Top trends for gardens in 2018

With Victoria Day weekend upon us, many homeowners will be using the next few days to jump-start their gardens for the summer ahead. Here, we explore the top ten trends in gardening for the 2018 season:

  1. Zen gardens: Sitting areas surrounded by simple gardens consisting of low grasses, durable plants, smooth stones, and at least one water feature is one of the most popular ways to build an outdoor relaxation area in your own home.
  2. Water features: Whether they’re part of a Zen garden or not, water features are one of the most sought after elements in backyards today. Their elegant looks, combined with the relaxing sound of flowing water, are a welcome distraction from the hustle and bustle of every day life.
  3. Designer lighting: with some strategic custom lighting, you can help your garden shine even at night by highlighting different shrubs and trees bathed in a warm glow. Many homeowners are also opting to line their steps and walkways with lighting features for both safety and style.
  4. Low maintenance gardens: Also known as bed-head gardens, these types of green spaces consist of informal planting using native species, often grasses and creeping florals, and allowing them to grow naturally in order to achieve a somewhat sauvage look.
  5. Ornamental grasses: with a huge variety of sizes, colours, and textures, ornamental grasses truly provide options for any type of garden and property. These durable plants are beautiful on their own, or as part of a larger garden-scape.
  6. Native wonders: opting to plant a garden consisting of locally growing vegetation is a great way to ensure the longevity of your garden, as the plants require less effort to maintain given that they’re designed to thrive in our climate.
  7. Edible gardens: it will come as no surprise to gardeners that vegetable patches are as popular today as ever before. Growing your own produce is a wonderful experience, especially with the huge range of organic seeds and seedlings available locally today. A new trend this year? Growing greens such as kale varieties, Swiss chard, collards, and other types of leafy greens.
  8. Paver-lined gardens: in order to achieve a clean, linear effect, many homeowners are opting to line their gardens with paver stones. This is especially true for those looking to match gardens pavers to their patio and walkway surfaces.
  9. Balcony gardens: no backyard? No problem. Condo owners who are hoping to have a slice of green space have a huge range of options available to them today. From complex multilayer planters, to planting walls, tiered vegetable gardens, and hearty hanging flowering planters, the sky’s the limit when it comes to terrace planting.
  10. Al fresco living: what’s the use in having a beautiful garden if you don’t also spend as much as time as possible in it? That’s why many homeowners today are choosing to incorporate sitting and even dining areas in and around their lush gardens.

The growing trend of outdoor kitchens

Having a home that enables outdooring is becoming increasingly important for Canadians. Today, backyard kitchens fit right into this phenomenon, and are growing in popularity among all types of home-owners.

Here, Ryan Bloom, co-owner of Urban Bonfire, which partners with Groupe Paramount on many outdoor projects, explores some of the latest trends in outdoor kitchens, and how they’ve come to be a staple in backyards across Montreal and surrounding areas.

How do outdoor kitchens fit into a home’s overall backyard-scape?

Outdoor kitchens have become a more sophisticated manner of recreating a nostalgic feeling of quality time spent outdoors with family and friends. In most cases the driving force behind specific niche purchases like an outdoor kitchen is the desire for a beautiful, functional and cohesive outdoor room. We’ve found that home-owners who are willing to make the time and financial investment on a perfectly manicured outdoor space (large or small) want the final touch of an outdoor cooking area to entertain. Clients who are looking to tie together their outdoor space with an area dedicated to cooking are most likely people who love to entertain, and therefore want to be present throughout the entire party – not constantly running from their indoor kitchen to their backyards, missing half the fun.

Who is purchasing outdoor kitchens?

While we’re consistently designing and installing a large number of high-end projects, we’re definitely seeing a steady rise in demand for what we call micro-kitchens. We developed an outdoor kitchen system that can truly suit many budget levels provided the client is prepared to invest in a quality, locally manufactured system that will last for 20+ years. For example, we recently partnered with SABER, an upscale grill brand to co-create a line of moderately priced, beautiful and high performance outdoor kitchens in a variety of shapes, sizes and price points.

The shift has happened due largely to baby boomers who are downsizing and moving into condo developments with balconies and terraces. We saw a need because this group of homeowners still wanted the amenities a larger home can provide, but in a smaller footprint. So we developed a product that can be customized to almost any sized space without sacrificing design, quality, expectation or user experience.

What are the current trends in outdoor kitchen design?

Today’s outdoor kitchens can offer clients and their design partners a vast selection of layouts, colours, fixtures, upgrades and equipment options that allow for true and uncompromised outdoor space design. Clients are also seeking quality products that are designed, manufactured and tested in our climate and for our climate.  Our entire line is manufactured here in Quebec and is built to handle our demanding weather.

Overall, the reigning trend in outdoor kitchens is the focus on functionality. An outdoor kitchen is only as good as its design and usability. Take the idea behind our modular cabinetry system for example; the whole point is to eliminate the need to use your indoor kitchen when cooking and entertaining outside. The same is true for our pull-out garbage cans, spice cabinets, adjustable shelving, retractable hose, and more. No more running into the house for plates and glasses, just open your outdoor cabinets to find everything neatly stored at arm’s reach.

Running parallel to the outdooring movement is another trend that promotes the global initiative of self-sustainability. We’ve dubbed this trend as urban gardening. We’ve seen a number of our condo and townhouse clients installing micro gardens to grow everything from simple herbs to elaborate vegetable patches. With design and aesthetics running through everything we make, we wanted to give our clients the home gardens of their dreams to perfectly match their outdoor kitchens. With that, we launched our line of custom planter boxes.

Are outdoor kitchens really worth it considering how short the summer season is in Quebec?

We hear this question all the time and while we certainly agree with the fact that our summers are short, we’re absolutely ready to help change the idea that outdoor cooking is only for the warmest months of the year. First off, with tons of new options like covered roofs, pergolas, fire pits and infrared heaters, the season for outdooring is getting longer all the time.

All of the equipment and materials we carry and use have been tested and proven to withstand and perform excellently in colder temperatures. We never set out to be considered a “seasonal product”, so we curated the best of the best materials and grill equipment to match our extreme climates. With countertop materials like the popular Dekton, our outdoor kitchens can withstand both extreme heat and extreme cold. Our custom cabinetry is made of marine grade aluminium and has a full interior and exterior protective powder coating included in pricing, which means that rust is a thing of the past. Our grills, pizza ovens, smokers and side burners are known to be the most powerful available on the residential market.  Even new outdoor ice makers, wine coolers and refrigerators are built to be left outdoors 12 months a year. So in short, the length of our summers is no match for contemporary outdoor kitchens.

What’s the minimum budget range you should be prepared for when considering an outdoor kitchen in your home?

The three factors that will affect pricing on an outdoor kitchen will be size, selected grill equipment, and upgrades to things like countertop material, interior drawers, and so on. We have produced kitchens for under $10,000 on the low end and for over $150,000 on the high end, but an average kitchen (equipment, cabinetry, countertop, installation) typically runs in the $15,000 to $17,000 range.

Why is the investment so valuable?

Outdoor kitchens becomes part of clients’ families. In our fast paced world and go-go-go mentalities, this common space helps facilitate quality time spent with loved ones, helps people connect with friends, family, the outdoors, and of course, delicious food.

 

Top five ways to improve your home’s curb appeal

When it comes to boosting a home’s curb appeal, nothing is more important than a clean façade and manicured landscaping. Not only do these features go a long way in improving a home’s appearance, they also allude to how the rest of the home is maintained. If your property is in need of a refresh, our experts can help spruce up your home’s exterior, regardless of your budget. Here are the top five ways to improve your home’s curb appeal:

1. The driveway and walkway:

With a huge range of designs, styles, and materials available, we can work with any taste to design and create the drive and walkway you’ve always wanted. This season we expect clean lines and modern styles will continue to dominate trends. Popular looks include the “Sleek” from Techo Bloc, which allows very large rectangles to be used on driveways; the “Quadra” from Rhinox, which are beautiful 32 x 32 inch square slabs great for backyard patios or large stepping stones; the “Beacon Hill” from Rocval, which are large slabs that offer an ultra-smooth texture in vibrant colour options; and lastly, the “Cite” slabs by Permacon, which offer a new gorgeous light beige option.

2. Lawn:

A well maintained lawn is appealing to anyone. Full, lush grass not only smells wonderful, it also adds a polished look to any property, and is one of the most affordable ways to freshen the appearance of any home.

3. Gardens and greenery:

Whether you’re interested in hedges and shrubs, or want to go all out with trimmed trees, flowers, and specialty plants, we’ve got you covered. This season we expect ornamental grasses, perennials over annuals, layered planting designs, and low Maintenance gardens to be among the most popular planting trends.

4. Basic accoutrements:

Aside from planting features, things like a fresh coat of paint on your door, updated outdoor lighting, a new mailbox, and clean siding go a long way in improving a home’s curb appeal and the overall look of any property.

5. Bonus features:

Ever thought of adding some design touches to your front yard? Things like architectural walls, stone planter boxes, and front patio seating area can add flare and make your home truly stand out.

Planning on updating your home’s exterior this season? Now’s the best time to start planning your project! Contact us and we’ll guide you through the process.

 

Five reasons to plan your summer backyard now!

This is the first week we’re scheduled to have a few warm days in a row since last fall and we’re smitten! The forecast definitely has us thinking about the spring and summer seasons ahead, and now is a great time to start planning for any landscaping or backyard design projects you’d like to accomplish this year. Surprised? While it may seem early (we know, there’s still snow on the ground), this is the perfect time to get planning. Here’s why:

1. Ideas are abundant:

This time of year landscaping blogs, Pinterest pages, home improvement magazines, and architectural websites are all teeming with fresh ideas for the seasons ahead. It’s the perfect time to see what’s new, and more importantly, what appeals to your style and would work in your space while respecting your budget. Now’s the time to get inspired; once you find what you like, we can help make it possible!

2. Spring rolls around quicker than you think:

After the winter we’ve had it’s easy to feel like we’re still in the throws of it, but in truth, spring is officially only a month away. That means that planting season could start in a matter of weeks. Do you have garden goals this year? Start planning now and avoid the May rush; this way before you know it you’ll be surrounded by healthy greenery, flowers, and more.

3. Maximize the season:

Whether you’re thinking about a new walkway and patio, landscaping for your whole property, or putting in a pool and spa, planning and booking projects now will help ensure that you’ll be first out of the gate when it comes time to enjoy your outdoor space this season. If you have projects in mind we can help make sure they’re completed in a timely fashion so that you’ll be able to take advantage of every sunny day ahead.

4. Give yourself, and your family, something to look forward to:

The last few weeks of winter are always tough to get through. But knowing that in eight weeks time you’ll be able to entertain guests in your new outdoor kitchen, or that this summer you’ll have your own backyard pool to dive into, might make the time feel more manageable. After all, with backyard features like that, who wouldn’t be excited?!

5. Now is a great time to invest in your home:

With the current state of the real estate market being hotter than ever, many sellers are getting top dollar for their homes across Montreal and surrounding areas. Two of the most important factors for buyers these days are a home’s curb appeal and its outdoor livable space. If you’re thinking of selling but your property needs a little landscaping TLC , we can help you make the right decisions in order to maximize your return on investment.

Five ways to create your own outdoor luxury retreat

With a seemingly endless number of possibilities available to create your custom outdoor living space, homeowners often need some guidance on how to choose features in line with their goals for the project, and how they plan to use their outdoor space. The key, they say, is investing in what’s right for you and your family.

Here are the top five ways to create your own outdoor luxury retreat:

1. Outdoor kitchens:

Do you love to entertain? An outdoor kitchen is a wonderful addition for any homeowners who often host friends and family for meals and parties. By creating an outdoor space complete with a sink, BBQ, smoker, pizza oven, stovetop, wood-burning oven, fridge, bar area, full size dining table, and more, your parties will take on a whole new life. Moreover, thanks to strategically positioned heaters, you’ll be able to use your outdoor kitchen and dining area well into the cooler months. If your home is already party-central for friends and family, adding an outdoor kitchen might be the perfect way to kick off the season this year.

2. Pools and spas:

If you love swimming, lounging, and soaking, then a pool and spa feature is well worth exploring. What’s more, if you have kids, the addition of a pool can mean summers of endless fun for years to come. Quebec actually leads the way nation-wide in this category; each year 70 percent of all new in-ground pools in Canada are installed in Quebec! If you love the water and are looking to revamp your outdoor space, adding a pool and/or spa feature to your backyard is a no-brainer.

3. Gardens:

Whether you enjoy gardening yourself, or simply want to be surrounded by lush greenery and flowers, adding a garden – or garden complex – to your property can help to create a calming, beautiful space. In addition, a well-manicured garden can go a long way in boosting your home’s curb appeal. January through March is a great time to start planning for the upcoming growing season, so if greenery is a priority for you, we can help create a custom garden system for your entire property.

4. Uni-stone walkways, steps, and patios:

With a huge range of available materials, textures, and colours to choose from, adding a uni-stone walkway and patio to your backyard goes a long way in creating a polished, up-to-date look. From natural ledgerock and hammered limestone – a favourite in Quebec – to manmade Techo-Bloc, Permacon, Rocvale or Rhinox options, the sky is the limit when it comes to achieving the custom design you’re seeking. If you’re looking to tweak your yard as opposed to doing a total overhaul, updating the stone is a great way to invest and instantly boost the appeal and functionality of your space.

5. Bonus features:

Whether you’d like a resort-like lounging area, a built-in custom stone and glass fireplace, or specialized lighting throughout your whole yard, our experts can help bring your inspirations to life, and even offer ideas you may never have thought possible.

Top five reasons to revamp your backyard in 2018

With winter in full swing, we’re feeling the cold just as much as you are. The snow and wind can’t help but make us long for the next summer season. So as we look ahead and toward those sunny days, here are the top five reasons to revamp your backyard in 2018.

1. This is a real old fashion Canadian winter:

According to meteorologists and the Farmers’ Almanac – which claims an accuracy rate of around 80% – this winter is a rough one. Experts are predicting a snowier than normal season thanks to the weather pattern known as La Nina. In fact it’s expected that the snowy days will last well into March. The cold will be biting, too, as we’ve already experienced over the last several weeks. After dealing with a winter like this, it would be lovely to at least look forward to having a brand new back yard to enjoy once everything – including you – defrosts.

2. It has never been easier to make your dreams a reality:

We deal in luxury. Whether it’s creating an outdoor kitchen, a complex garden or green space, a pool and spa with waterfall features, or a seating area equipped with a fireplace, we can make it happen. Our ability to create custom outdoor spaces truly has no limits. If you can dream it, we can do it.

3. Your ideal backyard may be more accessible than you think:

We may specialize in high-end custom designs, but we also have simple installations that can be done easily and in a timely fashion to suit any space and budget. If you’re interested in putting in a pool or spa, give us a call. You might be surprised at what’s possible, even on a smaller budget.

4. Extend your family vacation for months:

When you consider what a two-week summer vacation for a family of four costs, it’s easy to see the appeal of putting in a pool or spa instead. Upgrading your backyard means the family can enjoy the benefits of a summer vacation all season long. Why go anywhere when you can lounge by the pool in the comfort of your own property? The best part: this one-time investment means years of enjoyment.

5. A beautiful backyard can increase the value of your home:

Curb appeal and livable outdoor space have never been more important to buyers. That’s why having even basic landscaping, unistone, and backyard features can go a long way in improving the appeal of your property. If you’re looking to invest in your home in 2018, you can’t go wrong by focusing on the outdoors.

Top 3 Reasons to Plant Trees in the Fall!

Top 3 Reasons to Plant Trees in the Fall!

 

The air is getting colder, but your garden’s soil is actually warmer now than it is in the spring. That means that with the right care, roots will happily grow right up until the ground freezes. Here are a few great reasons to start your planting in autumn:

 

1- Fall has its share of rainy days, which means free drinks for your garden friends.

 

2- Trees get a bit stressed when they’re moved or planted, and fall’s cooler air is kinder to them. Plant trees in the fall and they’ll have all of autumn to develop their root system, giving them a head start in the spring.

 

3- Planting and designing your landscape now will ensure a beautiful spring bloom. Rather than starting from scratch once winter finally abates and waiting for the results, you could be smiling at pretty pink blooms as the first signs of spring in your yard.

 

Types of Trees to Plant:

 

For Gorgeous Fall Colours:

 

 

Ginkgo:

 

If you love yellow, Ginkgo is your tree. It offers up gorgeous yellow fan-shaped leaves each fall. The umbrella-shaped ginkgo tree is also great at resisting insects and disease.

 

Autumn Blaze Maple:

 

Fall’s most famous tree offers a stunning array of red, orange and yellow leaves. The maples that make us gasp from the roadside are often huge but these beauties come in a variety of sizes, so they can work in any landscape. There is also a lovely, lacy-leaf Japanese maple for smaller spots.

 

Red Twig Dogwood:

 

This great tree has it all: clusters of pretty white blooms in the spring, plum-colored fruit that attracts birds and beautiful red leaves in the fall. Bonus: ruby red stems that continue to impress once the leaves have dropped. They are gorgeous even when peeking through the snow around your home!

 

For Heathy Treats:

 

Apple:

 

Enterprise is a great apple tree! This bright red apple has crisp, juicy flesh and excellent flavor. It ripens in mid to late October, and offers 3-inch apples that sweeten in storage. Store them in the fridge and they’ll keep their crunch for five to six months. Other great apple tree options include Gala, Freedom, Empire, Golden Delicious and Liberty varieties.

 

 

Cherry:

Cherry trees produce either sweet or sour cherries. Their white blossoms bloom in the spring, followed by the pretty red cherries in the summer. For a sweeter taste, try Empire Francis, Hartland and Stella. Prefer sour? Try Balaton or Montmorency.

 

Plum:

Plum trees prefer full sun and moist soil. They bloom in the spring and form fruit in the summer. Some tasty options include Seneca, Stanley, French Damson and Early Golden.

For Phenomenal Flowers:

 

Flowering Dogwood:

 

There is so much to love about dogwood, especially its abundance of white or pink flowers in the spring. It also offers pretty reddish-purple leaves and glossy red fruit in the fall. Its spreading, horizontal branches offer a unique look during winter months, too!

 

 

Flowering Crabapple:

 

A flowering crabapple has impressive blossoms that open from pink or red buds then create a stunning, fragrant pink cloud for several weeks each spring. For a full season of enjoyment, try the Asian crab apple specimens. They are most popular because their fruits are more colorful and last into the winter, providing food for grateful birds.

 

Redbud:

 

Best known for its lovely profusion of pink flowers in the spring, redbud also offers pretty golden heart-shaped leaves in the fall. Bonus: unlike most showy trees that love sun, redbud will grow in light shade.

 

 

Serviceberry:

 

This gorgeous tree flowers in the spring, produces beautiful green foliage all summer, and has a brilliant orange shade in the fall.

 

We can help you choose the best types of trees for your needs and create a planting design to suit your landscape. Call us today! 514-683-6644

5 Commercial Landscaping Ideas to Enhance Your Property!

5 Commercial Landscaping Ideas to Enhance Your Property!

 

As we head into fall, now is the time to consider landscape enhancements for your commercial property. Why wait until spring, which is the busiest season for landscaping companies, when you can put a plan in place now? A great place to start is to ruminate on ways to improve safety, sustainability and the overall experience for guests. What projects have you put on the back burner? Do you need to address plants that have outgrown their spaces, or replace tired shrubs with young natives that have low-water requirements? What about outdoor seating and walkways?
As you consider the possibilities for your landscape, ask yourself: How do people spend time outdoors on your grounds, and what could you add to make landscaped spaces more comfortable? There are so many options. We’re seeing more modern seating and a lot of work-play focused designs, such as patio spaces equipped for cooking, bocce ball courts or putting greens. These features can be added to your landscape design, for blowing off steam mid-day and staging team-building activities at the office!
So take a moment now, to tour your own property and look at the landscape as if you were the guest, employee, pedestrian, shopper or even passer-by.
Here are 4 more tips that might come in handy:
1- Update Your Signage:
Weather, especially our fabulous winters, can take a toll on even the most high-quality signage. As well, styles evolve over time and your current signage may be out of date. Crisp, modern signage that is easy to read both day and night is an asset because it guides people to your commercial property. Entry signage can definitely be spruced up with tiered landscaping. Think of hardscape elements, mixes of plant sizes and textures, as well as differing colours! These can all draw attention and attract the eye of guests, shoppers or passers-by.
2- Invite Them To Stay Awhile:
 
Outdoor seating is clearly a benefit for any commercial property. It can turn a landscape into a gathering space. Seating gives employees a place to take a break from work to re-energize or even meet in small groups to discuss projects. They can eat outside and enjoy nature. Outdoor spaces are proven to reduce stress and can be a great place for team building exercises. As well, seating in retail areas encourage guests to linger longer! Shoppers might be inclined to have a leisurely experience rather than simply running in and out, keeping visitors on your retail property longer.
Beyond seating, commercial property managers further enhance their grounds with walking trails and common areas. Seating is a good start but by creating a complete outdoor environment with these additional landscape features, you can increase property value, attract and retain tenants, and improve your company culture.

3- New Growth:

Plants that looked vivacious and abundant years ago can begin to look a little weary. The result is a messy looking plant bed and compromised plant health. Sometimes, the best way to tame a bed is to start from scratch, especially if the existing plants are consuming valuable maintenance time and resources. Adding new plant life to your landscape is a great way revitalize your property’s aesthetic appeal!

Alternatively, plant containers come in a range of styles and sizes. They can be a fast way to update and add color to your landscape. Plant annuals for spring, summer and fall in containers. You can even plant trees or shrubs in large containers, providing shade where it’s needed on your property.  Containers are versatile and give property owners a way to keep their landscapes relevant without investing in replanting entire beds.

 

 

 

4- Safety First:

Take a moment to examine your property’s landscape. Do you see uneven surfaces that could cause pedestrians to trip and fall? The roots of mature trees can grow through almost any surface. They’ll push up pavers and concrete, and even cause buckling at sidewalk joints. Weather takes a toll on even the toughest surfaces! Pavers can settle, asphalt can crack, and concrete can heave. Addressing these trip-and-fall hazards should be a priority so you can ensure the safety of people who visit your commercial property.

Another important safety aspect is lighting. Are walkways, parking lots, entrances and other pedestrian and vehicular passages well lit at night? Not only does lighting enhance safety, it also improves appearance. Beautifully designed lighting features can  entice the public to spend more time on your property and attract more clients.

 

Plan Ahead: 

Investing in landscape projects like seating, lighting and plants can boost property value, increase tenant occupancy rates, invite more guests, and enhance the experience people have on your property.

Now is a great time to consult with a Groupe Paramount commercial landscape professional! We can offer design ideas and suggest where you’ll get the most return on your investment. It’s best to tackle these projects before spring kicks in and everyone wants to be out enjoying the landscape. Call us today! 514-683-6644

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!