Now I’m an ICPI Instructor!

One problem in our industry is a lack of any building code, or minimum standards. Basically, anybody with a wheelbarrow and a shovel can call themselves a landscaper, and build patios, walkways, and driveways.

However, a number of years ago a group called the ICPI (Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute) began to do studies on materials and installation techniques. This has led to a “best practices” book, and ultimately training and certification programs, in order to try to ensure that the public gets the best products and installations possible.

I have been an ICPI Certified Installer for many years, but this winter I had the opportunity to take it one step further. I am now a Certified ICPI Instructor. I teach other companies, contractors, and installers how to (and how not to!) install concrete pavers.

What does this mean for you, the client? Well, you can be sure that any project installed by Peace, Love, and Landscaping is using the most up-to-date and rigorously tested materials and methods in order to ensure that your patio, walkway, or driveway lasts for years to come.

For more information on the ICPI, visit

Super Star Employees

At Peace, Love, and Landscaping I am so fortunate to be surrounded by incredibly talented and dedicated employees.

This year we have some familiar returning faces such as Chuck Wightman who has been with me for over 5 years as the hardest worker on the crew – EVER.  And, he is also a wizard when it comes to his precision for making cuts in stone and pavers.

We have our returning apprentice Jordan Milmine.  Jordan has been off at Fanshawe College studying Horticulture Technician Program, and has been missed on the jobsite during his school year.  He is our Hercules, our strong man, our farm boy.  Every crew needs tall, muscular crew member, and as his experience grows he becomes even more of an asset to the company each year.

But, by far the biggest news is the hiring of our new Crew Leader (Foreman) Jeff Cunningham.  Jeff comes to us after years of experience in the Golf Industry building and maintaining golf courses throughout Ontario.  He is familiar with a wide variety of heavy equipment, has completed massive projects in the past, and has an eye for detail rivaling my own.

With this band of Super Stars, and the others that are being hired and trained as I write this, 2013 looks to be an amazing year not only for us at Peace, Love, and Landscaping, but for you the Client!

Seasonal Gardening Tips

April Tips

Spring is finally upon us, and for many of us the itch to get out into our gardens is overwhelming.  So, too, can be the number of things on the Garden To-Do List!

Follow these simple steps to get your garden off to a great year:

    a) Start by raking away all of last year’s dead leaves and foliage from perennials to expose your soil or mulch.

    b) Next, prune back any woody perennials like Lavender or Blue Beard.  For shrubs like Lilacs or Dogwoods, take out a few of the oldest, thickest branches to rejuvenate them.  Hedge prune summer bloomers like Spirea, Weigela, and Barberry.  Remove winter damage from Hydrangeas, cutting them back to the first set of fat buds.

    c) Now inspect all your trees and shrubs for crossing branches, as well as remove any damaged or diseased branches.  Now you can see the overall shape, so ornamental pruning can be done.

    d) Don’t prune spring bloomers like Lilacs, Forsythia, or Magnolias as you’ll remove those beautiful flowers before you get a chance to enjoy them.  Also, wait to give your evergreens a shearing

    e) This is also the time to cut those Ornamental Grasses back to about 4-6” above the ground.

    f) Lastly, edge your garden beds with a Crescent Edger to create a distinct mowing edge, and Mulch, Mulch, Mulch.

And, if this seems like too much work, why not call in the professionals?  We’re here to help!

Don’t forget to check back in next month for information on Planting Annuals.

Poco Loco (Logo)

Clients often ask me two questions when they first meet me.  Where did the logo come from, and do you have it tattooed.

To answer the first, I honestly cannot remember where I first came up with the name or logo idea.  It’s something that just sort of developed over time, and before I knew it, it just was.  But, here’s some tidbits on all the things that are embodied in the design.

  1. Well, the heart itself is an obvious LOVE reference.
  2. The branches around the heart are Olive Branches, similar to what is found on the United Nations logo.  “Extending an Olive Branch” is an ancient Roman tradition used to offer Peace, or a Treaty, to end a war.
  3. The Dove is a Christian symbol of Peace.
  4. The Yellow Rose is given as a give of Friendship or Caring.
  5. The Purple Hibiscus has many different meanings around the world.  In Japan it represents “Gentle Beauty”, and in Hawaii it is often given to important visitors as a sign of respect and honour.
  6. Lastly, the shovel was used to replace the traditional arrow through the heart, and ties everything back to what we do.  Gentle, Beautiful, Peaceful, Loving Landscaping Installations.

And, do I have the tattoo on me?  Well, for a long time the answer would have been “No”, but after more than 8 years in business I finally took the plunge this winter and had it tattooed.  For me, it represents my commitment to my company, which in turn is my commitment to you, the customer.

BTW, “Poco Loco” is a Spanish phrase meaning “a little bit crazy”.  And it wouldn’t be the first time someone said I was a little bit crazy, either!

Feng Shui

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese practice of arranging your environment so that energy or “Chi” flows gently and smoothly through your home or business, in order to bring good fortune, health, and success.  Most Feng Shui focuses on the interior of your home, but in fact, what happens outside is perhaps even more important.  If the good “Chi” is not able to flow into and through your property to your front door (The Mouth of Chi), it does not matter how good it flows inside.

With that in mind, and after many years of casual study, I set out this past winter to get further study the ancient art of Feng Shui.

I am proud to announce that I am now a Certified Feng Shui Consultant, and can evaluate both your inside and outside spaces to help encourage the flow of positive Chi forces.  This is now an Add-On Service that we will be able to offer clients who have an interest in this ancient tradition.