{ Create an Account }   { Login }   { Contact }

Archive for May, 2016

Grass without the Work? It’s Possible

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Is there really and truly such as thing as a maintenance-free lawn?

Probably not. So instead let’s consider reducing the amount of maintenance on our yards because that is definitely doable.

Lawns are labour intensive and resource hungry. According to Sheridan Nurseries, to have great grass you need to water, mow, fertilize, control weeds, bugs, thatch, aerate and seed. The list is exhausting.

But there are ways to control the amount of time, money and resources spent on lawns by shrinking their size. Consider using low-maintenance ground cover in spots that are shady such as under mature trees. Replacing grass with gravel along the side of the house where it’s always shady will go much easier on your back than reseeding every year and engaging in a losing battle to have green turf where it’s not really suitable.

Wider flower beds filled with shrubs, evergreens and ground covers will help reduce the size of your lawn. Small lawns can be completely replaced with stone, paths, birdbaths and benches in addition to a number of slow-growing and drought-resistant plants.


Of course, there’s always artificial turf, paving and rock gardens and drought-tolerant grasses that look like the real deal but need far less water and maintenance.

One of the first things you’ll need to do when moving to a low-maintenance lawn lifestyle is learn to chill. If you are used to high-maintenance yards in which every blade of grass stands at attention and all of your time, considerable resources and expense are exerted to get it just so, you will need to make an attitude adjustment. Know that what you are doing is good for the environment and your peace of mind.

In fact, the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation conducted a study in 1998 and 1999 on different residential landscape types. The study compared the maintenance of five conventional lawns with four low-maintenance ones. Residents with low-maintenance lawns spent 50 per cent less time, 85 per cent less money, and used 50 per cent less fuel, 85 per cent less fertilizer, 100 per cent less water and 100 per cent less pesticides per year than residents with conventional lawns.

The first thing you need to do to get a low-maintenance lawn is select a diversity of lawn species that are hardier and more drought tolerant. While there is no sure-fire formula for the best low-maintenance lawn mix, the CMHC recommends a general guideline of 40 per cent fescues, 40 per cent other grasses and 20 per cent broadleaf species.

It is possible to convert a high-maintenance lawn to low. The first thing you need to do is expose as much bare soil as you can by raking it. Top it with compost and overseed with low-maintenance lawn species and water. You may have to overseed every year for as many as three years, depending on your type of existing grass.

If that’s too long for you, you can strip off your existing lawn. Or try mowing it really close and then covering it with a thick black plastic sheet held down with rocks. Leave the plastic on for two months. Remove the sheet and dig the dead grass into the soil. Your lawn is now ready for seeding for sodding.

Doggy Do’s & Don’ts for Condo Dwellers

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

As Torontonians, we love our dogs and we love our condos so how do we learn to reconcile the two? Living with a dog close to several neighbours means navigating the needs of you and your canine in addition to those of neighbours you may not even know.

Since there are no finishing schools for canine etiquette, you will need to employ some good, old-fashioned common sense for starters. Bear in mind, how you would feel if someone did that to you. The old golden rule of do unto others as you would have them do unto you bears repeating.


Here’s is our list of rules for canine etiquette in condos:

Be a Bark Buster – This ranks as one of the top annoyances especially among neighbours living in close quarters. Your Chihuahua or German shepherd is known to bark more than other breeds and though you don’t mind the noise, your neighbours will grow to hate you and your animal for it. Consider crating your pet or send Charlie to doggy daycare. The Toronto Dogwalkers Association recommends hiring a trainer or perhaps a dog walker to give your dog a midday reprieve that may help it relieve some of its energy and anxiety. If your dog is staying in your condo most days, try to keep him away from the door in an effort to minimize the amount of stimulus he gets.

Poop Patrol – If you have a dog, dealing with their feces and urine is a matter of course. But it’s a small price to pay for the love of a furry friend. Generally speaking, nothing turns neighbours off more than another animal’s excrement. Only allow your pup to relieve himself in designated areas. Be vigilant about not letting Fido whiz on posts, shrubs and just about any non-moving vertical structure, especially those that are close to the condo entrance. It may be a fact of nature, but neighbours don’t want to see it or smell it.

Because dog waste carries disease and parasites, you must be vigilant about picking it up and properly disposing of it. Make it a habit to always carry poop bags on you. They’re inexpensive and small so they are easy to obtain and store.

Show Restraint – Your neighbours, condo staff and service people are not uncommonly fearful, nervous and uncomfortable around dogs that are not restrained. Keep your canine on a leash in hallways and lobbies or whenever walking outside of your condo. Your dog may be the best-behaved canine but why prompt fear among strangers and neighbours? Remember that some people are allergic to dogs, or possibly have reactive dogs of their own that need space away from other animals. Train your dog to sit while in the elevator, keep Scruffy on a short leash and try to exit the elevator first.

Naughty Dog Owners – When you’ve seen a pet owner doing something objectionable you’re best not to confront the person but instead report the incident to management or the condo board. While tattling doesn’t feel great, know that it’s advisable because nothing is worse than creating hostility between you and a neighbour.

Reactive Rover – Got a dog that barks or jumps on people or other dogs? Perhaps it’s time to seek a dog trainer, who can help you work on changing your pet’s behaviour. This is a highly awkward problem for condo dwellers given that they live in such close proximity to others. Try to use back stairs, side doors and entrances and exits not commonly used whenever possible. In the meantime, as Rover is learning to behave, show extra consideration and respect to your neighbours rather than reacting defensively. You’ll earn more brownie points and keep relationships with neighbours civil.


The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Toronto Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.