HGTV’S PAUL LAFRANCE – Looking past the storm in our lives to gain some perspective

By HGTV STAR Paul Lafrance   I’ve been in the midst of a storm lately. The kind of storm that spits out down- bursts and funnel clouds like a little kid trying dad’s chewing tobacco, that makes you thank God you’re not in a boat; or makes you beg for mercy if you are. I’m sure everyone can relate to these kinds of storms. We all know what it feels like to be so blasted by the winds and rains of life, to lose focus, to lose direction, and to lose ourselves. There are countless stories of how powerful...

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A LIVING TRIBUTE – A tree for every hero

By Scott Bryk – Mississauga, ON   Someone once asked, “When is a tree more than just a tree?” I believe the answer is “when the tree is part of a memorial to honour Canada’s fallen heroes.” The Highway of Heroes Living Tribute Campaign aims to plant 117,000 trees along and near Highway 401; one for every one of Canada’s war dead. This living, breathing memorial offers an opportunity to tell the story of Canadian Veterans. It will remind those who travel along the highway of the great debt we owe these courageous servicemen and women. When a member...

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One of the first things you notice when you walk into a house is also something that the majority of homeowners tend to overlook. It’s something we all sat around during holiday get togethers at our grandparents’ house, has been the quintessential centerpiece in homes for centuries and is Santa’s “unofficial entrance”. That’s right, it’s your replace; and it’s time to start paying more attention to it. You can click on the ‘ole electric light show or switch on the gas flames in an instant, but nothing quite resembles the classic, wood-burning replace of years past. The crackle and...

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GREAT EXPECTATIONS – The top 5 reasons why Homeowners Underestimate the cost of their Landscape Projects

By Glenn Curtis – Montreal, QC   Professional design/build landscapers dream of presenting a project budget for the perfect design and hearing,“Wow! at’s much less than I expected, when can you start?” Inevitably, we wake to find the real world holds a much more common reaction: unrealistic expectations. Homeowners want it all in this day and age, and few understand that their dream of having a permanent, 5-star luxury resort experience in their own backyard, often can cost more than going on an actual vacation. In the landscaping industry we call this “sticker shock”, and fortunately, there is a...

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THE POOL IS HALF FULL – Going back to the beginning

Inner reflection is never a bad thing. As I sit back and put my career into focus, I realize that a lot of things have happened since I first got into the pool game twenty-eight years ago. I’ve gone from labourer to foreman to subcontractor to owning my own business all within that span, and as I’ve grown and expanded my knowledge and experience, so too have the advancements in my industry continued to change and evolve. I started in humble beginnings in 1988, working for a local company installing vinyl-lined pools in three days or less. The must...

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By Mark of the Earth  “A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.” —John James Audubon  A New Enthusiasm There is a nice story about the great naturalist John Muir, building his small cabin over part of Yosemite Creek so that he could hear the sound of running water. A pioneer in many areas, he was a seeker who sought balance, connection, and understanding through nature. It is to our benefit that these eventually came his way, and that he spread the word far and...

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