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Highway of Heroes Tribute Feature Garden

Posted by / November 10, 2017 / Categories: Uncategorized

 

 

 

We have been fortunate enough to have been asked by Mark Cullen to design and build the Highway of Heroes Tribute Feature Garden this coming March, 2018.  Please Check back here for more info in the coming months.  In the mean time, please visit https://hohtribute.ca/ for more info.

Benefits of a backyard pond

We asked our customers to tell us about what they loved most about their ponds. Here are some of their favorite benefits of a backyard pond.

 

Wildlife Attraction

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Many of our customers are surprised by the variety of wildlife their pond can attract to their yard. They often envision the pond as a home for their pet koi or gold fish, but other creatures are also eager to move in. Frogs and other amphibians are almost certain to show. After all,  a pond is a key part of their natural habitats. Reptiles such as turtles have been seen on occasion too. Small birds enjoy splashing, bathing and re-hydrating in the shallow stream areas. Medium and large ponds may even attract larger birds like ducks!

 

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Insects such as butterflies, dragonflies and honey bees are also drawn to the fresh, moving water. I’ve seen honey bees taking a break from their busy days to drink water droplets from waterfall rocks.

Click below and watch closely. Can you spot the honey bees enjoying the cool air around one of our waterfalls?

 

It would seem that there are mutual benefits between the pond owners and the surrounding wildlife. The animals and insects that visit or take up residence can be fun to observe, and photograph. Many of them earn their keep by helping to balance pond and local ecosystems.

Educational Opportunities 

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Some of our customers and especially those with children say that their pond provides excellent educational opportunities. When ponds are installed close to outdoor living spaces they often become conversation pieces. Friends, family, neighbours and of course children are often intrigued by what they see and hear.

 

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“How was this made?”

“How does it work?”

“What plant/animal/bug/fish is that?”

“Where does the water go/come from?”

Ponds tend to draw home owners out into their yards more frequently. As they and their families spend more time enjoying and observing the outdoors, questions are asked and knowledge can be shared or gained together.

Each one of our ecosystem ponds are made possible by employing various elements of construction principles, plumbing, electricity, biology, horticulture and art. We love hearing that our customers enjoy the educational opportunities that come along with them.

Relaxing Sounds Of Water

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This benefit can come as a surprise to backyard pond owners. During the planning and construction stages of their project much attention is given to visual appeal. But when the water starts flowing the relaxing sounds of water are noticed immediately.

Many of our city dwelling clients will tell you that part of the ‘oasis effect’ that a pond delivers comes from its sounds. It is soothing to hear the water moving over rocks, logs and falls and the pleasant sounds actually work to block out noise pollution.

No one wants to sit in the back yard listening to air conditioners, air and road traffic or a lawn mower from a few doors down. Much of this noise is dampened (no pun intended) by the flow of water.

There’s a reason that resorts and hotels charge a premium for ‘Ocean view’ rooms. Almost everyone can agree that both the sight and sounds of moving water deliver a wonderful sense of calm and relaxation.

Fresh Water Source For Gardening

Our environmentally conscious customers love this! An interesting and very eco-friendly benefit of a backyard pond is that it can be a great source of nutrient-rich fresh water. Thanks to the nitrogen cycle the water in a healthy pond can be perfect for watering your terrestrial gardens. If nitrogen cycles make your head spin, it’s enough to know that using pond water for gardening helps to save tap water for better uses! In some cases simply filling the a watering-can from the edge of the pond is sufficient. When owners require more frequent use of the water, a special valve can connect their pond water right to their garden hose.

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Of course we don’t want anyone to drain their ponds dry. If regular rain fall isn’t able to keep up, our rain water harvesting systems can divert rain water from rooftops into the pond. This system helps not only to replenish depleted pond water but also reduces excess run-off water in other areas of the property. Minimizing that run-off water also relieves pressure on municipal storm drains and local water ways.

Transform Soggy, Wet Areas Of The Yard

Adding a pond or pondless water feature can be the perfect solution to a soggy, wet area of the yard. Clients who have followed this advice are some of our happiest! What’s better than taking a problem and transforming it into something you love?

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Sometimes drainage or grading on a property is an issue. The soggy, wet areas become unusable and can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Most solutions to this problem involve some form of landscape construction.

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If water wants to be a part of your yard anyway we say just go with the flow! Create something artistic and pleasing that will make that old eye sore your new favourite place to visit.

I’ll stretch this category a little to include pond renovations. Older, neglected ponds can cause similar headaches as soggy, wet patches of land. Sometimes these ponds were poorly designed and never functioned as they were intended to. Transforming them into new beautiful water features sure is satisfying!

Sometimes you just have to push that reset button and reclaim a part of your property that has gone wild.

Check out some clips below as Joe talks us through the renovation of a back yard pond.

 

Have we missed something? Tell us! 

If you enjoyed our list of back yard pond benefits or feel we may have missed yours, please let us know!

info@genoscape.ca

The Secret Path Garden

Posted by / December 4, 2016 / Categories: Uncategorized

Genoscape Feature Garden – 2017 Canada Blooms

This coming year, will be the 6th consecutive year that we will have a feature garden at the Canada Blooms Flower and Garden Festival.  We have had great experiences over the years with the show as it allows us to present our most creative work to the public. 

Trying to come up with different, unique ideas from year to year is a challenge, to say the least.  We have to find a balance between presenting functional landscape and exhibiting over the top elements to give the show’s patrons the ‘wow’ factor they’re seeking.  We must also base our design on the Show’s theme for the year.  In the past, this has proven to be the most difficult aspect to the design process, until this year…

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The theme for 2017 is “Oh! Canada” in honour of Canada’s sesquicentennial.  Coming up with a design for a Canadian theme would be simple! All we have to do is include a bunch of hockey related items and perhaps a landscaped doughnut shop, right?  Well unfortunately, the typical stereotypes that embodies Canada were not sitting well with me on a creative level.  I needed something deeper.  Something more representative of who we, all of us, are.  I needed to exhibit where we’ve come from and where we can go, as a nation.  And I only have 4000 sq/ft to do it!

This summer, The Tragically Hip band made a historic tour across Canada.  Gord Downie, the bands lead singer and songwriter, was recently diagnosed with cancer.  Many believe that the tour of 2016 may be the Hip’s last as a band.  At the last stop of their tour on August 20th, the band played a nationally televised concert from their hometown of Kingston, Ontario.  It was here that Gord Downie asked the nation to look to the North.  It’s time for us to acknowledge communities white Canadians have been trained for decades to ignore. It’s time to do something. It’s time to start a new relationship with Indigenous Peoples.  As soon as Gord engraved these possibilities in my head, via the CBC, I knew what we needed to do for our 2017 Feature Garden.

 

The Story of Chanie Wenjak

 

STATEMENT BY GORD DOWNIE
Ogoki Post, Ontario
September 9, 2016

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Mike Downie introduced me to Chanie Wenjack; he gave me the story from Ian Adam’s Maclean’s magazine story dating back to February 6, 1967, “The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack.”

Chanie was a young boy who died on October 22, 1966, walking the railroad tracks, trying to escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School to walk home. Chanie’s home was 400 miles away. He didn’t know that. He didn’t know where it was, nor know how to find it, but, like so many kids – more than anyone will be able to imagine – he tried. I never knew Chanie, the child his teachers misnamed Charlie, but I will always love him.

Chanie haunts me. His story is Canada’s story. This is about Canada. We are not the country we thought we were. History will be re-written. We are all accountable, but this begins in the late 1800s and goes to 1996. “White” Canada knew – on somebody’s purpose – nothing about this. We weren’t taught it; it was hardly ever mentioned.

All of those Governments, and all of those Churches, for all of those years, misused themselves. They hurt many children. They broke up many families. They erased entire communities. It will take seven generations to fix this. Seven. Seven is not arbitrary. This is far from over. Things up north have never been harder. Canada is not Canada. We are not the country we think we are.

I am trying in this small way to help spread what Murray Sinclair said, “This is not an aboriginal problem. This is a Canadian problem. Because at the same time that aboriginal people were being demeaned in the schools and their culture and language were being taken away from them and they were being told that they were inferior, they were pagans, that they were heathens and savages and that they were unworthy of being respected — that very same message was being given to the non-aboriginal children in the public schools as well…They need to know that history includes them.” (Murray Sinclair, Ottawa Citizen, May 24, 2015)

I have always wondered why, even as a kid, I never thought of Canada as a country – It’s not a popular thought; you keep it to yourself – I never wrote of it as so. The next hundred years are going to be painful as we come to know Chanie Wenjack and thousands like him – as we find out about ourselves, about all of us – but only when we do can we truly call ourselves, “Canada.”

“Do we want to live in a haunted house the rest of our lives?” – Joseph Boyden

 

The Secret Path Garden

Within our garden, we will be illustrating the story of Chanie Wenjack.  We will tell his story, and also exhibit reconciliation efforts that we can make. We will also be accepting donations on behalf of The Gord Downie/ Chanie Wenjak Fund.  We have contacted several First People who are artisans, craftsmen and just general public who want to be a part of this.  This will truly be a collaborative effort between The First People of our nation and the rest of us who make up our great country.  This is what Canada should be about.

Please don’t be mistaken, this will still be a Genoscape Feature garden.   Our patrons will be immersed in a natural setting with various water features and innovative landscape techniques.  This will not only be our largest garden to date, but it will also be the one with the most significance.

The show runs from March 10 – 19, 2017 at the Enercare Centre, Toronto.  Please visit the Canada Blooms site for more info.

 

Please visit The Gord Downie/ Chanie Wenjak fund page for info on the fund or if you would like to make a donation.

 

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Filtering a Larger Pond

Posted by / August 16, 2016 / Categories: Uncategorized

If you have an established pond on your property that has difficulty staying clean, its probably time to start thinking filtration. Regardless of your ponds purpose: recreational, agricultural, or simply rainwater management, ensuring your water is clean is important. Crystal clear, clean water can be achieved regardless the size of your pond.

Adding a wetland to your pond is one of the best ways to achieve this. A wetland distributes water slowly through a  layer of rock and gravel in which a variety of different aquatic plants are rooted. These plants purify the water naturally through both aerobic and anaerobic processes. This reduces harmful nitrogen, sediments, and toxins, while adding beneficial bacteria into the water. Wetlands are natures own personal filters, purifying our lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds: imagine what one could do to your pond!

Another great way to improve water quality is sustaining sufficient flow throughout the pond. Larger bodies of water will require a larger intake bay in order to have enough draw for the pumps. The use of jets is highly recommended: jets can be installed around the pond in several areas to prevent any dead water, and push water and debris where it needs to go for optimal filtration.

Here is an example of larger pond that was struggling to filter itself, and what we did to correct it.

The existing pond before modifying the flow and wetland addition. Notice the overall flow is toward the beach.

The existing pond before modifying the flow and wetland addition.
Notice the overall flow is toward the beach

The pond after we finished. Notice the addition of 6 water jets to aid in the flow. The addition of wetland filter will aid in the purification process. The addition of the large intake bay will aid in the purification as well as the overall flow, which has also been flipped around.

The pond after we finished. Notice the addition of 6 water jets to aid in the flow. The addition of wetland filter will aid in the purification process.The addition of the large intake bay will aid in the purification as well as the overall flow, which has been completely reversed.

 

 

Give your pond what it wants, a waterfall!

Spring is here and its time to start thinking about your yard again! As the weather improves and winter lifts its icy grip, there is plenty to be excited about. For traditional gardeners, its time to start turning the soil and cleaning out your gardens for fresh growth and new plant material. For water gardeners, its time to start thinking about the health of your pond and its fish.

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A great way to improve the overall health and quality of your pond is adding a waterfall that spills into it. Maybe you already have a pond without a waterfall and the water isn’t as clear as you would like? Or maybe you already have a waterfall into your pond, yet its still not as “happy” as you think it should be.. Never the less, adding a waterfall into your pond , or increasing the number of waterfalls into your pond has several positive reactions on the ecosystem.

For starters, adding a waterfall to your pond increases the circulation and agitation of the water. This process is important because the rushing water helps oxygenate the pond, increasing the quality of life for both fish and plants. Another major benefit of a waterfall is the increased ability to filter your pond. A waterfall provides an added source of filtration for your pond. A skimmer system is implemented into the pond, acting as a mechanical filter, which collects the majority of surface debris that accumulates in your pond. The next step of filtration is biological, and takes place at the origin of the waterfall. Once the water reaches the top of the falls it is exposed to layers of biological filtration, introducing beneficial bacteria to your pond, which helps promote healthy growth and cleanliness throughout the system. These added forms of filtration will guarantee a “happy” pond with crystal clear water.

Last but not least, aside from the functional benefits of adding a waterfall, there’s also much to be gained from the beauty and sound of rushing water. Located in the busy Toronto area, we understand how much noise is a factor in your everyday life, and how difficult it can be to escape at times. Adding a waterfall forms a noise barrier between you and whatever else is going on out there. We all have busy lives and finding time to relax and unwind in the city has become an increasingly difficult task. Adding a waterfall provides a soothing backdrop with interesting sights and sounds that can be enjoyed from your very own backyard.

If you’re thinking waterfalls this spring, think Genoscape, the Toronto pond and waterfall specialists! Water is what we do!

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Several different tiers in a waterfalls creates more action and noise within the feature. Stepped falls provide more surface area and turbulence than a straight falls, which aids in the aeration of the pond. By using different shapes and sizes of falls, a number of interesting sights and sounds can be enjoyed from a variety of locations.

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A waterfall creates a lot of activity in the water. This current makes it difficult for algae to form, as well as releases more water molecules; this aeration increases the oxygen content of the water, providing an ideal aquatic habitat for koi and other fish species.

Pond Renos! Rescuing one pond at a time!

No matter the shape or size, if your pond has lost its form or isn’t functioning to its full capacity, maybe its time for a change! If your pond isn’t quite up to your standards and you just aren’t happy with it anymore, don’t despair; a simple face lift could be just what your pond needs! A large portion of our work comes from renovating pre-existing ponds and restoring balance back in your ecosystem. Heres an example of what a typical pond renovation looks like from start to finish!

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An unpleasant sight. Stagnant water from a pond not functioning properly. This pond belongs to the mosquitos, not the fish. Let’s change that!!

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The Removal. To the common eye this may look like a big mess, but to us, this is a blank canvas ready for some artwork!

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Things are starting to take their basic form. Most of the boulders are in place and the overall dimensions of the pond have been set. Next step is to soften things up and blend it together.

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With the addition of aquatic plants into the pond, the transition of stone to water has been naturalized. As the edges around the pond are finished the pond will blend in to the surrounding garden like it was always there.

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Viola! The pond transformation is complete. This pond is now ready for some fish! This is what a balanced pond ecosystem looks like – doesn’t it look much happier!

A quick & simple front yard makeover!

Looking for ways to spruce up the curb appeal of your home? A simple pondless water feature is a great way to achieve this! Check out this one day transformation, where an old stagnant pond was converted into an exciting pondless water feature!

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An existing small pond has become over-grown, requiring too much maintenance and interaction for this customers busy lifestyle.

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A pondless waterfall with several cascades provides a variety of soothing sights and sounds at many different angles, perfect for an entranceway to your home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The refreshing sound of running water can be very inviting; an excellent touch for your front yard!

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A pondless waterfall is an ideal, low maintenance solution for those looking to minimize messy garden space, or grass that needs to be cut.

Toronto Pond Constuction

Posted by / February 21, 2015 / Categories: Toronto Pond Construction / Tags: , , , , ,

Winter, go away already!   Nobody longs for the spring more than the Greater Toronto Area pond owner.  There’s nothing quite like the sights and the sounds that a Genoscape water feature provides for our customers.  We love building ponds and pondless features for the great people of Toronto!  Our home base is in Markham, so we are only a hop skip and a jump just about anywhere in the GTA.

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If you would like to speak to us about a feature for your property, please feel free to contact us to set up a consultation.   Stay warm and remember, spring is just around the corner!

Wet, Wild and Canadian

Posted by / March 26, 2014 / Categories: Uncategorized

Here is an article that Harrowsmith wrote about our display at Canada Blooms.  I hope you enjoy it!

 

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Canada Blooms – Wet, Wild and Canadian

Posted by / February 19, 2014 / Categories: Canada Blooms / Tags: , , , , ,

BloomslogoIn my last Canada Blooms post, I explained how the feature garden builders get selected to participate in the festival.  There is a theme for each year that is picked by the Canada Blooms management.  This year the theme is ‘Wild’.  We, the garden designers, must come up with something that fits within that theme.  Our landscaping style has a natural feel so the theme wild wasn’t that far of a stretch for us.

This year, Adam Bienenstock of Bieenenstock Natural Playgrounds, approached me and asked if I wanted to team up with him for a build.  What he proposed was combining our spaces and creating a very large garden that represents a Carolinian forest trail.  He was already working with the legendary artist, Robert Bateman  to promote the newly appointed Robert Bateman Trail located in Toronto.  I thought it was a great opportunity to work with some talented individuals and have a little fun. We, will be in charge of all of the water features found in both gardens.  Needless to say, this created a bit of confusion because we now had to redesign our display to accommodate our newly appointed space.

almanac-logo-white-160x55A few weeks later, we were contacted by Harrowsmith’s Truly Canadian Almanac.  They wanted to write an article on one of the feature garden builders, and they chose us!  Harrowsmith felt that our display, and us as a company, shared their same values.  Our love of sustainability and natural design made us a perfect fit.  The name of the article was titled ‘Wet, Wild, & Canadian’.  Perfect.  That’s now the name of our garden.  Which I might add, sprouted a sigh of relief from everyone I know (my wife especially) because the title “The Inevitable Outcome” that I came up with, was truly hated by all.  Myself included.

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Our revised 2014 Canada Blooms Garden

So here we are, 16 days away from when we start construction of our display, and I couldn’t be happier.  We are working with some amazing people this year and I know that it will turn out beautifully.

Next week I’ll talk about some of the things we have to do to prepare for the show.  We only have 5 days to construct our garden so a lot of components need to be pre-constructed and assembled on site.  This proves to be a challenging endeavour to say the least!

Click here to read a preview of the Harrowsmith article featuring Genoscape!

 Sincerely,

Landscape Joe

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