Lawn Mowing, Maintenance and Landscaping Services in Victoria BC Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping Fri, 16 Feb 2018 20:29:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Xeriscape and Low Maintenance Landscaping Ideas Tue, 18 Apr 2017 01:07:10 +0000 We are often asked by our clients for our ideas on their Xeriscaping and low maintenance landscaping projects.  It’s a really tough question to answer as the landscape design process isn’t so simple!

There are so many variables, that it’s often better (and easier) for us when a client can point to a photo and say “I want this!” or “I really like that!…”  When we’re working on something as visual as a clients landscape, it’s always nice to narrow down the creative juices into something client wants right from the start!  This we don’t spend so much time going back and forth and you’ll end up with a low maintenance landscape you’ll get enjoyment from.

Here is a collection of Xeriscaping ideas we’ve found throughout Greater Victoria.  These are not projects we’ve completed, but it’s a good scrapbook to start looking for local inspiration.

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What You Need To Know About Building Your Deck With Exotic Hardwoods Thu, 13 Apr 2017 05:28:56 +0000 Building a Deck Using Exotic Hardwoods

This deck was built using Red Balau decking w/aluminum powder coated handrails and glass panels.

Are you in the market for a custom built deck on your property using exotic hardwood as the decking material?  There are several exotic hardwood species that are imported to BC to be used as decking materials and they are growing in popularity.

Homeowners aren’t just choosing these exotic hardwoods for the looks and aesthetics either, a big part of their decision is that most of the exotic hardwoods that are being used for decking are 1.5 to 3 times more durable than our local native species.

If you’re looking for exotic hardwoods as a decking material for a custom built deck then you probably already understand the jump in price over other materials like fir, pressure treated pine or even cedar, but the budget for your deck project is up to you!

Your Dream Deck Design

Custom Deck Design and Build Services Victoria BCThe best way to build a beautiful deck using exotic hardwood on your property is to do it once and do it right the first time!  This means designing the deck you want before any material is ordered or any ground is broken on the project.  Whether you’ve hired a designer/architect to design the deck or you’re happy with trying to convey your vision with a napkin sketch it’s important to have a visual plan for how you want the deck to look and function.

What will you be using the deck for? Who will be using it?  Will there be staircases and landings?  Do you want the deck to be strong enough to support a hot tub?  Do you want integrated seating or flower planters? Or an integrated arbour?  Do you want a bump-out for your BBQ?  There are so many design options that it’s always a good idea to develop your own deck “swipe file” of ideas full of designs and elements you like so you can share them with your builder.  Whether you’ve got the ideas on TV or found them in a magazine or a website somewhere, if it’s something you like then ask your builder about it.

Want Durable Wood Decking? Here’s How To Choose The Best

If you’ve got kids or pets or plan to do a lot of entertaining on your deck then the durability of the decking material and it’s ability to stand up to abuse might be important to you.  So how do you know which wood species is the most durable without falling for the marketing hype and slick sales pitches?

The easiest way to tell the hardness of any wood (native or exotic) is by the Janka hardness test.  The Janka hardness test can give you a good indication as to the hardness of any particular wood species you might be considering for your decking material.

This test measures the lb/in2 required to embed a .444-inch steel ball (almost 1/2″ round) to half its diameter (almost 1/4″)  in wood. This test is one of the best measures of the ability of any wood decking species to withstand denting and wear.

Western Red Cedar for example, has a Janka hardness of approximately 900-1000 while Red Balau Batu has a Janka hardness of 1650.  Ipe has a Janka hardness of 3680 which it makes it’s surface more than 3 times more durable to dents, knicks and scratches than the ever popular Western Red Cedar decking.

While durability is good, it’s also important to remember that the harder the wood is the harder it is for your builder to work with.  There is usually an increased labour cost when working with exotic hardwoods for this reason.  It’s harder on tools, harder to work with and thus just takes up more time.

Consider The Cost To Import Exotic Hardwood Decking Materials

Choosing an exotic hardwood to build your deck means your decking material could be coming from the other side of the world.  Malaysia, Indonesia and Brazil are all suppliers of exotic hardwood species for the decking and construction industry so the shipping cost is going to be absorbed by you, the customer.

If you want to lessen your environmental impact then you might want to consider using locally sourced cedar for your deck which while not as durable as some of the exotic hardwoods, still looks beautiful in our west coast setting and is easy for a builder to work with.

Preserving The Natural Oils In The Wood

Tropical imported woods and most of our native woods for that matter contain natural oils that help protect the wood from rot, insects and in some cases even fire!  When choosing an exotic hardwood for your decking material you’ll need to choose whether to preserve the woods appearance with an oil or just leave the wood to weather naturally.

If you choose to apply oil it’s something that will need to be done on an annual basis to keep the decking material looking like new, it’s done annually because the hardwoods are so dense that your oil/stain won’t be able to penetrate deeply into the wood, thus the need for reapplication so soon.

If you do choose to leave the wood untreated then it will naturally weather into an aged silvery/grey patina and you can always choose to sand and re-oil the wood at a later date.

To prevent rot and decay or discoloration of the wood decking it’s important not to let organic materials like leaves, twigs and other wind blown debris to accumulate on the deck.  If these materials are ignored they will begin to rot and decay, this process can encourage the wood decking to do the same regardless of how durable the wood is!

Red Balau Batu Decking Material and Deck Construction

Kayu Batau Balu Deck Builder in Victoria, Sidney and SaanichRed Balau, is an exotic hardwood that is grown, harvested, kiln dried and imported from the tropical climates of southeast Asia.  Red Balau Batu decking material is carefully selected from premium Shorea species.  Shorea is a genus of about 196 species of mainly rainforest trees with these particular trees coming from Malaysia and Indonesia.

Available in 100% clear grade (no knots) Balau Batu is often mistaken for mahogany with it’s rich dark hues and clean knot free appearance.  Red Balau Batu is favoured for a variety of exterior construction projects such as custom fencing, decking materials, foot bridges, docks and even boardwalks.

It’s durable, resists scratches and dents and contains natural oils that help repel insect attacks and discourage rot and decay.  If an Ipe deck was a little bit too expensive but you love the exotic hardwood “look and feel” then Balau Batu is a excellent option you might want to consider for your deck.

Maintaining your Balau Batu decking material isn’t difficult.  You’ll need to keep it clean by washing it once or twice per year and then treat it annually with a special finishing oil if you like the look.  Because the wood has natural oils that are beneficial, you don’t want them to dry out.  By treating the wood with proper oil it will keep the decking material looking like new.

If you decide not to treat the decking material, fear not… Balau Batu will last for 25 years or more without treatment of any kind!  When not stained with an oil it will weather naturally into a nice silvery gray patina that many homeowners find quite attractive.

Ipe Wood Decking Material and Deck Construction

Ipe Wood Deck Builder Victoria BCIpe, pronounced (ee-pay) is a brazilian hardwood that is prized for it’s durability and has been a deck building staple for many years.  You’ve probably already walked on an Ipe deck, walkway or boardwalk without even knowing it as it’s easily one of the most popular exotic wood choices in North America.  Ipe’s color can vary from a deep brown to yellow-brown with grey undertones.

Ipe hardwood is chosen for its high density and resistance to scratches, decay and insects. With a Janka hardness rating of 3680 it’s more than 3 times more durable than Cedar.  Another cool fact about IPE is that it’s just as fire resistant as steel!

Maintenance for an Ipe deck is like any other exotic hardwood.  You can either choose to the oil deck on an annual basis to keep it’s rich colors or you can let the wood naturally weather into a silvery/gray patina that would require very little maintenance aside from sweeping.

Because of it’s hardness Ipe can be tough on tools and is not the easiest wood to work with from a construction perspective.  This doesn’t change the fact that when completed an Ipe deck is a beautiful site and will improve the curb appeal and enjoyment of any home.

Cumaru Decking (Brazilian Teak)

Cumaru Deck Builder Victoria BCCumaru (also known as Brazilian Teak) is another beautiful exotic hardwood from South America with lots of character.  It’s often used for building decks on luxury homes, five-star hotels, resorts, and commercial decking projects.  Walking out onto a deck made out of Cumaru will make you feel as though you’re being wisked away to some tropical destination with it’s rich golden tan to reddish brown hues and dark grain it will be warm on the feet when the sun is shining.

Cumaru decking is often separated into two different color categories:  You have light, which is also known as “standard Cumaru” or Brazilian Teak.  There is also dark Cumaru which is known as Red Cumaru or Brazilian Chestnut.  Both options are available through local suppliers.

Like most other exotic hardwood decking materials Cumaru naturally resists rot, decay and wood boring insect attacks.  Without preservatives Cumaru can last up to 50+ years with regular maintenance.  If an IPE deck is out of your price range then a Cumaru deck might be an option to consider as the prices on Cumaru are a bit softer.

Don’t Go Cheap On Your Deck Hardware and Decking Fastening Systems!

If you’re spending top dollar on an exotic hardwood decking material for your deck construction it’s important to make sure you’re using the highest quality hardware and fasteners that you can afford.  There is no point building a deck using an exotic hardwood that naturally withstands the elements for decades only to have your hardware and fasteners fail and rust out long before the decking does.

This is especially important for houses that might be along the oceanfront where the salty air can contribute to corrosion of inferior fasteners.  Always make sure you are getting high-grade stainless steel screws and jigs or brackets with your deck estimate.

Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping Specializes in Deck Construction Using Exotic Hardwoods

Island Pro Mowing and LandscapingIsland Pro’s construction team specializes in building decks out of exotic hardwoods.  Our team can help you with the design, permitting process and the complete construction of your beautiful new dream deck.  We offer a variety of finishing options including custom millwork and wood profiling as well.

If you’d like to have a deck built using exotic hardwoods such as Ipe, Red Balua Batu, Cumaru or Cedar please give us a call (250) 812-4676 or fill out our email form and we’ll get right back to you.

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What You Need To Know About Building a Cedar Deck On Your Greater Victoria Property Thu, 13 Apr 2017 05:27:12 +0000 Cedar Deck Builder Victoria to Sidney BC

With spring almost here and summer fast approaching there are some homeowners who are beginning to think of their landscaping projects for the year and if you’re looking for the ultimate landscaping upgrade for function, fun and future value then look no further than a beautifully built cedar deck.

Cedar decks are a staple in luxury west coast style homes and construction and with the beautiful weather we are so fortunate to have most of the time, it’s a great “functional” addition that will bring enjoyment and add value to any property.

There are several things you’re going to need to consider when building a cedar deck on your Greater Victoria property from acquiring a building permit (yes it’s required) to the design of your cedar deck right down to which type and grade of cedar decking material you’re going to use, railings, trim, stairs and even the fastening system you’d like to use. That’s a lot of choices!

You’ll also want to know how the cedar decking should be maintained in the future so you get the most value and enjoyment out of your deck instead of an expensive and time consuming head ache a few years down the road.

Lastly, you’ll probably want to choose a contractor and get the ball rolling if you don’t plan on building the deck yourself as we book up early when spring is approaching and most of our customers want to enjoy their new cedar deck by the end of summer or for an upcoming event such as a wedding or a party of some type.

In short… There is a lot to learn about building a cedar deck on your property!

Why Cedar For a Decking Material?

Cedar Decking MaterialsWestern Red Cedar (Thuja Plicata) is a softwood that is only native to the Pacific Northwest and it grows in abundance on Vancouver Island.  Western Red Cedars are harvested from both managed and old growth forests on private and crown land.

We are fortunate to have an abundant supply of Western Red Cedar and a fair number of different local mills producing cedar building materials, including cedar decking. From the forest to the finished product most of our cedar is logged and milled right here on the Island so you’ll be keeping your business local when you choose cedar decking.

Considering cedar decking material is nearly twice the price of regular pressure treated wood decking material there must be several reasons people want to pay the premium for cedar right? Right!  Cedar is a very desirable wood for it’s decorative properties where it’s rich natural red hues and coloring deliver an iconic, timeless look for west coast styled homes.

Your cedar decking can be stained light or dark depending on the exterior décor of your home making a perfect match or contrast for any decorating style. Cedar decking is available with or without knots (known as “clear” cedar) depending on the look you are after (rustic vs clean).

Cedar, being native to the Island is also naturally resistant to the attacks from many of our wood boring insects we have on the Island. Cedar is also resistant to rot and decay, much moreso than other softwoods and let’s face it… It’s pretty tough to beat the smell of freshly milled cedar!

Other qualities that make locally sourced cedar decking material an excellent choice for your deck are that it’s a lighter weight wood then other commercially used softwood species but it doesn’t suffer in the strength department. An ideal quality for a decking material that will suffer abuse from foot traffic, pet traffic, and patio furniture and BBQ’s being dragged around.

Cedar decking material dries quickly and resists shrinkage and warping from the contraction/expansion process that happens regularly in our climate. Cedar’s resistance to shrinkage and warping is very important if you don’t want a deck with twisted deck boards and unsafe lifted and protruding screws a few years down the road.

If making an environmentally friendly choice is important to you, then you won’t have to feel bad about choosing locally sourced cedar for your decking material. Grown, logged and milled locally your cedar decking materials have a much smaller carbon footprint than a composite wood product or even pressure treated lumber which has a nasty chemical footprint.

How Much Will Your Cedar Deck Cost To Build?

This is a great question but an extremely tough one to answer over the Internet. In order to do your deck project any justice with an accurate cost-to-build we’d really need to see the site and understand your plans. With that said, we can give you a rough idea on what goes into the cost of your cedar deck and hopefully you can get a good ballpark from that.

Cedar decks are usually estimated based on the square footage of the deck, the choice of materials (clear cedar decking “knot free” is more expensive) and the choice of hardware. Don’t forget any extras such as hand railings, top rails, privacy glass panels, lighting systems and trim.  The addition of a hot tub can often complicate the deck build as there will need to be bracing added to support the weight of the hot tub, this is especially so on decks several feet above the ground, like on a second story or where the home might be located on a steep slope.

To give you a rough idea on decking material costs, just for the cedar decking material it’s roughly twice the price than a comparable sized deck built using pressure treated lumber.

The price of cedar deck construction goes up considerably for larger multi-level cedar decks with staircases and landings or decks that have an irregular or custom shape to them. Not only for the extra material costs but the additional labor required for a more complex project.

If you’re serious about building a cedar deck on your Sidney, Saanich or Victoria property we’d be happy to provide you with a FREE estimate for it’s construction.

What About Railings For Your Cedar Deck?

Depending on how high off the ground your deck is going to be you may or may not be required to have railings.

Are you going to stick with cedar for your railings and balusters or do you want to go with the ever popular aluminum powder coated railings in a color of your choice? The railing system you choose can be a very costly portion of your deck build so it’s something you’ll want to ask your contractor about early on so you understand the options that will be available for your particular deck.

Some of the additional railing options can include privacy glass inserts, wood pickets, custom stairs, glass top railings without a top rail and we our construction team also has the ability to mill our own materials and custom wood profiles for balusters and other deck accessories.

What About Fastening Systems For Cedar Decks?

It’s not uncommon to see a weathered, old deck that has boards that are lifted up, or screw heads that have popped up and most often it’s a combination of poorly selected lumber and low quality fastening systems. Don’t go cheap on your hardware! It’s important to use high quality stainless steel decking screws if you want the absolute best. The next option would be zinc-dipped or even the standard ceramic-coated “brown” wooden decking screws. Remember your decking screws will be exposed to the weather year-round.

What about hidden fasteners?

Hidden deck fasteners are a popular option for homeowners that want a smooth decking surface that is uninterrupted by the visible screws or nails that are holding the decking material down. There are a variety of hidden deck fastening systems that are appropriate for a cedar deck but we’d need to view your project first in order to provide knowleagable and accurate information for your specific situation.

Can We Use Pressure Treated Lumber Instead of Cedar As The Deck Frame?

Yes! This is a great way to save a little bit of money on your cedar deck but it’s really only a good option if the deck is a single level deck that is generally lower than 5′-6′ in height so you cannot see underneath. If you have a multi-level deck you might want to keep the look of cedar and choose cedar framing instead but this will raise the material cost significantly.

How Long Will Your Cedar Deck Take To Build?

Good Question!  Everyone wants to be sipping cocktails and enjoying BBQ’s in the summer sun on their brand new deck so the sooner you get started the better!  The first thing we need to do is meet with you on-site and listen to your plans.  We can offer suggestions and some helpful advice, take all necessary measurements and then it might take a few days until we can have an accurate estimate into your hands.  When you’ve accepted our estimate the work on your cedar deck can start as soon as we have a booking available.  Most of our deck builds can be completed in just a few days, with larger more complex projects taking up to a week or more.

If you’re serious about building a cedar deck in 2017 it’s a good idea to contact a deck builder as early as possible so they can assure you’ll have a new deck to enjoy for summer.  We can only build so many every year!

Maintaining Your Cedar Deck Properly

We live in a temperate rainforest on Vancouver Island with high humidity and a wild array of weather throughout the year. If you want your cedar deck to last a long time you’ll want to properly protect and maintain the deck. Staining your cedar deck is a great way to protect it long-term and keep it looking new year after year. This can be a time consuming process and depending on the quality of product used (and the quality of it’s application) it could last 2-5 years until your deck will need to be cleaned, sanded and re-stained by yourself or a professional.

Your cedar deck can be cleaned with just regular mild detergent water and a scrub brush (yeah it’s a pain!) or you can just choose to sweep it off every once in a while.  Do your best not to let leaves and other organic debris accumulate on the cedar decking as the decomposition of these materials can certainly encourage the decomposition of your deck too and lead to discoloration and rotten wood.

Pressure Washer Warning: Cedar is a softwood and shouldn’t be cleaned with a pressure washer. The high pressure jet-stream of water from a pressure washer can destroy the delicate fibers that form a protective layer on the outside of the wood.  This can lengthen your prep time if you plan to sand and restain the deck in the future.

Stain Your Cedar Deck or Leave It Natural?

This is a question that comes up often and the answer is simple. We’ll start with a question. Do you like the old, weathered and greyed look of a cedar deck after a few years of exposure to the elements? If the answer is “Yes” then do nothing. Leave the deck as is, in it’s natural state.

Most of our customers would prefer the deck keep it’s natural appearance but without the fading or discoloration and for that, you must use a good quality stain in a color or tint that will work with your existing exterior décor.

Notes From The CRD Regarding The Construction or Repair of Decks On Your Greater Victoria Property.

Building permits are in fact required to repair, alter and construct wood/cedar decks to ensure that the construction complies with the BC Building Code. In other words, it’s safe for you, your family and your guests to enjoy and doesn’t pose any clear violations or safety hazards. The cost for a building permit is a percentage of the total value of the work being completed. There is a processing fee of $100 for projects under $50,000 + the cost of filing the paperwork and providing elevation drawings of the project will be additional work your contractor will invoice you for.

Who Builds Custom Cedar Decks in The Greater Victoria Area?

Island Pro Mowing and LandscapingIsland Pro Mowing and Landscaping Inc. has a construction team that specializes in the design and construction of custom cedar decks of all sizes. Whether you’re looking for a simple 12’x12′ cedar deck to enjoy in your backyard or you’d like something more complex such as a multi-level deck strong enough to support a hot tub our team can take care of you.

If you’d like to receive an estimate for the construction of a cedar deck on your Greater Victoria property please give us a call (250) 812-4676 or fill out our online form and someone will be getting back to you shortly.

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Irrigation and Lawn Sprinkler Spring Startup Tips Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:21:11 +0000 Spring Irrigation and Lawn Sprinkler System Start up

Spring is now quickly approaching and as the temperatures continue to warm and our lawns and gardens begin to show signs of life, there is no better time than right now to make sure your automatic lawn sprinkler system is tuned up and ready for another season of keeping your lawn and garden efficiently watered.

If your irrigation system is being professionally maintained then it’s quite likely you had the system shut down for winter and purged all of the lines of water.  This winter was cold enough to freeze underground irrigation pipes and if they were full of water and not blown out, you might have damaged lines that will need to be repaired.

A spring start-up of your irrigation and lawn sprinkler system will discover any problems that might have developed over the winter and get your system into good working order.  We can turn on the main water source and get the sprinkler system charged with water.  At the same time we can perform any seasonal adjustments, like adjusting the sprinkler head heights and spray patterns to allow for plant growth in your gardens or other significant changes to the landscape.

DCVA (Double Check Valve Assembly)  Backflow Testing – Double Check Valve Assemblies are common with residential and commercial irrigation systems and their job is to prevent any backflow from coming into your drinking water.  The CRD requires residential Backflow testing to be performed every 3 years for Residential Backflow preventers and every year for Commercial Backflow preventers to ensure that the DCVA is working correctly.  The certified irrigation technicians we work with offer this testing if it’s required for your irrigation system.

Here Are a Few Spring Tips For Bringing Your Irrigation and Lawn Sprinkler Systems Back Online After Winter

Irrigation and Lawn Sprinkler Services#1.  Don’t Turn On Your System If The Ground Is Still Frozen

The soil beneath your landscaping is always the last to thaw and a few cold nights where the temperature drops below 0 is all it takes to cause damage to irrigation pipes that have been filled with water and brought back online too early.  While the signs might point to spring, don’t be too eager to rush into starting your system sooner than necessary.  You can use a spade shovel or a pickaxe to ensure that your soil is frost-free to at least a depth of 12 inches. If you find the soil is still quite solid and not very easy to dig it’s probably a good idea to wait a little longer.

#2. Inspect The Irrigation Controls and Settings

Run a check of the irrigation controls and programs. This includes dusting away the cobwebs on the timer, making sure the date and time is correct, and that the settings are appropriate for your landscape’s watering needs. Replace the back-up battery in the timer/controller every 6 months, and keep a copy of the watering schedule nearby.

#3. Remove Any Obstructions That Would Block Water or Sprinkler Heads

It’s good practice to a visual inspection of the sprinkler heads to ensure there are no obstructions.  A misplaced rock, a pile of dirt or mulch, a shrub or bush that grew more than expected are all items that can obstruct a sprinkler head and the flow of water.  A properly tuned lawn sprinkler system relies on the even distribution of water so it’s critical to make sure there are no obstructions.

#4. Replace Damaged or Broken Sprinkler Heads

Sprinkler heads are not always easy to see when nestled snuggly into a healthy lawn or landscape and for this reason they can be damaged quite easily.  It could be someone steps (trips) over one, runs over it with a lawn mower or a wheelbarrow.  Sprinkler heads just weren’t designed to take this type of abuse.  It’s important that a spring start-up of your lawn sprinkler system include a thorough inspection of the sprinkler heads, nozzles and valves.

The point of an automatic sprinkler system is that it’s efficient and saves time and water.  If you have broken sprinkler heads or damaged nozzles your system won’t be operating efficiently and will be wasting water and not watering your lawn or garden as it should.

#5. Inspect Valves For Proper Operation

The valves in your irrigation system regulate the flow of water throughout the entire underground sprinkler system.  If a valve is leaking your irrigation system will be wasting water, which is going to increase your water bill.  It’s important to visually inspect each valve to make sure they are operating properly.  A well designed irrigation system will have easily accessible main valves for this very purpose.  If you have an older system or have moved into a new-to-you home with existing irrigation and you don’t know where the valves are it’s a good idea to call in a professional to take a look.

If you discover very wet areas on your lawn or areas where the water is pooling up then a leaky valve is always a good first suspect and that is something any good irrigation contractor would be able to repair.

#6. Have The Water Pressure Checked

Lawn sprinkler systems have a safe operating pressure and if that is exceeded the result could be cracked pipes, broken valves and leaks throughout the system.  A simple water pressure gauge can be used to determine what the water pressure is from your home and whether it needs to be regulated or not.

Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping Specializes in Spring Start-Ups of Irrigation and Lawn Sprinkler Systems

Island Pro Mowing and LandscapingWhen you choose Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping to start up your irrigation or lawn sprinkler system you’re partnering with a small local company that understands irrigation systems and how to set everything up correctly for maximum efficiency.  You’ll have the peace of mind knowing your irrigation system has been inspected and worked on by certified irrigation technicians.

If you’d like to receive an estimate from Island Pro to provide irrigation or sprinkler system startup, tune-ups or maintenance for your lawn or garden please give us a call (250) 812-4676 or fill out our contact form and our irrigation specialist can get right back to you.

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Properly Cleaning and Maintaining Your Brick or Paving Stone Driveway, Walkway or Patio Sat, 25 Feb 2017 17:29:57 +0000 Brick and Paver Patio or Driveway Cleaning and Polymeric Sand InstallationsMaintaining Your Brick or Paving Stone Hardscapes
It sure looks beautiful but are you ready for the maintenance?

A brick or paving stone driveway, patio or walkway looks beautiful the first few years after it’s installation but if it’s not maintained and cleaned regularly then it can quickly start to look like an ancient overgrown road with moss and algae on the pavers themselves and weeds and other organics growing up in between them.

The good news is that paving stone driveways and patios can be restored to their former glory, the bad news is there is quite a bit of labor and additional costs involved if you want to do this properly.

Power Washing The Brick or Paving Stone Surfaces

Getting your pavers back into shape starts with a good power washing of the surfaces using a proper surface cleaner.  It’s important to use a surface cleaner because it will evenly distribute the water pressure (you don’t want to damage the pavers).  This process is going to remove all of the dirt and grime from the bricks or pavers and it’s also going to remove most, if not all of the sand and other debris that is in between the joints of the paving stones.

This sand must be replaced with either a regular landscaping type sand (an OK choice) or you can replace it using polymeric sand (the better choice) and there are advantages and disadvantages to each option.

Using Regular Sand Between The Bricks/Paving Stones

Using regular sand is certainly more cost effective but that’s about it… Regular sand will not stop the weeds from growing up between your pavers as it doesn’t develop a hard surface like the polymeric sand will.  Regular sand also will not prevent ants from burrowing under the cracks between your pavers as these are havens for ant colonies.

If you choose to use regular sand this is a project you’ll be doing annually as storm water will wash the sand away quite quickly.  Another thing to keep in mind is that you’ll continually be sweeping sand off the driveway and tracking it around your house and property.

If you have a large, beautiful, brick or paving stone driveway or patio and you care about it’s appearance then don’t choose regular sand.  You’ll be much happier with the results of polymeric sand, as described below.

Using Polymeric Sand Between The Bricks/Paving Stones

Polymeric sand is a blend of properly graded fine sand and a binder compound (polymer) that is specially formulated for filling in the joints between bricks, pavers and natural stones for hardscapes such as patios, driveways and walkways. Polymeric sand was invented by Techniseal in 1999, and it has improved the installation and maintenance of brick and stone hardscapes.

After the paving stone surfaces have been cleaned with a power washer it’s best to let them dry completely before applying the polymeric sand.  If it’s wet out and you try sweeping the sand into the cracks it just creates a big mess and takes longer.  This process is best done on a nice day when the driveway is DRY but only AFTER it’s already been power washed.  You do not want to apply the sand and power wash after as this will be a complete waste of some very expensive sand!

After the polymeric sand has been carefully swept into the cracks between the bricks or paving stones and compacted, the driveway can be sprayed down with water.  The water will be absorbed by the polymeric sand and it will then harden in between the cracks.  The hardened sand will resist weed growth in between the paving stones for quite some time, will help hold the bricks in place, and it also helps stop burrowing insects from making nests under your paving stones.

How Do You Stop Weeds From Growing Between Your Brick or Paving Stones?

Prevent Weeds and Moss From Growing In Between Your Bricks or Paving StonesWeeds and moss growth in between bricks and pavers is an on-going problem for many homeowners in Victoria.  It’s unsightly and takes away from your homes curb appeal.  Polymeric sand is the fix!

When applied properly (avoiding the mistakes listed below), polymeric sand will set into a rock hard surface in between your paver joints that will inhibit weed, moss and algae growth for 3-5 years.

The elements like rain and hail and the regular wear and tear from use such as driving vehicles over the surface regularly will slowly break the polymers in the sand down and it will eventually need to be replaced again after a few years.

Using good quality polymeric sand and adhering to installation best practices will ensure you’re polymeric sand installation lasts as it should.

Don’t Make These Mistakes Installing Polymeric Sand On Your Paver or Brick Hardscape

The installation of polymeric sand is not rocket science, but there is a strong connection between installation quality and how long the product is going to last.  With the added cost of the sand and the labor required to install it you probably want to get this right, or at least make sure the contractor you’ve hired knows what they are doing.

1. Don’t Buy The Cheapest Sand You Can Find! – At one point in time (back in the 1990’s), there was only 1 player in the Polymeric Sand game and that was Techniseal.  Now there are dozens of options when it comes to polymeric sand but it’s important to know they are not all created equal.  If the sand you’re choosing is the cheapest option ($8-$15 per bag) it’s a pretty good chance they’ve used “portland cement” which keeps costs down and also helps speed up the set up time (hardening time).  While that might sound like a good thing, it’s not!  Polymeric sand that uses portland cement also typically uses lower quality polymers that can leave a haze on your pavers that is difficult to clean once it’s set.

Choose a high quality polymeric sand that uses high quality (clear) polymers and avoid polymeric sand that contains portland cement.  Choosing a good quality polymeric sand will make it easier to apply and you’ll end up with a much cleaner finished look.  High quality polymeric sand can go for $20-$40 per bag and the coverage area differs.

Slegg Lumber, Windsor Plywood, Home Depot and Rona are all local suppliers of Polymeric sand from various manufacturers.


Compacting Polymeric Sand Before Watering

Compacting Polymeric Sand In Between Joints.

2. Not Compacting The Polymeric Sand – When polymeric sand is swept into a joint it doesn’t mean the sand has “settled”.  If the polymeric sand hasn’t been compacted there will be air pockets and small voids within the joints.  This weakens your joints and makes them more susceptible to cracking.

After the polymeric sand has been swept into all of the joints between bricks or pavers then it must be compacted.  For the best results a compactor should be used on the driveway as the added weight and vibration really helps to compact the sand and make for a tightly compacted joint that will last much longer.

If you have expensive paving stones or bricks it’s also a good idea to place a layer of very thin plywood, or even a piece of carpet underneath the compactor just to protect the surface of the pavers from damage.

If your quote for polymeric sand installation doesn’t include compaction of the sand you might not be happy with the results.

*Pro Tip – Using a leaf blower on the hardscape surface after sweeping the sand into and compacting the joints is a great way of quickly clearing all of the sand from the surface of the pavers or bricks.  This will ensure the pavers have nice clean, smooth surfaces and all of the polymeric sand remains inside the joints where it belongs.

3. Using Too Much or Too Little Water – In order for the polymeric sand to “set” correctly it must be drenched with water so the polymers can do their work.  If you use too much water you can risk washing away much of the sand and polymers, creating a big mess you’ll need to clean up.  If you don’t use enough water during this process then the polymeric sand will not form a very tight bond and you’ll be left with fragile joints between the pavers.

A fine spray or mist of water is all that is needed to drench the joints.  Apply water until the water just begins to pool on top of the joints, at this point stop watering and allow the water to soak into the joints.  This process might have to be repeated a few times depending on the size and depth of the joints between your pavers or bricks.  You can always dig out some of the sand in an out-of-the-way area to see how deep the water is penetrating and then replace the sand of course.

4. Don’t Apply Polymeric Sand If There Is Even a Slight Chance Of Rain – Rain is the arch enemy of “unset” polymeric sand.  If rain shows up before, during or just after the installation of polymeric sand you’re going to be in for a giant mess!  The rain drops will splatter the sand all over your pavers and because they are now wet, the polymers in the sand will bond to your pavers and they become very difficult to remove.

You want the polymeric sand inside the joints, not all over the bricks.  Ideally polymeric sand is something you should apply when there are a few sunny days in the forecast during and immediately after the completion.  If a shower happens to show up, the area in question should be covered with a tarp or plastic sheeting.  This is easy if you’re working on a small back patio or a walkway but much more complicated if the project is a driveway!

Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping Can Install Polymeric Sand After Power Washing Your Brick or Paver Hardscapes

Island Pro Mowing and LandscapingWhen you choose Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping to power wash and install polymeric sand on your brick or paving stone hardscape you’re partnering with a small local company that understands the process and how to do an excellent quality job.

You’ll have the peace of mind knowing your brick or paver hardscape has been power washed with care and the polymeric sand will be installed correctly so you can enjoy it’s maximum service life.

If you’d like to receive an estimate from Island Pro to power wash and install polymeric sand on your brick or paving stone hardscape please give us a call (250) 812-4676 or fill out our contact form and we’ll be getting right back to you.

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Blackberry Bush Removal Sidney to Victoria Fri, 11 Nov 2016 04:44:21 +0000 Blackberry Bush Removal Services

Blackberry Bush Removal Sidney To Victoria BC
We can remove established and overgrown blackberry bushes.

Do you have a large amount of wild and overgrown blackberry bushes on your property that you’d like to have cleared away?  Maybe you’ve just purchased a home in the area and there are large sections of blackberry bushes you’d like to remove from the property?  Maybe you’ve had the property for many years and in the hustle and bustle of a busy life you just “let them go” and now they need to be reigned in?  Whatever your reason for removing the blackberry bushes, we’re glad you’ve found our website because we can help you reclaim that lost land!

There are two types of blackberry bushes on Vancouver Island.  The trailing blackberry (small, trails along ground and native to BC) and then we have the Himalayan Blackberry which are the ones the can grow into a large towering mass and overtake your property.  They are an invasive species, not natural to our Island.

Removing Blackberry Bushes Reclaims Your Lost Land.

It’s amazing how much of your available land blackberry bushes can take over in a very short amount of time.  That small, easily managed strip of blackberry bush can turn into a monster of a problem in just a few short years.  If you love the taste of blackberries and just have to get your fix there are numerous places to buy or pick them without turning sections of your property into blackberry jungle.

Removing Blackberry Bushes The Right Way From The Start

There are many companies that will claim to remove your blackberry bushes from your property but are they really doing it the right way?  From experience we can tell you that simply “cutting them back” won’t work, in fact they’ll come back with a vengeance!  Sprays and weed killers will do nothing on an established blackberry bush so there is no sense wasting your money on that either.  The only way to get rid of them once and for all is to actually cut them down and then dig up their root systems.  Even then you’ll still have some stragglers that might emerge but they’ll be much easier to remove if they are kept in check.

Here’s How We Remove Your Blackberries

#1.  We start by cutting them down using gas powered trimmers.  This get’s rid of the big mass of bushes and allows us access to the base of the plants.

#2.  We use picks and shovels to dig up the actual root system.  (If an excavator can be used we might go that route – it’s faster!)

#3.  We load everything into our dumping trailer or in some cases we’ll use a dumpster bin.

#4.  We haul away the blackberry mess with our dump trailer or one of our yard waste dumpsters (depending on how much we’re removing), leaving you with newly reclaimed land.

Important Points To Consider When Removing Blackberry Bushes From Your Property

Removing Blackberry Bushes

Removing the blackberries from this property exposed a lot of new land for our customer.

Blackberry Bushes on Septic Fields:  Are your blackberry bushes growing on top of your septic leech field?  This could be a very expensive problem for you in a few years!  Blackberry bushes like the invasive Himalayan Blackberry can have very deep, woody root systems that can work themselves into your septic field piping, causing clogs, breakage and septic issues that can be very expensive to fix down the road.

Blackberry Bushes on Property Lines:  If your blackberry bush problem is growing along a property line then it can complicate things if your neighbour doesn’t want them removed.  It’s best to discuss this with your neighbour to see if they are opposed or if they’ll even split the cost with you since they are going to benefit from their removal as well.  If they don’t want any part of the project then your blackberry bushes can be cut back right to the property line.

Blackberry Bushes on Municipal Property:  It’s not uncommon for Blackberry bushes on municipal property to encroach onto private property.  While it’s not possible to remove them totally without permission from your council they can be trimmed back right to your property line.  Here is some more information on invasive plants from the CRD.  If you were very nice about it and approached your town council they might be able to approve removal of the blackberry bush only if it’s on municipal property and it would have to be causing damage or hardship to you or your property.

What To Do With Your Newly Reclaimed Land?

Depending on the size of your blackberry infestation you could be looking at a lot of new usable space on your property when the clean up is complete, what are you going to do with it?  Many of our customers are looking for low maintenance landscaping to fill the void created after removing the blackberry bushes.  Low maintenance could mean a selection of native plantings with a nicely bark mulched surface, or maybe you’d like to turn the area into more lawn space or a play area or a dry river bed or maybe you don’t want to do anything with the space, you just wanted the blackberries gone!

What About Lost Privacy After Removal Of The Blackberry Bushes?

There are some instances where the blackberry bushes might be growing along a property line and they are large and established enough that they are creating privacy or separation between properties.  These do not help your property value, they are actually a problem and detract from your curb appeal.  A better solution for privacy after the blackberry bushes have been removed is to install a new cedar hedge, which will look great, be low maintenance and will increase your property value as they grow.

How Much Does Blackberry Bush Removal Cost?

Cost To Remove Blackberry Bushes From Your PropertyThat’s a good question, and it’s tough to give you an accurate answer over the Internet.  There are other local companies that charge for removal based on the square footage taken up by the blackberry bush.  We can’t accurately price that way simply because we have no idea what might be “underneath” that massive blackberry bush on your property.  A perfect example would be a recent project where we started removing the blackberries only to find that the neighbours had been using the overgrown bushes as their own personal dump site!  We were hauling out garbage, tile, brick, old christmas trees and lawn refuse that the neighbour threw into our clients property!  This unexpected labour/handling can increase the cost of a project.

Other considerations that will affect cost of blackberry bush removal would be the equipment required.  Would an excavator be the best choice?  Are we going to have to remove the blackberry bushes by hand?  Are they on a steep slope? (makes for a tough day, trust me!),  Can we position our dump trailer or a rubbish bin in close proximity to the blackberry bushes being removed so we don’t need to drag the bushes across your property to get rid of them?  There are many variables that prevent us from estimating these projects by the square foot.

In order to accurately provide an estimate for the removal of your blackberry bushes we’d need to have a site visit so we can take a good look at the project and come up with a plan for removal that will work best.

Will Blackberry Bush Removal Be A Permanent Solution?  Won’t The Blackberries Just Grow Back?

If they are removed properly, by the roots and then maintained on a semi-annual basis then yes, it’s going to be a permanent solution.  Especially if the landscape is transformed into something else like a new flower garden or low maintenance display of native plantings.  Landscaping cloth can be laid down to prevent other weeds and emergents from taking hold but there will still be blackberry stragglers and new shoots that come up.  The new blackberry plants will sprout from the seeds of all the fallen berries you never picked or the birds didn’t eat over the years.  These new blackberry shoots will need to be taken care of and pulled out as they appear and long before they can establish a foot hold again.

Blackberries really only become a problem when they are just “left alone” and not touched for many years.

Why Choose Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping To Remove Blackberry Bushes From Your Property?

Island Pro Mowing and LandscapingIf you’ve got a blackberry bush problem from Sidney to Victoria or the surrounding area and you want to have them removed you’ve literally got dozens and dozens of companies to choose from.  We know this

We just want you to know that when you choose Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping you are partnering with a small, locally owned and operated landscaping company that is big enough to handle your toughest blackberry removal projects yet small enough to still care about your individual needs as our customer.  You can count on us removing the blackberries from the roots so they won’t be a problem in the future.

If you would like to have an estimate to remove the overgrown blackberry bushes your Greater Victoria property (from Sidney to Victoria) please give us a call 250-812-4676 or fill out our contact form and we’ll get right back to you so we can schedule an appropriate time.

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Island Pro Completes Allan Block Retaining Wall Installation Certification Course Tue, 25 Oct 2016 15:52:01 +0000 Allan Block Retaining Wall SystemsOn October 5th 2016, the Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping team travelled to Slegg Lumber in Nanaimo to attend an Allan Block retaining wall contractor certification course.

After a jam packed day learning about retaining walls in a hands on fashion, taking a written test and then building a wall; our team is now properly trained on the proper preparation and construction methods of Allan Block retaining wall systems.

We are now more knowledgeable on the Allan Block product line, we understand how to assess your build site, how to properly determine any variables that will affect it’s construction and how to build a retaining wall system that will last our customers a very long time.

Our Team Learned About:

  • The Allan Block product line.
  • How Allan Block products work.
  • Basic principals of retaining wall design.
  • How to properly estimate retaining wall materials.
  • How to determine and account for your type of soil.
  • How Allan Block and geogrid work together.
  • What causes retaining walls to fail.
  • How to manage water behind the retaining wall.
  • How to build a wall that might have a weight surcharge on top.  (parking etc..)
  • Proper construction methods particular to Allan Block.

We’ve taken the extra step of becoming certified installers of the Allan Block product line so we can be knowledgeable about the products our customers are asking about and so we can install retaining wall systems that will beautify our customers properties while performing the important task of reclaiming otherwise unusable land.

Island Pro Mowing and LandscapingWhy Choose Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping For Retaining Wall Construction?

We understand that you have many landscaping contractors to choose from throughout Victoria. We just want you to know that when you choose to work with Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping you are partnering with a small, locally owned business that has more than 15 years experience implementing retaining wall solutions into properties just like yours.

Our entire team has taken the Allan Block contractor certification course so you can be confident in a quality installation of your new wall.

If you’d like to get the process started then please give us a call 250-812-4676 or fill out our online contact form and we’ll get back to you right away (usually the same day).

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Landscaping Your Newly Purchased Property in Victoria Mon, 26 Sep 2016 19:49:09 +0000 Landscaping an established Property in Victoria BC

Landscaping Your Newly Purchased Property in Victoria

Have you just purchased an older home in an established neighborhood in Sidney, Saanich or Victoria BC?  Chances are you’re dealing with a very established and mature landscape too!  Oak Bay, James Bay, Sidney, Deep Cove, North Saanich, West Saanich are all areas with homes that could be well over 50 years old.  Purchasing a home with an established and mature landscape can pose unique challenges for a homeowner who might want to make changes to better suit their families use of the property.

Below are a list of different challenges we’ve encountered as professional landscapers working on properties throughout Greater Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula.  This post includes information directly from the CRD (Capital Regional District) and The City of Victoria websites pertaining to various landscaping projects a homeowner might wish to take on.  If you’ve just purchased a home here and intend to complete a few landscaping projects you might want to bookmark this page as it will be a helpful resource for you and cut down on the amount of searching you’ll need to do.

Landscaping For an Older Home in An Established Neighborhood

The older the home and neighborhood the more “established” and “mature” the landscaping is going to be.  This could mean large mature trees, large mature shrubs and hedges and likely garden beds that could be overgrown and out-of-control.  There could be existing hardscaped elements such as porches, patios, walkways and retaining walls that are either still in great shape or they could be showing their age and might need to be replaced with more modern materials.

Landscaping for an older home in an established neighborhood usually starts with a good clean up of the property so we have a baseline to move forward from.  Trimming and pruning the trees on the property, removing black berry bushes or other intrusive growth, reshaping shrubs and hedges, cleaning out garden beds of debris, mowing the lawns and re-establishing the edges of your landscape around gardens and other elements is an excellent start.

The initial clean up will make a big difference in curb appeal for any Victoria property that hasn’t received this kind of landscaping care in a few years.

So What’s Next After a Good Clean Up…?

Once we’ve cleaned up the property and brought it back into a more manageable state you might just want to stop right there!  You’d be surprised at how good a property looks after it’s received a good professional “haircut”!

Moving forward with additional landscaping projects would obviously depend on your particular property and the space you have to work with, your hopes and desires for the property and last but not least the budget you have to work with.  Yes, that pesky budget.

Redoing Gardens or Building New Ones

Rebuilding a GardenIf you’re older home has garden beds that have been neglected for a time they will no doubt be full of overgrown weeds and wildly growing plants and shrubs that will need to be trimmed back into submission or removed entirely.  Not too mention your garden beds could have a pile of organic debris like leaves and pine needles if you have large mature trees on the property, which is quite common in Victoria.  Large Oak trees, Maple trees, Weeping Willows and others can contribute to more leaves on your property than you could imagine!

Some homeowners do choose to restore the existing garden beds by having all the weeds removed, tilling in some fresh soil, re-planting and laying down a layer of fresh mulch.  If the beds aren’t in too bad of shape and were regularly maintained by the previous owners then they could easily be salvageable and this option would be worth while.

Other homeowners prefer to start fresh, removing the existing gardens (usually with a small excavator) and then with their own ideas or the help of a designer (highly recommended) come up with a new plan for the back or front yard for a landscaping team to implement.

Boulder gardens, water gardens, zen gardens, low maintenance gardens, xeriscaped gardens, edible gardens, you name it!  Victoria is home to just about every type of garden imaginable and we are fortunate enough to have pristine conditions for gardening and landscaping projects almost year round.

Rebuilding Cracked or Collapsing Retaining Walls

Retaining walls are beautiful additions to any property in Victoria but on older properties it’s not uncommon to find retaining walls that have large cracks, have started to bow in the center or have even collapsed under the weight of the earth they hold back.  Most often these problems are the result of poor drainage and the resulting hydrostatic pressure (water pressure) behind the wall causes extreme stress, leading to cracks and collapse.

We see a variety of materials used for retaining walls from railroad ties to formed concrete and if they’ve failed then it’s usually a case of removing it from the property and replacing it with a more modern and appealing retaining wall product like Allan Block or another “lego like” modern retaining wall system.

Retaining Walls & Building Permits in Victoria

In the CRD (Capital Regional District) retaining walls that are over 1.2 meters (3.9ft) in height will require a building permit.  In addition any retaining walls over 1.2 meters (3.9ft) in height must be designed and signed off by a geo-technical and structural engineer to ensure the wall is properly constructed for your site conditions.  An exception applies to the permit for “terraced or tiered” retaining walls where the distance between terraces is equal to or greater than twice the height of each terrace.  This does not account for any covenants that might be on your property.

Replacing Cracked or Sunken Patios

Rebuilding a Cracked or Sunken PatioA concrete or brick paver patio that was installed 20+ years ago might not be looking as good as it once did.  It’s not uncommon for the ground to settle and shift (often from poor drainage) and for a patio to become uneven or a concrete slab to crack or collapse or even tree roots to cause damage.

Repairing a concrete or paver patio is not as easy as many homeowners think and a repair is only a temporary fix if the patio is no longer level.  Quite often an old patio or concrete slab will need to be replaced rather than repaired.

This is a labor intensive process as the old concrete or pavers will need to be removed first, usually with a jack hammer and a small machine like a skid steer or mini excavator.  After your old patio or concrete has been removed the bare land can then be regraded, prepped with proper drainage (to help prevent this problem from happening again) and a new patio can be installed.  This is a fairly involved project but it afflicts many Victoria area homes, especially those in established neighborhoods where the homes are 30-100 years old.

Removing Dangerous Trees

Tree removal is a sticky subject in Greater Victoria as there are some fairly strict rules when it comes to what can or can’t be removed from a property.  A permit from the city is required to prune, remove or alter any protected tree. This also includes trees which are dead, dying or hazardous.

If you have a tree on your Victoria property that you’d like to remove you will need to have a ISA certified arborist come out to look at the tree and file a report.

From The City of Victoria Website

The following native species are protected Over 50 cm in height:

  • Garry Oak Quercus garryana
  • Arbutus Arbutus menziesii
  • Pacific Dogwood Cornus nuttalii
  • Pacific Yew Taxus brevifolia

Over 60 cm in diameter at breast height

  • Western Red Cedar Thuja plicata
  • Douglas Fir Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • Big Leaf Maple Acer macrophyllum

Any tree on private property with a trunk over 80 cm in diameter at breast height is also protected. Any tree growing on a steep slope, or within 15 metres of a watercourse or trees identified as significant are also protected.

Read More At The City of Victoria Website

Replacing The Lawn With Sod, Seed or Syn-Lawn

Replacing an Old LawnIf the lawn on your older property was unkept and not taken care of over the years then replacement is usually the fastest way to a beautiful lawn.  Whether you choose to go with sod (turf) or seed it really depends on your budget and how fast you’d like to enjoy your new lawn.  With sod, you have a lawn in 2 weeks.  With seed it can take quite a bit longer.

Another option we’re starting to see our customers request is synthetic lawn.  It looks like a real lawn but you’ll never have to water it or mow it again!  You won’t need to store your lawn mower anymore and you won’t need an expensive irrigation system either, unless you have some gardens or hedges you need watered.

There is some additional prep work required for the installation of a synthetic lawn but the finished product looks fantastic.

Installing An Irrigation System

Without an irrigation system in place your lawns and gardens are going to be at the mercy of mother nature and you, if you plan to water on your own.  From a professional standpoint, this rarely ever works out to the benefit of the landscape!  Regular and consistent watering is key to a healthy and thriving landscape, yard and garden.  This poses a problem for those hooked up to city water where during the summer months there are usually strict regulations in place.

With a properly installed and setup irrigation system you’ll be delivering precise amounts of water to each area of your property (called zones).  If you have a garden or area of your property that requires more water than another, this can be programmed right into the irrigation controller for hands free operation.

Watering Information From The CRD
Stage 1 of the Water Conservation Bylaw Use Schedule is in effect May 1 through September 30, each and every year, unless more stringent water conservation measures are required.
Read More on Watering Schedules

Working With a Landscape Designer

Landscape DesignThere are many benefits to working with a landscape designer if your project is quite large and ambitious.  You’ll get the benefit of their experience in designing other landscapes in the area, their knowledge of local and native plants and their perspective on the latest landscaping trends.

Yes, it’s not cheap to work with a professional landscape designer, you can expect to add $600 – $5000+ to your project cost but the reward is a beautifully designed space that you might not have even thought of if it were left up to you.

A designer will spend time getting to know how you intend to use the property and what you’d like to see in your landscape.  Will your children or grandchildren play on the property?  Do you have pets? Do you like to entertain guests frequently?  Do you just want a peaceful place to relax and read on a sunday morning?

If you’re doing the landscaping on your own there are several garden centers in the Victoria area that provide free landscape design services for customers who are buying plants and other landscaping supplies.

Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping Specializes in Landscaping For Newly Purchased Homes in Established Neighborhoods.

Mulch Spreading and Delivery Services in Sidney, Saanich and Victoria.If you’ve just purchased a home in an established neighborhood in Victoria or the surrounding area and you want to complete some landscaping work you’ve literally got dozens and dozens of companies to choose from.  We know this

We just want you to know that when you choose Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping you are partnering with a small, locally owned and operated landscaping company that is big enough to handle your toughest landscaping projects yet small enough to still care about your individual needs as our customer.

If you would like to have a consultation and estimate for some landscaping projects on your Victoria property please give us a call 250-812-4676 or fill out our contact form and we’ll get right back to you so we can schedule an appropriate time.

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Affordable Landscaping Projects To Consider For 2016-2017 Thu, 08 Sep 2016 19:16:00 +0000 Affordable Landscaping Projects

Everyone wants their home to be surrounded by a well-planned out and beautiful looking landscape.  The problem for most homeowners from Victoria to Sidney is they don’t have an unlimited supply of money so they need landscaping ideas and solutions that make can make a big visual impact on their property, without making a deep dent in the bank account.

Landscaping your property almost always offers an excellent return on investment (contributing as much as 20% of a properties overall value!) but what if your budget for landscaping is only $10,000 or less?  With real estate prices currently hovering around $500,000 for an average household with enough property to even landscape to begin with; a budget of $10,000 or less would only amount to 2% of the total value of the property.

So…. When making small investments into your landscaping you want to make sure that your choices are going to make a BIG contribution to the overall appeal and value of your property, so where you spend that money can make a HUGE difference!

Here are a few Landscaping ideas for homeowners looking to spend less than $10,000 but still want to make a very meaningful transformation to their landscape.

#1.  Power Washing The Hardscapes On Your Property

Power Washing

Exposed Aggregate After Cleaning

This is a very fast and affordable way to make a big visual improvement on your property.  If you’ve just purchased a home in an established neighborhood in Greater Victoria then it’s likely a 20-40+ year old home and the surrounding hardscapes would benefit greatly from a good cleaning.

Driveways, decks, patios and other concrete, brick or cement surfaces can get dirty and covered in algae, moss, dirt and grime over long periods of time or especially in areas with many trees surrounding the property.

Power washing these surfaces will revitalize their appearance to an almost like new surface and it’s not going to take a long time or cost a lot of money.

Surfaces That Can Be Power Washed:

  • Exposed aggregate
  • Concrete and cement
  • Retaining walls
  • Brick patios w/polymeric sand
  • Driveways
  • Walkways
  • Pool decks

Power washing the hardscape surfaces on a typical property in the Greater Victoria area (including Sidney) are generally billed by the square foot.

If you have a long, heavily soiled driveway and a patio that you’d like washed then you could expect to pay anywhere from $200 – $1000 to have a power washing company come and get your hard surfaces looking like new.  The cost for your particular power washing project will depend on site accessibility, the surface area to be cleaned and how soiled the surface is.

If your hardscape surface is interlocking brick or paving stones then in addition to power washing you’ll also need to consider the application of polymeric sand to ensure the bricks are protected from movement and it will prevent weed and moss growth in between the joints.

#2.  A Thorough Property Clean Up Will Make a Huge Difference

Yard and Property Clean UpSometimes it’s the little things that make the most difference.  There is no sense spending a bunch of money on your landscaping until you know exactly what you’re working with.  For many properties (especially if it’s been a rental or neglected) this means a total yard clean up.

Getting trees and shrubs pruned up and uniform and preventing them from touching your house, cleaning out the garden beds of all the debris, collecting and removing all the fallen leaves, mowing and edging the lawn, there is no end to the amount of property maintenance that most homeowners on Vancouver Island face.  Often times the work starts to get away on us which just makes the problem even worse as the weeks and months go by.

Yard and Property Clean Ups Could Include:

  • Leaf collection and removal
  • Garden bed clean outs
  • Spreading fresh mulch
  • Mowing grassy areas
  • Establishing new garden edges
  • Gutter cleaning and brightening

Property clean ups usually involve a small crew with a truck, dump trailer or one of our roll-off yard waste dumpster bins (for bigger clean ups) some basic lawn and garden power and hand tools.  Property clean ups are usually in the $500 – $1500+ dollar range but it really depends on how much work is going to be involved and how big the property we’re cleaning up is.

#3.  What About a New Deck or Patio?

New Patio Construction

New Exposed Aggregate Patio

We’re blessed with beautiful weather most of the year and there is no better way to relax in the cool summer breeze than on your own backyard deck or patio.  Decks can be built out of materials like pressure treated lumber or cedar for a more decorative appearance.

A well built deck could typically last 10-15 years or even more if it’s cared for and painted/stained every few years.  If you have an existing deck that’s just a little old and weathered you can even consider refacing or refinishing it.

Patios are a great low maintenance landscaping solution for a homeowner that doesn’t like the idea of having to paint their deck every few years or deal with insects and rotting wood.  A properly built concrete or brick paver patio needs nothing but a power washing every year or so and will look good for as long as you live in your home.

The cost to build a deck or a patio will vary greatly depending on what materials you’ve chosen, the terrain it’s going to be built on, how big the structure will be and more but generally $5000 – $10,000 is a good ball park estimate to build a nice deck or patio for an average sized property.

#4.  What About an Outdoor Cooking Area?

If you’re considering the addition of a patio or a new deck then it would be perfect timing to consider a beautiful new outdoor cooking area.  Maybe you’d like to have a covered area to BBQ in your backyard ? Or maybe you’d like to have a nice river rock fire pit surrounded by benches for those outdoor get togethers.  If you enjoy entertaining guests then an outdoor cooking area is like an extension of your kitchen and when the weather is nice, you know where you’d rather be!

#5.  Have You Considered a Privacy Hedge or Fence?

Privacy Hedges

A Mature Hedge Contributes To Property Value.

Increasing privacy usually increases the value of your property too.  Hedges make an excellent investment into any residential landscape and they increase your property value as they mature and fill out, offering the looks (and privacy) that make them desirable in a landscape.

The downside to a privacy hedge is that they aren’t an “instant fix” it can take a few years for your hedge to reach a desirable size that offers the privacy you seek.    Hedges also need to be watered regularly (usually with an irrigation system) and trimmed and pruned annually or they will not grow thick and healthy.

For home and property owners that don’t want to invest the time into their privacy then fences are another solution.  A decorative wood fence enclosing your backyard or as a divider between two properties can be built relatively quickly and depending on your property size, fairly inexpensively too.

Decorative wood privacy fences are usually billed by the linear foot with special items (such as gates or clearing brush) adding to the cost.  Depending on your property size and the materials you’ve chosen most small to mid sized properties in the Greater Victoria area could expect to spend somewhere between $3000-$10,000 to have a nice, custom wood fence constructed or much more if you’ve got extravagant tastes and a very large property!

#6.  What About Garden Structures?

Gazebos, pergolas and arbors make fantastic additions to any outdoor landscape and can offer a beautiful spot to sit and relax for a cup of tea or to read the morning newspaper.  There is no shortage of dilapidated gazebos and other garden structures that were poorly built (like the kits you buy from a store) or have been neglected and many homeowners are looking to rebuild them and enjoy them once again.

You probably already know that you can buy garden structures like these from any big box home improvement store.  You just might not be happy with the quality or longevity of your new garden structure.  When you hire a company like Island Pro to build your garden structure you’ll be getting a custom one-off structure built for your property using premium materials and quality craftsmanship that will have your neighbors saying “wow!”.

#7. Restoring Or Replacing Your Front or Back Lawn

Turf and Sod Installation

New Lawn & Irrigation System.

Is a beautiful, lush, green lawn in your plans for your dream landscaping?  Restoring an old, dead section of your lawn, replacing the entire thing or even installing a new lawn where you never had one before is all possible with the budget we’ve outlined above.

For many average sized properties in the Greater Victoria area it’s often surprising to the homeowners how affordable it is to have a new lawn installed.  Turf or Sod is the most popular option because it’s affordable and literally gives you beautiful, lush, green grass in a matter of days!  After your property is graded, a lawn soil mix is spread down and we’re ready to roll out your new grass!

Turf is estimated based on the square footage of the property and the amount of prep work and labor required to install it.  If you’re working with a $10,000 budget then a front and back lawn might not be as far out of your reach as you thought!

#8.  Consider Installing An Irrigation System

If you’re going to invest some money into a lawn and gardens or something like a privacy hedge then proper irrigation is critical to the long-term success of your landscape design.  Many homeowners think because they have a small property or “they’ll stay on top of the watering” that they won’t need an irrigation system in place.  The result is usually dead lawns, gardens and privacy hedges!

An irrigation system takes the guess work (and the hassle) out of your watering schedule.  Let’s face it… Life get’s in the way.  You’re dealing with work, kids, hobbies and other more important tasks and often the watering can go unnoticed or forgotten, the problem is that your lawn and garden isn’t that forgiving when you don’t water it!

We’ve had irrigation systems installed on client properties for as little as $3000 -/+ all the way up to $10,000+.  The size of your property, frequency of watering and the volume required will determine the cost of your irrigation.  If you’re going to be spending a few thousand dollars on a new lawn or a hedge for example an irrigation system will ensure it survives!

Why Choose Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping?

Island Pro Mowing and LandscapingWhen you Choose Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping you are partnering with a small, locally owned and owner/operated company.  We are insured to work on properties such as yours and are licensed to conduct business throughout all of the municipalities that make up Greater Victoria.

Our staff wear uniforms, are properly trained and will always be friendly and courteous.  By choosing Island Pro you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your property is in excellent hands.

If you’d like to schedule a time for us to provide you with an estimate on any of the above landscaping projects please give us a call 250-812-4676 or fill out our online contact form and someone will be getting right back to you.

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Our New Fall Yard and Property Clean Up Packages Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:14:39 +0000

Fall is edging closer with every passing day which means we are getting closer and closer to the rush of fall yard and property clean ups.  This year we're trying something different by offering all inclusive packages for our customers who want their yard cleaned up.

These clean up packages will have your Sidney, Saanich or Victoria property looking fantastic and well cared for at a predictable and fair price.

 Some Yard Clean Ups We've Completed

Our Yard & Property Clean Up Packages

These packages are our base price for the clean up services listed.  Depending on your property, it's size, our access, and the condition your estimate could be higher.  An accurate estimate will require a site visit.

The Basic Yard Clean Up
Starts @ $599.00 + Tax.

This is a perfect yard clean up package for your smaller rental property, an older or disabled loved ones property, or just for a homeowner who's let their yard get away from them.

  • Trim trees/shrubs in front yard.
  • Weed and blow out front garden beds.
  • Leaf collection and removal.
  • Mow your lawn.
  • 1 dump trailer run.

This basic package will quickly get your yard into a clean and maintainable state.  Additional services are available but will add to the cost.

The Premium Front/Back Yard Clean Up
Starts @ $1599.00 + Tax.

If you're getting ready to sell your home or just purchased that fixer upper then this yard clean up package is for you.  Both your front and back yards will look awesome once again.

  • Trim all trees/shrubs.
  • Weed and blow out garden beds.
  • Fresh mulch in garden beds (up to 4 yards - additional is extra)
  • Leaf collection and removal.
  • Mow front/back lawn.
  • Power wash driveway.
  • 1 dump run.

If you have a medium sized property and want a good thorough clean up of your yard and garden then this package would be a really good starting point.

The Island Pro Signature Yard Clean Up
Starts @ $2799.00 + Tax

If your property is fairly large, is an estate that has an intricate landscape or has been neglected for a long time then this is the perfect package for you as it's literally a total makeover.  We'll go through your front and back yards and entire property from top-to-bottom and we'll even clean up the exterior of your home too.

  • Trim all trees/shrubs.
  • Weed and blow out garden beds.
  • Hand edge around garden beds.
  • Fresh mulch in garden beds (up to 6 yards - additional is extra)
  • Leaf collection and removal.
  • Mow front/back lawn.
  • Clean and de-moss roof.
  • Clean out gutters and wash gutter faces.
  • Power wash driveway.
  • Power wash patio and other hardscapes.
  • 1 dump run. (additional will be extra)

If you're looking to restore your curb appeal, getting ready to list your home, or get a rental back in shape, this is the best package for you.

Additional Services Can Be Added To Any Yard Clean Up

These packages are just a starting point and you can add additional services if you'd like too.

  • Additional mulch delivery/spreading
  • Top soil spreading
  • Tree or shrub removal
  • Brush removal
  • Blackberry bush removal
  • Power washing
  • Gutter cleaning and washing
  • Cleaning skylights
  • Planting of seasonal flowers
  • Landscape fabric installation
  • New lawn installation / rehabilitation
  • Fence tear down / removal
  • If you don't see something please ask!

Still Have Questions About Our Yard Clean Ups?

Take a look and see if your question is asked below.

Getting Ready For Your Yard Clean Up

It helps us immensely when everything is ready-to-go when we show up to your property.  This saves us time and we can get to work immediately after we've taken our crew on a quick walk-around of your site.

  • Make sure your driveway is clear of vehicles.
  • Make sure any pets or children are kept inside.
  • Make sure we have a contact number if you won't be home.

We'll take care of everything else, so just sit back and relax while we get your property back into shape.

Are You Ready To Schedule Your Yard Clean Up With Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping?

Cam McLennan President of Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping

Cam McLennan

Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping Inc. is a lawn maintenance and landscaping contractor based out of Sidney, BC and serving Sidney, Saanich and Victoria.

With more than 15 years experience in the local landscaping industry you'll have the peace of mind knowing that you are partnering with a small owner/operated company.  Our team takes great pride in the work we do while we clean up the yards and properties of our clients.

If you're looking for the best, most thorough yard clean up ever from a company that has a reputation for quality work and outstanding customer service then give Island Pro Mowing and Landscaping a call today and we'll schedule your yard clean up estimate.

Cam McLennan - President Island Pro

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