Posts Tagged ‘Landscaping’

Product Knowledge Forum – Innovative Ontario Solutions for Energy and Environmental Performance

May 4th, 2016

SBC_logoPlease join us on Wednesday May 18, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. in the Steam Whistle Gallery for an exciting series of presentations and informal discussions featuring Ontario-based products and solutions. This forum will feature innovative approaches to radon control, energy storage, heat recovery, wall systems, and water re-use. The presentations will be followed by a cocktail and networking reception catered by Steam Whistle Brewing and Daniel et Daniel.

The featured products include: Vertical Indoor Garden (VIGA), SolarWall, Greyter Water Systems, RadonGuard, and Quad Lock Insulated Concrete Formwork technologies.

We look forward to welcoming our expert presenters Mr. Phil Fung, Mr. Todd Marron, Mr. John Bell, Mr. Richard Baumgartner, and Mr. Shawn Eldebs

Please visit our Eventbrite page to register – Cost is $47.46 to attend.

Visit Sustainable Buildings Canada for more information.

Using Less Water in the Garden

February 27th, 2012


Many of us have childhood memories playing outside during warm weather and getting caught in the stream of water as our parents fed the garden with the hose. It may have been fun to catch a few drops while the tomatoes were being drenched but overall it wasn’t efficient water usage.


With spring just around the corner gardeners are already planning out logistics for the new growing season and water efficiency is something that’s high on their agenda.


After all, some regions of North America are experiencing drought like conditions and water bills have gone up. Rather than cut back on prospective crops many gardeners want solutions.

That being the case here are a few tips for conserving vital water resources without jeopardizing a successful growing season:


Low-water plants

One way to save water is consider the types of plants and vegetation being grown as needs vary. For example, certain varieties of vegetables like some cucumbers need more water; things like squash need less. Certain lawns need to be fed very often; plants like lavender and rosemary can manage on less.


This isn’t to say an avid gardener should replace all plants that drink a lot with lower maintenance species. However it’s something to consider when choosing new additions for the garden or when planning to overhaul the landscaping.


In many respects it can be a major upgrade and excitingly new botanical adventure.



Water early

Once you’ve sorted out the kinds of plants it’s important to know the best time for feeding. For instance watering the garden during the middle of the day isn’t ideal because it’s the hottest hour and a large percentage of that water will simply evaporate.


The best time to water plants is in the early morning hours when it will give roots strength to take on the midday heat.


If that doesn’t work out the late afternoon or early evening will suffice. Just remember that when watering close to dark or at night it’s preferable not to get leaves wet because lingering moisture invites fungi and nocturnal creatures like slugs that eat vegetation.



Target the roots:

Targeting roots is the key to efficient feeding but doing so requires a good delivery. As already mentioned hoses are probably not the best tool for this because even on the most sensitive setting water will land in other places too.

Instead, the hose should be employed as a means for transferring water from the home to feeders when plots are in the middle of the yard. These feeders, such as watering cans, could then be filled on site in place of having to carry gallons from the house.

It should be noted that even when a hose is not being employed some watering cans may not have the appropriate spout to deliver water directly to the base of plants. If necessary, try using a water bottle or something similar that can control the stream better.

Alternatively, a great way to target roots is through drip irrigation systems which use minute amounts of water. These have been used regularly in agricultural settings but can be found more and more in the average green thumb’s garden.

Jakob Barry is a home improvement journalist for He blogs for pros across the U.S. like  Memphis, TN plumbers.


Rainwater run-off and hardscaping your home with permeable pavers

May 5th, 2010

Toronto is one of the densest cities in North America which has both negative and positive consequences. One of the negative consequences to all of the concrete, glass and steel is the lack of porous or permeable land to absorb rainwater which means it runs off into the sewer system. In older areas of Toronto the sewers are combined, meaning they carry both water run off from the streets and untreated sewage.  In torrential downpours the sewers and treatment plants can’t always handle the heavy loads and untreated water can back up and end up in the local streams and watersheds, Lake Ontario or even your basement. In addition to sewage, the water picks up any contaminants that have been left on the ground when it’s not raining and these contaminants also end up polluting local watersheds. Contaminants could be things like motor oil leaked onto the road, effluents from electronics left outside for garbage pickup, and hazardous liquid waste such as paint thinners that have been poured down the sewer instead of being disposed properly.

If more water could be diverted away from the sewer system less contaminated water would enter lakes and streams better protecting local wildlife and watersheds.

In certain wards in Toronto, mandatory downspout disconnection was passed as a by-law in 2007. Residents in the affected wards have been given three years to disconnect their downspouts. Click here to find out if you’re in one of the affected wards. There are instructions (with pictures) showing how to disconnect the downspout here.

As water issues have come to the forefront, methods and materials for diverting rainwater from sewers and to help replenish groundwater systems have become more popular. When it comes to landscaping there are many opportunities to help keep water on your land and avoid sending it into the sewer.

Driveways, pathways and patios all tend to be  hard surfaces and they typically are the areas that increase water run-off.  These areas are part of the “hardscaping” side of landscaping. However, there are materials that can be used to help prevent water from entering the sewer system.

Unilock Heritage Brown Eco-Prioria Permeable Pavers

Permeable pavers: Permeable pavers are specifically designed interlocking concrete blocks that are set farther apart than regular pavers. The pavers are specifically designed to maintain space between them so that water can drain between them. Unilock makes several different styles of permeable pavers. They are meant to be used with Unilock’s crushed stone aggregate (filler between the pavers) to promote maximum absorption of rainwater under the heaviest of conditions. The blocks themselves are designed so that there is a distinct gap between each block, while the porous aggregate fills in between the blocks. They can be used for patios and walkways too. Making sure as much water as possible stays on your property promotes ground water replenishment, keeps your lawn and plants healthy and will ease pressure on our aging sewer system.  See the list of  Unilock dealers here. 

One note about using permeable pavers. There is a certain amount of maintenance involved. They should be swept on a regular basis or organic matter will build up in the crevasses. Eventually seeds can settle and germinate causing plant growth between the blocks.

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