All posts tagged Genoscape

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.

rainxchangeWater from multiple roof sections is diverted into the water feature

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

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.

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

Welcome to the Wet, Wild and Canadian Feature Garden

Posted by / February 19, 2014 / Categories: Articles / Tags: , , ,

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Presented by Harrowsmith
Designed by Joe Genovese
Constructed by Genoscape Inc.

Harrowsmith’s Truly Canadian Almanac is proud to be a media sponsor of the 2014 edition of Canada Blooms—and to present our “Wet, Wild and Canadian Harrowsmith Garden.”
With its rugged rocks, home-grown plants, trickling waterway and natural mulches, our Truly Canadian garden is in keeping with the theme of the 2014 edition of Canada Blooms: “Wild!”
In fact, visitors to our natural, environmentally friendly display garden could be forgiven for thinking they’d wandered into an especially beautiful corner of the Canadian Shield.
“We like the relaxed ‘wild’ look of a landscape that’s familiar to Canadians everywhere,” said Yolanda Thornton, publisher of Harrowsmith’s Truly Canadian Almanac.
“It represents an untouched area left to go wild,” said the garden’s designer, Joe Genovese, of the Toronto-area landscape design firm Genoscape Inc.
At the centre of the ‘Wet, Wild and Canadian Harrowsmith Garden” lies not orchids or roses but a pond. A big pond. Measuring 40 feet by 25 feet (12.2 by 7.6 m), the water feature isn’t the familiar murky puddle inhabited by a few listless koi.
Rather, it reflects Genovese’s preferred approach, which is to create a sustainable ecosystem—a wetland, not just an artificial pool.
Our garden also incorporates native plants and trees, intended to encourage birds, butterflies and bees to the garden.
“It’s a way of doing things that is very much in keeping with the Harrowsmith philosophy,” said Thornton, “and that’s important, because rapid development threatens Canada’s natural habitats.”
The whole point of the Harrowsmith garden is to help visitors accustomed to seeing expanses of exotic foliage and blooms start to think a little differently.
“We want visitors to walk away inspired and better informed about creating natural gardens this year,” says Thornton. “Let’s think of beneficial native plants and trees, not just pretty flowers.”

ABOUT US:

Genoscape Inc. is a Toronto-area firm with a harmonious, natural approach to landscape design. Owner Joe Genovese works with clients and other companies across the country on a consultative basis, assisting in the design and construction of water features. For more information: (905) 472-9112

Facebook: Genoscape’s Facebook Page
Twitter: @weloveponds
Email: info@genoscape.ca
Website: www.genoscape.ca

Harrowsmith’s Truly Canadian Almanac is the only modern farmer’s almanac that is truly Canadian. Beloved by gardeners, foodies, eco-minded folks, star-gazers, weather-watchers, do-it-yourselfers, and proud Canadians everywhere. We celebrate country life, small towns & green living in the Great White North.
www.harrowsmithalmanac.com

Facebook: Harrowsmith’s Truly Canadian Almanac
Twitter: @HarrowsmithTCA
Instagram: Harrowsmith_TCA
4Square: Harrowsmith Almanac
Google+: Harrowsmith’s Truly Canadian Almanac
YouTube: Harrowsmith’s Truly Canadian Almanac
Pinterest: Harrowsmith Almanac

For more information on Harrowsmith’s Almanac or the Gardening Digest, contact Yolanda Thornton at Moongate™ Publishing Inc. in Toronto:
(416) 930-1664 yolanda@moongate.ca www.moongate.ca

Canada Blooms – Getting Selected

Posted by / February 4, 2014 / Categories: Canada Blooms / Tags: , ,
Well it’s the beginning of February and this signals the time when we start to pre-build some of our components for the upcoming Canada Blooms Flower and Garden Festival. We were fortunate enough to have been selected this year to construct a feature garden at the show. For those of you who don’t know what Canada Blooms is or how it works, I’ll give you a quick run down.

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Canada Blooms, The Flower and Garden Festival, is a home show which exhibits displays from various landscape contractors and architects.  The show is put on by the amazing people at Landscape Ontario and is made possible by the countless volunteers who help out with the show.  The main purpose of the show is to promote our industry by showcasing some unique, and sometimes out there, designs that may be lurking in the minds of the selected garden builders.  The envelope has been pushed, and now we’re on to pushing other stationary, when it comes to the creativity presented by some of these displays.  The Canada Blooms design selection committee, a group of industry professionals who are in charge of reviewing all of the applications, has a tough job every year picking the most creative and inspiring designs. Yes that’s right.  You have to be picked to get in!  Unlike other home shows where you pay your fee for your display space and away you go, Canada Blooms won’t let you in if your design is not up to the standards they are looking to achieve.  We were fortunate enough to have been selected for the last two years (’12, ’13) and our record is a perfect 3 for 3 with the 2014 show running from March 14-23 at the Direct Energy Center in Toronto.

 

Our 2014 Submission

Our 2014 Submission

 

This is the design that we submitted which won us our spot in the show. The layout has evolved a little over the last few months, but the key elements of the display still remain the same. If you know us, you know that our specialty is water. Our garden will have multiple kinds of water features throughout. We will create a meandering pathway, comprised of various natural materials, that will cross the water in different locations. We plan on using a nice mixture of stone and wood as our base hardscape materials.

Our plants will consist of many different ferns and grasses, Serviceberries, Pine, Spruce, Birch and a lot of native shrubs.  We ordered a ton of daffodils that will provide vibrant splashes of colour around our garden.

For our Canada Blooms gardens in 2012 and 2013, we included a surprise signature water feature.   These features can be clasified as works of art.  I construct them using different natural materials that I think will look cool.  Well to be honest, its whatever I can find laying around.  These features take many hours to build but I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t love doing it.  This year will be no different.  We will have a signature piece on display, but you will have to come to the show to find out what it is!
 
2013 Signature Water Feature

2013 Signature Water Feature

 

 
2012 Signature Water Feature (we sold it to some awesome people!)

2012 Signature Water Feature (we sold it to some awesome people!)

Next week I will write about our theme this year.  I will also tell you all about some of our sponsors.  We have collaborated with some other garden builders to bring you a very grand exhibit.

Stay warn people!  Spring is almost here!

Thanks for reading!

Sincerely,

Landscape Joe

Landscape Joe - Up THE Creek

Landscape Joe – Up THE Creek