Category Archives: Winter

Firewood delivery beside fireplace.

How Much Firewood Do I Need This Winter?

If you own a wood furnace, stove, or even just a fire pit, high quality firewood is an absolute essential for the winter. Other than the holidays, cold weather and snowstorms are a great excuse to bundle up and stay inside. However, that usually means you’ll go through it much quicker than usual. Whether you are hosting parties, looking for a way to cut down on your heating bill, or want to stay prepared in case of a power outage, it’s always difficult to figure out how much you should purchase. With that being said, understanding your everyday uses can help you determine the amount you’ll need for the season.

How much firewood will you use?

The amount of firewood you’ll need is dependant on what you’ll be using it for. Someone with a small decorative fireplace isn’t going to need nearly as much as someone who uses a wood furnace to heat their home. If it is for your home, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine your needs:

  • How many people do I need to provide for?
  • Is it cold enough to require heating every day?
  • Is your wood furnace your primary means of heating your home?
  • Is your stove gas, electric, or wood powered?
  • How much room do I need for storage?
  • Are my wood burning appliances efficient?
  • Can I hold a supply for the whole season or will I need to reorder?

Generally, we estimate that a 1000 sq.ft house uses roughly three cords of firewood over a typical winter, so you can use this as a baseline to determine how much you’ll really need. Keep in mind that the number could vary depending on how often you use firewood.

How much firewood do I need for businesses such as a restaurant?

Using the above method, estimating the amount you’ll need is a bit easier. However, if you own a restaurant, there are a few different questions you should ask to find out: 

  • How often does your restaurant use a wood-fire grill?
  • Do you plan to use your grill every day or is it more of a seasonal thing?
  • Are you looking to achieve different flavours from the wood?
  • Do you have enough space to store firewood? If so, where?
  • Where are you getting wood from? Locally sourced is cheaper and greener.
  • You probably won’t need it to heat your restaurant, but if you live in an especially cold environment, you might. If this is the case, how often would you use the firewood?

Firewood is used in a large variety of business industries and is a household staple! What are you using yours for?

Firewood delivery in The Greater Toronto Area

Van Beek’s offers a wide selection of firewood to help keep you warm all winter long. We also offer a variety of high quality cooking wood for your restaurant, ranging from oak firewood to hickory and everything in between.

Our team of professionals can make recommendations to help you meet the needs of your household or restaurants. Contact us or call 1.866.778.5824 for a FREE quote or more information on how much firewood you’ll need this season!

house in winter

How to Protect Your Landscaping From Winter Damage

We all know we need to protect ourselves in the winter. Hats, gloves, scarves and boots are essential during the colder months. But what about protecting our property? Similarly, our lawns, shrubs, trees and stonework need to be properly maintained and protected. Here are some landscaping winter prep tips that will help your landscaped property survive the winter.

Put your grass to sleep properly

If it’s not already buried in the garage, get the lawnmower out one more time before it snows again (we all know how ontario weather can be), and mulch the last of the leaves that have fallen or may have been leftover. It’s easier than raking and also supplies nutrients to your lawn. Remove any branches that may be on your lawn as well. If you can, apply a late-season fertilizer. It will supply your grass with added strength for winter survival.

Give your trees and shrubbery a coat

Cold temperatures, dry winds, bright winter sun and animals can all cause damage to your shrubs and newly-planted trees during the winter months. That’s why you have to protect them the best you can.

Continue watering your shrubs and baby trees until the first frost. After that, apply three to four inches of mulch around the base of the plant. Leave a few inches of space between the trunk and the mulch to avoid rot. Tree guards, either plastic or wire, will add even more protection from animals. Shrubs can be wrapped in either shrub jackets or tree wraps to protect them from the elements. They can be found at our garden centre.

Cover up statues and other heavy outdoor accessories

Statues, fountains and other large outdoor accessories that cannot be brought into your home or garage should be covered up. You can protect them in a few easy steps. Statues should be cleaned and drained of any leftover water. Then wrap them up in a cover and securely tighten.

Fountains should of course be drained and cleaned. Bring the pump indoors to avoid damage. Again, cover with a fountain wrap and securely tighten. Large birdbaths and planters should also be drained, covered and placed on higher ground if possible.

Protect your patios and decks

Take care and clean up the place where you’re likely to be sitting during the warm months of the year. Patios and decks should be treated in the late fall, if not, some structural damage could occur over the winter. However, there are plenty of ways to minimize potential damage:

  • All outdoor furniture should be removed from your deck. The added weight can cause cracking or fracturing during cold snaps.
  • Sweep decks and patio areas of any piles of leaves or branches between snowfalls, you never know what might blow onto your property.
  • When the snow does start to come down, watch what you use on your deck, patio, walkways and driveway. Shovels should be plastic or have a rubber edge on them so no chipping or scraping happens. If it’s a light dusting of snow, try using a broom instead.

A little bit of landscaping winter prep can go along away. Contact Van Beek’s for all your landscaping needs! By putting in the work now, it ensures that come springtime, you’ll be ready to enjoy your backyard paradise all summer long.  Remember, it’s never too late to protect your landscaping from winter damage.

preparing garden for winter.

Putting Your Garden to Bed for Winter

During the warmer months, many people spend a lot of time working on their gardens and landscaping. When winter arrives it’s important to ensure your garden and landscaping are properly prepared for the cold and snow. Here’s how you can protect your gardens and preserve your efforts:

Remove Dying Plants

There is no need to keep seasonal plants through the winter. There is very little chance that they will continue to grow or contribute to your garden. If you don’t get rid of dead or dying plants, you may put your healthy plants at risk. Many plants begin to decompose because of disease or insect infestation. Insects and diseases spread rapidly, so it’s important to burn dead plants when possible rather than throwing them on a compost pile.

Rake Leaves

By the end of Fall and into early Winter, a thick layer of leaves may cover your lawn and garden. Make sure you rake your leaves because as the weather changes to rain and snow, they become damp and put added weight preventing your plants from getting important nutrients. Leaving piles of damp leaves also provides a comfortable home for bugs and other harmful critters to burrow under.

Plant Spring Bulbs

Don’t wait for spring to plant your bulbs! Get a head start and plant them in the winter so they’re ready to bloom when the weather gets warm again. You can be creative and pick up some beautiful, vibrant colours that stand out against winter’s bleak colour scheme (reds, oranges, yellows and purples are a welcome change from the greys and whites of winter).

Trim

Look through your garden and trim back any plants that are overgrown. Trimming plants back as much as possible helps protect them against frost and heavy snow. Plants that have been trimmed properly have a better opportunity to bloom fuller in the spring.

Put Down Mulch

If you haven’t done so already, adding mulch to your garden is a great idea before the winter. It helps prevent the growth of weeds and supports important nutrients and moisture in the soil. If you’ve already mulched your garden, add some extra in any areas that are looking sparse as part of your garden winter prep. Before you begin mulching, we recommend adding some compost into the soil. This will act as a natural fertilizer for your plants.

Water Everything

Thoroughly soak your garden a couple of times before the weather gets too cold. When the temperature does drop below freezing, it will lock in the moisture, making for premium quality soil in the spring.

Preparing your garden and landscaping for the winter is important. It’s better to let your garden breathe for as long as possible to keep unwanted critters from invading. Don’t encourage pests to choose your garden as their place for winter hibernation.

It may seem like a substantial amount of work to prepare your garden for winter. But when the spring melt arrives you’ll be happy to find a well-preserved garden that’s ready for you to start digging in. Keep your property looking its best! Contact Van Beek’s Garden Supplies for all your garden and landscaping needs in the Oakville and Mississauga area.

Happy Holidays! Looking Back at 2016

Happy HolidaysIt’s almost the end of another year here at Van Beek’s Garden Supplies.

And looking back on 2016, there was plenty going on at both our Oakville and Mississauga locations.

So as we wish you the best of the season (with an eye towards 2017), let’s take a look back at the year that was.

After all, because of great customers like you, 2016 turned out to be a terrific year at Van Beek’s.

Events galore

Throughout the year, Van Beek’s was proud to host a variety of events for homeowners and contractors alike:

  • In May, we hosted a FREE landscaping lighting seminar for our contractors. It featured the latest in lighting products, as well as tips on installation, maintenance and more.
  • In September, we invited customers to have a coffee break with Banas Stones. It was a great opportunity to see new interlocking stone pavers & to meet with Banas representatives.

Whether you’re a contractor or homeowner, we know how busy you are.

So it’s greatly appreciated that you were able to take time to attend and participate in these special events.
firewood-cta

Plenty of helpful resources

Not only do we strive to sell excellent products at Van Beek’s, we also want to give you insightful, easy-to-use resources.

That’s why in 2016, we were happy to following guides for you to download absolutely FREE.

And if you missed them the first time around, there’s no need to worry.

You can still grab them right now.

thanks-xmasHave a great holiday season

Once again, the team at Van Beek’s Garden Supplies would like to wish you and your family all the best of the holidays.

No matter how you celebrate, we hope it’s full of family and fun.

And thank you for a terrific 2016. We can’t wait to see what 2017 brings.

One last thing: We’re still here if you need us

The holidays are a busy time of year.

But if you need presents for the gardener on your list or some outdoor decorating ideas, you can always contact us with your questions or comments.

We’ll get back to you ASAP with the answers you’re looking for.

Season’s Greetings, everyone!

Ask for a FREE quote

Yes You Can! (And Should) Get Your Yard Ready For Winter (Infographic)

It’s not too early to begin prepping your yard for the harsh winter that’s just around the corner.

Spending an afternoon now working on your property will pay dividends in spring because it’ll be so much easier for your topsoil and garden to come back to life.

The latest installment in our “Yes You Can!” series revisits a popular infographic on what you can do to get your yard ready for winter.

Vanbeeks_Infographic

Winter’s coming, so you should start now

The weather may be nice outside now, but pretty soon the soil will be cold and frozen.

This means that right now is the best time to get your yard ready for winter.

If you need any help along the way, just contact your local Van Beek’s Garden Supplies location.

We’ll be happy to provide any information or assistance you need to ensure your garden is ready for whatever winter throws at it.

button green

A Dark December Means Lots of Time to Showcase Your Lights!

When days are short and nights are long, landscape lighting around your home is more valuable than ever. Though outdoor lighting provides safety and security for your home, it can offer much more. By softly accenting the best features of your home and garden, shining a light on accents and focal points, and with add-ons to celebrate the holidays, your home landscape lights will make winter time feel much brighter.

Inspect Your Lighting System

Before the full force of winter hits, take close look at your outdoor lighting system. Make sure there are no worn, broken or rusted components and that all connections are tight. It is also a good idea for pathway lights to be installed with enough height that they will not be covered by snow.

Focal Points and Features

In addition to pathway and patio lights, landscape lights are best used to highlight special features in your yard and garden. A single uplight at the base of three or four interesting trees in your yard is an elegant way to draw attention to your home. Sculptural elements and water features also benefit from focused lighting.

If you can see these lit features from inside your living area, it helps to extend the hours you enjoy your landscape. While your front yard lighting is largely for neighbors and public view, backyard lighting is for your own enjoyment. A backyard with softly lit elements at night adds another level of interest to your home.

The Best Lights for Your Landscape

If you considering a new outdoor lighting system, LED lights are your best choice. The bulbs last far longer than any other type of light, but use much less electricity. LED lights are durable, dependable and versatile, with many colour options. Though they may initially cost a little more than traditional lights, over time, you will save with lower electric bills and less money spent on maintenance.

Holiday Lighting

Almost all homeowners like to add additional landscape lights as Christmas and the holidays draw near. If your are planning a new lighting system, provide some extra outlets or junction boxes so it will be easy to temporarily increase the number of lights in your yard.

If bright, colorful Christmas light features aren’t your style, there are some more subtle ways to enhance the holiday spirit with garden lights. One approach is to simply change the bulb color in some of your existing outdoor lights. Switch a couple of white spotlights from white to blue or green. You can also string a set of lights through one or more small trees in your yard. Blue and green lights look especially nice reflecting on snow covered branches on a winter night. If the lights don’t have a specific holiday theme, you may just decide to leave them up for the rest of the winter.

Though landscape lighting is nice at any time of year, you will appreciate it most during the colder months. When the sun sets early, garden lights brighten the parts of the landscape you want to feature, leaving the rest hidden. With lighting, a yard doesn’t have to have green foliage year round to be attractive. Show off the unique character of your yard, the bark and branches of a favorite tree or a piece of garden art with landscape lights. It can be a new way to enjoy winter.

Snuggle up by the fire and enjoy the gentle glow of your landscape lighting this winter. Book your firewood delivery today.

 

 

Your Own Winter Wonderland

The first snow of early winter always looks fresh and pure, covering the landscape with a layer of white and turning the world into a magical wonderland, if only for a brief while. A few weeks later, many people are ready for winter to be over, even though there are still months of snow and slush left. What can you turn to in your home garden to help you get through the long Ontario winter? There are several ways to make a wonderful winter garden that’s interesting enough to carry you through to the first signs of spring.

Ornamental Bark

Winter is the best time to appreciate tree characteristics that are overlooked when there is lots of foliage. Many trees and large shrubs have bark with fantastic colors and textures. Here are five the best ornamentals with interesting bark.

Birch trees – Both white birch (Betula papyrifera) and yellow birch (Betula ltea) have unique and instantly identifiable bark. White birch bark is whitish and papery in appearance while yellow birch bark is a darker and curled.

Beech trees – The American beech (Fagus grandifolia) is a slow growing, but majestic tree with smooth, gray bark. If you see a tree with initials carved in the bark, it is probably a beech.

Red osier dogwood – Cornus sericea, is one of the delights of the winter landscape. This large shrub has red branches and twigs that make a dramatic contrast with the snow and gray of winter.

Ninebark – The name of this large shrub gives you a clue to its appeal. Layers of peeling bark on the Physocarpus keep it interesting all winter long. There are several different cultivars of this species, all with somewhat varying characteristics.

Musclewood – Ask for Carpinus caroliniana by its latin name; there are several trees with similar common names. This one has smooth bark like a beech tree, but the form of the trunk and branches is somewhat rolling, giving it a muscular appearance. Musclewood is a medium size tree.

Ornamental Grasses

Savvy gardeners have long been aware of the appeal of ornamental grasses in the landscape. They are perennial, returning year after year, usually sending up tall shoots of new growth with feathery seedheads in late summer and early fall. Clusters of foliage remain the through the winter, a dramatic contrast against a thick blanket of snow. Non-invasive native species such as switchgrass, little bluestem and big bluestem are usually the smart choice. Depending on the species, they will grow anywhere from three to six feet tall.

 

For all ornamental plants, be sure to add good quality soil mix or compost to the existing soil. A thick layer of mulch will help the new plants through their first winter in your yard.

Art in the Landscape 

Along with unique plants, art and sculpture can make valuable contributions to the winter landscape. Sculptures serve as dramatic focal points, and the options are as varied as the creativity of the artist. Art pieces can be freestanding or attach to a wall, stand alone in the yard or emerge from planting beds. Almost all garden art can help to lift your spirits on a dreary winter day.

Spending time planning the elements of your winter garden helps you tune in to subtle, but fascinating features in the landscape. Observing the many shades of brown and gray and how they change colour through the day depending on weather and sunlight is an ongoing, slow moving drama in your garden. Contrasting textures, forms and colours, even if they are not green, are some of the most exciting parts of the landscape, especially during winter.

 

Find the supplies you need to create your winter garden at either of our two locations. Call or stop by to find out more today!

Work in the Fall so Your Property is Healthy in the Spring

Cool, sunny days in autumn are among of the best times for outdoor lawn and garden work. Sweater weather means you won’t get too hot or cold; it’s both pleasant and easy to spend all afternoon in the garden. Fortunately, there are lots of fall landscaping chores that will help get your garden ready for cold weather. The most notable benefit of these is they also help prepare your landscape for spring.

Renovate Your Lawn

In Ontario, fall is usually the best time for lawn renovation. Start by aerating your lawn. Rental supply centres rent aerators by the hour or day. Leave the plugs of soil that the aerator pulls out of the lawn in place; they will break down soon enough. Lightly overseed, paying special attention to bare and thin areas. Finish off with a light topdressing, like topsoil we can deliver right to your door.

Prune Shrubs and Trees

Fall and early winter are also good times to prune many ornamental shrubs and trees. It will help to stimulate new growth in spring. Generally speaking, most summer and fall blooming plants can be pruned in late fall or early winter. Hold off on spring flowering plants until after they bloom. Remove dead or damaged branches first. Thin out branches that are crowded or crossing. Most plants look best if you retain their natural shape. Cut back branches that you remove to the next intersection instead of shearing off the tips.

Mulch Planting Beds

We all like a little extra warmth in winter. Give your perennials, flowers and shrubs a light blanket of mulch this fall. While mulch helps to retain moisture, it also helps to moderate soil temperatures. Your plants’ roots will have an extra layer of protective insulation for freezing temperatures. Plants that have been mulched in the fall will be eager to grow and bloom when spring rolls around.

Inspect Patios and Pavers

Your patios and walkways, whether constructed from interlocking pavers or flagstone, should have a fall inspection to prevent problems from developing over winter. Reset any pavers that are displaced along the edge of your patio and reinstall or repair the edging to hold them in place. Sweep in aggregate or polymeric sand between pavers if there are obvious gaps. If you use a sealer on your pavers, fall is a good time to put on a new coat. Depending on the type of paver, it will provide some extra protection from freeze-thaw damage.

Install New Plants

With just a few exceptions, fall is the best time for planting trees, shrubs and perennials. Though the plants will be dormant for winter, below ground, cool weather gives roots a chance to get established without the pressure of feeding the foliage. When warm weather comes, plants that were put in place in fall will recover faster. They will be healthier, with more leaves and blooms.

Fall planting is one of the best ways to get a head start on spring. With some new plants in place, your pruning  hyhhgcomplete, a renovated lawn, repaired pavers and touched up planting beds, you’ll be fully prepared for spring garden recovery. In fact, having spent all that time improving your landscape, you’ll almost hate to go inside for the winter!

Get all the supplies you need for your fall work at Van Beek’s Garden Supplies. Give us a call to request a quote today.

How to Get Your Yard Ready for Winter

Get Your Yard Ready for a Winter of Hibernation with These 10 Simple Steps

An afternoon of work in October will make bringing your property back to life in the spring a whole lot easier. Follow our infographic below and get your property ready like a pro. Or let the pros handle it for you and book your appointment with us today.

fall gardening chores
Prep for the winter