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!

Summer is almost here!

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April weather can be fickle in Montreal but as summer approaches, one thing is for sure, Montrealers can’t wait to start eating outdoors again. Year after year, as soon as the weather gets nice, Montrealers flock to outdoor terraces to enjoy drinks, lunches and dinner.  There is nothing better than eating outside after a long winter of being indoors. But you don’t have to travel far to get to these outdoor escapes, you can create your very own beautiful outdoor dining area right at home. This beautiful low maintenance backyard dining area was designed by one of our landscape architects and masterfully executed by one of our project managers. Artificial grass was used to inlay the Techo Bloc paver stones, adding a beautiful contrast of soft and hard materials. The highly stylized and geometric design will not only give your guests an unbelievable backdrop to their time outside, but will become the centerpiece to your very own outdoor retreat.

Cartierville Turnkey

 

p1This Cartierville, QC client contacted Groupe Paramount to realize their backyard dream! Lee Gregory, one of our project managers oversaw this turnkey project. The clients’ vision, along with Lee’s expertise, allowed a backyard dream to become a backyard reality! Lee took care of acquiring a city permit, choosing the stone and materials, and made sure the clients were well informed throughout the process.

p2This vinyl pool was capped with a Giga Slab from Transpavé, the capping stones were symetrically lined up with the rest of the pavers on the terrace to give it a seamless look. The oversized planter is impressive with the beautiful plantings and cascading curtain waterfall. It was built using Citi Walls from Transpave.
Now that this client’s vision has come full circle, they are free to enjoy some poolside drinks in their modern designed backyard!