Customer projects

Stone construction
The Dunbar deck
The Smith cottage
The Killborn home
Olmstead Jeffrey lake property
The Kovaks home
The Yakabuski home
The Lambert home
The Reeves home
The Schroeder house
The Ringuette garage
The Steege house
The McLaughlin house
The Els house
The Greene house
The Craig house
The Cotie farm
The Dube house
The Van Gelder house
The Delong house

Wood construction
The Robertson house

The Steege House
The shoemakers kids

Erosion control
The Meadows house
The Kropf house
The Tomkinson house

Water Features
The Lipton house
The shoemakers kids

Simon Tunley.



The Annual Whitewater Gardening Calendar

When to do what is a challenge that changes with each region and each season. Following is a list of the jobs that we have done for our Whitewater customers broken down by season. If you don’t find an answer to your question here, email me and I will try to answer it.



and May




Decks and Patios










Start new flower beds, weeding?perennial gardens, annuals, The Veggie patch

Weed, weed and weed and then mulch, Planting, The veggie garden


Divide and plant, Weeds, Garden teardown after the frost


First cut hedges

Cut hedges

Cut and weed hedges


Plant lawns — frost seeding

Dethatch, expand, mow. Fertilize

mow lawns

mow lawns

Clear ground for new lawns Fertilize


Log your bush

Prune fruit trees, Remove unwanted trees

Clear rough ground.

Cut branches, pollard, remove



Trash removal, rakings removal, Burn

Spring cleanup

Hedge and garden clipping removal

Hedge and garden clipping removal

Yard cleanup after the leaves have fallen



The time for hibernation is also the time to dream and plan, and you can get lots of help from gardeners supply businesses. Seed catalogues and websites offer suggestions and everything from the cheapest deals to the newest hybrids. Paving stone manufacturers catalogues show everything from simple paving arrangements to waterfalls and outdoor ovens. Last summer’s photographs can be the traced to make scribbles and drawings of what you hope to do next year. And perhaps most importantly, landscapers, usually too busy to talk will be happy to answer questions in winter.

Winter is also a time to observe. Does the snow pack onto the place where you plan to put a deck? Does water back up behind the retaining wall? Winter is hard on our gardens and it’s important to pay attention to shady spots, windblown areas, heavy drifting as these will often affect summer growth. — top


Woods can be rough-cleared in winter using skidders or bulldozers or cut and stacked on the spot if drainage is good. If there’s a commercial harvest, it can be easily extracted from most terrain during freeze-up. Similarly, plantation thinning can be conducted during the winter months. — top

Winter burning

In Whitewater Region, unlike all surrounding regions, you can still burn all year providing you get a permit from Whitewater Region or contact a local fire warden. However, winter is simply the safest time to burn and most responsible organizations pile their wood and wait for Nopvember to dispose of it. Once the snow goes, the risks of open burning increase daily. — top

Late Winter. February and March

Prune fruit trees

When the long cold nights start to shorten, it’s time to prune fruit trees for summer growth. Remove in this order: dead limbs, rubbing limbs, centre-crossovers and finally verticals and horizontals. Then make sure that fruiting spurs are not too close together or on top of other branches, and finally cut back the length of growth spurs. WE also spray an environmentally friendly lime sulphur mix for over-wintering pests. — top

Plant lawns — frost seeding

For some reason, planting grass seed directly onto the snow as it is melting has always produced the lushest and thickest lawns. I honestly don’t know why that works, but it does. But of course, you will have had to clear the ground last fall. You can successfully plant a lawn at any time during the spring months, however the later you wait; the less likely you will be successful as lawns need at least three weeks of wet and cool to germinate properly. It’s also important to pick a seed that is appropriate for your site — shade/sun, well/poorly drained and wear-and-tear being the most significant factors. — top

Remove unwanted trees

It’s best to cut trees down before they have grown much leaf. It’s safer, doesn’t damage exposed plants when it falls and is easier to dispose of the wood either by burning or haulage. — top

Trash removal

Piles grow with time. Now is a great time to get stuff off to the dump. Everything from cement pads to ex-yardsales should be got rid of as they occur — top

April and May. Snowmelt. Spring cleanup

Immediately after the snow melts, there’s a ton of work to do.

Dethatch your lawn

In winter, lawn grass will often generate a mold which can weaken your lawn’s roots making them less able to compete with other weed seeds. Also, roadside and driveway lawns are often covered with winter sand and any leaves left over from last year can choke a growing lawn. Vigorous raking with metal rakes will prepare your lawn for a good year to come.

Expanding your lawn?

If you plan to expand your lawn into rough ground, this is the time to cut all shrubs to below mower depth, remove any rocks and sticks and rake the ground flat. Once clear, a pass once a month with the mower will take care of any young saplings. — top

Lawn mowing

Lawn mowing includes sit-on, hand-trim, whippersnip and blow. We do not specialize in lawn-mowing and there are always cheaper solutions out there. We fertilize lawns in May.— top

Clearing rough ground.

When the snow first goes is a great time to remove obstacles so that the lawnmower can do the job in future. Some folks like to burn rough areas at this time to get rid of thatch from previous years, but be careful as fires can quickly get out of control, and the local fire department spends much of this time responding to embarrassed landowners. Best to have a couple of friends around and a hose at the ready. And remember, if it’s after April 1, you need permission and a burn permit from Whitewaters fire warden. — top


I try to resist the temptation to walk on my gardens during April and May except to lightly rake off any protective winter mulch and to add a spring root-promoting fertilizer if needed. I have seen many young perrennial shoots and spring bulbs damaged by well-intentioned but unwise spring weeding, and the resulting stunted growth is not worth the benefits. — top

Annuals and Perennials

Generally, annuals are just planted for this year whereas oerennials grow year after year. Annual beds and new perennial beds are exempt to the no-go advice because they are empty of shoots. Weed well and mulch heavily (see June for details), then plant as you wish. But with tender annuals, watch the skies and be careful of late frosts. The trade off is one of risk management. Plant early and you get a better year but you run the risk of losing out to a late frost. Be ready to replace frost-damaged annuals with new ones if you plant early. Perennials are usually hardy and should be planted as early as possible and treated well fertilised if you want to enjoy flowers in the first year.— top

The Veggie patch

Most veggies can be planted in April (peas and lettuce) and May (everything except nightshades and exotics). Follow carefully the instructions on each package and try to ensure that one row doesn’t shade out another. — top

Start new flower beds

Time was that a lick of Roundup was the first step towards converting that lawn to flowerbed. Alas, that is often no longer an option. The only other ways to start a flowerbed is to:

1. dig the lawn (lots of hours and a load of new topsoil and you will still get weeds), and

2. lay an opaque tarp on the lawn to forbid light and water to reach the roots. Lay the tarp a year before you wish to start the bed. It’s called planning ahead.

Once the lawn has been killed, we bring in a rototiller, composted soil or mulch and manure. We turn the ground deeply, then add the composted soil and turn it again. For best results, we recommend an initial sowing of buckwheat to further fertilize the soil which we then cut down within 45 days, plant, edge and mulch — top


Get the deck, driveway, patio and shed plans approved and off to quotes. Excavation can be done and aggregates delivered once the frost is out of the ground. Never start wet or dry stonework until one week after the frost is all gone as melting often resettles a frozen base. — top


Weed, weed and weed and then mulch

By June, the weeds that started in April are huge and the garden looks a mess, but those last flowers to show, the tardy Hostas are finally up. I pull out all the stops for this first weed of the year, gently loosening every inch of the bed with a garden fork, then getting down on my knees with hand tools and removing every single bit of root I can and fully loosen the soil to six inches or so. In some case I will even dig up perennials that have weeds in the root, clear them of weed roots and replant, although in doing so I may be compromising their flowering potential for this year. Once I have finished weeding, I lay a good 6 inches of mulch on new beds, and top up the mulch in old beds. The mulch is optional, but is fairly cheap and makes for very fast weeding in future. Last steps are to edge the beds -- for neatness and to draw attention to the soon-to-flower shrubs. Finally, I will remove deadwood and prune some woody shrubs. Although some weeding will take place in subsequent months, June is the big investment. — top


Most perennials planted in June will not flower the same year; however June is still a good time to divide and plant providing you can irrigate well during the hot summer months. — top

The veggie garden

Tomatoes, chilies, peppers, cilantro, basil, lemon grass, eggplant and other exotics all need to be planted when the nighttime low is above 5 degrees (10 degrees for chilies). — top


If you want to do 2 cuts in a year, do the first one in early June. If doing one cut, a June cut will leave you with a shaggy hedge during next winter. It’s a matter of personal choice. — top


This is the best time to start decks and patios. Concrete can be poured with expectation of good results, there are no load restrictions and summer labour is available now the universities are finished their winter sessions. Plus it leaves lots of time to finish in case something goes wrong. — top



Topping. edging and mulching where necessary. An exception is the veggie garden which requires constant “topping” (cutting the weed off at ground level). My preferred hoe, the flat push-hoe is not available at local stores, but at Lee Valley. Some weeds are starting to go to seed. A good investment is to get rid of them before they do. — top


Still lots of time to start projects. Most can be completed within a three-to-four week period. — top


A July cut is my preferred one. We generally cut a hedge in a box-horse shape There will be some regrowth so it won’t look bare all winter. We also cut back the bottom and remove any unwanted shrubs that might compete. If we find a wasps nest, we kill it.

If doing two hedge cuts, the second cut should be in Mid August. We recommend that you do not cut hedges within two weeks of danger of frost.— top

September, October -- FROST


Every weed that we missed is going to seed and will be tenfold next year. It never ends. That’s why mulch is cheaper in the long run. — top

Divide and plant

If you liked that large Hosta, consider dividing it into a group of hostas. Ditto for the rest of the garden. Fall is my favourite time to divide and transplant and the nurseries start dropping their exorbitant prices after mid-September, so you can often score deals at a fraction of the spring prices. This is also a good time to plant trees— top

Garden teardown after the frost

Once the frost does its work, teardown becomes a good option for some but not all. For the disciplined garden, we deadhead and chop verticals except winter-profile shrubs such as rose cedum, Coneflower and red dogwoods. We remove the clippings to the compost or to the dump, do a final edging and pull any perennial weeds such as burdock, thistle and dock. Natural gardeners would rather leave the dead seedpods over the winter to break a monotonous snow meadow and for birds and animals to browse. — top

Garden teardown after the leaves have fallen

Once the leaves are all off the trees, the last maintenance job is to get them off the lawns for the winter, as they will generate winter mold and throttle a good lawn. For the disciplined gardener, we put them on the compost pile. For the natural gardener, we put them on the flower beds and leave them there to protect the perennials from ground frosts during the winter. Both frost and leaf teardown can be done separately or together after the leaves have all fallen. — top


Interlocking wall stonework and wet casting and pouring become more risky in the late season because both glue and cement set poorly at low temperatures. Dry work such as paving and stackwalls can proceed well into freeze up providing the base has been fully compacted beforehand. Drainage work can also be done prior to freeze up and then construction can follow next year after the drainage activities have been proven effective. — top

Clear ground for lawns

Rake and pick rocks and sticks in anticipation of frost seeding (see “Late Winter” above) — top

Last-minute tree care

Late fall is a good time to cut branches, pollard (cut back main branches of some trees to keep them small) and remove some trees altogether inpreparation for winter. — top


We wind down lawn care as they stop growing . However on our last visit, we lightly fertilize for the winter— top