Irrigation Systems: Why You Should Have One Installed

irrigation systems mississaugaThere’s very little point in hiring a landscaping company to enhance your property and boost its curb appeal if you don’t intend on looking after it afterwards. Besides the sun’s UV rays, your lawn, shrubs and trees all need water if they are to remain healthy and attractive. When it rains these plants are all watered naturally, but what about the periods when it doesn’t rain? It then becomes your responsibility to provide them with water, and as many of our clients in Mississauga, Brampton and Oakville have found out, pulling out your garden hose and navigating your way round your yard soon becomes a nuisance. “Surely there’s a better way” they asked us. Well, luckily for them, and for you, there is; irrigation systems.

The Benefits that Irrigation Systems Offer

While you might think irrigation systems, or sprinkler systems as they are more commonly known to the average homeowner, are simply a luxury and a convenience, they are often the difference between a beautiful landscape and one that is deprived of water. Here’s why:

Irrigation Systems Save You Both Time and Water

If you’ve ever watered your entire yard with a garden hose you’ll know that it always seems to take longer than you expect; in fact it seems to take forever. You have to unwind your hose, turn it on and quickly jog over to the first part of your yard that needs watering otherwise you will soon be standing in a big puddle. Then you have to carefully manoeuvre your way around your yard, watching that the cable doesn’t get snagged on anything, which invariably it will, before winding it back up again. You also tend to use much more water than you really need to with a garden hose, which drives up your water bill. Irrigation systems, however, ensure this task is done automatically and carefully control the amount of water that is discharged. They also provide you with peace of mind knowing that your yard is going to be watered at regular intervals.

Allow You to Multi-Task

We all lead busy lives and there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. Irrigation systems, however, allow you to get more done in a day as while they water your yard, you can get on with other types of yard work.

Protects the Structure of Your Soil and the Nutrients it Contains

When using a standard garden hose to do the watering it’s possible that too much water could make its way down into the soil and take many of the available nutrients with it in the surface runoff. This is a process known as leaching and is very harmful for your plants since it leaves them with fewer nutrients to “feed” on. Also, the force at which water comes out of the hosepipe is often strong enough to compact the soil surrounding your plants, which is a common cause of root disease and can suffocate them. Irrigation systems ensure these problems don’t occur as water is distributed in smaller amounts and it is not highly concentrated in a single area.

Reduce the Amount of Weeds that Grow in Your Yard

When water is spread relatively evenly over the surface area of your yard, weed seedlings are provided with everything they need to germinate. That’s what tends to happen when watering with a garden hose, but irrigation systems are much more targeted in their distribution of water, and in some cases are capable of directing water straight to the rootball of each plant. This also helps you to avoid an outbreak of leaf diseases in your outdoor area, since many of these diseases are caused by water simply sitting on the leaves.

If you are interested in having an irrigation system installed and live in Mississauga, Brampton or Oakville, contact the experienced team at Pyramid Contracting Inc. on (905) 846-7664.

What to Do After Sod Replacement

sod replacement bramptonThere are many benefits to having a sod replacement planted at your home, not least that you are instantly blessed with a lush green carpet that adorns your outdoor space. You avoid going through the painstaking process of growing your lawn from seed, which takes considerably more planning and preparation, and even then can still go wrong if you don’t possess the knowledge of a landscaping expert. However, after a sod replacement is planted, it’s crucial that you are extremely attentive and take great care while your new lawn goes about establishing its root system in your yard. Pyramid Contracting Inc. has carried out thousands of sod replacement jobs over an existence that spans almost three decades and we are well aware of what it takes to ensure your new sod stays healthy.

Tips to Follow When Having a Sod Replacement Planted at Your Property

After having new sod laid down the period that immediately follows is critical in determining whether it will successfully establish itself or not. For around a month after it is initially planted we would recommend that you don’t set foot on it whatsoever and that you carefully follow the tips found below.

How to Properly Water Your New Sod

At this early stage it’s crucial that your new sod is properly watered as this will help it to establish healthy, evenly distributed root systems that are vital to your lawn’s long term health. Irrigation systems are the best way to ensure the sod’s need for water is fulfilled and if you don’t have one you might want to think about purchasing several basic sprinkler systems that you can spread out at various points across your lawn to ensure the entire surface area is covered. For the first 14 days it’s necessary to water the sod replacement three times each day; once thoroughly during the afternoon (4 or 5pm is ideal) for around half an hour, and two “lighter” sessions either side lasting 15 or 20 minutes. After the initial two weeks you should notice that the sod has taken root and from that point onwards you should very gradually reduce the number of times you are watering per day, but increase the length of the sessions that do remain. Eventually you should only be watering the sod once per week, which will encourage the root systems to grow deeper. At this point the hard work has been done and you simply need to ensure that the sod continues to receive approximately 1 inch of water every 7 days. However, should you experience heavy rainfall in the area where you live, which is quite possible in Mississauga, Brampton or Oakville, then the amount of water you apply during this phase should be reduced otherwise you run the risk of drowning your sod.

Applying Fertilizer

Whenever sod replacement is completed, fertilizer plays a key role in helping the new sod to establish itself and ultimately thrive in your yard. When laying the new sod we typically apply a starter fertilizer (13-25-12), which helps to encourage growth during the initial period, before switching to a slower release fertilizer (12-4-4) to sustain growth and fight off disease. We generally recommend applying this fertilizer in June, September and October.

Mowing Your New Lawn

You can’t start mowing until your sod replacement has properly taken root, which will typically be 2 weeks after it is planted. Generally speaking, wait until the grass blades are roughly 3 inches long and only take a fraction (half an inch) of this off when you mow, as cutting it any shorter will have a negative impact on the depth to which the roots grow. Cut the sod with a cylinder type mower if possible, but if you do use a rotary mower ensure the blade is properly sharpened as a blunt blade will “tear” the grass rather than “cut” it and leave it more vulnerable to lawn diseases.
Finally, have a little patience when caring for your sod replacement; while less time consuming than growing your lawn from seed, a sod replacement still needs time to establish itself and develop into a healthy lawn. The best way to ensure this occurs is to properly water, fertilize and mow it.

For further information on sod replacement with one of our landscaping professionals in Erin, Hillsburgh, Orangeville, Guelph, Caledon, Brampton, Mississauga and Milton, call at (905) 846-7664.

What to Look for in a Landscaping Company in Mississauga, Brampton & Oakville

A qualified and experienced landscaping company can provide a wide range of services to turn your yard into a place of beauty year round, from installing sod to landscape design to implementing an irrigation system to keep all areas adequately watered. But the work is often labor intensive, time consuming, and can be expensive depending on the new features or size of your property. Professionalism and experience are important when selecting a contractor, as your landscaping is one of the first things a visitor recognizes about your home and is in many respects its defining feature.

At Pyramid Contracting, we have been a leading outdoors contractor in the Greater Toronto Area for nearly two decades, and we take pride in not only quality and affordable work, but educating customers about what to look out for when selecting a landscaping company.

To begin with, whatever landscaping company you choose should be “on board” with how important the job is to you, and what it means personally. The company needs not only experienced and skilled workers, but the equipment and tools to execute your design.

Professionalism, work ethic, and employee appearance are also important. A landscaping company “lives and dies” by its reputation and word of mouth advertising. You want to hire a company that is professional in all regards, that understands the latest trends in yard design and how they can be integrated into your existing property. A landscape company should not only employ staff with a good work ethic, but employees with a sense of self worth and respect, and who value you as a customer and helping their employer succeed. Company ownership and management plays a key role, too, as senior level staff need to articulate company goals, demonstrate an understanding of your own, and can implement a plan to make it come together efficiently and with as little drama as possible.

Because landscaping is so important and is a “calling card” for your home, any landscaping company you choose needs to demonstrate creativity, the ability to think “outside the box” and offer unique solutions specific to your goals. For instance, is River Rock landscaping appropriate? How about Flagstone bordering your flower bed? The level of creativity the company exhibits will be brought forth in the designs they present, materials they choose, and their ability to draw inspiration from your yard and home.

In fact, the range of ideas a landscaping company presents is one of the most important things to consider before the project begins. Many companies use 3D design software to create landscaping plans, as well as show examples on their smartphones or tablet computers.

How the company uses new technology — its practical application and how it is interpreted — is a distinguishing characteristic between a proven, successful company and one that may not last. The same goes for a company’s use of the Internet, and whether they have a vibrant website that shows examples of their work, testimonials from satisfied clients, and updated contact information.

 

Creative Landscaping Design Solutions in Mississauga, Brampton & Oakville

It is probably safe to say that almost every home has had its share of landscaping problems at one time or another. Perhaps different kinds of flowers were planted too close together, causing one to dominate the other and rob it of sunlight or shade. Perhaps a beloved fruit tree sucks up all the water from rain or sprinklers, resulting in patches or brown around its trunk because grass is not getting the fluids or nutrients it needs to survive. At Pyramid Contracting, we have been the number one irrigation systems, landscaping design, and sod replacement experts in the Greater Toronto Area for more than 30 years and can offer creative and affordable landscape solutions for all your needs.

Whether you live in a drought prone climate or an area with considerable rain, there are many landscaping design options we can present to keep your lawn lush and green all year round or find the right shrubs and flowers to grow all season long.

Here are some common yard problems and landscaping design ideas that may fix them.

Problem #1: Help! My yard is too rocky! In a case like this, many homeowners’ first reaction is to rip out offending rocks or level hilly terrain, when a more environmentally friendly and affordable landscaping design would result in the installation of a rock garden that enhances natural features of your yard.

Problem #2: I have a lot of hills on my property and it is causing erosion near my house. Moving Mother Nature — particularly small hills or berms that are natural to many yards — is difficult, time consuming, and expensive. A better idea would be to build a retaining wall using Armor Stone or some other large natural stone to disperse the water and eliminate further erosion.

Problem #3: I have one area of my yard that gets too much sun and everything dries out. Time and time again we have been approached by homeowners with this very problem, many of whom think the solution is to continually drench the area with water. For a fresh landscaping design idea that will add colour to your yard, try planting drought resistant plants or flowers native to your area or climate. This is what is referred to as “xeriscaping” and means planting succulents like Aloe Vera or Autumn Joy sedum, or Ornamental grasses such as Yellow Pampas or Blue Oat.

Problem #4: I love the trees on my property, but there is too much shade and nothing else grows — not even grass. In a case like this, the best idea is to plant grass that does not need as much water, such as Kentucky Bluegrass, or shade-loving shrubs like Red Osier Dogwood or plants like the multi-climate capable Hosta.

Regardless of the size or shape of your property, the experts at Pyramid Contracting can design landscape solutions that will take your yard from ho-hum to “Wow!” in no time. For more information or a free quote, call us at 877-343-7333.

Tree planting tips from a landscaping contractor in Mississauga, Brampton & Oakville

As a top landscaping contractor in the Greater Toronto Area for more than 30 years, Pyramid Contracting has built its reputation on innovative designs, affordability, and using the best materials and design techniques to beautify and add value to your yard or other areas around your home.

 

With warmer weather rapidly approaching, many homeowners have naturally begun thinking of yard and lawn improvements they can make, the expense, and how long such projects will take. Our team of highly trained designers can meet with you whenever convenient to discuss the latest trends in landscape design and whether they meet your goals or budget.

Part of what has made us successful over the years is our willingness to share knowledge with customers, and give them the information they need to select the right landscaping contractor. One area we get many questions about is in regards to trees and the many benefits they provide. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are considering planting trees on your property.

  • Decide what purpose the tree should serve. Is it expected to provide shade, fruit, or be more ornamental?
  • Inspect the areas where a tree may be planted, and take a soil sample. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources should be able to refer you to a company or school where the soil can be tested. This will help determine the soil type, and what kind of tree is most appropriate.
  • At Pyramid Contracting, we recommend customers select trees native to the region. Popular trees native to Ontario include American Mountain-Ash, Black Cherry, Red Maple, and many others.
  • Depending on the kind of tree you pick, make sure you or your landscaping contractor know how much space it needs to grow, and whether it will interfere with other landscaping or your home or utilities, such as overhead power lines.
  • Any knowledgeable and experienced landscaping contractor will tell you the best time to plant any tree is the spring, as soon as frost has broken and before buds begin appearing on other trees. If you miss this opportunity, the next planting opportunity rolls around in early to mid-Fall.

The Benefits of Planting Trees

Planting trees provide many benefits that you should be aware of. Besides being a source of shade and helping prevent soil erosion, trees — like all plants — produce oxygen. They also clean the soil, help reduce noise pollution, keep your home cooler during warmer months, purify the air, act as windbreaks, and even serve as homes to birds and bats, which are important for controlling the spread of insects and insect-borne illnesses.

At Pyramid Contracting, we are the top landscaping contractor in Ontario and never forget what comes first: Our customers.

Landscaping Tips for your home in Mississauga, Brampton or Oakville

One of the great misconceptions about having a beautiful and functional yard or other outdoor area is it needs to be expensive. A patio needs to be built using the latest wood composite or natural stone, an irrigation system has to be multi-zone and connected to the Internet for online access, and only fertilizer using rare, organic compounds are best for your lawn. If budget is not a concern, then by all means, spend as much as you would like, but if you want to beautify your property and save money, the experts at Pyramid Contracting have a few landscaping tips you may find useful.

One of the best landscaping tips any home or business owner should follow is this: Create a budget or, at the very least, track every penny you spend. Landscaping expenses, just like for any other home improvement job, can add up quickly. Write down everything you spend, and review it daily. The bottom line may be enough for you to say, “Okay, the yard looks great. I’m happy now!”

Great landscaping tips are everywhere, so here is another. An appealing do-it-yourself landscaping project is within your reach if you plan the improvements before starting the project. Inexpensive landscape design software is available for computers and smartphones, but you can get just as much inspiration by driving around your own neighborhood and jotting down notes about things you see that you find most attractive about someone’s yard. If you cannot afford design software, then grab a piece of paper, a pencil, and begin sketching out a design you find most appealing. Add trees, shrubs, walkways, or any other feature you may want to include.

The best landscaping tips often apply to existing elements within your own yard. If your property is small, design and plan accordingly. If you have large, natural rocks on your property, incorporate them into a rock garden. For a large shade tree that does not get much use, put a bench seat or Adirondack chair beneath it and create a place to relax and read or just enjoy the scenery. In fact, a smaller yard is less expensive in the long run as there often is less grass to maintain, minimizing the need for an in-ground sprinkler when a portable oscillating model will do the trick.

Landscaping tips that help customers save money on building materials is one of our favorites. In late winter or early spring, keep your eyes open for specials on top soil, mulch, grass seed, and fertilizer. Comb through classified ads for people nearby who may be selling off extra materials, like patio blocks or landscape stones. If you live near a lake or river, search the shoreline for colourful stones to accent your flower bed or walkway.

Beautifying your yard does not have to be as expensive as many home improvement magazines and cable television shows would lead you to believe. For more tips or a quote on our range of services, call us today at 877-343-7333.

 

Sod replacement types and information

Unlike planting a lawn from scratch or even re-seeding an existing lawn, sod replacement results in immediate satisfaction as it’s ready-made. All you have to do is water and feed it, and it can be a thing of landscaping beauty from one year to the next.

Of course, sod isn’t made in a factory or stitched together one blade at a time by elves who need something to do in the spring. No, sod is grown in a controlled, farm-like setting where it’s nurtured and cared for until it’s ready to fly the coop, so to speak. Interestingly enough, the whole concept of a sod farm was introduced in Ontario in the 1950s by a farmer named William Ruthven who developed a 900 acre turf farm from scratch and jump started an entire industry that thrives 50 years later like never before.

Sod is grown in a controlled setting where the environment – weather and the soil, primarily – are most conducive to sustained, seasonal production. Any successful sod replacement starts with how the sod is grown to begin with, and important factors include: Soil type (loam is usually the best), the depth of the soil and uniformity of the soil depth and the depth within a contained area, and the kinds of drainage systems available.

There are many species used for sod production, including: Kentucky Bluegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass/Fine Fescue, Fine Fescue/Kentucky Bluegrass Sod, Creeping Bentgrass, Turf-type Perennial Ryegrass, Fine-Leafed Fescues, Turf Type Tall Fescue, Supina Bluegrass, and Weeping Alkaligrass.

Kentucky Bluegrass sod is the most popular for sod replacement in Ontario because of how well it adapts to cool, humid environmental conditions. It’s deep, rich colour makes it an excellent choice for private homes, cemeteries, institutional grounds, parks, golf courses, sports fields, boulevards, and offices and commercial lawns. When it comes to sod replacement, we recommend looking for a brand of Kentucky Bluegrass sod made from a combination of two to four varieties of Kentucky Bluegrasses.

Once seed has been planted to grow sod, it normally takes one and a half to two years before it can be harvested, though with proper maintenance this can occur after only one year of cultivation. In our experience, sod is mostly in demand between April and November, though we recommend customers choose an installation cycle later in the year.

What sod characteristics are most important? Everyone has their own opinion, but we look for sod that has uniformity of thickness, good density, is free of insects and weeds, has an acceptable colour, is strong enough to handle without falling apart, is mature, and has a minimal amount of thatch.

 

Sod replacement fertilizers tips and advice

More and more home and business owners are discovering the benefits of adding style to their landscaping by choosing sod replacement over re-seeding as a means of having a healthy, green lawn. There are many advantages of sod over seed grown grass, such as it being thick and rich as soon as it’s laid down, and the fact it doesn’t need to be watered as much as starter seeds, for instance.

At Pyramid Contracting, we’ve been involved in hundreds of sod replacement projects throughout the Greater Toronto Area over the last decade, and while the ideal time of the year to plant sod is in the spring, this type of lawn can be laid from the spring into early fall if taken care of properly. Of course, watering a lawn is most important for growth, but the proper application of fertilizer is a vital component in any successful lawn care regimen.

If you’ve decided on sod replacement over other methods of rejuvenating your landscaping, we applaud your decision but also would like you to know the best kinds of fertilizer that you should use during the year to keep your sod lush and green from one year to the next.

  • The best time for the first application of fertilizer is in the fall, normally September and then again in November.
  • We recommend customers not apply anymore fertilizer until the spring.

There are 2 main kinds of fertilizers for sod you should know about:

Granular fertilizers – Granular fertilizers are highly popular because

1.) They are easy to apply and difficult to overuse

2.) Are available in a time-release formula, meaning there’s a big time schedule before they must be reapplied

3.) This type of fertilizer works quickly and is ideal for sod in need of immediate care.

Organic fertilizers – The other kind of fertilizer that can be used for sod replacement projects is organic, normally made from all natural plant or animal products like manure. This kind of fertilizer is one of the best for lawn growth and is good for the environment, but also can be difficult to apply and often needs frequent application.

Keeping your sod lush and healthy from year to year isn’t as difficult as it seems, if you follow a normal lawn care regimen starting with the right fertilizer.

Pyramid contracting has extensive experience with sod replacement projects in the Mississauga, Brampton and Oakville areas. We are happy to provide you with a free consultation to discuss your sod replacement project. Call us today.

 

Protecting your irrigation system in winter

A residential or commercial irrigation system can be advantageous for a number of reasons. Thanks to programmable timers and control systems, they can be set to water a lawn at specific intervals for a specific time or based on water used. They’re designed to cover a large area, and conserve water while providing maximum benefit to lawns, flowers, shrubs, and other landscaping elements.

But because Canadian winters are extremely harsh with violent freeze and thaw cycles, we always recommend an irrigation system be maintained and prepped in advance of freezing temperatures. In any area where temperatures dip below freezing for more than a few hours a night, a sprinkler system needs to be drained of excess water. If water remains in the lines or control valves, it will expand upon freezing and damage the system, rendering it inoperative and perhaps resulting in a costly water line break.

At Pyramid Contracting, we provide a wide range of landscaping services, including sod replacement, installing walkways, and designing, installing, and servicing an irrigation system for customers throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

Preparing a sprinkler system for long winter months isn’t as difficult as it seems if you follow these steps:

  1. Close the main system shut-off valve, which is normally located where the main feed for the system “Tees” off the main water line into the residence or place of business. For systems with an electronic control, set it to “rain” so it won’t need to be re-programmed in the fall; if the system is manual, turn off the rotating clock control mechanism.
  2. Turn the ball or gate valves on the sides of the backflow device if one is installed. To drain a manual system, open the valves where they’re installed at the lowest place per line. Once the water pressure falls, automatic drains will open and as the lines completely drain will close again.
  3. Next, open the backflow drain, typically located on a vertical pipe between the shutoff valve and main line or even a stopcock on the side of a backflow device. Then, allow any backflow to drain completely by opening the valve between the main line that goes out to the sprinklers and the backflow device.
  4. The fifth step is to attach an air compressor to the blow-out adapter, which could be located on the backflow device or on a standpipe on the main line. Hint: If using an air compressor, there’s no need to exceed air pressure greater than 50 psi. Blowing air through the line will result in the sprinkler tops to pop up and blow out what appears to be steam. Caution: Don’t run an air compressor for more than a few minutes at a time, but if you notice water in the backflow device or backflow pipe, the process should be repeated.
  5. When preparing your irrigation system for the winter, follow all manufacturer’s instructions for drying off and caring for the sprinkler heads. Each company — Orbit, Rain Bird, Toro, Hunter, Nelson, or any other – has their own recommended process.

If you are still not sure how to protect and prepare your irrigation system for winter then give Pyramid contracting a call, we have been installing, repairing and protecting irrigation systems for many years and we would love to help you with yours. Call us today.

How to match your landscaping project to your home

In the years following World War II, when the global economy started its long recovery, thousands of subdivisions across North America popped up featuring a wide variety of ranches, colonials, and tri-levels, among others. All shared the same thing: A clean, efficient modern design that emphasized function over form and lent itself to building and maintaining relatively inexpensive homes. Landscape design of the era followed the same pattern: Perfectly straight drives and walkways, backyard flower beds that stretched the width of the house; and concrete slab patios.

Times have changed, however. During the last 50 years, homeowners, architects, and builders have all embraced the “present,” emphasizing a contemporary design influenced by trends and styles that could change from year to year. In some cases, form and functionality have been treated with equal importance because of socio-economic and other factors – as evidenced by some homes now being constructed of re-purposed railway cars or large storage containers shipped via water.

Landscape design has evolved, too, and Pyramid Contracting has been part of that revolution for the last decade, implementing creative and affordable outdoor solutions to fit any home architecture, from modern to contemporary to anything in between.

With the right planning and materials, a clever landscape design can further enhance even the most unique contemporary architecture imaginable.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Pay careful attention to materials. When it comes to landscape design, “contemporary” is often synonymous with “modern.” This means that contemporary landscaping takes its cues from modern architecture, focusing on building materials and other features used in modern or “trendy” homes: sleek, brushed metal; glass; wooden beams; Flagstone and other high-end surfacing materials like black slate or stamped concrete. Simple additions such as these can go a long way toward adding contemporary style to your landscaping.
  • Contemporary landscape design often takes a compact, muted approach to outdoor projects. Some good examples would be a small, back-lit waterfall and pond facing a River Rock pathway leading to an exquisitely manicured lawn.
  • Colours are important, too. In many cases, contemporary landscape design doesn’t put a lot of emphasis on colour and is, in fact, partly dependent on the colour of the home itself. In our experience, natural tones are very popular, such as espresso and grey which can be offset by a dash of colour from flowers or other shrubbery – each adding a great deal of panache to your outdoor area. We also recommend avoiding colours that clash because they’ll distract from the beauty and quality of your overall landscape design.

Here are some other tips to consider with contemporary landscape design:

  1. Grass should be mowed regularly to a height of no more than two inches tall
  2. shrubs and small flowering trees can be planted in a straight line along a fence, usually three to five feet apart
  3. plant flowers that are in season and grow well in your climate area.

For ideas on landscape design and ways to add style to your outdoor area in a creative, affordable manner, contact the landscaping professionals at Pyramid Contracting today.