Top 4 Reasons To Host A Bee Colony

Top 4 Reasons To Host A Bee Colony

 

Beekeeping is all the buzz! As a result, it’s becoming more common to see beehives on rooftops and tucked into the corners of backyards. Whether it’s to help pollinate the neighbourhood around you or to enjoy producing honey as a family, there are numerous reasons to host your very own bee colony!

 

 

Liquid Gold

The honey! Not only does it sweeten your tea, taste delicious on toast, and add flavor to pretty much anything, it also has plenty of health benefits. Honey contains vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants, and amino acids. It’s well known for it antimicrobial/antifungal properties and honey produced right next to where you live can even help with seasonal allergies! Most store-bought brands have been pasteurized, which eliminates the honey’s positive qualities. An urban beehive can generate approximately 10 kg of honey per year, so there will be plenty to share with friends and neighbours.

 

 

Pollinate Your Community

Did you know that without bees, global fruit, vegetable, and nut crops would yield about half of their current amounts? Some food species (such as almonds) would not exist at all! With bee populations on the decline, there couldn’t be a more perfect time to do your part for the ecosystem by incorporating a hive into your landscape design. Starting your own bee colony can seem like a daunting task but you don’t have to do it alone! We are working with the incredibly knowledgeable team at Alvéole. They have supplied us with our first hive and are teaching is the ins and outs of maintaining it. Alvéole can install a hive on your rooftop, your balcony or in in your backyard. They will provide you with check-ups, to ensure your hive is running smoothly, and will handle the extraction of your honey at their honey house. Bees are most attracted to purple, yellow and blue flowers, so adding some colourful plantings to your yard will help your hive thrive! Lavender is a lovely choice, both for pollinators and property owners, alike.

 

 

Good For The Garden

Raising your own bee colony is one of the best things you can do for your garden! Honey bees will pollinate your plants and increase your yields. Some of our favorite plants need the help of these wonderful little pollinators! If you grow flowers, cucumbers, berries or fruit trees, bees will dramatically increase your harvest.

 

 

None Of Your Beeswax

Beeswax is the best! It has dozens of uses around the home and you can even incorporate it into your beauty routine. Beeswax contains vitamin A, which is one of the best vitamins for your skin. It’s perfect for homemade lip balms, lotions, soaps and hair-styling products! When applied to the skin, beeswax forms a protective barrier that helps protect it from environmental assaults, while also holding in moisture and reducing dryness. You can also use the wax to make your own furniture polish, waterproof your shoes, wax your sewing thread, coat your kitchen pans so they don’t stick to food, and seal yard tools so they don’t rust. You can even use beeswax to make your own candles! While many commercial candles emit toxic chemicals, beeswax burns cleaner for longer and produces a lovely smell.

 

Fun fact: honey bees must consume 8.5 pounds of honey to make one pound of beeswax, which they use to make the honeycomb in their hive. Honeycomb holds the bees’ honey in small hexagon-shaped buckets and that shape is no accident! Since it takes so much food to create a small amount of wax, bees tapped into their mathematical genius to come up with the most efficient way to use it. The hexagon shape allows them to use the least amount of wax to store the most amount of honey. Pretty smart little insects, if you ask us!

 

Photos courtesy of Alvéole

6 Unique Poolscape Features!

6 Unique Poolscape Features!

 
So you’ve taken the plunge! You’ve decided to add a pool to your landscape and now comes the fun part – choosing the design features for your new, blue oasis! Whether your vision is contemporary elegance or you are looking to create a luscious tropical paradise, Groupe Paramount can help to bring your ideas to life.
 
Pick Your Style
 
There are so many ways to let your creativity show! Choose from a traditional, free-form, contemporary or natural design style and then customize with design touches that make your pool uniquely you. Add custom sun ledges, swim-up bars or negative edges that produce the visual effect of water with no boundary. The options are endless!
 
Choose Your Furniture
 
Selecting your exterior seating is one of the most important decisions of your pool area design. The right outdoor decor can make any pool area more luxurious! We can help you take inspiration from your interior decor or choose pieces that compliment the design aspects of your new poolscape. 
 
 
Pick Your Poolscape
 
Set the stage for a dynamic poolscape with a custom decking and paver design that we can design! Add a contemporary sun ledge with gorgeous (and durable!) ipe wood, choose from concrete pavers or slabs, or create a secluded haven by adding a feature privacy wall.
 
Let It Flow
 
A water feature can increase the sense of calm and tranquility that your oasis provides, as well as adding to the visual aesthetic of your new swimming space. Water features can be designed with natural rock, artificial rock, block or stone structures. They can be integrated into the poolscape or as a part of the construction of the pool itself.
 
Let It Glow
 
Lighting is everything, whether it’s part of your interior or exterior design! Pool lights can create varying aesthetic effects, depending on the design and colour. From warmer toned yellows, oranges or reds to relaxing greens or blues. Not only will the right lighting enhance the beauty of your poolscape but will also provide safety by aiding visibility underwater, near steps, on pool ledges and seating areas.
 
Last But Not Least…Warm It Up
 
A custom spa or Jacuzzi is a great addition to any swimming space. They add value to your property and the relaxation benefits are incredible! They also keep your poolscape functional throughout the colder months and are a great way to warm up, polar bear club style, in your very own backyard!
 

4 Ways To Up Your Staycation Game!

Do you love to travel? The excitement of planning your next adventure and experiencing new destinations is thrilling but we don’t always have the ability to get away when we would like. Staycations are a great alternative and come with plenty of perks! You don’t have to travel to experience the relaxation that a vacation brings. You can get more bang for your buck at home, so why go far when you can live it up on your very own backyard staycation? Groupe Paramount can create relaxing, resort-style outdoor living spaces that are perfect for decompressing after a long week at work, hosting parties or spending time with family. All while increasing curb appeal and overall value to your home!

BUILD A SPA SANCTUARY

When your body and mind are in desperate need of a mini-vacay, send them to your backyard spa for a quick recharge! Seclusion is the key so a privacy wall can create the feeling of being in a luxurious retreat. Planting lush, evergreen groundcover and subtle-scented flowers, while adding finishing touches such as a rock garden or zen fountain, will add to the aesthetic. A fountain will also help create privacy by masking noise. Stretching out on a yoga mat or chaise lounge within your own private spa will turn your tension into relaxation.

WATER AND FIRE ELEMENTS

Calming water and exhilarating fire elements are an integral part of any resort vacation, so why not bring those elements to your backyard landscaping?

From creating a serene audio backdrop, to visually exciting your senses and connecting you to nature, flowing water carries beauty, health, and harmony into your environment. Water features like a backyard pond, a waterfall or fountain provide a very pleasant spectacle of sound, as water falls gently over rocks and steps. They are an excellent place to unwind at the end of a stressful day. Water features come in all shapes, sizes and styles.

Meanwhile, fire features let you stay warm even as the sun goes down and gives your backyard a sense of nighttime wonder. Toasting marshmallows with the kids in the outdoor fireplace, star gazing under a blanket, and playing or listening to music with friends around the fire pit, are all wonderful ways to enjoy the warmth and glow of your backyard fire feature. You can also add an outdoor kitchen or barbecue to your landscape to bring your party hosting game to the next level!

RECREATE YOUR FAVOURITE VACATION SPOT

If you want your staycation to feel like the real thing, try adding elements of your favourite travel destinations! Incorporating reminders of your special vacation spots can help you feel like you’re on holiday even when you’re at home.

Love the beach? Install a resort-style umbrella, beach chairs, plant beach grass, and add decorative seashells to your outdoor decor to mimic that look and feel.

Enjoy a Parisian adventure? Choose outdoor furniture that reminds you of the cutest French bistros to recreate a street-level café. Make sure to stock up on lots of croissants and café au lait!

Are you moved by the mountains? Planting your favourite flowers and trees will give you the feeling of being in nature. You can also surround your spa with decorative boulders and a natural stone waterfall to create the illusion of natural hot springs, like those found in Banff, Alberta! An added bonus to decorative boulders is that they can be used to hide unsightly yard elements that can’t be moved, such as an irrigation pump or a cable box.

CREATE A TROPICAL OASIS

Put away your passport and bring the lush Caribbean days to you instead! Planting pretty, tropical looking plants and flowers will bring the island scents and bright colours to your backyard. Try adding hibiscus, bamboo, agapanthus, yucca, cold hardy palm and ferns to your landscape. To create an even more tropical atmosphere, add some potted banana trees and bird of paradise plants! In the tropics, flowering vines grow in abundance. Bougainvillea, passiflora, mandevilla, jasmine are just a few! Mandevilla is definitely not a cold hardy plant but you can over-winter it indoors by growing it in the container.  To finish it all off, hang a hammock, install landscape lighting and sip from a coconut cup with a little umbrella at your pool’s new swim up bar. You’ll be feeling tropical all day long!

 

There are no limitations to what your landscape can become. Call us today!

Top 4 Ways To Warm Up Your Yard!

Top 4 Ways To Warm Up Your Yard!

You can make your summer days last long into the night with the addition of a fire feature to your patio, deck or backyard. In fact, there are so many events and activities that you can still do outdoors throughout the spring or fall when you have a cozy place to gather. Not only will these gorgeous features provide a beautiful aesthetic, they also provide warmth on colder nights!

Outdoor Fireplaces

A fireplace is a gorgeous focal feature for your backyard that provides not only warmth but also lighting.  It can be modeled to complement your home’s design and embellishing the space with outdoor seating and a table will give the impression of an added room to your house.

Fire Pits

Fire pits have become one of the most popular types of backyard fire features because of their portability, low cost, and ease of use. Generally positioned at the center of the patio area, they offer a great place to hang out with friends and family. Traditionally designed low to the ground, they can be built or bought in any shape or size and in a variety of materials. Wood-burning types are popular, but fire pits that are fueled by propane or gas are a greener choice and better for air quality.

Outdoor Grills and Kitchens

One of our favourite ways to warm up your yard — cooking!  A grill, brick pizza oven, or other outdoor cooking appliance will quickly heat up things. Plus, the delicious aromas of food cooking will make your guests want to hang out on the patio. Your grill can be standalone, by the pool or integrated into a larger outdoor kitchen for backyard parties!

Fire Tables

Outdoor gas fire tables add a warm, cozy glow to any outdoor space and can be a great focal point for your patio. These exceptional conversation tables will be the center of all of your backyard events, perfect for gathering friends and family around for a cozy meal or a fireside chat.

 

Top 5 Benefits to Owning a Pool!

With the cold winter months behind us and endless summer days ahead, many people will be considering adding a pool to their landscape. Here are a few of the phenomenal benefits to having a place to swim right in your very own backyard!
 
Friends and Family Time – When you decide to build a pool, you’re creating a fun and relaxing space, where your family can spend time together. While teaching your kids to swim, playing in the water together, and having barbecues on the patio, you’re creating memories that will last a lifetime. Additionally, a swimming pool is social magnet, giving you a great excuse to host parties and spend more time with friends!
Health and Wellness – Exercise in your own backyard! Whether it’s to lose weight or simply promote overall health – swimming is a fantastic full body, low impact workout. Now you can save the precious time it takes to drive back and forth to a gym by just taking a dip in the pool!
Relaxation – Have you ever noticed that people who live near water tend to be a lot more laid back than the rest of us? Water is an amazingly effective natural stress reliever. When you arrive home after a long stressful day or need an escape from everyday worries, taking a swim is a great way to unwind. Even being near a pool can have a positive impact on your state of mind, as the relaxing ambiance and the calming sound of water offer the ideal backdrop for quiet meditation. Installing water features to your pool, such a natural water fall, can add to the soothing effect.
Better Sleep –  How well do YOU sleep after a day spent by the pool? Being in and around water allows you to fall asleep faster and to sleep more deeply. This is because cool water lowers your internal temperature, forcing your body to expend more energy to compensate and causes you to feel fatigued. Swimming, walking or even goofing around in the water can help you catch more Zzzzs!
Increase The Value of Your Home – Did you know that an in-ground pool can increase a home’s value by 8-15%, depending on the current market? The addition of a pool to your property can improve the aesthetic of your landscape and make your house more desirable when it comes time to sell! 

5 Landscaping Tips – What To Consider Before You Begin!

You’ve finally decided it’s time to revamp your back yard, front yard or maybe even both. Maybe you’re thinking of adding a pool or you have an old pool that is in need of an upgrade? Whether you are interested in completely redesigning your landscape or simply making a few changes there are some important factors to consider before you start your project. Meeting with a professional landscape designer, pool designer or landscape architect  is the best place to start. Here are 5 things that you should know before you go into that meeting that will help the designers design your dream environment!

Who Will Be Using It

Start by thinking about who might be using the space that you’re designing. Do you have young children or is it primarily an adult retreat/oasis? Are there pets to consider when planting/designing? Creating a list of all family members, their ages, and the outdoor hobbies they may have can be extremely helpful to your designer when planning your new landscape.

What They’ll Be Doing

What activities will the space be designed for? Will you be using the space for cooking, relaxing, reading, or gardening? Perhaps you plan to entertain large groups of friends and family or are you more focused on recreational experiences such as swimming, basketball or games of touch football? How you plan to use the space outside your home is an important factor to consider.

When our clients have young children, we always look to conserve some of the grass area for play space. As fencing around a pool is a provincial requirement, we try to ensure kids have access to the play area of the yard without having to first access the pool area. As well, when designing a pool, creating  a “beach” is often a fun upgrade with younger children!

Style

What aesthetic appeal calls to you? Modern? Contemporary? How do you want your landscape to look? A good place to start is by considering your interior design and then trying to create unity with the exterior. Try to compliment the lines and styles of your home’s architecture to bring into your yard. This can guide which hardscapes, structures, decor and plantings you might like to select. Are you someone who prefers neat, geometric shapes and structures or do you prefer softer lines with a more natural feel to your space? Perhaps you want your yard to include only specific colours. Your landscape is an extension of your home and these questions can help to unify your unique design style!
 

Existing Issues/Attributes

There may be areas of your current landscape that you already know you want to change. Every person has differing tastes! You might hate a row of evergreen trees that blocks a particular view from your house but your designer might love the way they accentuate a part of your landscape. Unless you let us know, they might not get changed in the design. Create a list to work from during your consultation with your landscape designer so that you are sure to mention all areas that you want addressed. As well, it can also be beneficial to create a list of existing attributes that you would like to focus on and accentuate in the design!
 

Master Plan

When beginning a large landscaping project, it can be tempting to address it in steps or phases, particularly where cost is concerned. While this can work well, it is still wise to first begin with an all-encompassing master plan and then breaking it in phases. The planning costs is usually almost identical and can ensure that your property design doesn’t appear piecemeal. This will help to put you on the path to creating a beautiful, cohesive and thriving landscape.

 

Top 5 Landscaping Trends for 2017!

Mother nature may have just graced us with a huge helping of winter weather, but spring IS just around the corner – we promise! With renewed enthusiasm for the outdoors, Montreal’s homeowners are embracing thoughtful design, stylish plantings and smart technology to enhance their landscapes as extensions of their homes. As you start planning your landscaping projects for the warmer days ahead, take a peek at some of the top trends in landscape design for 2017 and get inspired!

Bringing Hygge Outside

Homeowners have become more interested in holistic landscapes that promote well-being. The Danish concept of coziness (Hygge) has recently become very popular in interior design and this year, you’ll be seeing more and more of it incorporated into backyard landscape designs. Spaces accentuated with outdoor fireplaces, quaint patios, and cozy gathering places are all going to be sought-after this year pictured above.

Design it Green!

“Greenery” was selected by Pantone, a leading provider of color systems, as its Color of the Year for 2017. Instead of going the conventional route of colourful flowers, using different textures and shades of greenery, such as a formal hedge of green velvet boxwood, a border of green lilyturf and dense ivy-covered trellises, can create quite the impact.

Mixing of Materials

More landscapes in 2017 will feature an integration of several forms of materials. From pebble paths leading to paving stone patios, to wooden decks adorned with iron gates, stylish pairings of different hardscapes can create an elegant approach to landscaping. Some of the most popular exotic woods are Ipe, Teak and Red Cedar. Take a look at this Ipe designed pool area (pictured above)! This is a wood that can be oiled for a rich array of brown shades or it can be left to grey out, which requires almost no maintenance and has a more organic aesthetic/texture.

Full Outdoor kitchens

Hosting a summer party is so much easier when you simply bring the kitchen outside! It can be be cumbersome to carry food from the house to the patio, especially when entertaining a larger group of guests. For this reason, more homeowners are loving the latest high-tech outdoor kitchens and the conveniences they provide. Grills, ovens, sinks, fridges and more! Well beyond the basic BBQ stations and dining sets, they can also be equipped with the latest technology, such as next generation outdoor sound systems with in ground sub-woofers, mobile app-controlled LED lighting and ovens integrated with Wi-Fi.

Pollinator Attracting Plants

Did you know that bees pollinate up to a 5km radius of their hive and that consuming honey from the bees that pollinate in your neighbourhood can provide you with a resistance to seasonal pollen allergies? Without bees, global fruit, vegetable, and nut crops would yield about half of their current amounts while some food species (such as almonds) would not exist at all. There couldn’t be a more perfect time to do your part for the ecosystem and incorporate plantings into your landscape design that will attract pollinators! Bees are most attracted to purple, yellow and blue flowers. Lavender is a lovely choice, both for pollinators and property owners, alike. At Groupe Paramount, we are taking it a step further by adding a bee hive to the mix. The lovely people at Alveole have supplied us with our hive and are teaching us the ins and outs of maintaining it. We’ll soon be adding 10,000 new employees to our team!

 

Staycation

With the summer in full swing, everyone’s minds have wandered to their upcoming vacations. There are lots of reasons that you might not be able to get away this summer; because of time conflicts, the whole family not being off at the same time, and a ton more. However, a Staycation is something to be celebrated! It’s a chance to enjoy our beautiful city and a chance to enjoy what’s literally in your own backyard.

With resort-style pools right at home, a summer vacation seems far less necessary. Every evening after work, you can enjoy a dip in the pool with the kids, a refreshing break from the heat. On weekends, a chance to invite your friends over for a pool party and nice summer BBQ. Groupe Paramount’s team can design the right pool for your backyard. It will feel like your vacation lasts all summer, you can come home every night to enjoy a little piece of paradise.
Now, for more staycation plans. Montreal is home to some of the greatest summer festivals. Coming up is the Just for Laughs Festival, with tons of shows to suit everyone. Go to hahaha.com for information and to buy tickets. We can’t possibly talk about activities in Montreal without talking about our thriving restaurant scene. Alan Richman from Town & Country wrote an amazing article proclaiming that ”Montreal is the New Food Capital of North America”, it is a great read and will inspire many meal ideas!
Staycation
Here is our list of favourite Montreal restaurants to enjoy during your 2016 Staycation:
1) Satay Bros (our absolute favourite)
2) Gema
3) La Capitale Tacos
4) La Récolte (the best brunch in town)
5) Lucille’s Tapas at the Atwater Market
6) Le Cartet
7) Vin Papillon
8) Tuck Shop
9) Provisions 1268
10) Arthur’s Nosh Bar
Whether you are going away or staying at home, enjoy your rest!

First Impressions

First Impressions1

First impressions are important, and as far as your house goes, your driveway and the entrance to your house are the first things your guests see upon arrival. A beautiful, modern and well-crafted driveway not only raises the exterior look of your house, but it creates the warmest welcome. When selling a house, the value you can get greatly relies on curb appeal. Everything from the curb to the front door is of utmost importance in setting the tone of what is inside.

Whether it be to feel at peace every time you drive home, to impress your guests, or to raise the value of your property, your driveway and walkway are the first things you see. Your neighbours will thank you; as increasing the exterior beauty of your house raises the value of the entire street and neighbourhood. There are tons of options to choose from: a trim made of pavers, a fresh asphalt driveway, a paver clad driveway, a stone walkway…. And so much more. Make a good impression!

Groupe Paramount will help you update your driveway and walkway to fit your needs and budget.

First Impressions2

Transformation

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Backyard- Before

Spring is a time of transformations, and at Groupe Paramount, we want to make all of your backyard dreams come true. Whether you have just bought a new house, or want to take your current outdoor areas to the next level of design, let us help youTRANSFORM your home to be the home of your dreams. The right landscaping can totally change the look and feel of your home. It not only adds an amazing amount of curb appeal, but it can turn your backyard into your very own oasis.

These before and after pictures of a backyard transformation demonstrate what a life changing difference our experienced designers and skilled workmanship can have on your most prized possession: your house.

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Backyard – After

Our project managers will work with you to find out what your needs are and will work within your budget to get you the backyard you want. Our designers are experts in their field, and will provide you with detailed plans and 3D designs, so that you will see exactly what your space will look like before the work even starts. Then our unparalleled staff will turn your plans into reality. Before you know it, you will be living in your very own new paradise. Call Groupe Paramount today, and let the spring transformation begin!