Author Archives: VanBeeks

Five Ways to Use Natural Stone for Landscaping

Outdoor natural stone kitchen

Natural stone is a beautiful addition to the landscape around your home. Sturdy and rugged, natural stone adds an exquisite, polished look to any backyard when correctly incorporated, and a natural stone patio can be the perfect accent to your overall aesthetic.

There are multiple ways that landscaping stones can be infused throughout the design of a yard that also have practical purposes. They can not only enhance outdoor patio spaces, but also create a walkway, steps, retaining walls, and other elements such as fireplaces. Although entirely natural, this type of stone comes in a variety of different colors to help complement and personalize your space.

Let’s take a closer look at the five key ways to use natural stone to diversify and add to your landscape.

Five Ways to Use Natural Stone for Landscaping

1. Patios

Fashion the backyard of your dreams using natural stone to create a beautiful patio space.  Natural stone is one of the best stones for patios due to its diversity and durability. With these stunning materials, you can craft a beautiful patio space for barbecuing or an outdoor sitting area customized to your yard specifications.

Create a patio with slabs of rock arranged in multiple designs using:

  • Square Cut Flagstone
  • Random Flagstone
  • Jumbo Flagstone

Be sure to check out our gallery for more patio designs!

2. Walkways

natural stone pathway

Stone walkways can also be implemented to create clear paths along your yard that are useful through all weather conditions. Because of its durability, natural stone makes the perfect guiding walkway into a backyard or out to a pool or pond. The stones can be placed closer together for a contemporary, manicured look, or spaced further apart to allow more natural elements like grass to fill in the gaps and give it a more rustic appeal.

3. Steps

Slabs of natural stone can make an excellent set of steps for your backyard. Instead of dealing with an uneven slant, adding steps to your walkway not only improves the aesthetics of your backyard but adds functionality with multiple flat level steps. Landscaping stones also have a natural grip to them which helps to prevent nasty falls that could occur on a more slippery surface.

4. Garden Retaining Walls

Using stone to build retaining walls around your gardens helps to create a more uniform look and brings your landscaping elements together. It also creates an even appearance while keeping the soil and mulch from washing out of the garden.

Both practical and visually appealing, stone retaining walls around your garden are a great way to improve your garden space. Natural Stone retaining walls are easy to construct and are very sturdy, which means they’ll retain their aesthetic for a long time.

5. Fireplaces

Create a beautiful area on your lawn or patio to enjoy a crackling fire with friends and family with a natural stone fireplace.  The stones can be customized in a wide variety of patterns and colours and with proper installation will need very little maintenance over the years. A natural stone fireplace can also increase your home’s value, but in the meantime, it provides the perfect opportunity to spend more time outside even on crisp autumn evenings.

Using natural stone to create a network of steps, paths and patio spaces ties together a yard beautifully. It is strong, natural looking and showcases how you can utilize your space in a practical, yet appealing way. Contact the design experts at Van Beek’s Landscape Supply for more ideas and help incorporating natural stone into your landscaping.

How to Lay Natural Stone and Flagstone Patio Stones.

Flagstone Patio Stones

If you’re thinking of updating your landscaping, then natural stone for your patio is a great choice. Not only can you enhance the appearance and comfort of your garden, but you can use a natural and reliable product for entertaining areas, patios, and walkways, giving you a space that will perform well for many years to come.

Here are a few key steps to follow when laying natural stone as well as different flagstone patio ideas.

Installing Flagstone Requires Some Expertise

Laying a flagstone patio is a project that requires precision, which is why it’s a construction project that is normally left to professionals or experienced DIYers.

If you’re taking this project on with minimal experience the knowledgeable staff at Van Beek’s can help! We carry a wide range of natural stone products from various suppliers including Unilock, which is a great choice for DIYers because of the step-by-step instructions offered on their website.

Flagstone can be laid in a few different ways: dry-lay or wet-set using mortar. The dry-lay method works well for residential foot traffic for patios and walkways and involves a number of steps:


Excavation is your first step when installing patio stones. The excavation for your patio will vary depending on your unique property but is often between 6” – 10” deep. This depth allows enough room for the base material, setting bed, and the natural stone pavers.

We recommend using excavation machinery like skid steers and mini-excavators to do the digging. But depending on the size of the patio or walkway, digging can also be done by hand. It’s also a good idea to use a geo-textile fabric in-between the excavated soil and the gravel base to ensure your base material stays in place and no weeds will come up between the stones.

Base Preparation

¾” crushed gravel should be used to support your natural stone patio. You may want to start with a base of 4” – 6”. This will give you a flexible base structure that will allow the natural stone to flex slightly during the freeze/thaw process, which is important to factor into your stone patio design.

Bedding Layer

A 1.5”-2” layer of limestone screening can be added on top of the crushed gravel base. Then, the natural stone pavers will be set on this graded layer of screening and will form the finished surface of your patio.

Stone Patio Ideas

Stone Patio Idea

There are many stone patio designs that can be used in various areas. Natural stone and flagstone come in a range of colours, textures and sizes.

Some other ways to make your patio stand out include:

– Creating a clean, yet bold look by matching the natural stone you select with hardwood or concrete pavers.
– Using different colours or textures for style accents including borders and inlays, to give a unique, finished look.
– Choosing natural stone with unique sizes and shapes. You can create a modern and sophisticated look using 24”x24” natural stone pavers or mix and match three or four different sizes of pavers for a more random look reminiscent of traditional bluestone patios.

Get creative and design a patio perfect for your home! Feel confident knowing how to lay natural stone. Contact Van Beek’s Landscape Supply for high quality paving stones or ask us for tips on how to lay natural stone. Our expert staff are on-site and happy to help.

How Our Bin Services Process is An Eco-Friendly Way to Give Back

Yard waste

Is your summer yard looking a little messy? There are always a few leftover piles of debris from your list of gardening tasks that get pushed off to the side rather than put into bags. Whether you have a small task or a larger project, removing old stone, digging out a garden bed, or disposing of old grass can be a hassle to clean up after.

So, what do you do with the dirt you unearth when you’re putting in a new garden feature? What about the concrete, stone or aggregates that you no longer need? You can rely on Van Beek’s Landscape Supply’s bin services. We’ll pick up your landscaping debris and take it all away so you don’t have to worry about it.

The most frequent question we receive about our bin services is, “Where does the soil or concrete end up?” You’ll be happy to hear that we are dedicated to responsible re-use or disposal of your yard waste. In fact, your soil may be treated and incorporated into our own soil mix after a few years, which is a wonderful way to give back to Mother Nature.

Find out more about what we do with your yard waste in our bin services process below.

Concrete, Stone and Aggregates

Removal of concrete

Cracked concrete, old stones and other aggregates are hard to remove from your property. They’re heavy and may incur a lot of charges from other removal companies. Not us. Our concrete and stone removal services are simple and reasonably priced, because we have good use for your concrete.

After we’ve collected your stone and aggregate, we recycle it into a re-usable product. This useful material can be used in home foundations, roadways, drainage systems, and much more. In this way, you’re helping to give back to your city’s buildings and infrastructure, which is definitely something to feel good about.

Sod, Soil and Dirt

Have you dug up your yard to put down a new deck? Or have you dug up soil to put in new fence posts? If so, we’ll pick up the soil and sod in our bin service.

After we do, we bring your dirt to our own soil piles. There, your dirt is mixed with additional nutrients and other soils. The dirt then has to rest for one to two years before it can be used as our own fill soil.

Though it’s a long process, your dirt ends up being sustainably re-used in other gardens and landscaping projects in the area by other contractors and homeowners alike. Think about all of the compost you’re helping to create for a healthier, greener neighborhood and planet!

Try Our Bin Service

Ready for us to take the mess off your hands? We’re happy to help and simply ask that you keep your soil separate from your stone and other aggregates so that we can recycle them correctly. We hope you’ll feel good about knowing that your soil and concrete will be responsibly re-purposed and benefit so many other purposes for a more sustainable world.

Have more questions? Contact us today for more information. The team at Van Beek’s Landscape Supply is always ready to help.

What is the Best Type of Mulch to Use?

mulch pathway through garden

Choosing the right type of mulch  for your gardens is a tough but important decision. The wrong mulch can not only have a drastic effect on how your home looks overall but can also have other negative effects such as being less insulating and not repelling insects as well as other mulches.

Use our mulch guide to help you make an informed decision on the best mulch for your gardens and flowerbeds.

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Mulch

Here are a few of the most important considerations when deciding between different colours and types of mulch, and which will be the most effective for your landscape:

  • House Colour. Of course, the colour of your home is one of the first things you should consider when it comes to choosing from different types of mulch. There isn’t a definite answer about what mulch colour to pick based on your brick, but you should think about your brick or siding colour when you are choosing a mulch in terms of whether you want it to contrast or complement your home. Do you want the mulch to act as an extension of the house in a similar colour, or provide a striking contrast (such as black mulch against red bricks)?
  • Plant Colour. Many people consider the colour of their house when choosing mulch but forget to think about the impact of plant colour. Red mulches, for example, complement green foliage, while black mulch offers a beautiful contrast against colourful florals.
  • Patio Furniture and Other Accent Colours. Patio furniture and other accent colours such as shutters are something else that can be taken into consideration from a decorating perspective. Try and maintain a holistic view of the home when deciding which mulch colour will look best and keep those accent pieces in mind, particularly for areas that will be most visible to visitors.
  • Sun Fading. The truth is that most mulches are going to fade from sun exposure over time. However, to avoid fading, pine bark is the best for holding its colour.
  • Insulating Properties. Beyond adding an aesthetically pleasing finish to your gardens, mulch also insulates the soil and adds nutrients. Black mulch is particularly good for insulation as it absorbs and holds the sunlight.
  • Insect Control. Believe it or not, the type of mulch you choose can have an effect on insect control. Yellow and black mulches have been found to attract insects more than other colours. While cedar and hemlock mulch have a natural scent that repels certain insects.

Have more questions about choosing different mulch types and colours? Contact the experts at Van Beek’s Landscape Supply today, we’d be happy to speak with you about all of your mulch needs.

How Artificial Grass Can Help Save You Time and Money

artificial grass and gravel

For a better-looking lawn find out why artificial grass is a key low maintenance alternative and what tools you need to keep it looking its best.

Why Artificial Grass is a Low Maintenance Alternative

Artificial grass is a key choice for many homeowners and businesses as it’s much easier to maintain than natural grass and requires little cleaning and maintenance. Consider that artificial turf doesn’t need to be watered, mowed or fed anything to keep it looking beautiful and full. Think about all the energy, time and money you could save.

Learn more about how simple the upkeep is for artificial grass and why it’s a preferred alternative for many families and business owners.

Tools Needed for Artificial Turf Maintenance

As with anything, you need the right tools for the job, and artificial grass care is no different. Having the right artificial grass maintenance tools is essential to the care of your turf to ensure it looks its best for years to come.

Maintaining a natural grass lawn means you need to have a shed or garage overflowing with a large variety of tools and lawn related objects. Rakes, mowers, shovels, grass seed and more, are required to keep grass looking its best. Turf on the other hand, only requires a few simple household items, such as:

  • A hose
  • Flexible rake
  • Stiff bristled broom

Artificial Grass Care Saves Time and Money

With proper artificial grass care, you can save yourself energy, time and money. Over a 10-year period, artificial grass can save you $5,000 compared to sod. A normal lawn requires constant time and attention with watering, fertilizing and aerating. Artificial grass doesn’t require any of that and with some low maintenance always looks great.

dog on artificial grass


Artificial Turf with Pets and Children

You might think that if you have pets or children that artificial turf isn’t for you, but that’s not true. Modern artificial grass systems are built to withstand heavy use and unlike conventional lawns, can avoid browning or bald spots from pets and wear and tear. If there are any spills or odours, simply use your hose and a disinfectant to wash away the smell and eliminate bacteria.

For more information, check out our artificial turf FAQ to learn more about artificial turf and its different uses.

If you’d like to speak with someone further about artificial grass maintenance tools or any other lawn related questions, contact the professionals at Van Beek’s Garden Supplies.

DIY Ground Prep for Sod Installation from Van Beek’s

With these tips for ground prep for sod installation you can install your sod yourself, like a pro.

DIY Ground Prep for Sod Installation

How to Prepare Your Ground to Install Sod Like A Pro

When it comes to ground prep for sod installation, there are several factors to consider before starting your new sod installation project. Whether you are looking to repair patches in your lawn or hope to replace a whole area, these tips will leave you satisfied with your ability to create a lush green lawn that will thrive throughout the year.

Repairing Small Areas

For new grass to root ensure that it is laid over rich soil where the roots can pick up the nutrients needed to develop and grow. As mentioned previously, an additional layer of topsoil under your new sod will ensure that your lawn will root correctly for proper growth.

Keep in mind that applying a layer of topsoil and new sod directly over an existing lawn may look unlevel and can affect lawn health if water does not properly drain into the soil. To prevent this problem, you may wish to dig up the existing patch by hand or with a rototiller depending on the size of the area.

Replacing a Whole Lawn

Digging up the old grass with a rototiller will provide a fresh start on which you can grow your dream lawn. After tilling the lawn, be sure to grade with a rake to ensure that the lawn is level so that the water will drain correctly. As mentioned previously, an additional layer of nutrient-rich topdressing soil over the new base will ensure that your lawn will root correctly for proper growth.

After the application, running over the lawn with a roller will remove any air pockets that could affect the rooting process. Whether a small or large project, it is important to continue watering the newly installed lawn to help the roots grow into the soil.

You now know what it takes to install your own sod, but there are some more practical questions to consider before starting the job.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sod Installation

How long does it take to lay sod?

While the specific amount of time to lay sod depends on the size of the area, it should not take longer than a day. After tilling and grading the ground, it is a simple process to lay out the sod over the prepared ground.

When is a good time to lay sod?

You should be aware that it is most effective to lay sod during cooler seasons of the year, particularly on cloudy days. An ideal target range is between 12 and 18 degree Celsius when there is no risk of frost, but when the sun will not stress the new lawn.[1]

When should I start mowing my new lawn?

In general, you will want to wait a few weeks after installing sod before cutting it with a lawnmower. The lawn should be fully rooted into the soil before driving over it.

To find the soil and sod products that will help you create your dream lawn, contact the experts at Van Beek’s Landscaping Supplies.


[1] HomeGuides At What Temperatures Can You Lay Sod? Accessed March 2019. Available online:

How Early Can You Plant Grass Seed?

planting grass seed

If you’re looking to get ahead on planting grass seed, keep in mind that you still need the help of Mother Nature. So, what conditions and temperature does grass seed germinate in? For your grass seed to thrive, it requires the right amount of warmth and moisture. This is why it’s typically recommended to seed in the fall.

If you are seeding in the spring, know that it will take slightly longer for the seeds to germinate. Ideally you need two weeks of continuous daily temperatures that sit between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius. This should allow the soil to reach a temperature of 10 to 18 degrees Celsius.

When’s the Best Time to Plant Grass Seed?

The best time to plant grass seed really depends on what part of Canada you live in and environmental conditions. Pick up a metal thermometer and insert it into the ground approximately 7-10 centimeters. Do this for a few days for consistency and ensure no cold spells are on the way.

If planting indoors, you still need to use high quality soil that is the proper temperature as well. Leave the bags of soil somewhere in the house so they can warm up to the temperature that they need to be before planting anything.

plant grass seed

Different Grass Seeds for Various Weather

Depending on the temperature, different grasses work better in various environments, and you’ll need to follow specific rules to better their chances of survival.

The best grass seed for hot weather is Tall Fescues. This type of grass loves the sun, is drought-tolerant and has strong root systems. The best warm weather grass seed is Annual Ryegrass, also known as ‘nurse grass’, due to its ability to hold back weeds until other grasses can grow. It also germinates quickly.

If you’re looking for the best cold weather grass seed, you should try Canada Blue Grass, as it grows very well in cooler temperatures. It’s also low-maintenance, grows in poor soil and doesn’t mind partial sunlight. For all weather grass seed, consider Bermuda, as it’s wear-resistant and drought-tolerant.

To get more information about the conditions and temperature grass seed germinates, contact the grass seed experts at Van Beek’s Landscape Supply.

Why is Landscape Budget Planning Important?


Like any home project, starting a landscaping endeavour can be a lot of work and you need to have a plan in place to help ensure things go smoothly. A project can go off the rails quite easily, so having a landscape budget can help in a variety of ways, including:

  • Helping to keep costs in check
  • Letting you know how much you need to save up or spend
  • Helping to make sure you have the best work done at your price point
  • Allowing you to find out how much things really cost

How Much Should I Budget for Landscaping?

Before any tools are brought out, make sure you know what you need and how much of it will be used. When it comes to soil, mulch, compost, landscape mulch or topdressing, use our material calculator to find out exactly how much of each product you will need. This not only cuts down on wasted product and but also helps you save money. Have a landscaping budget template in place and stick to it.

landscaping budget

Create a Priority List

You may have a variety of projects you want to do around your home but you need to prioritize what needs to be done first. Consider what you want to see finished first, whether that may be the entranceway at the front of the home, more intricate detail or comforts in the backyard or if you’re looking to add curb appeal due to moving.

Minimize the Stress of Finishing Projects

Taking on projects around the home should be fun. You should never feel stressed out or concerned about getting a project done. If you can’t complete all the projects in spring that you would like to due to timing or budget restraints, you can always split them up and do some in the summer instead. Regardless of the season, plan to put away money towards a landscaping budget for new construction and wait until it’s financially feasible to begin.

Start your landscape budget planning today and contact the landscape material experts at Van Beek’s Landscape Supply for more assistance and advice.

Where is Firewood Sourced From?


In Canada, we are very lucky to have roughly 9% of the world’s forests. Many different types of firewood come from specific areas. Softwood, which derives from coniferous trees, is generally from British Columbia. Hardwood, which is from deciduous trees such as birch, maple and oak, is primarily found in southern Ontario and Quebec.

Different Types of Firewood

With so many different types of trees, it may seem difficult to know what the best choices for firewood in Ontario might be. Here are some questions about an assortment of various woods to help you decide what makes good firewood and which ones you may want to avoid.

  • Is maple good firewood?

Maple is a solid choice for firewood as it is readily available, provides good heat, burns cleans and splits well.

  • Does cherry make good firewood?

Cherry firewood has an exceptional aroma, splits easy and supplies moderate heat, but it does tend to spark more than other hardwoods, which could lead to issues when burned in an open fireplace.

  • Is oak good firewood?

Oak has a higher energy content per cord and releases more heat, as well as providing longer lasting fires and coal beds than some hardwoods.

  • Does pine make good firewood?

Pine ignites easily which makes it great for kindling. It also produces a hot flame that burns rapidly. It can be messy to work with but it smells great.


Help Stop the Spread of Tree Diseases to Different Areas

Diseases and pests are the biggest culprits that can severely hurt trees. To help avoid spreading these issues make sure to:

  • Burn the firewood where you buy it
  • Buy certified and heat-treated firewood where available
  • Gather it yourself if regulations permit
  • Check with all parks and campgrounds about their firewood rules

For all of your firewood needs and more, make sure to contact the professionals at Van Beek’s Garden Supplies.

We Have a New eBook. Download Your FREE Copy of The Advantages of Sodding and Seeding

Early fall is a good time to rejuvenate your lawn.

A question we get asked often at Van Beek’s Garden Supplies is whether sod or grass seed is best.

The short answer is that both can be effective in growing lush, thick and very green grass around your home.

It just depends on what you want for your lawn, how much time you have and your budget.



Make the right decision when you download your FREE copy of The Advantages of Sodding and Seeding.





The things you’ll learn

There are 4 criteria homeowners in Oakville and Mississauga usually consider when deciding to sod or seed their lawn for the year:

  • Money: Budget is always an important factor
  • Time: How to get the best results as quickly as possible
  • Quality: It has to provide value for the dollars and effort spent
  • Maintenance: Easy ways to keep your lawn looking great

The Advantages of Sodding and Seeding takes a closer look at each of these items and details what to expect if you choose to use sod or seed.

It’s a great starting point; especially if you’re new to planting and growing grass for your home.

Take a look inside

Here’s a small preview of what you’ll find inside your FREE copy of The Advantages of Sodding and Seeding.

Want to see the rest?

Then visit our special download page to request your complimentary copy right now.

Don’t forget about the topsoil

Using high-quality triple mix soil and proper ground preparation is essential for sodding or seeding.

That’s why your FREE copy of The Advantages of Sodding and Seeding includes a helpful section on getting the most from your soil.

It features 4 easy-to-follow steps along with a listing of the tools you’ll be using.

Whether you sod or seed your lawn, topsoil is perhaps the most important element you need.

The time and effort you make in soil preparation will drastically improve the performance and appearance of your lawn.

For more helpful topsoil tips:

How to get your FREE copy of The Advantages of Sodding and Seeding

It’s easy, fast, and free.



Visit our special download page and complete the easy-to-fill form (it takes less than 10 seconds).





As soon as you hit the DOWNLOAD GUIDE NOW button on that page, we’ll instantly email your copy straight to your inbox.

Ready to sod or seed? Let us help

Before you start sodding or seeding your lawn, we encourage you to read the following blogs:

And when you’re finally ready to begin, you can:

Contact us to learn more about our triple mix soil