Sustainable landscaping

To begin with, it was nothing more than a nondescript, postage-stamp front yard. For 20 years, we left it as the builders had left it: a scrubby patch of monoculture lawn, defined more by weeds and dandelions than by actual grass.


In the spring of 2013, we finally decided to do something about it. After interviewing a number of Calgary landscapers, we chose Laureen Rama and her Eco-Yards team to give the yard a long-awaited and much-needed makeover.


Laureen has landscaped for most of her life. Her environmentally conscious philosophy is that we should “leave the land we steward in better shape than we found it.” She and her team began the job of rebuilding our yard at a time when many of our Calgary neighbours were rebuilding their lives after the flood of the century. Our property hadn’t been affected by the flood, thank goodness. We counted ourselves very lucky.

The landscaping was a very well coordinated, labour-intensive effort. Taking out the old grass was the first step. The crew of six did this the old-fashioned way, digging with spades and brawn.


They carted away the old sod in their wheelbarrows and piled it neatly onto the roadway.

After digging out the sod, they got down on their hands and knees and removed by hand the exposed weed roots and other unwanted growth.

The sod was taken away by a sub-contractor from Phantom Exteriorscaping, who brought along a front-end loader for that job, then used his truck and trailer to carry fertilized topsoil to the site.

When the sod was hauled away for composting, a member of the Eco-Yards crew arrived with six Kootenay Brownstone boulders in his truck. These will anchor the front corners of the yard.


The next assignment for the Phantom Exteriorscaping man was to pick up some wood chip mulch. In the meantime, a man from Eagle Lake Nurseries delivered the more than ten varieties of trees, shrubs, vines and perennials that will eventually take over the whole yard. Laureen chose mostly young plants because there’s no guarantee transplanted mature plants would take root.


The landscapers created berms in the topsoil before putting in the plants. Many of the plants are of the creeping variety, which means they will eventually spread.


The wood chip mulch will protect the young plants while they are growing, and also suppress weeds without the need for harmful chemicals.


The finished garden is still a work-in-progress, with Nature having to do most of the work before it matures. Kudos to Laureen Rama and her team for a job well done! They started it at 8:00 a.m., and were finished by 5:30 p.m.


2 Responses to Sustainable landscaping

  1. Lovely job Brian. I am envious as I have to do all of my own shoveling :) Your yard looks very nice. What a quaint, sweet neighborhood you are in. Take care, Laura

  2. Brian Brennan

    Thanks, Laura. Because we’re in a small condo, we’re able to hire a professional snow removal guy to do the shovelling for us throughout the winter. Makes a world of difference!

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