Category Archives: Front Yard

Should You Rake Leaves?

There is plenty of misinformation floating around on the subject of lawn maintenance, and much confusion around the question, “Should I rake leaves?” We’d like to clear up some of the confusion and answer the question of whether or not you should rake your leaves.

Should I Rake Leaves?

If you’re like many people, you’re probably hoping that the answer is no. Unfortunately, it is not. You really should rake your leaves. And not just once they have all fallen and it’s about to snow either.

This will likely require that you rake more than once a season, but if you start when the leaves start falling it is better for the overall health of your grass. Unfortunately, damage to your sod can begin once wet leaves are left to sit for an extended period of time – producing an environment ideal to attract fungal diseases and pests.

Some people mistakenly believe that leaves can act as insulation for your soil over the cold winter months, but mulch is actually much better for that.

Lawn Problems if you Leave it Covered With Leaves

Many people wonder, why rake leaves off the lawn anyway? The reason you should rake your leaves goes beyond cosmetic, it is necessary for maintaining your grass’s health. If the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, it’s likely that it is healthier than yours, because the odds are fairly good your neighbour’s soil has similar characteristics to yours.

Your lawn has to breathe, leaving a thick layer of unshredded leaves on top of it over winter will smother it by not allowing it the oxygen it needs. That smothering layer invites pests and diseases that can cause serious lawn problems for you like brown patch and snow mold.

Not only does the barrier block oxygen, but it also keeps water and healthy nutrients from penetrating the root system of your grass. When the leaves get matted down they can prevent new grass blades from emerging next spring.

What Else Should I do for My Lawn in the Fall?

Don’t forget to fertilize! Right before the frost appears is the best time to fertilize your lawn. Applying fertilizer in the fall facilitates the growth of deeper roots which is integral for your grass to get the nutrients it needs to survive and thrive, despite cooler temperatures.

Apply high-quality grass seed in any bare spots to help initiate new growth in the spring.

Your grass needs oxygen, water, and fertilizer to successfully reach all the way to the grass’ roots, aerating the grass in the fall facilitates this process. You may want to hire a professional for this task, or at the very least a powered aeration machine if you have a big yard.

You don’t need to suffer from grass envy, you can improve the health of your grass in the fall, and we can help. Contact the team at Van Beek’s for all of your fall lawn maintenance needs and products this season. With decades of experience, we’re well equipped to answer all your landscaping questions!


retaining walls backyard

Retaining Walls: How Do Know If You Need One?

A well-constructed retaining wall can offer functionality and beauty. They are everywhere, you may not even notice them, but they’re an excellent way to solve a landscaping problem while still keeping your property looking its best. The question is: do you need one? Let’s take a deeper look at retaining walls and what you need to consider before deciding whether it’s time to put one up on your property.

The Purpose of a Retaining Wall

Before you decide, you need to know what a retaining wall does. They have many different types of applications, such as:

Combat Soil Erosion

If you have a hill on your property, erosion will most likely be a concern for you at some point in the future. With help from water and gravity, a hill will start to erode over time. Installing a retaining wall can prevent some of that erosion by cutting down the angle of a slope and holding the soil back.

Add Useable Space

Again, if you have a hill on your property, a retaining wall can be installed to create a flat, usable area on the hill. They can also be used to build terraces and gardens.

Prevent or Reduce Flooding

If you live near water or possible flooding areas, retaining walls can slow down the flow of heavy rainfalls. You can also use them to help control where the flow of rainwater goes on your property.

Signs You Need a Retaining Wall

  1. Location of your home

If your home is at the bottom of a hill or at the bottom of a steep incline you should definitely consider installing a retaining wall, especially if there is a very tall or steep incline.

  1. Your foundation is at risk

If you even suspect that the erosion of a hill around your home could impact the foundation of your home, a retaining wall should be installed. Erosion on a slope can compact an uphill foundation.

  1. Peace of mind

There are many things that can happen to the land around your home. A retaining wall can prevent any sort of mudslide or ground shake that could affect your home. They can offer you and your family stability and peace of mind when it comes to your property.

What Type of Retaining Wall Should You Install?

You have a few options when looking at retaining walls:

Timber walls – This is your least expensive option. However, they also won’t lost as long due to the moisture from the soil wearing down the timber.

Poured concrete or interlocking blocks – This style of retaining wall will cost you slightly more. It offers some durability and strength,  but very little visual appeal.

Natural stone – The most visually attractive option, the variety of colours and contours will add a ton of style and character to any landscape. It also offers long term durability.

If you’ve decided that your home needs a retaining wall, look no further than Van Beek’s. We have the great high-quality products to help you create a visually appealing and functional retaining wall. Contact us or call for a FREE estimate!

improve your lawn and yard

5 Ways to Improve Your Lawn & Yard

Are you bored of the way your lawn and yard looks? Luckily, your grass can be greener on the Van Beek’s side! There are many ways to alter your lawn look to meet your personal design vision. Here are five ways to improve your lawn and yard:

Use multiple seeds and grass types

It is important to try different types of grass and seeds because some are more durable, while other types require varying amounts of sunshine and shade.

Add grading to your lawn

Adding different textures and surfaces to your lawn can create a unique look. More importantly, it can create better drainage throughout your property… no one says your lawn has to be flat!

Experiment with new shapes and lines

Add curves around trees, rock gardens, etc. this can make your lawn more visually appealing- don’t be alarmed if you don’t like the lines you create they are easy to change back!

Insert new lighting

Combining different light fixtures for functional or decorative purposes can create more usable space, make your home safer, and allow you to enjoy your grass for longer periods of the day.

Insert built-in pathways

Interlocking steps from your sidewalk to your house is a great way to keep visitors off parts of your lawn and create a charming feel to your property.

Improve Your Lawn & Yard With Van Beek’s Products

Triple Mix Soil

This combination of soil, peat moss, and compost is made to provide your garden with the vital nutrients it needs to thrive and prosper throughout the summer. It makes for the base of your lawn/garden and at Van Beek’s you can count on a constant supply with consistent characteristics: colour, moisture, and texture.

Grass Seed

It’s important to get grass seeds that will thrive quickly with minimum weeds. The seeds should be fresh, shade-tolerant, and free from contaminants. At Van Beek’s, we carry Speare brand products with many varieties of high-quality seed that meet the standards listed above.


Add colour to your outdoor landscaping with Van Beek’s large selection of mulch. Mulch is spread after your foundation of soil/triple mix is laid. Spreading mulch comes with many benefits, including reduced weed growth and improving underlying soil health.

Interlocking Stone Pavers

At Van Beek’s, our interlocking stone pavers are industry quality stones that can transform your lawn into a usable outdoor living space. With our versatile, durable, and easy to maintain materials, you can count on us to improve your outdoor space… so you can enjoy the outdoors more!

Upgrading your lawn is only limited by your imagination! Whether you’re looking to spruce up your lawn or improve your outdoor design, our simple tips can help update and modernize your yard. Contact us or call 1-866-778-5824 to speak with a lawn care expert today, we’re here to help you achieve the lawn and yard you’ve always wanted!

How to Save Water on Your Lawn this Summer (Infographic)

With summer comes:

  • Rising temperatures
  • Extra sunshine
  • More time spent outdoors

It also comes with increased water usage; most of which goes into sod, topsoil and the rest of your outdoor landscaping.

This summer, be water wise by following these helpful tips, courtesy of Van Beek’s Garden Supplies (click on the image to view a larger version).

Save water on your lawnSave water & have a great looking lawn too

Summer doesn’t mean your water usage (and bill) must go way up.

And it doesn’t mean your lawn has to burn and brown either.

With some smart planning, you can have the best of both worlds.

Need help? Looking for a specific product? Want some useful advice?

Simply contact us with the information you’re looking for.

Contact Us

6 Questions to ask When Designing Your Landscape Project PT.2

Determine the scope of your Project

In the last post, we talked a bit about determining the scope of your project. That simply means the size of the project and where you are starting from. The three starting points are from a fresh start or from the dirt up, replacing an existing project with something new, or adding to or updating and existing project. Each has their own merits and short comings. Let’s take a more detailed look at each.

What is Your Canvas?

If you are starting from scratch, you have the advantage of a fresh canvas so to speak. Your project is only limited by your imagination. The biggest advantage is that you can pretty much do anything you’ve dreamed of. Some of the challenges however are things that you need to consider before you drop the shovel. You will want to check with your municipality to check for underground utilities, property lines, and any permits you may need. There is nothing worse than being ½ way through a project and being told you have to stop until permits are in order or you’ve gone over your property line. Do the research ahead of time to prevent such issues. If you are hiring a Professional Contractor, they should be aware of these considerations and inform you of what you will need to do and have ready before work begins.

The Best Way to Deal with Old Landscaping

If you are completely replacing an existing project, you need to consider how to remove and dispose of the old material safely, efficiently and most importantly, legally. Too often we hear of people dumping their refuse on the side of a road somewhere which besides being illegal, it really effects the environment. One way we suggest is to take pictures of the existing and post them on Kijiji or Craig’s List and let people know that it’s free as long as they pick it up. This helps people who want to fix up an area but don’t have a huge budget, and it saved you money from having to rent a bin or pay to have it hauled away.

Measure Before You Buy

Be sure to measure the entire area so you know what square footage you are dealing with. You will need this information for everything from laying out the area, to quotes on landscaping materials and labour. Many times we have folks come in to get quotes on materials such as interlock stone but they don’t even know the square footage they are working with. “It goes from your counter to your door” is one of the most common replies from people who don’t know the square footage. The more accurate the measurements, the more exact the quotes will be.

Get Inspired

Start browsing through magazines, websites, Pinterest, and Landscape contractor’s site to get ideas for your project. Go to your landscape supply dealers and pick up catalogues and brochures of ideas and materials that interest you. Play around with ideas and look for online trial software for landscape design. Part of determining the overall scope is to know what you want to achieve before you begin.

Make sure you watch for Part 3 where we will talk about the specific areas of your property and give you some more tips to make your project easier and more enjoyable.

If you have any questions about starting a landscaping project, contact us, or join our “Garden Club” for additional promotions and helpful information.