Landscape construction consists of all of the projects we can perform to beautify your yard that do not consist of things growing and green. When you think of landscape construction, think of walkways, patios, water features, retaining walls, and wooden decks and fences on both residential and commercial properties. All of these property additions are both useful and attractive, but are not jobs for amateurs.
The importance of hiring a reputable and trained landscape construction company cannot be overstated. Landscape construction requires skills ranging from being able to figure out how to properly grade a property to managing the sea of red tape that is the Calgary by-law office. Many landscape construction companies’ employees do not have the training necessary to properly take on projects that should require careful planning, complicated measurements, and skill with masonry and woodwork, and also do not provide robust enough guarantees for their work.
At Mirage Landscaping, we have three generations worth of experience working among our experienced crew. Landscape construction jobs are one of our specialties, as we believe every property can be enhanced for multi-use as well as with care for the environment and with an eye towards sustainability and longevity.
Before undertaking any project, all landscape construction specialists should speak with you about such aspects as municipality guidelines, necessary building permits, any fees that may need to be paid, drainage, specifics of your property (including where your natural gas line and irrigation system lines are located), and any additional contract work that made be required to be hired out, such as an arborist or a painter.
The City of Calgary has many guidelines for landscape construction, but they do allow for a lot of flexibility in design. Most bylaws are related to the health and safety of the public, such as not allowing fences on corner properties to be too tall and obstruct views for drivers, retaining walls to be too large, and porches and patios to be intrusive upon neighbours. In addition, under the Community Standards Bylaw, features such as balconies, porches, fences, decks, and stairs must be kept in “good repair,” meaning no significant damage, broken parts, unsecure openings, and just a lack of general maintenance.
Certain landscape construction projects require building permits to be carried out, such as the installation of a free-standing buildings such as pergolas, gazebos, greenhouses, arbours, workshops, playhouses and carports. In these circumstances, the City of Calgary requires that if any of these structures will be larger than 10 square metres, a building permit will be required. Buildings under 10 square metres – more likely a shed, pergola, gazebo, or greenhouse – typically do not require a permit, however they must comply with rules listed under location and design.
For fences, a building permit is required if the back fence will be taller than two metres, the front fence will be taller than 1.2 metres, inside a corner visibility triangle it is taller than 0.75 metres and the gate is taller than 2.5 metres.
For retaining walls (or garden boxes), a building permit is required if 1.2m (4’-0″) or more of soil, and if the combined height of all retaining walls and garden boxes within one metre of each other is 1.2 metres or more. Retaining walls and garden boxes only require a building safety approval, however, if the design or location does not meet land use bylaw specifications, planning approval (a development permit) will also be required.
A simple building safety approval (building permit) fee costs about $210 dollars to process. Planning approvals (development permits) are more expensive, as they are essentially asking for a bylaw to relaxed and it is necessary to advertise the changes. Planning approvals can cost about $580 in total.
Proper drainage is extremely important for helping to keep the integrity of homes and properties intact. Anything that requires digging, moving soil, and bringing in heavy materials and equipment has the potential to change the drainage of your property. Many people have had the unfortunate experience of having a porch, patio, fence, retaining wall, or something similar installed, only have water end up pooling in places it shouldn’t – especially around the foundation. All landscape construction plans should account for drainage and provide details as to how municipal guidelines will be achieved.
Calling before you dig is not only important … it’s the law. All property owners must locate all underground utilities before digging for any reason. At Mirage Landscaping of Calgary, we always submit a Locate Request before doing anything. It’s quick and lets us know exactly where everything underground is, including the depth. This information is invaluable. Damaging municipal utility lines is a fineable offense, and the aftermath can be very costly as well…and dangerous. It only takes two business days for a locate request to be completed.
Southeast Calgary Commercial and Residential Landscaping Services
Our landscape construction services include irrigation service and maintenance, and patio and retaining wall construction, as well as sod and tree installation. We specialize in serving the southeast area of Calgary, including the communities of:
Auburn Bay, Chaparral, Chaparral Valley, Copperfield, Cranston, Douglasdale, Heritage Pointe, Lake Bonavista, Mahogany, McKenzie Lake, Mackenzie Towne, Maple Ridge, New Brighton, Odgen/Lynwood/Millican, Parkland, Riverbend, Sundance, Walden, and Willow Park.