When you are done evaluating your needs, you have to find a contractor who has the potential to fulfil your requirements. And for that, some sort of research has to be done on your end. You can start by talking to people around to get any references from them. There are greater possibilities of getting honest feedback from your closed ones and acquaintances.

You can also search online for a contractor. With the expansive network of the Internet, you will be able to fetch a list of all general contractors operating in your city. You can surf through their websites and see how well they have projected themselves. You can interact with people over social media platforms or forums and take recommendations from them also.

This step will be helpful in comparing your potential candidates on a various set of parameters and funnel down your list further.

Consider Experience and Qualification

Having an experienced contractor on board can save you from a great hassle that you cannot handle yourself. A professional who has been in the industry for long possesses the right skills and qualifications to do the job perfectly and identify every possible pitfall in renovating different areas of a building.

Another important thing to look for is whether the prospective contractor is actually experienced in the type of job you want to get done. A general contractor may have several years of experience in building and renovating bathrooms, but does he has the skills and knowledge to renovate your kitchen and other areas of the home as well? Similarly, a contractor may have worked on hundreds of residential projects, but can he execute your commercial renovation project with the same level of efficacy?

Ask the prospective contractors about their specialization and see if that is what you are looking for yourself.

Ask for Client References and Work Portfolio

The best way to determine the level of expertise of general contractors is to check the photos of the projects that they have undertaken in the past. Surf through their websites and check the images or links of their projects before and after renovating.

To judge the honest reputation of the contractor, ask for a list of clients that have dealt with him previously. Talk to them and ask about their experiences. You can also plan a visit in person to these renovated sites to get better clarity and see if the contractor is even fit for your kind of project or not.

Always remember that good contractors happily provide their clients with references and transparency in their past projects. If you find a contractor hesitating in showing you so, then it is surely a red flag.

Verify Licenses and Other Credentials

It is highly crucial that the contractor you are planning to work with is duly licensed and certified. The licenses acquired from the state government or local authorities permit the contractor to carry out renovation work in the community and the certifications, on the other hand, indicate that the contractor has taken formal training in renovation job.

You also need to look into insurance that is provided by the company to save you from any kind of liability that may arise in case any damage is done to your property or if the contractor or his team gets injured on-site.

Reliable contractors always take proud in their affiliations with local home builders associations and accreditations to renovate in adherence to the environmental standards. So, when you hire such a contractor, you can rest assured in terms of quality of services and products being offered by them.

 

Make sure you take a reasonable time to finalize the general contractor you want to work with. Never rush with the process otherwise you will end up with regretful results later in the future.

 

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First Meeting with your Landscape Consultant: What All to Expect

Renovating a property from outside has a great potential for enhancing one’s quality of life. Using items like patios, arbors and lawns around your property elevates the whole look and ultimately contributes to adding up to its value.

Landscaping is one such technique that not only adds an element of uniqueness and beauty to your property but also improves the air quality around. With uncountable benefits it offers, landscaping has become the trend of today.

Landscaping is no less than an art where every single thing has to be placed strategically to offer maximum functionality and compliment the overall architecture of the house.

That is why hiring a landscape designer is crucial to transforming your vision into reality. Though many people always remain apprehensive about hiring one, the outcomes they would get after having the right designer on board will be incomparable.

So, if you are participating in a landscape design consultation for the first time, here is what all you should expect –

Surveying the Current Landscape

The first and foremost discussion during landscape consultation involves the condition of your current landscape and how you wish to transform it. The initial visit to your place helps the landscape designer to survey your premises properly and suggest the scope of improvements henceforth.

The expert designers assess your needs and the space to decide if they can help you in accomplishing your requirements or not. With the expertise and skill, they can present you the overall design and the ways to execute it perfectly.

Discussing the Budget

One of the important aspects that need to be evaluated and discussed in detail is the overall cost estimation of the project. Nothing comes for free today, nor does the conversion of your dream space into reality.

So, creating a budget beforehand is important to calculate what kind of transformations would fit into the range and what would burn your pocket. Even a landscape designer can provide better design advice only if there is clarity of the budget on both the ends.

Brainstorming of Ideas

After observing your premises, the designer starts generating various options by considering the vision and budget you have given for your space. Whether it is just the basic improvement in the front yard or creating an entertainment area in the backyard, they will discuss everything in detail.

Moreover, they would suggest the best ways of converting the whole space according to your personal style and the functionality you want. It can be including a play area, a barbecue space, a flower or vegetable garden – everything will be customized according to your requirements.

Devising the Plan

After a thorough brainstorming session with you, the designer will make use of the ideas generated and present it on the paper in the form of the loosely-drawn sketch with few other details. Typically, they would give you a rough idea about basic layout, colors, textures, and other landscape items that can be used.

The first cut then can be revised and converted into a final plan with more specific details.

There are higher possibilities that by the end of the consultation session, you will have a clear idea of how your new landscape would look like and what budget you would require from starting to the finishing of the project.

 

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A Complete Guide to Seal Coat Asphalt Driveway

People often ignore their driveway, despite the fact that they do a lot for us. It allows you to park off the street and close to your home. For businesses, it’s a basic necessity and even a reflection of your company because a well-paved driveway leaves a great first impression on customers. For all these reasons, it is necessary to treat your driveway and parking lot nicely to ensure that it is convenient and well-maintained.

Your driveway and asphalt pavement endure harsh weather conditions. It has to put up with the oxidization from the sun, rain, snow, as well as, freeze and thaw cycles. All these extreme climatic conditions result in deteriorating the life of an asphalt driveway. Without proper maintenance, the binders in the asphalt dry out and start to flake and chip away, which ultimately lead to complete failure of an asphalt driveway.

While parking lots and driveways may go unnoticed, but taking a moment to consider its condition and age is crucial to improving the condition of your pavement surface. As a homeowner or property manager, you need to understand the importance of maintaining your property, including your driveway. As such, to take care of your driveway, it is imperative to know when and how to seal coat it or when to have it repaved.

 

What is a seal coat?

A sealcoat is an emulsion type product which has a thick semi-fluid consistency and a dark chocolate brown color. There are three major types of seal coatings- Refined Tar-based seal coatings (RTS), Specialty resins, Asphalt Emulsion-based Seal coatings (AE) which work very well in maintaining the surface integrity of asphalt pavements and keep cracks from appearing.

 

Why sealcoat an asphalt driveway?

Constructing a pavement is a big investment which means you need to take extra care of it. Sealcoating should be a part of your regular maintenance program as it acts as a right “barrier coat” between asphalt surfaces and destructive elements such as ultraviolet rays, gasoline, oils, salts, fat etc. Sealcoating is proven to extend the life of a sound pavement by more than 300%.

Every year, usually around September and October driveways and parking areas are to be seal coated. However, people often undermine the need and importance of seal coating driveways and asphalt pavement. Before you consider to sealcoat an asphalt pavement, make sure to know the basics of this process.

Asphalt surfaces are most susceptible to wear and tear, both from weather and from automobile traffic. The process of seal coating involves applying an emulsion type product over the asphalt pavement to seal and fill small cracks. This process is immensely useful to extend the life of an asphalt driveway, as well as, to give your driveway a beautiful, new, rejuvenated look. It helps you save thousands of dollars in replacement costs by preventing additional damages to the pavement by weather and chemicals in contact with the driveway or parking area.

Thus, the benefits of sealcoating the asphalt driveway or parking lot includes:

  • Sealcoating the asphalt helps in filling the small cracks that can turn into large holes and thus it prevents water from seeping down to the base material.
  • Sealcoat improves the appearance of asphalt and makes your driveway or parking lot look near brand new.
  • It protects the asphalt from the sun, as well as, the harmful effects of chemical spills such as oil and gasoline.
  • It acts as a waterproofing agent and helps in preventing the seepage of water and moisture from rain and snow.
  • If done correctly, it helps in preventing the oxidation and erosion of the top layer.
  • It is a cost-effective way of repairing or surfacing the existing pavement by extending the life of the pavement and driveway.

 

When and how often to apply seal coating?

This actually depends on the traffic and pavement conditions, as well as, pavement contractor’s recommendations. After the installation of new pavement, it is recommended to apply seal coating after every one or two years. Ideally, when you start noticing signs of deterioration and the color of the individual stones that make up your asphalt surface, it’s time to seal it up. Moreover, always make sure to protect the area for at least 36 to 48 hours after you seal coat driveways and pavements. Before you think of seal coating, consider the outside temperature first. The right time is when it is 50 degrees or higher for the sealer to adhere properly.

Tips to apply seal coat properly

Before applying, the sealcoat product should be diluted as per the directions of the manufacturer and typically two coats of sealer are to be applied. Sealcoat can be applied in many different ways- by squeegee machine, brush applicator, spray and hand squeegee. Crack filling, repairs and sealcoating will extend the life of your asphalt and make it look like a new one. Following tips will help you in seal coating you asphalt pavement and driveway in a proper manner.

  • Since the process may stain other areas, it is important to first cover anything nearby that might get stained or damaged before applying it.
  • Do not use the seal coat process to fill up potholes. If cracks are bigger 1/4 inch, make sure to first patch them with a hot rubberized crack sealer and then only proceed.
  • To achieve more consistency and avoid a slippery surface, you can mix sand with the product before seal coating.
  • In case of treating a larger area, make use of spraying instead of seal coating with squeegees.
  • Never start this process, if the temperature is not more than 45 degrees, otherwise, the coat will not adhere to the substrate.
  • With the help of a pressure washer, prepare the driveway by cleaning all cracks and removing all debris and vegetation in cracks.
  • Remember, as compared to applying a thick layer, a thinner layer would be better. Always apply the product using a criss-cross pattern, the first layer in one direction and once it has dried, apply the second coat in a perpendicular motion related to the first layer.

 

 

 

5 Tips for a Successful Landscaping Project

Landscapes are a great way to add personality and value to your property. It is healthy for you; it is healthy for the environment and also a great way to spend some quality time with your family. But getting through a successful landscaping project is not an easy job.

It requires time, money and adjustments to your normal schedule. You will have to take some time out for ensuring that the work is being done in a correct and efficient manner. It’s not easy and requires some getting used to. But to make it easier for you, here are 5 tips for getting through a landscaping project

Have a Plan Beforehand

Having a proper plan with everything laid down is easier said than done. Many homeowners know what they want but don’t consider knowing what they need. There’s a difference. It is always better to sit and list down all the things that you want to have in your landscape design.

Yes, you can hire designers to do this job but even they can’t read your mind. You will have to give them some indication of your expectations. It is important as you are going to devote a lot of capital and time on it.

Hire the Right Person

It is a difficult thing to hire the right landscaping contractor. You will have to go through a lot of research, contact them one by one, negotiate a deal, sign contracts and do a lot of other things. Your actual outcome and landscaping experience will largely depend on the person you choose for the job.

Hire a contractor or a company with good track records, experience, proper documentation and an overall nice personality.

Communicate with the Contractor

Your job is not over by just signing the contract and giving directions. You will have to communicate all of the details. If there’s something wrong or you feel you need a change, tell them. Not just negative feedback, give them positive feedback as well. Tell them you like their work, if the work is actually praiseworthy.

Keep Journals and Records

You cannot stress this point enough. Most owners give the contractor the initial plan and never consider checking it again. In any construction project, things never go the way they were planned.

It is important that you will keep records of all the changes and daily happenings. You should start it from the day one. If anything seems out of ordinary, communicate it to the site manager. By doing this, you also reduce the chances of any increased bill after the project is over.

Be a Good Customer

Finally, and most importantly, be a good customer. It is easy to get bossy when you are paying someone to do a job. But never forget, they are humans. You can only expect a human to do his job right when you treat him right.

Greet them, share a talk, don’t disturb them when not required, remove obstructions, give them personal space, and best of all, if possible, maybe arrange a small lunch for them. It’s a sure way to get some respect and a nice landscaping job.

Tips to Maintain your Landscape Area

A perfect landscape in the commercial properties is the dream of almost every homeowner. A perfectly trimmed and maintained landscape catches the attention of almost everyone from visitors to trespassers. But mere building a beautiful landscape is not necessary. You need to maintain and upkeep it at regular intervals of time.

A landscape has its benefits in providing the homeowners with the cool environment, fresh air and increases the value of their properties. It is not mandatory to have a large yard to have a lawn in the premises; even small lawns have their importance in magnifying the beauty of the house.

Here are some tips that will help you to maintain the natural beauty of the landscapes in your properties. Have a look at them.

Get Rid of Weeds:

Weeds are an eyesore on the plant beds and often kill the plants by stealing away all the essential nutrients required by the plants. You can probably use weed killers or fertilizers to keep the weed in the lawn under control. Another way of getting rid of them is by plucking them by hand or with a tool. If the weeds are firm and fully established in the soil then wait until watering or rains, as this makes it easy to remove completely them from roots.

Remove Leaves and Debris:

It is necessary to clean and get rid of unwanted leaves and debris from your landscape daily as they tend to distract the eyes of the viewers. Not cleaning them frequently not only piles up the dust but also offers a breeding place for pests and insects. Furthermore, clearing your lawn from twigs, branches, and slippery leaves prevents accidents that may arise from fallen leaves over the sidewalks or even the garden surfaces.

Trim the Shrubs:

Trimming the shrubs and pruning the leaves are yet another method of maintaining the landscape. Cutting the leaves of the plants timely does not make them look shabby. If you allow the overgrown leaves to rest, they will not only distract the eyes but also cause clogging in the gutters.

Therefore, timely pruning and trimming of shrubs are significant for the growth of the plants and healthy maintenance of the lawn.

  

Water the Plants Rightly:

It sounds obvious to water the plants rightly, but many of us mistake while watering the lawn appropriately. Different varieties of plantations have varied water requirements. Both watering them in excess or in a less quantity is harmful to the plants and may degrade the root system of the plants.

Rather than watering the lawn in the evening, it is always good to water them in the morning as there is less wind that may carry away the water in undesirable paths. Further, it allows the garden to dry all the day.

Inspect Plants Regularly:

Inspecting the plants and looking for possible pests and diseases on regular basis helps to nurture the plants with a healthy life and get rid of plant diseases. You can cut the dried and diseased parts of the plant to prevent them from spreading on other plants

If you find difficulties in maintaining a landscape, you can call for help from a landscaping company. They will surely provide you with best techniques and services to improve the unhealthy conditions of your lawn.