Fire Pit Installation & Landscaping

Fire pit installation - landscaping

The central location in the backyard for gathering with family and friends is the fire pit. The fire pit is the meeting place for an afternoon barbeque, late-night drinks and gooey s’mores. Or even a morning after camping out with the kids in the backyard. It’s an escape right outside your door.

This hot commodity is an addition many people think is crucial to have in any yard. It will jazz it up and bring that cozy feel to your outdoor space. So, how easy is it to build a fire pit, and what should you know before you start? Well, we have the tips and insight to any fire pit installation here, and for help landscaping in a proper backyard hearth, contact Landscape 360.

Regulations, Safety & Local Codes

In Calgary, Fire pits are not uncommon in most backyards. However, backyard fire pits, outdoor fireplaces and fire features must meet the Calgary Community Standards Bylaw for the safety of you and your community.

These bylaws not only are enforced but provide suggestions and good housekeeping tips as well. It includes information on fire pit rules, like wood-burning regulations and fire pit proximity when choosing a location. Familiarizing yourself with the local rules for your new fire pit installation or purchase could save you from being fined. You wouldn’t want an infraction from the city or an accident to occur because you weren’t following protocol.

Things To Consider

It also mentions remembering to consider your neighbours when setting up a fire pit. You don’t want the smoke to blow into their yard and cause problems for them. Be sure to keep this in mind when starting your build.

If you are hesitant to install a fire pit yourself, calling a professional landscaping service with pristine stonework skills and experience might be a safer and the least nerve-wracking option for you.

Picking An Optimal Fire Pit Location

fire pit installation location

When picking the perfect orientation and location for your fire pit, there is a lot to take into consideration. You will want to locate the pit at least 10-20 feet away from your home or other flammable structures such as a shed or gazebo.

It should also be on a level, non-flammable surface if your pit or fire feature isn’t built into the ground. A stone slab or a concrete pad works well if you decide to keep your fire pit on the deck.

Remember to avoid any overhanging trees or shrubs and ensure there is good airflow with a clearance of at least 10ft.

Be Weary Of The Wind

An important question you’ll want to answer concerning your fire pits location is, which way the wind typically blows? If you pick the wrong spot, wind can have the power to ruin your yard, home and more. Knowing this will help you plan a site that doesn’t get smoke blown into your home, your neighbour’s house or into everyone’s faces.

Next is finding out if you have a particularly windy area in your yard? If so, it’s best to install your fire pit somewhere else and out of the wind’s direction. You’ll also want to ensure that there is nothing close by that could be affected by the wind’s direction. Overhanging trees, shrubs or a pergola could easily catch fire from a spark.

If you choose to get a professional landscaper in and they notice a big problem area where the wind could affect your fire pit, they will probably suggest installing windscreens to alleviate the wind gusts.

Pit Size & Design

When building a fire pit, you need to account for height, circumference and the overall size of the design of the pit.

Fire pit size installation size and design options
Height & Circumference

Though you may want a large fire pit that will gather the whole family around, building one a bit smaller will ensure your bonfires don’t get too big and out of control. A fire pit should preferably measure 36-44 inches wide. This way, there’s room for everyone to get warm without causing issues.

It is also crucial to build your fire pit with a retaining wall. It needs a height of 1-2ft max to ensure the flames remain tame during your outdoor gatherings. But, it will keep the logs from rolling out. It is also safer for children because they won’t have to lean right into the flames to get their marshmallows nice and toasty when they go to roast.

Pit Size & Design

When installing a fire pit in your yard, think about the design option you’d like when picking a style and how it will fit into your yard or the atmosphere you’d like to create for your yard.

You could choose a traditional build with a rock wall barrier. Go with a classy gas fire table. Or perhaps a portable pit laid out on a new concrete patio or stonework landscaping. The options are endless, and the fire pit inspiration behind your next outdoor renovation can really create an environment that fits your aesthetic and yard.

If you plan out your landscaping around your firepit feature, you can have the oasis you always dreamed of. For those expert DIYers, this task may be easy. But for those who need a little help or are thinking of going more extravagant, Landscape 360 can help. We’ll create the backyard you’ve always dreamed of with a fire pit as your focal point and central gathering spot.

Traditional Build
traditional fire pit installation

If you select the traditional route when building a fire pit, be sure to use materials suited for high temperatures. Not all stones are appropriate for high heats. If subjected to such temperatures, they could crack and splinter, or even certain concrete blocks could explode when overheated.

Note that if you use bricks, stones, or rocks, include a stainless-steel barrier between the retaining wall and the fire. It could save you from a disaster occurring.

The options for building a traditional pit are the DIY block kits for an easy at-home build. Or you could hire a landscaper to create a backyard oasis featuring custom masonry for a unique look tailored to your style.

Tables/Portables
fire pit table installation

If you decide upon a fire table or portable fire pit, make sure you have laid out an area with a concrete slab, patio stones, or a deck protector big enough for the pit to sit on. As mentioned earlier, a flat surface off the ground or deck will keep your yard safer, so use a buffer.

The styles for portable and table fire pits are endless. You can choose between metal or concrete prefab bowls, a fire table, or a globe/cage-style fire pit to create that look for your yard you’d always dreamed of.

Choose Your Heat Source: Gas Or Wood?

The biggest difference between wood-burning and gas fire pits is the cost. Everything else comes down to preference. Though gas fire pits are more expensive, there are many things to consider when choosing between the two.

Gas Fire Pit Installation

A gas fire pit installation requires a professional, but it provides a different ambiance, less overall maintenance and less hazard. A gas fire pit also gives off no sound or smoke, giving it a less natural fire effect. However, it is nice to know no smoke will get into your eyes like a traditional wood-burning fire pit can produce.

Wood Burning Pits

Wood burning pits do have perks too, they are natural, don’t require a gas hook up, and have that realistic fire crackle we all think about when we plan a bonfire. It does require more maintenance. There’s a constant need to stoke the fire to keep it burning and ash cleanup afterwards. The embers are also a fire hazard but easy to control if you are diligent.

Invest In Safety Gear

fire extinguishers fire pit safety

If you’re getting a fire pit installation in your yard, be sure to do it responsibly. Ensure you buy a fire extinguisher for outside in case flames begin to get unruly. Keep a hose with a nozzle close by for a quick way to put out any sparks. Or use sand to put out the fire if you prefer that method. Fire blankets are also necessary if a nearby object or person catches fire, they can smother the flames almost instantly.

Our team knows landscaping, and we can create a yard that will utilize your outdoor space as living space, and you’ll never want to go inside. From custom stonework, retaining walls, woodwork, lighting and more, we can build you an outdoor retreat to highlight your new fire pit installation so you can enjoy the yard without doing all the hard work.

If you decide on a backyard renovation this year or are looking to jazz up your space with a new fire pit or fire feature, contact us online, or call us at (403) 452 – 0360.

Benefits Of Landscape Design & Services

backyard living landscape design

Though it may be winter, and the snow is covering your yard, now is the perfect time to start thinking about your landscaping. Landscape design is more important than you think.  It gives your property more curb appeal and will maximize your yard’s usable space. Giving you the most practicality out of it. You can create an outdoor oasis to retreat to when the weather gets warm. Whatever you have in mind for your new yard, Landscape 360 is here to help that vision come to life.

The Importance of Landscape Design

1. Turns Unused Space Into Functional Space

Hiring a landscaper to come and redesign your yard is the best way to create a full outdoor living area you can be proud of. Turning your yard into a functional living space allows you to gain extra square footage during those summer months. You can make use of your new-found space in many ways. Whether you want a reading garden, a backyard BBQ and outdoor kitchen for potluck parties, a camper’s oasis with a fire pit and seating, or a playground for the kids, a professional landscaper can take your ideas and make them happen.

2. Landscaping Boosts Property Value

landscape design

Everyone knows people judge what they can see, so why not create a beautiful yard for yourself. There are so many options for landscaping your yard. Whether it’s to the extreme, with a full outdoor kitchen or a lush oasis with a fountain.  Or something minimalist, like a simple garden. When your yard looks well-curated, your home’s property value is sure to go up. Curb appeal can be a huge deal-breaker for some homebuyers. Many folks want their new home and the property it resides on to be move-in ready.

3. Creates A Way To Connect With Nature In Your Own Home

Landscaping provides you and your family a way to connect more with nature. Bringing a beautiful living space outside will give you more time to enjoy what nature has to offer. Plus, it’ll be right outside your doorstep.

4. Decreased Utility Costs

When redesigning your yard, you can ask your landscaper the best way to save on utilities. They will know which shrubs and trees provide the most shade and are low maintenance to keep alive. They can scout out your yard to find where the sun rises and sets to find the foliage’s best placement to give you the benefits of shade during the hot summer months.

5. Protection Of Natural Wildlife

natural landscape

A landscaper knows which plants are native to the climate you live in. Your professional landscaper will be able to give you a lush, full yard and garden all summer long by planting native plants in your area. This also means they will be lower maintenance since they thrive in this specific environment. In turn, saving you time, money, and energy trying to keep them alive.

6. Weed Control

Properly landscaping your yard will actually reduce weeds. When your lawn isn’t healthy, weeds are more likely to find their way in and start spreading. By investing in good landscaping, even a simple makeover can increase the chances of your lawn fighting off weeds on its own without needing harsh herbicides.

7. Creates A New Space To Enjoy – Enhances Your Quality Of Living

backyard living landscape design

Overall getting your yard landscaped creates a better quality of life for you and your family. You have a new space to enjoy, to create more memories with your friends and family. It provides you with something beautiful to look at and use as extra square footage for your home. There’s no point in wasting that blank canvas. Your yard is waiting for a redesign.

Why Seeking Out A Landscaping Company Will Prove Useful

You can landscape your yard yourself if you have the time, energy, and know-how to create an outdoor oasis. However, by hiring a professional landscaping company like Landscape 360, you will get way more for your money. An experienced company will take your ideas and create the ultimate outdoor space for your home.

Landscaping Companies Save You Time & Money

Calgary has such a dry climate that landscapers know precisely which native plants to incorporate into the designs. That knowledge ensures they will thrive in your yard with minimal effort and will meet YardSmart initiatives to lower water usage. A landscaping company also understands that the use of native plants is beneficial for the preservation of natural wildlife. Professional landscapers will place trees and plants in strategic areas of your yard to help reduce costs by shading your home on those hot summer days.

Professionals At Work

landscapers

Another benefit of landscape design is that the landscapers know what they are doing. If you want putting practice, they can help you work on that. They have the ability to implement a putting green into your design so you can work on your game anytime. If you want a pergola, a professional knows exactly where to build your new structure. This way you don’t get blinded by the sun with poor placement. They can even install water features in your yard to give it that wow factor.

For any landscape design services in Calgary, Landscape 360 has the team for the job. We have been around since 2008 and are born and raised Calgarians. We know the best products, plants, and designs to use in your space. Whether you need a full-scale construction project or you’re inquiring about something small scale we are happy to help. We love nothing more than redoing a yard.  It pleases us making your yard into something you are happy to come home to.

Contact us today for your next landscape design project. We do everything from stonework to landscape to lighting and custom irrigation. We ensure that every finished project is everything you imagined it to be.

Gardens Bring Positive Energy To Isolation Blues

gardens bring positive energy during isolation

It is excellent Canadians are doing their part by social isolating and physical distancing, so we can fight this COVID-19 virus and get things back to a new normal soon! One way of keeping up the positivity is gardening. Gardens can bring positive energy to isolation blues.

It can be hard to be cooped up at home for days at a time, so like those who battle depression or have physical limitations, we have to find ways to stay positive.

Fun Facts: Gardening & Nature Are Healthy Ways To Lifts Your Emotions

Researchers at Bristol University and University College in England found soil bacteria that increase our serotonin levels when we garden. It gets the body to increase serotonin, which is the chemical in our body that helps make us feel energetic and happy. (Nice to know there are good bacteria, too!)

Here Are Some Other Points About How Gardening Lifts Your Spirits:

summer gardening to lift spirits
Summer gardening brings positive vibes
  • Gives a person a sense of purpose. Since we are kept from our regular work, gardening is a small project that is totally under your control.
  • It develops nurturing skills and connections. You are caring for little plants and watching them grow. It may increase your ability to see other needs and confirm you do have the skills to listen or help. Sharing with others online about your growing experience can connect you to people with similar interests.
  • Nature helps elevate hormone levels. It is common knowledge that being in the outdoors can calm and centre people who are anxious or depressed. There are studies by Golding (2018), McMaahon and Estes (2015) that show even looking at pictures of green spaces can help elevate moods. When we stress, cortisol levels rise and create anxiety. When you are in nature or garden, cortisol levels decrease.
  • Gardening focuses on the mind and reduces stress. My mother used to say busy hands – rested mind. That is why those stress toys on your desk work. They give your brain a little break while it focuses on the hand movements. Exercise, whether it is walking, running, basketball or gardening, is a proven therapy for depression and anxiety. (Don’t go all out in buying a bunch of plants or tools though, as the hit to the pocketbook would definitely decrease those feel-good vibrations!)

So Given Gardening Is Good For Us, Is It Too Early In Southern Alberta To Start Planting?

Planting Succulents
Planting Succulents

The answer is yes, no and a matter of “IF”

It all depends on the weather. There is a reason farmers take a handful of soil, look at the weather and check their computerized software before beginning to plant in the spring. It has to be warm and dry enough to work the soil and plant the seeds to grow.

Planning

It is definitely time to plan your yard renovations, or what flowers or plants you want in your beds. If you have some ideas, you can call a greenhouse or professional landscape company like Landscape 360 and speak with our knowledgeable staff about layouts, yard construction and plant selection. If you want, get a couple of quotes for work. You can set up times where a landscape contractor can drive by and work up a quote or send some pictures to give them an idea of what is needed.

Lawns

Man mowing lawn during isolation
Man mowing lawn during isolation

Areas close to the foothills still have significant snow, but IF you live in Calgary or areas east of Calgary, snow in most yards is gone.

IF the ice is gone from the grass, you can safely take off excess leaves or pinecones and pet droppings.

IF the ground is still frozen or soggy and wet, it is too early to thatch your lawn. Deep raking at this time can pull out the grass by the roots. Wait until the frost is gone, the grass is greening, and the lawn is dry. That goes for applying fertilizer too. Using it too soon can burn the developing roots and blades.

Flower & Vegetable Beds

Gardening to lift moods
Flower garden to lift the blues

IF the soil is workable and the temperature gets to about 10 degrees celsius consistently, you can begin to clean away winter sticks and leaves. 

IF case there is still the risk of snow, a little leaf cover can protect your plants from early frost, so it is better to leave it. 

IF the soil is still wet and cold, hold off rototilling until about 6-8 inches of soil is dry and warming.

When you till too soon, it compacts and clumps up the earth and destroys its fertility. Using a rototiller too early destroys all the delicate balances going on between bacteria, worms and thawing soil and reviving plants.

Bushes & Trees 

Planting trees in the garden
Planting trees in the garden

You can cut back on deciduous trees now before the buds or leaves start. Prune branches less than 2 inches wide, but leave the larger ones. 

Flowering trees and bushes should be left until flowering is over. Prune fruit-bearing trees in early winter.

You can start pruning raspberry canes that gave fruit last year as they won’t give fruit on those canes again. Leave the new cane growth because the berries will come out on the new shoots. Pruning helps to increase berry, flower and fruit production. 

Be sure you take safety precautions when you prune and make sure your tools are sharp. Some trees require a dormant oil to keep larvae and pests from harming the tree. Contact your garden centre or arborist for the product and method of treatment.

IF you are unsure what or how to prune, talk to or hire a qualified arborist or professional landscape contractor. If you prune the wrong way you can damage a bush or tree, and let disease in, or set you up to be the blocks, ugly tree winner!

Seeds & Plants

Gardening
Gardening, planting, and keeping positive vibes

It is too early to plant annuals, but some of your bulbs or perennials might be showing bits of green. Don’t disturb the cover until it warms up as it shelters the new shoots from colder storms. 

You can plant hardy seeds when the soil is ready and you can absolutely start your seeds indoors. 

Many online garden centres have catalogues of seeds. They will mail the seeds, growing supplies, or root cuttings and bulbs to you. 

Garden Centres in Calgary are open, but for staff and patron safety, they are observing distancing rules. Pepare to wait calmly at staggered till lines or you can arrange for curbside pickup. Closer to the end of May, bedding flats will be ready, but check if they are taking telephone orders, deliver, or they are limiting shoppers in the store.

Starting Seeds

Planting seeds
Planting seeds

We are in a zone 3 area, with some micro-climates tolerating zone 4 plants. This should help you to choose the right seeds and plants. Be careful in your selections because some seed providers in the USA and don’t have seeds and plants compatible with our climate and may not be able to send things over the border.

Here are a few companies to check out: Versey Seed, Edgebrook Farm, Sterns, and Mackenzie Seed to name a few.

IF conditions are right, here is a Garden Retreat planting date summary that will let you know what you can plant now, and when to plant other seeds directly in the ground. 

Those seeds that have to wait for warmer weather can be planted indoors now and then transplanted later. 

Many people will be putting in vegetable gardens this year, in case the border trade is slows or shuts down. Homeowners are looking forward to serving vegetables and berries grown from their own garden.

Tools

Gardening tools
Gardening tools hanging up

Early spring is the time to go through your tools and get them ready to use. Sharpen lawnmower blades, axes, hedge cutters, pruning tools, shovels, and edgers. Clean up wheelbarrows and pump up the tires. Service your lawnmower as condensation can form over the winter in the tank, and you may need to brush or replace spark plugs.

As for the rest of spring cleanup, it is an excellent time to organize your to-do list. Do a walk around and see if fences need boards fixed. Painting can be done when the weather is warm and dry. Look at your home for exterior maintenance issues. Take out your hoses, and when warm weather hits, you can turn on exterior water. Prep your irrigation systems and blow the lines out with compressed air. 

Landscape 360 is a Calgary landscaping company that has been serving the area since 2008. We offer landscape construction, custom stonework, irrigation, retaining walls and more. Contact us if you want help getting your yard ready this spring.