In Bloom: Lilac

Syringa pubescens subsp. patula ‘Miss Kim’

Lilacs in June and July? Most consider lilacs to be one of the first flowers to see in spring, often early May. But when those blooms are faded and brown ‘Miss Kim’ is just coming into her own.

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Known for blooming well into July, this dwarf Lilac is a showstopper! With a compact habit it is best used mass planted for maximum impact and kept at a maximum height of 4 or 5 feet. The sweet fragrance becomes almost overwhelming when wandering through the garden.


Our social media accounts are filled with pictures of our work life- what we do, what we see, where we are and who we see. All tagged with  #RockscapeDesign.

The past week has been filled with spring blooms, wildlife and the first boat outings of the season.


Post anything related to us and our work with #RockscapeDesign and you’re picture could be featured.

If you’re not already, follow our accounts found at the bottom of the page!




In Bloom: We’re seeing white

Finding beauty in an untouched landscape is always a good moment, over the past week these blooming natives caught our attention.

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Clockwise from left-Trillium grandiflorum or “large-flowered” trillium, Viburnum lantana ‘Mohican’ or Mohican vibernum, Amelanchier Canadensis or Shadblow serviceberry

These white blooms command attention in nature but can also easily be incorporated into the planted landscape. Trilliums are probably the first bloom come spring and prefer a moist shady spot to slowly mature. The Mohican viburnum is a slow growing small tree or large shrub maxing out at about seven feet, best used mass planted in the back of a landscape or as stand-alone accent. Similar to the viburnum the serviceberry is a small multi-stem tree with an airy open habit, suited best in a sunny location where it can appreciated on its own and mature to a height of ten to twelve feet.

Hopefully we’ve convinced you to include some of these white natives into the landscape- they won’t disappoint!


Landscape Outside the Boundaries

In our case- outside the boundaries of Muskoka, where we also expanded our design to include materials and plants not generally included in our Muskoka projects. Late last year Rockscape took on this project with a special purpose Dog Tales, a horse and rescue shelter-

“an animal sanctuary like no other! The farm is located on an incredible 50 acres of green fields, rolling hills, and wooded areas in King City Ontario, just a short drive from downtown Toronto.  Our picturesque location is the perfect safe haven for lost, abused and neglected animals to heal and be rehabilitated while they wait for forever homes. Our property features three large barns for the horses and an indoor arena which we have transformed into a one of a kind doggie haven, complete with unique animal artwork from all around the world. We rescue dogs and horses from across Canada…”

Traditionally we work on sloped waterfronts with lots of boulders, stonework, large existing trees, and a harsh climate. This King City farm presented its own set of challenges- large flat expanses that had to be a very hard working and durable because of the amount of use it will see.

If you read our last post, you will recognize this as our excavator lifted by a crane over the main driveway.


All of the walkways are made of stamped concrete, they are poured in large areas and stamped to give them the effect of natural stone. They are extremely durable, completely level and very low maintenance. It is also less expensive than natural stone.

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The warmer zone 5b climate, also allowed us to plant with perennials and shrubs that wouldn’t survive in Muskoka- roses, butterfly bush, along with different hydrangea varieties all planted to match the owner’s aesthetic.

Large flat expanses of farm land were sodded, the lawn areas provide a durable low maintenance area to entertain and to let the rescue dogs play.


The idea to convert a traditional drainage swale into large bubbling stream. quickly became a focal point with a natural stone bridge built above. The bridge leads to a cafe where the stone terrace was still being installed by some of our crew.


We wrapped up this project in mid autumn 2014, in preparation for the successful grand opening. For which the Rockscape team completely decked out the exterior with fall displays. Although the last thing we want to think about right now is fall, we can still appreciate the display!


For more information on Dog Tales Rescue Sanctuary please visit:



A look back: 2014 Landscape Season

Having been the shortest season on record- our 2014 landscape season quickly became one of the busiest. Collectively called “the summer that never happened”. The snow was slow to leave, even in late May were still dealing with large snowbanks impeding our progress. Cool temperatures throughout the summer made working outside comfortable- but left vacationers, cottagers, weekenders, and even us longing for hot summer weekends.

Even though we didn’t see the sun and heat that Muskoka is accustom to, we were able to have am extremely busy and rewarding season. We started the season working on a commercial property Crossroads Restaurant, located in Rosseau, Ontario where we transformed a busy restaurant parking lot into a lush and comfortable dining patio.

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These photos were taken immediately after installation- trees, shrubs and perennials were all just planted. Throughout the season we watched either from roadside or while dining, the growth and colour that transformed the new landscape in it’s first season. We’re excited to share that with you in coming posts.

We completed many new installations including this staircase naturally tucked against a bedrock cliff.



On the other side of the staircase, a steep bank naturally planted with sumac, St Johns wort, shasta daisy and geranium. The granite staircase leads you to a flagstone fire pit patio outfitted with red muskoka chairs.

A stand out for us is enjoying this natural park like setting under towering pines. The lawn area provides a place to play horseshoes, while the patio offers a chance to relax in the late afternoon sun.


In 2014 our realm of work expands to include impressive masonry work. With great attention to detail our masons create functional and beautiful fireplaces, walls, barbecues, etc. with ‘wet layed’ stone thats sure to withstand the elements.


Like this pizza oven and barbecue surround.

Here they are just starting the install of a patio with square, uniformed stone.


We continued with the things we know and love, visiting properties installed the year before for maintenance and a quick picture or two. We are always impressed to see how our landscapes mature season to season. This property is just in it’s second year and is already looking lush and green in late May.


To complete all our annual planters usually takes about a month! But because of a late spring we just didn’t have that kind of time to spare. Our crews really pulled through though, completing them all just in time. The efforts are well worth it, this display of potato vine, scaevola, euphorbia and a perennial miscanthus is already overflowing it’s planter mid summer.


Nearing the end of the season we stepped outside our usual boundaries and took on a large project just outside of King City, Ontario. Here’s a quick look at the unusual goings on.


A crane has our excavator suspended high above the landscape. You don’t see that everyday! More on this project in the coming weeks.

Not too long after this installation, we were hit with an early snow that never left, mid-November a foot of snow and cold temperatures abruptly ended the season. Leaving us with many unfinished fall clean-ups (or now more correctly called- spring clean-ups!).

Although it may be considered to some “the summer that never happened”, we at Rockscape Design were able to make the best of it- long hours, committed co-workers and lots of laughs made our 2104 season memorable and rewarding.

Hiring for the 2015 season!

It may still be in the negatives outside but we’re looking forward to the upcoming season. We’re excited to welcome back our existing staff – as well as adding some new people to the Rockscape family!

Come join us and enjoy a beautiful summer in Muskoka! We operate out of our Bracebridge location and service all of Muskoka and Georgian Bay Cottage Country. Whether local or looking to spend a season in Muskoka we’re looking for passionate canidates to join our team.

We are currently looking to fill the following positions:

– Hardscape Crew Leader
– Experienced Hardscape Labourers
– Softscape Crew Leader
– Experienced Softscape Labourers

Applicants are required to…

-Experience an asset

-Have a minimum of 3 years experience (Crew leader

– Work well in a team environment

– Be self-motivated and have strong work ethic

You can expect to work long hours through all the elements that we may face – heat, rain, and busy jobsites.  You can also expect to enjoy the rewarding satisfaction of looking back on a job well done and working with people who prioritize teamwork, and have fun throughout the day!

If you are interested in joining our team for the 2015 season please forward your resume by email to:, or you can fax it to us at: (705) 645-4466.

Thank you for your interest! Only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. We look forward to hearing from you!


Project Nicaragua: #AquaforNicaragua2014

We arrived in Nicaragua a week ago today. After heading up the mountain to El Ocotal, we were able to successfully install 38 water filters by Thursday!

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Here some of the containers are getting their final coat of paint.

On friday, we took a trip to the NCA to work on a second phase of the landscape project, we worked on in previous years, after an expansion of The Nicaragua Christian Academy.

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Today, we are headed back up the mountain to install the last 12 water filters in El Ocotal.

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We can squeeze a lot more bodies in a pickup down here in Nicaragua, something tells us this wouldn’t be acceptable back in Muskoka!

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Something we’re doing differently this year- check out the hashtag #aquafornicaragua on Instagram many of the Team Nicaragua group have been posting their own pictures and stories for a more personal look at the trip.



Project Nicaragua: An update

Departure day is fast approaching, being February 16th! Team Nicaragua has some exciting news, in late fall we were fundraising for the making and installation of biosand filters for the village of El Ocotal, Nicargua. Our goal was to raise the funds to install 50 filters, and we’re beyond thrilled to announce that we collected enough for 64 biosand filters!

Our cup is literally overflowing!


Since then, our local Nicaraguan crew has been busy making these concrete filters in preperation for our arrival.




These are the finished concrete forms, once we arrive we’ll take 50 up to El Ocotal, to be installed into the villager’s homes. The remaining 14 will be installed in villages we’ve visited in previous years. On site we’ll prepare the biosand filters inside these forms, read more about that here.



As the team packs their bags for departure, and prepares to scale a mountain, we look forward to providing you with more updates!

Thankful for another Season

Another season has wrapped up, and as we in Muskoka sit and wait for warmer temperatures (it’s currently -30 Brrr).

Take a look at our very last job of the season.  A 45ft spaded white pine to be planted while the ground is frozen in mid December.

After one small set back- getting caught up in overhead wires,


You can see it’s being lifted by crane into it’s final location!




Planting was a success!

Our annual Team Nicaragua trip is coming up quick! We’ve been keeping our final water filter stats underwraps, lets just say with your help we’ve exceeded our expectations! Check back soon for our final update.

Stay warm!