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.

Creating a rock garden as part of landscaping design

Like homes, office buildings, artwork, automobiles, and consumer electronic devices, rock gardens come in all shapes, sizes, colours, and styles. Depending on how they’ve been integrated into an overall landscape design, they can serve multiple purposes – such as being truly functional or purely for decorative effect.

In our experience, many home and business owners have opted for rock gardens to cover-up a defect with an existing outdoor area, like an area not suited for flowers or a patio, for instance. In reality, that’s selling a rock garden short by dismissing its overall appeal. When integrated into the landscape design process, a rock garden may include water features, moss, pruned trees and bushes and, of course, rocks – all lending themselves to an area that exudes relaxation and enjoying the essence of nature itself.

If you’re interested in building a rock garden on your own, or will contract with a professional to do the job for you, there are a number of steps to follow for a successful project:

  • Start with a clean slate, which means thoroughly cleaning the area where the rock garden will reside. Remove any bushes, shrubs, weeds or other light vegetation, making sure to use a hoe to till the ground and remove live or dead roots. At this point, it’s a good idea to clean an area in the actual shape of the rock garden.
  • The most important step that customers take for granted is choosing a landscape design that doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the area, and doesn’t take away attention from other outdoor features like a deck, patio, or flower bed. To better visualize the rock garden, spray the ground with inverted paint to clearly mark its shape, boundaries, and size. Next, step back and take a good, long look at what you’re proposing. If necessary, lay down another layer of spray paint in a different shape.
  • Choose a variety of stone to work with. In most cases, armor stone is probably too large, though it can be cut to size, but we recommend a combination of small and large boulders, colourful and multi-shaped River Rock, Flagstones, and other rocks that strike a chord with your own sense of style.
  • Installing the boulders and other stone is the next logical step. To do this, you’ll probably need a few more sets of strong arms and hands, not to mention crow bars and sturdy shovels. Keep in mind that to look truly natural, a rock garden should be uneven, with rocks of varying size and shape bumping up against one another or even arranged in different levels. Also flandscape fabric should be put under the boulders and stone to limit weed growth.
  • Choose the plants and create the “river bed.” Embrace a wide range of styles by integrating sturdy juniper plants and other small shrubs with flowering chrysanthemums and other colourful flowers.
  • Create a walkway to and from the rock garden, perhaps using Flagstone or River Rock for a gentle, meandering pathway.

A rock garden can be a beautiful addition to any backyard and green space, so call the landscaping design experts at Pyramid Contracting for more information and receive a free in-home consultation to discuss your landscaping project.

Choose the right tree for your landscaping design

One feature of outstanding landscape design that draws the most compliments is a small shade tree that has been chosen to accent a home or outdoor space, but can only be done if the setting has been assessed to make sure the right tree is selected.

It’s important not only to find the right size and shape, but also to pick a tree whose growing requirements match the existing landscape features. At Pyramid Contracting, our landscape design specialists can help you select the right trees for your property, or steer you in the direction of horticultural specialists in the Greater Toronto Area with expertise in different kinds of trees and their growing requirements.

While small trees can provide shade to a particular area of your yard, they also can serve as a buffer between spaces occupied by a flower bed, rock garden, or River Rock pathway, or any other featured prominently as part of your landscape design.

Here are the top 5 small shade trees we’ve worked with over the years, and why they may fit your needs:

  1. American Hornbeam, also known as an Ironwood tree. An aesthetically pleasing tree in many environments, the Ironwood eventually attains a height and spread of between 20 and 30 feet. It will grow in total shade as well as full sun; it also has smooth, gray, and fluted muscle-like bark.
  2. The Armur Maple is a small decorative shade tree that grows very slowly and never attains a height of more than 20 feet. Resistant to pests, disease, and environmental toxins, it is well known for its ability to grow in different types of soil with little or no maintenance. The Armur Maple’s defining characteristic is its brilliant red foliage in the fall as its leaves begin to turn for the season.
  3. With a maximum height of 20 feet at maturity, the Golden Rain tree is a small ornamental shade tree that is more discerning when it comes to soil conditions but nonetheless grows well on a wide range of soils, especially with regular fertilization. Because it’s delicate, we don’t recommend this tree as part of your landscape design if your property is exposed to high winds or other extreme weather. This type of tree is popular with many customers because it’s pest and disease resistant, is easy to transplant, and grows superbly in urban areas.
  4. With its rounded silhouette, multiple trunks growing close to the ground, and large six inch leaves that barely change colour in the fall, the Japanese Magnolia normally reaches a height of 25 feet or less in an open, bright landscape site but can reach 75 feet tall in a forest setting.
  5. Finally, another solid contender for a shade tree is the Black Gum Tree, which grows slowly and reaches a maximum height of 30 feet. It fends off attacks from pests and diseases, and grows admirably in different kinds of soil. This tree is sensitive to city-borne toxins and transplantation, so it’s critical to pick a sheltered area as its permanent home.

Pyramid contracting is proud to be one of the leading landscaping design companies in the Halton region and we have many years of experience with softscape and hardscape features.

Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn how we can help you with your backyard and landscaping project

A pond is a great addition to your landscaping design project

One of the most unique features you can incorporate into your landscape design is a garden pond, which contributes aesthetic appeal to your property and could increase its value over the long run. Even in harsh Canadian winters, the right aquatic life or vegetation will survive the colder months and thrive for the remainder of the year.

Once you’ve decided to build a garden pond, two important considerations are location and the type of pond best suited for your existing landscape design. An area in your backyard or other outdoor location that receives a significant amount of sunshine is ideal, though ponds stocked with fish may benefit from an area buffered by shrubs or small trees to protect it in the winter. If you’ve decided aquatic life forms are part of the plan, then the pond will need access to electricity for the proper filtration system.

Types of Ponds

Koi Pond: One of the most common garden ponds that customers ask us to incorporate into their landscape design is a Koi pond. Koi is an ornamental, domesticated version of the common carp, and is ideally suited for ponds in colder climates thanks to its ability to survive a sustained drop in temperature and subsist on aquatic plants that may grow slowly – if at all – during the winter. Be aware, however, that Koi are still carp and are, for the most part, aggressive in how much they eat – whether other Koi, goldfish, or aquatic plants. Therefore, it’s not unusual for homeowners to try to limit the number of Koi that live in a garden pond at any one time. Koi ponds are large, requiring a minimum of 1,000 gallons of water and a depth of between three and five feet, with about 18 inches of that below the frost line.

Water Garden: The second type of pond is a simple water garden, normally stocked with goldfish and hardy aquatic plants. This kind of pond is usually smaller and only needs to be two to three feet deep, with up to 16 inches below the freezing line.

The average homeowner can install a garden pond in a weekend. Regardless of the type of garden pond you want for your landscape design, the pond itself can be purchased pre-formed in a variety of shapes and sizes with the most popular building material being fiberglass. Many homeowners also choose to build a pond using pond underlayment and a rubber pond liner.

Filtration and Electrical Issues

Because garden ponds are landlocked without access to fresh water, they require artificial filtration in the form of filters and pond skimmers, both of which are operated electrically. Filters and pond skimmers can’t be run off an outdoor electrical cord; instead, they need a dedicated power source, so be sure to contact your municipal building department about permits and codes.

A garden pond can add style to any landscape design project and provide years of relaxation and pleasure to homeowners and guests alike. For information on having your garden pond professionally installed or for any question regarding a landscaping project contact Pyramid Contracting today. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation where we meet, discuss your intended project, show you some of our work and provide you with a quote.

 

Pyramid Contracting, your Irrigation Systems, Landscaping, and Sod Replacement experts!

Pyramid Contracting Inc. has over 30 years of experience and we are truly a business built by referrals.

We believe that when your property looks good, so do we.

We have the expertise to handle any problems that arise and the capability to make fast, knowledgeable decisions to ensure that your project is done both quickly and with the highest quality.  We specialize in Irrigation Systems, Landscaping, and Sod Replacement in Erin, Hillsburgh, Orangeville, Guelph, Caledon, Brampton, Mississauga and Milton.

We welcome Property Management companies both large and small to discuss their particular requirements with us.