Your Calgary yard is your personal sanctuary, but how do you even begin to think of backyard landscaping ideas that will optimize your space? Here’s a quote you have probably already seen elsewhere on our website, but I’ll write it again: “What is it about the landscape that awakens the deepest response in us? Surely it is the very unity of existence. The sense of the sublime of something far more deeply infused, whose dwelling is the light of the setting suns, and the round ocean, and the living air, and the blue sky, and the mind of man; a motion and a spirit that impels all thinking things, and objects, and all thoughts, and rolls through all things. We cannot be anything other than related, for every atom that makes up our constantly changing bodily form comes from the same source as the mountain, lake, bird, and fish.” – LEATHERS, 1980 One of the things I learned during my landscape design training was the importance of connecting our senses to our natural surroundings. Designing for residential home-owners is always a challenge. Seeking to evoke primary human senses such as sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste in someone’s Calgary yard isn’t an easy task. In years of doing this, I’ve come to realize that by letting budgets hold me back, I tend to lack creativity. I become yet another landscaper who installs a 12’ circle patio and fire pit and hopes clients will bite. How ridiculously boring. In successfully running my own Calgary landscaping company, I’ve learned that I have to let my creativity run. Instead, I focus on presenting what I call the “Maserati” of designs to the client and let them tell me they’d rather have a Toyota. Don’t get me wrong; I understand that no one would say no to a Maserati if they could afford it. But at the same time, ask yourself how many times you bought something you really couldn’t afford but just had to have it. Exactly. Striking a primordial cord into my client’s emotions is critical. I hope to show them what they can have in their own Calgary yard every single day and, why they don’t need to travel miles and miles away on vacation every year. Instead, they can invest that money into their own personal sanctuary. I initially got this concept stuck in my psyche when I first moved to Calgary about five years ago. A high-end client told me that she and her husband sold their multi-million dollar business and retired. Her husband told her she had two choices: He can buy her a house in Palm Springs, and they can go there for six months out of the year to avoid the cold Calgary winters. They can develop their 5 acres or 2-acre backyard. Her response to him was: “I don’t like to travel.” Here are a few examples of creative, “Maserati” landscape designs we at Tazscapes have proposed to our clients. We wanted to show them that the possibilities are endless if they genuinely wish to make their Calgary yard their own personal island: Project #1: Decked Out Calgary Yard Located in Aspen Woods, Calgary, our clients had an existing pressure-treated deck that they used quite often. It was a 12’ x 24’ deck, but it wasn’t big enough to entertain some of their high-end business associates. They also didn’t have any room for a hot-tub they were hoping to install. So, they contacted us to propose backyard landscaping ideas that would accomplish all of their needs. I followed my foundational design concept of ideal destination points: cooking, dining and lounging. Having these focal points at different levels, I suspended the beam structure overhead and connected each element. This was the most efficient way to bring coziness to the space. I also made sure that they would have all their requirements fulfilled. There was an area for an outdoor kitchen, a central space for dining and a grand area for lounging and entertaining. By bringing in the overhead pergola structure, I not only connected each area but allowed for an experiential transition between each space. I accentuated it by adding a plexiglass bridge that would let visitors walk over a dry creek bed to get to the grand lounging deck. Project #2: The Garden Bar Located in Bearspaw, Calgary, the clients of this residence had an existing gazeebo they wanted to be refurbished. During a consultation, I learned that they wanted more than a gazeebo – they hoped to create an outdoor retreat. At the end of our conversation, I suggested that they essentially want a living room outside, and they agreed. As a Calgary landscaping expert, I always ensure that my game is in tip-top shape so I can impress my clients with a unique and custom landscape design. I designed a gazebo structure that had everything they would ever need right inside. A central fire pit featuring a built-in chimney to release smoke would give the space a hint of primal nature that would evoke their senses. We also installed a bar/kitchen top that surrounded them, along with two TVs so they could sit back and enjoy an evening around the fire. And yes, the client used to work as an executive at Shaw Cable – the salesman in me had to throw that in there! Project #3: The Subtle Picturesque Garden This one was one of Tazscapes’ more lucrative projects. When I met the client, she was extremely frustrated with the space she originally had. It was small and – sorry to say – it was ugly. She mentioned her inability to come up with decent patio and landscaping ideas for such a small space. In the past, she had a couple of landscape contractors and “trained” landscape designers in Calgary come into her Calgary yard to give her some ideas. She even paid a landscape designer to draft a detailed drawing for her. When she showed me the design, I shook my head in disbelief. It just didn’t make any sense. It consisted of a lot of decking for such a small space, especially since the clients were a young couple looking for a low-maintenance, classic garden feel. The client wanted a Calgary yard in which she could spend hours enjoying the sun. She also hoped to gain something aesthetically pleasing that she could see from her existing concrete patio, and from her kitchen inside. As a landscape design expert, I heard this as, “I want to be able to simulate my senses after a long day at work.” I knew there was little to no space for grass. With the square footage being so small, I suggested artificial turf (fake grass landscaping). I also knew we needed a feature piece. She already had a concrete patio, and judging from my consultation, she didn’t need anything elaborate to entertain lots of guests. Clearly, she wanted a personal oasis. I proposed a water feature bubbler so that the calming sounds can give her the tranquillity she was looking for. With vivid green grass (albeit, synthetic) in conjunction with the surrounding plant material, we were able to fill her small space with life and serenity. It couldn’t have been more of a personal sanctuary. Project #4: Backyard Beach Resort Clients in Priddis, Calgary came to me when they acquired this new home. With a lake backing their yard, they asked how they can create a personal retreat. They mentioned that they wanted to take advantage of the water by incorporating a beach for their kids. The clients also said that they had many people push acreage landscaping ideas that they weren’t particularly happy about. As a reputable company, we take pride in ensuring that each client gets the most thought-out landscape design proposal possible. We went right to work on this project to come up with truly custom and unique landscaping ideas. I proposed to create a beach resort in their backyard that was so serene; it would lead them to believe that they could enjoy an all-inclusive vacation anytime they wanted. I also strived to make sure they had everything they would need – from dining with the family to entertaining a large group of friends – all while taking advantage of the lakeside view. Since the family had a passion for fishing, I designed a custom dock that gave them ample space for various activities. The final result imitated the amenities of an all-inclusive resort. Having a vision for spaces is critical when designing. It doesn’t need to be highly complex or extravagantly expensive. Rather, it needs to serve a function for your everyday life. Landscaping companies in Calgary often conform to the same things over and over again. Thus, it’s critical for anyone willing to invest their hard-earned dollars to demand a detailed and creative landscape design proposal from their landscaping contractor. Contact Tazscapes Inc today and find out how we can make your Calgary yard your own personal island!