Category Archives: 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.

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.

lawn ready for fall

Get Your Lawn Ready For The Fall

It is sad to accept the reality that summer is coming to an end when we see the leaves change and the temperature starting to drop. While there are months of cozy sweaters and warm drinks to look forward to, there’s one thing you shouldn’t forget: taking care of your fall lawn maintenance. There is a lot to do to get your yard ready for fall, but by following this guide and using our recommended products, you’ll be able to tackle everything on your fall “to do” list.

Don’t Stop Mowing

Just because summer has come to an end doesn’t mean you should stop mowing your lawn. It’s beneficial to continue mowing your lawn as long as possible into the fall months. Autumn is known for seasonal warm weather, when you feel the mowing season is coming to an end, drop your mower blade to the lowest setting for the final cuts. Keeping your grass short maintains optimal conditions for your lawn, so drop the blade gradually over the course of the fall season.

Aerating is Important

The ideal time of the year to aerate your lawn is during the fall. Aerating the grass allows oxygen, water and fertilizer to successfully reach the grass’ roots. Consider renting a powered aeration machine or hiring a professional to do this job for you if you have a very large yard.

Rake Throughout the Season

A key task to complete before winter is raking your leaves. This can be a particularly fun (but also tricky) task if you have kids who enjoy playing in a pile of leaves! Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t wait until all of the leaves have fallen before you start raking. While this means that you may have to rake the lawn more than one time, it’s better for the overall health of your grass. Letting wet leaves sit on the grass for an extended period of time will damage your sod and produce an environment of fungal diseases and pests.

Remember to Fertilize

The best time to fertilize your lawn is right before frost appears. Applying fertilizer in the fall helps your grass grow deeper roots, which is critical to ensuring your grass has the essential nutrients it needs to thrive – even in cooler temperatures. In order to fill bare spots, use a high-quality grass seed to help initiate new growth.

Set The Stage for Spring with Seeding

If your lawn was damaged from high heat or lack of irrigation during the summer a bit of lawn maintenance in the fall can provide you with full, healthy grass next spring. Don’t forget – before you start to remove all pesky weeds that may disrupt your lawn.

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!

grass seed lawn

Grass Seed: What You Need To Know

If you want to plant a brand new lawn or you’re looking to fix dry patches, grass seed is a great way to improve the quality and growth of your lawn. Whether you’re an amateur gardener or an experienced lawn care specialist, grass seed is your companion when it comes to growing a lawn that is robust, healthy and beautiful.

What is Grass Seed?

Though the exact number isn’t known, it’s estimated that there are thousands of different species of grass, each with its own diverse characteristics and growth cycle.

Grass seed comes from stems of grass that have not been mowed and are allowed to grow tall. The seed heads, known as ‘inflorescences’ emerge and stick out to allow for pollination and then recede into dormancy. As the seed hardens or matures, they are then ready to be collected.

Signs You Need Grass Seed

If you’re creating a whole new lawn, grass seed is a much more affordable option than laying down turf. If your lawn is ragged or has dead spots, it’s definitely time to add some grass seed. The process of adding grass seed to an existing lawn is called ‘overseeding’.

How Does Overseeding Work?

After grass seed is applied to the soil, it needs to go through germination. This is a process where the seeds retain enough water to start sprouting blades of grass. There are multiple factors that can help or hinder the germination process. Some of these factors include:

  1. Soil temperature – For spring grass to thrive, the soil should be around 12°C.
  2. Seed shell thickness – Germination all depends on the outer shell of the seed, and when it’s ready to start the germination process.
  3. Moisture level – The amount of moisture has to be just right. Too little or too much can harm the seed and impede its ability to grow.
  4. Oxygen content – If the soil around the seed is too water-filled, the seed will be unable to obtain oxygen from the soil, which it needs to grow.
  5. Light source – The seed cannot be buried too far into the soil or it won’t be able to catch the sun’s UV rays. Without enough sun, the seed won’t be able to support the photosynthesis process.

When is The Best Time for Seeding?

The best time to plant grass seed in Ontario is between mid-August and mid-September. The mix of warm and cool temperatures encourage germination and root establishment. It will also have less competition from weeds trying to take its nutrients. You want to make sure the grass is well established before the chilly days of autumn and morning frost appear.

If you’re looking for a supplier that has a variety of types of fresh grass seed, look no further than Van Beek’s Landscape Supply in Oakville or Mississauga. Contact us today to grow your new lawn or replenish your existing one before the winter hits. We have a variety of high-quality grass seed products and our expert team are always ready to answer any questions you may have!

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!

interlocking pavers patio backyard

Why You Should Choose Interlocking Pavers for Your Home

If you’re considering replacing a driveway or patio this summer, consider choosing interlocking concrete pavers. Interlocking concrete pavers are a multi-diverse product produced in a variety of colours and styles to work with the existing architectural design of any home. Interlocking pavers offer many benefits to homeowners. Here are a few of the top reasons to choose interlocking pavers for your home this summer:

Durability and Strength

When installed correctly, your interlocking pavers will look beautiful for a long time. They will generally last longer than poured concrete and asphalt. All it takes is proper maintenance and quick repairs (when needed), and your interlocking pavers will hold their strength and appearance for many years.

Easy to Maintain

Like anything, with proper maintenance, you can have your interlocking pavers looking strong and beautiful for years to come. Here are some tips on how you can keep your interlocking pavers in optimal condition:

  • If you don’t already have one, get yourself a power washer. You’ll need it to remove any stains or spills that occur on your interlocking pavers.
  • Don’t forget to get any fragments of debris that may be stuck between the stones. This will allow more space for polymeric sand to sit, which provides stability for the pavers.
  • Speaking of polymeric sand, make sure to keep a bag on hand to fill in any gaps in your pavers, that may appear over time.

Enhance Your Home’s Appearance

Interlocking pavers offer more of a distinguished look to your home than asphalt or poured concrete can. A huge benefit of pavers is they can be personalized to suit your home through complementary colours, such as beige, coral, or a diverse blend of darker colours. Pavers can also suit any home’s style, due to the different designs you can choose from and make with them. Intricate designs can be made in the middle of a driveway or patio to add extra charm.

The Price is Right

Interlocking pavers are extremely affordable when you look at what they add to the appearance of your home, and how long they last. It’s a much more affordable option than natural stone, and pavers are also cost-efficient when compared to other, less durable options.

Add Curb Appeal and Resale Value

The most important thing is that you find your home beautiful, but it doesn’t hurt for others to find it stunning as well. Interlocking pavers are visually pleasing and add an extra element of beauty to any home. Pavers add resale value for when and if you decide to sell. A potential buyer will see the pavers and know if they buy your home, they will not have to deal with the hassle of installing a new driveway, or patio. For buyers looking for a move-in ready property, interlocking pavers can be the deciding factor between your home and someone else’s.

Interlocking Pavers for Your Home

If you’ve decided you want to install interlocking pavers, make sure you get the top of the line products from the best supplier. At Van Beek’s Landscape Supply we have a trusted, professional team of experts ready to help you complete your interlocking paver project. Contact us today, so you can begin your outdoor renovation and add a little extra value to your home!