The 20th Edition of the NALE will happen August 9, in Winnipeg, MB
The National Awards of Landscape Excellence (NALE) recognize Canadian companies that have actively participated in significantly raising the level of professionalism in the landscape industry. Each province nominates members from the provincial Awards of Excellence competition that are then entered into the national awards. They may enter up to three entries per category for a total of fifteen entries per association for the following awards of excellence: landscape design, landscape construction (commercial and residential), and landscape maintenance (commercial and residential).
The Green for Life Awards recognize the significant contributions made to the ornamental horticulture sector by an individual, corporation, or community. Submissions include projects within a community, region or municipality that have a specific benefit to the public through the development and/or maintenance of green spaces.
The National Awards of Landscape Excellence are sponsored by: CATERPILLAR, JOHN DEERE, EQUINOX ENVIRONMENTAL PRODUCTS, HORTPROTECT, FENCHURCH GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY and GREENHOUSE CANADA MAGAZINE
In a significant development for this year's gala, the top three projects in each of the five award categories will be invited to attend as the inaugural members of the NALE Circle of Excellence. The NALE Circle of Excellence represents industry professionals who have showcased remarkable skill in their respective award categories.
This addition brings a new level of excitement to the event, as winners will be announced live in an Oscars-esque fashion.
2023 Circle of Excellence ~ Blue Bear Landscape ~ Landscape Design
The base of the Cypress Mountain Resort ski hills got a significant upgrade with a new four seasons patio designed by Blue Bear Landscape. Blue Bear’s Cypress Mountain patio design was built by the construction company North Construction (@north.construction), which specializes in building on mountain landscapes. The entire fully accessible, 10,000-square-foot surface patio is heated with glycol tubing beneath the paving stones, preventing any snow accumulation and any need for shovels or salt.
This four-level patio slopes with the hill, and features three 40-foot-wide automatic umbrellas with built-in heat and lighting. There are three extra-large gas fire pits, placed strategically for guests to be able to comfortably enjoy extraordinary mountain views while resting between ski runs. “I’m a huge skier. Getting to put my stamp on one of the local ski hills is awesome,” said Blue Bear Landscape owner Mike Koch. “I get to enjoy it when I’m up there skiing, that’s really what made it special for me.”
Congratulations to Blue Bear Landscape Construction as a 2023 Circle of Excellence recipient, in the running for a national award for Landscape Design. Winners will be revealed at a gala taking place at the Fairmont Winnipeg on August 9.
2023 Circle of Excellence ~ Strathmore Landscape Contractors ~ Commercial Landscape Maintenance
Manicured lawns and full garden beds are exploding with colour, turning Consilium Place, a Scarborough office complex, into a sight to behold thanks to the work of Strathmore Landscape Contractors.
Strathmore, established in 1963, began maintaining the Consilium grounds in 2019 and was the national company’s first project in Toronto. Its success has led to several ongoing jobs around the city. Sergiu Galitchi from Strathmore calls the Consilium Place grounds his “baby,” having been there from the start. “This is one of my favourite places.” Strathmore’s Consilium team of four members have a tight bond that’s grown over the past four years. “I treat them like part of my family,” Sergiu said, adding that the landscapes they’ve created tend to inspire them to go above and beyond.
Congratulations to Strathmore Landscape Contractors for being a 2023 finalist for the National Award for Commercial Landscape Maintenance. Winners in each category will be revealed at a gala taking place at the Fairmont Winnipeg on August 9.
2023 Circle of Excellence ~ Oak Ridge Group Inc. ~ Commercial Landscape Construction
Pillar and Post in Niagara-on-the-Lake is a 5-star hotel in a 19th-century building that, in 2018, was looking to turn its 5 acres of surrounding land from an empty field into an extraordinary, Monet-inspired outdoor event wonderland filled with hundreds of plant varieties. There was a strong desire from the client for an “instant” garden look, which required navigating extreme logistical challenges to plant mature calliper trees that were 30-50 feet tall. To create year-round use, Oakridge installed boilers under an area of artificial turf near the main garden entrance to allow that area to become an ice rink in the wintertime. Vice President Mark Poloniato said he was excited not only to add a large, complex project to the Oakridge portfolio but also to play a role in enhancing the Pillar and Post’s rich history.
“To take a building that was once a canning production facility that canned tomatoes and peaches to now create this garden that will be hosting weddings and several different event functions is just fantastic.” Mark gives full credit to the about 150 Oakridge Group Inc. staff, demonstrating their varied skills and disciplines to be able to pull off the numerous tasks needed to complete the build, as well the project managers who coordinated the work of dozens of subcontractors in 40 different trades.
Congratulations to Oakridge Group Inc. as a 2023 Circle of Excellence recipient, in the running for a national award for Commercial Landscape Construction. Winners will be revealed at a gala taking place at the Fairmont Winnipeg on August 9, 2023.
2023 Circle of Excellence ~ ParaSpace Landscaping Inc. ~ Commercial Landscape Maintenance
Maquinna is a gorgeous gated community of multiple detached homes in Richmond, British Columbia. The community has a circular shape that, from the sky, looks a bit like a donut, with an elaborate fountain as its centrepiece where intricate, seasonal plantings are prominently displayed. But no matter when or where you are within this community, the yards of every home are top-notch and kept at a comprehensive, high standard. This is a demanding, ongoing maintenance contract for Para Space Landscaping Inc., which has been maintaining the community’s numerous landscapes since 1997.
“Each unit has their own specific thing, how they want their lawn mowed – ‘don’t touch this plant,’ or ‘prune this,’ so we’ve incorporated this into our maintenance program,” said Para Space Landscaping Inc. Senior Manager Cinzia Di Blasio, adding that each home’s special requests are detailed and relayed to crew members. Cinzia is in close contact with the client at least a few times every month. Through proactive practices, such as changing plant material and soil, the Para Space team is able to keep the grounds immaculate year-round.
Congratulations to Para Space Landscaping Inc. as a 2023 Circle of Excellence recipient, in the running for a national Commercial Landscape Maintenance award. Winners will be revealed at a gala at the Fairmont Winnipeg on August 9.
NALE 2023 Circle of Excellence: Fossil Landscape Construction - Residential Landscape Construction
Fossil Landscape Construction brings to life a beautiful and challenging design by Paul Sangha Creative in its project Modern Luxury. Among the design features is a curved, sloping driveway that wraps around a multi-layered staircase surrounded by plant material and custom concrete walls.
The numerous angles and heights of this property’s focal point was “definitely a tough one to wrap our heads around,” said Andrew Foster, Project Manager for Fossil Landscape Construction. He added that building the driveway and other areas of the site the way they were envisioned in the design kind of felt like putting together a Lego set, “but no one has provided the instructions. So, you’ve got to write those yourself before you begin.” The sheer scale meant that multiple tasks needed to be occurring simultaneously at a property in one of the most prestigious areas in Vancouver in West Point Grey. A large, well-coordinated crew pushed through to ensure that Modern Luxury, which began construction in January 2021, could meet its Summer 2022 deadline.
Congratulations to Fossil Landscape Construction as a 2023 Circle of Excellence recipient, in the running for a national award for Residential Landscape Construction. Winners will be revealed at a gala taking place at the Fairmont Winnipeg on August 9.
2023 NALE Circle of Excellence: Planta Landscape - Landscape Design
Designing ‘Britannia Residence’ started immediately after the homeowners bought this property in 2018 when Planta Landscape met the clients and the architect to determine how to transform this plot of land in southwest Calgary. Planta Landscape, a design/build Calgary-based company established in 1991, helped not only to design the planting arrangements and garden beds but also to construct many of the features in the back and front yards.
“I think that’s part of what makes a project successful, to be involved from day one, and to work hand-in-hand with architects, engineers, the builders, and the homeowners,” said Planta Landscape Studio’s Design Lead María del Sol Galdón. Two long fireplaces anchor each side of the swimming pool, which leads to a spectacular view of the city. Vegetation of this yard is used to soften the stone used on the house, with numerous whites from hydrangeas and mock orange shrubs blooming throughout the seasons to compliment the white marble siding of this modern home. The palette may be simple, “but used quite extensively to create that lushness and softness to the landscape,” María said.
Congratulations to Planta Landscape as a 2023 Circle of Excellence recipient, in the running for a national award for Landscape Design. Winners will be revealed at a gala taking place at the Fairmont Winnipeg on August 9.
2023 NALE Circle of Excellence: It's About Thyme - Residential Landscape Maintenance
Urban Oasis is an appropriate name for the front and back yards of a Kitchener-Waterloo area home that were designed, installed, and now continually maintained by It’s About Thyme Inc. since 2016. Comprehensive maintenance by the Kitchener based company, established in 1997, is a year-round endeavour, looking after over 50 trees, 280 shrubs and 250 perennials on this property. The plant roster includes Japanese Maples, Goldspire Ginko trees, White fringetrees, beech, yew and lavender hedges, and hostas and hydrangeas for days.
It’s About Thyme owner Melissa McKerlie is proud that only a fraction of the plant material has needed replacing over her and her team’s seven years of maintenance. “It’s just been so nice to see this transform from a bare, empty lot to this beautiful, relaxing oasis that the homeowners enjoy on a daily basis,” she said. Around the home are 11 seasonal planter displays that get changed up each season, an ongoing creative challenge in which Melissa’s aim is to “try to make them bigger and better,” she said.
Congratulations to It’s About Thyme Inc. as a 2023 Circle of Excellence recipient, in the running for a national award for Residential Landscape Maintenance. Winners in each category will be revealed at a gala taking place at the Fairmont Winnipeg on August 9.
2023 NALE Circle of Excellence: Snider Turf and Landscape Care - Residential Landscape Maintenance
Snider Turf and Landscape Care’s Paradise Lake Retreat project is a stunning lakefront property just outside of Waterloo, Ontario with spectacular views from different vantage points. This landscape features a three-tier retaining wall garden that incorporates a variety of plants. The design leads to a beautiful beach area with a fire pit and a boat dock surrounded by garden beds. Raised balconies provide a top-down view of the entire landscaped property, emphasizing careful edging and strategic placement of plant materials. The property is mostly shaded throughout the day, presenting challenges for maintaining overall plant health. Careful consideration is given to plant selection and location to ensure vibrant colours and contrasts throughout the year.
The property's waterfront location on a hill also poses challenges due to water run-off, requiring efforts to maintain the integrity of the turf and garden beds from the top driveway down to the waterfront. This unique landscape creates a captivating experience, evoking a cottage-like ambiance just minutes away from the city. Snider TLC President Steve Snider said the relationship with the homeowner is phenomenal, and that a trust has developed over the 10 years of maintaining their client’s landscape through good communication and quality craftsmanship. “It’s just a lovely spot,” Snider said, adding that weekly visits to the property use all the company’s assets, including pruning, edging, lawn maintenance, landscape lighting and irrigation. “It’s got the whole package.”
Congratulations to Snider Turf and Landscape Care as a 2023 Circle of Excellence recipient, in the running for a national award for the Residential Landscape Maintenance category. Winners will be revealed at a gala taking place at the Fairmont Winnipeg on August 9.
2023 NALE Circle of Excellence: Terra Vista Landscape - Commercial Landscape Construction
Wander the resort is a 10-cabin luxury resort near Wellington, Ontario in Prince Edward Country. This unique destination looks over West Lake, a bay of Lake Ontario known for its beautiful sand dunes, wildlife, and fishing. Terra Vista created private deck screens, outdoor showers, meandering pathways, flourishing native and vegetable gardens, open green spaces, and saunas tucked away in the trees. Guided pathways lead to the completely transformed beach with timed firepits.
Trevor Jones, President of Terra Vista Landscape, first met the clients doing maintenance for their Airbnb properties before the Terra Vista team took on the challenge of designing and building the expansive, 5-acre Wander the Resort property. “It’s been incredible the way we work together,” Trevor said. “They trust us on all our recommendations, they trust us on all our quality of work that we implement, and they know that we’re always going to be there for them.”
Congratulations to Terra Vista Landscape as a 2023 Circle of Excellence recipient, in the running for a national award for Commercial Landscape Construction. Winners will be revealed at a gala taking place at the Fairmont Winnipeg on August 9.
2023 NALE Circle of Excellence: Rockscape - Residential Maintenance
Skeleton Lake Cottage is a build loaded with a beautiful, summer-long bloom sequencing that was completed in 2017 by Rockscape, a company that has been serving the Muskoka and Georgian Lakelands area since 1990. “The colours just explode as you walk around,” said Jodi Bever from Rockscape. The stone stairways and pathways lead to a firepit between the cottage and boathouse, providing a gorgeous view of Skeleton Lake.
The property is continually maintained biweekly to ensure the grass remains manicured with meticulous care to emphasize the garden edges, adding a clean and crisp touch to the overall aesthetics. Given the property's location on a hill, numerous swales require regular weeding. Reflecting on the initial build, Craig Rose of Rockscape noted that the hardest part of getting this cottage property to look the way it does today was the hardscaping, implementing lots of boulder work with shrubs, grasses, and native plant species to help stabilize the property’s slope. “It was a challenging site because there was such a change in elevation between the waterfront and where the cottage is.”
Congratulations to Rockscape as a 2023 Circle of Excellence recipient, in the running for a national award for Residential Maintenance category. Winners will be revealed at a gala taking place at the Fairmont Winnipeg on August 9.
2023 NALE Circle of Excellence: Trim Landscaping - Commercial Landscape Construction
Safety and accessibility have been dramatically improved at Peggy’s Cove, a Canadian jewel in Nova Scotia, thanks to 8 months of work by Trim Landscaping and numerous subcontractors. Peggy's Cove is a tiny fishing village of approximately 30 residents but is a beloved tourist spot drawing one million visitors yearly to marvel at the picturesque lighthouse. The most challenging aspect of the design by Omar Gandhi Architects was breaking through solid granite to create space for the viewing deck. Cantilevered 11 meters out, the deck minimizes construction on the natural landscape, providing visitors with an accessible and extraordinary view of the lighthouse and the Atlantic Ocean.
“Breaking granite on the shoreline there is next to impossible,” said Trim Landscaping CEO Brendan Wilton, adding that on a good day, his team could fight the rock and break through a few cubic metres in an hour. “And then there were some days where we’d make a wheelbarrow of dust.” Pouring a 1-meter thick concrete superstructure presented a major challenge. Due to specific requirements and time constraints, the task had to be completed overnight with coordinated arrivals of numerous concrete trucks. “After about three or so months of preparation – getting things all set and in place, the rock anchors in, the cables, the inspections, and the rebar – it was time for pour night,” he said. “That night was really quite special.” After conquering logistical and landscape hurdles, the final touches on the viewing deck advanced steadily.
Congratulations to Trim Landscaping for being a 2023 finalist for the Caterpillar National Award for Commercial Landscape Construction. Winners in each category will be revealed at a gala taking place at the Fairmont Winnipeg on August 9.
2023 NALE Circle of Excellence: The Landmark Group - Residential Landscape Construction
An unassuming country property in the Collingwood, ON, area has become a Tranquil Hideaway built around a renovated, historic log cabin.
The pool is a special part of the build, a one-of-a-kind design appearing to be built into a collapsed fieldstone wall. “It actually wasn’t in the first design and was added in as an option,” said Curtis Hutten, General Manager for The Landmark Group, who was thrilled the client gave Landmark the OK to build something that is both an art installment and a functional swimming pool. The Landmark Group has won national awards for projects in Landscape Design in 2013, and in Residential Landscape Maintenance in 2015. This year will be the first time the Thornbury company, established in 1986, will be a national finalist in the Residential Landscape Construction category. “Construction is our bread and butter here, so we’re pretty excited,” Curtis said.
Congratulations to The Landmark Group as a 2023 Circle of Excellence recipient, in the running for the Caterpillar National Award for Residential Landscape Construction. Winners in each category will be revealed at a gala taking place at the Fairmont Winnipeg on August 9. This video was originally created for Landscape Ontario’s 2023 Awards of Excellence.
Check out the full video: • Landmark Group | ...
2023 NALE Circle of Excellence: Welwyn Wong Landscape Design - Landscape Design
Before Welwyn Wong Landscape Design created a “Hillside Retreat” at an Ottawa Valley home, the backyard’s former self had lots of steep slopes and lacked enough space outdoors for the homeowners to entertain guests. To address these slopes, the backyard is now levelled by two patio layers. The backdoor leads to a slightly boomerang-shaped patio, creating a sizable, levelled space for a dining area sheltered by a shade sail.
The installation of a hot tub and a stairway brings you to a lower interlock patio with a firepit as its focal point. This lower-level patio has space for additional seating areas, and a flagstone promenade leading through a garden of perennials and evergreens and onto the lawn. “The sparkle of this particular landscape that we designed for our clients was putting in the landscape lighting,” said the company’s namesake Welwyn Wong. She added that the clients are spending a lot more time outside and entertaining friends and family and appreciate the opportunity to enjoy the views of their property even at night.
Congratulations to Welwyn Wong Landscape as a 2023 Circle of Excellence recipient, in the running for a national Landscape Design award. Winners will be revealed at a gala taking place at the Fairmont Winnipeg on August 9.
NALE 2023 Circle of Excellence: Cedar Springs Landscape Group - Residential Construction
“Wonderful in White” is a striking project by Cedar Springs Landscape Group, a backyard built with the objective of matching the look and feel of the interior and exterior of the Oakville home. The modern architecture is contrasted with softer plant material, including various grasses and low-growing shrubs to complement the trees and bright furnishing.
“What I find fascinating about that site is it’s so private when you walk into that backyard,” said Cedar Spring Landscape Group Design Team Lead Adrian Hordyk. “You’re taken away from the suburbs and into this oasis where everything aesthetically matches from inside the house to outside.”
Congratulations to Cedar Springs Landscape Group as a 2023 Circle of Excellence recipient, in the running for the Caterpillar National Award for Residential Construction. Winners will be revealed at a gala taking place at the Fairmont Winnipeg on August 9.