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  • Writer's pictureTom Cavan

Inspired by Time

In the beginning, when I first started designing and installing landscapes I was and always have been an advocate of resilient natural stone. My passion for natural stone started while traveling over many years to antediluvian places unveiling timeless cobblestone roads, rustic drywalls, and of course architecture that dates hundreds of years standing the test of time, albeit many do not experience our freeze and thaws. I marveled at the craftsmanship and creations all created by hand without machinery and advanced technologies (that's another blog yet to be written). Picture's taken in Ireland, Scotland and Britain 2017.

Inside Tower House Castle, Ireland

Hadrians Wall built by Romans AD 122 in Northern Britain below.

Morroco 2019...we dearly miss travel

Only to return home and look at gum-stained, pitted, cracked concrete less than 50 years of age since installed and I hadn't left the airport!! Not going down that rabbit hole of waste and unsustainable construction.

My earliest creations were primarily gardens as I was smitten with horticulture 1st and foremost but then the demand to create patios, walkways, water features, wood structures (no not pergola's), and inclusive fire elements coincide with my evolution as a Landscape Designer. Fortunately, my earliest flagstone work was unrecorded, I am positive it was not built to resist the critics of today's landscape industry but many were financed on limited funds as I could not say no to anyone asking for help. Admirable but not profitable. We all have humble beginnings.

So the saying "behind every good man is a good woman", well Anne has encouraged me to design all genres, any scale and act accordingly...and make a living!

The majority of my work is relevant to my geography and if I had my way all of my work would be biomimicry of the environs I grew up within southern Ontario. With some horticultural flair!! My finest work is illustrated within this local landscape.

I have been fortunate to meet all walks of life and looking back at incredible opportunities. This project met all the criteria a landscape designer could dream of...naturally speaking....then new doors opened next thing I know I am designing and installing a landscape for a French Chateau... sign me up.

I went back into my picture files of travels in France for inspiration.

The scale and grandeur

This amazing project is hidden away in Caledon but would be a sure fit in the south of France. Drywall symmetry enhanced with 800 lin.ft. of Boxwood hedge and pyramidal Yews. Designing is one thing, execution of the installation is another!!

While my designs are based on client requests vs site requirements we have been fortunate to meet like-minded individuals with the resources to engage with. Combine that with my son William and his stone savvy (the stone whisperer) and aptitude for operating heavy machinery has opened many doors in my mind.

Staging 90 tons of guillotine Armourstone to be set according to size and shape (yes every piece is different!!

2-3 ton pieces set within less than 1 inch of the foundation. Each piece is set, levels checked, over-lapping with 2-3" set back with proper drainage and geotextile sediment cloth to control ensure a sustainable retaining wall. (as I have repeated to many clients ice can move mountains!)

Then create a step landing carved through the stone retaining wall, talk about precision and the wow factor!! Once the gardens embrace this setting it will be a complete treasure. Can you hear the whispers of visitors?

Less formal and naturally placed switchback steps engulfed with native species and some stalwart favourites of hosta and thyme....priceless

Inspiration comes in many forms, natural stone is like snowflakes, every piece is different yet many look-alikes....timeless. May 28th, 2021while writing this blog.

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