Garden Consultations and Design by Gardens4u

gardening business

To cut back on the demands of my gardening business, I aim to concentrate on garden consultations and design services. I have enough garden maintenance to tend to within my own gardens at my home and cottage.

My knowledge and experience have grown (pun intended) considerably since the inception of Gardens4u in 2012. As an extrovert, I love meeting other garden enthusiasts to share knowledge in the form of advice and suggestions.

Although gardening is not an exact science, often based on trial and error, successful landscaping demands patience and perseverance. I believe I can help you avoid many of the costly pitfalls and errors, cutting both your time and expenses.

The fee for my services is twenty-five dollars per hour.

Location Limitations

My services for physical garden consultations are limited to the west end of Ottawa. This includes most neighbourhoods in the Kanata, Stittsville, and Nepean regions.

However, if you live elsewhere, I would be happy to provide you with a virtual consultation. This service is described below under the virtual design heading.

Initial Garden Consultations

As the British know (their “garden” is our “yard”) gardens and yards should complement each other. My initial consultation with you includes a “walkabout” of your property while discussing your short and long-term goals. In short, my goal is to help you achieve your goals, within your budget and both of our time limits.

I offer advice and suggestions based on extensive knowledge of what works and what will not work in our climate. I will also take pictures of your yard for a “before” view of your project.

After the Consultation

Virtual Design

I can provide visual proposals in the form of pictures. A computerized landscape program, uses JPEGs of the “before” pictures of a garden/yard to offer various suggestions virtually.

As mentioned above, modern technology permits me to offer this service for virtual garden design anywhere around the world! Although my knowledge base reflects plants hardy to my zone 4 to 5 climate, I would be happy to research what would work in your location, for your specific growing conditions.

Chronological To-Do List

If a decision is made to proceed with your project, I will provide you with a to-do list, in keeping with your allotted budget and time commitments. That way we can proceed at a pace comfortable to you.

Plant and Product Lists and Shopping

My services also include plant lists to provide you with guidance when shopping for plants for your project. I know which perennials, shrubs and trees are hardy to our gardening climate zones. Also important to know is which plants grow well in sun or shade conditions.

I will also share my recommendations on soil, mulch, and lawn products. These recommendations are based on my experiences (good and bad) with the many options available.

In some circumstances, I may be available to meet with you at a garden center to peruse options with you. As a landscape contractor, I get discounts at many of the local garden centers. In many cases, I can pass these savings onto you.

Planting Your Gardens

As my time permits, I will plant your gardens or help you plant your gardens. This will be based on your preference and budget, as well as your time and physical constraints.

Landscaping Limitations

I do not provide hardscaping services such as sidewalks, raised garden beds, patios, tree or large shrub removal etc. I do, however, have contact information for several reputable and well-referenced contractors for these types of projects.

Event Planning

I am also available to create unique plantings for summer events, within garden beds, portable containers, or both.

Conclusions on Garden Consultations

If my expertise in garden consultations, design services, or event planning appeal to you, please contact me for that initial consultation.

Spring is coming to my corner of the planet!

garden consultations and design services by Gardens4u
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New Garden Designs for Gardens4U

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As well as general maintenance (weeding) and spring cleanups, Gardens4u completed several new garden designs so far this season, although one is still a work in progress. Most of the time I remembered to take before and after pictures.

Continuing the Neighbour Theme

At the end of last season, a third neighbour asked me to help them reconfigure their front yard around an updated veranda and interlock walkway.

This was one of my easiest projects as the homeowners were very hands-on. From shopping for and planting perennials and shrubs to sod/grass removal,(the black fabric smothered the existing grass) soil enhancement, and edging of the finished creation, they barely needed me. My job was to recommend plant choices and their placement based on mature size and bloom time. I also created the garden shape with a hose and suggested the location of the stepping stones.

This is what the yard looked like during the process:

…and this is what it looks like now:

Wedding Preparation

Another client asked me to help him transform and design new gardens on his parents’ farm property in preparation for his daughter’s upcoming wedding. The house is being renovated as well with plans for an Airbnb property.

There are seven garden beds; a huge undertaking that I have been working on all summer. The bride and groom to be have been helping too, doing most of the clearing, weeding, mulching etc. This frees up my time for designing and planting, my two favourite parts of a new garden project.

Here are a few before pics:

some during pics:

and some after pics:

These after pictures are of just the new garden designs at the front of the house. Disclaimer: I had nothing to do with the gorgeous sidewalk.

The other beds are still in progress. When this project is complete, I will show you the final pictures of all garden beds created. Stay tuned!

Moving to the Backyard

I have been working with these clients for several years now, first at their old home here in Kanata…

Gardens4u New Garden Designs

…and then at their new Hintonburg area home after they moved. Last season I worked on new garden designs for the front yards of their new duplex. The outside of one side is very traditional looking, the other quite modern, so I designed gardens to match the two different styles…

Before pics:

This is what they look like now:

This season these same clients requested my services for garden design and an overhaul in their back and side yards.

before pics:

after pics:

Next season these newly renovated garden beds will look awesome!

Garden Touch Up

At the end of the last (2020) season I modified a neighbour’s garden, moving plants and adding new ones to the expanded space. We also added stepping stones to break up the larger area. At the time she had some natural coloured mulch we used up.

This summer we changed the look by adding dark brown mulch, (right on top of the natural coloured mulch) creating a much more vibrant look, which contrasts well/better with the maturing plants.

Designing new gardens or updating tired, old, outdated or overgrown gardens is my favourite part of my gardening business. Check out my website for more before and after pictures of my creations.

photo credit

Last Garden Project of the Season for Gardens4u

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photo credit

I finished my last garden project of my Gardens4u season recently. The beautiful weather we have experienced lately has certainly helped in that I was able to extend the season a bit.

This latest garden project was for a neighbour. I had already designed a garden in her front yard a few years ago…

…but the condition of her lawn after the drought conditions of this past summer convinced her to extend the garden right to the road.

So, she dug up what little lawn was left, giving me a blank slate….my favourite design opportunity! I amended the existing soil with composted manure, then added stepping stones to divide the yard visually….and to provide access for maintenance as well as amusement for her grandchildren…

 Instead of one large garden, I treated the sections as individual gardens with taller plants in the center and lower ones around the perimeters. I think this will create added visual appeal. (this may be difficult to see now, but will be obvious when the plants mature) Several existing plants were moved to achieve this effect; those that were previously at the edges of the garden were moved to the fronts of each new bed, with taller ones planted behind them. A row of drought-tolerant, succulent groundcover now edges the curb where the lawn refused to thrive.

 After the plants settled into their new homes, mulch was added to finish off the project and protect the new plants over the winter. 

The neighbouring yard/garden visible in my pictures is the mature version of one of my very first Gardens4u projects, way back in 2012.

The challenge now is waiting until spring to see this latest design come alive!