Nexstep Landscaping

Perennials vs. Annuals: What’s the difference?

By | Garden Design, gardening tips, Landscaping, Nexstep Landscaping, Uncategorized | No Comments

Clients ask this question  often when deciding on their garden design: What is the difference between annuals and perennials? It is important to know when deciding on what plants to put in your garden. Read on to find out why.

What Are Annual Plants?

Annual plants only last one growing season. They’ll grow, bloom, and then die in the winter season. If you want a new garden layout each year, then you would want a garden full of annuals. Each spring is a clean slate for a new garden design. Also, annuals bloom for longer than perennials and usually have bigger blooms. They are a beautiful addition to your garden.

What Are Perennial Plants?

If you want a more permanent garden with trees and plants that don’t have to be replaced yearly, then perennials are the way to go. Some perennials only last a few years, but others can last many years. Although, the garden will still need weeding done each year, but you won’t have to worry about removing and replanting new plants.

The easiest way to remember the difference between perennials and annuals is to remember this phrase: Perennials are permanent while annuals are replaced annually.

Although the phrase isn’t exactly true, perennials won’t live forever, so they’re not permanent. They do live much longer than a year, so they are more permanent than annuals.

Perennials Acting Like Annuals!

Something we remind our clients is although a plant is considered a perennial, sometimes they die each year if you leave it outside. Our winter climate here, in northern Alberta, is too cold for some perennials. If you want to keep it alive you’d have to bring it inside or house it in a greenhouse that doesn’t get too cold in the winter months. When choosing plants for your perennial garden make sure you check if the plant can withstand our cold winter temperatures.

Do Your Research!

Want to know what plants are annuals or perennials? OR do you want to know what would work in a Northern Alberta climate? The internet is at your finger tips, but we thought we’d save you the trouble!

  • Here is a directory of perennials that includes short descriptions about them!

  • Here is a directory of annuals that includes short descriptions about them!

  • Since we, Nexstep Landscaping, serves Edmonton and surrounding areas, it’s important we include this wonderful link to a blog that helps with “the challenge of growing a variety of perennials in a northern Canadian climate.”  It includes what perennials will grow in northern Alberta as well as some gardening tips.

Your other option is to email us at info@nexsteplandscaping .com.

We can answer your questions! Since we’ve had to install a lot of flower beds we can tell you what is most popular and good for the Edmonton area!


Happy Gardening!!

Fall Yard Prep!

By | Edmonton, gardening tips, Landscaping, Nexstep, Nexstep Landscaping, YEG | No Comments

It’s that time of year again!

It’s that time of year where the red, orange, and yellows come out to play in our plants! Where our lawns are covered in leaves and the hot summer air makes way for crisper, cooler air. It’s Fall! Even though you may want to revel in the colour or drink beverages laced with pumpkin spice by the bonfire, Fall calls for some prep to get your lawn and your plants ready for the winter!!

Prepare the grass!

A Grass Bald Spot!

Fall is a great time to get your lawn ready for spring! All that moisture that comes with cooler temperatures can help your seed take root before winter covers it in a white blanket of snow! Over seed thin areas of your grass and bare spots so that by spring your grass is looking full and healthy!

It doesn’t hurt to aerate and add some Fall fertilizers as well. Go to your local home improvement or gardening store and you can find fertilizer that is specifically for Fall. Don’t wait to do this at the end of Fall closer to the Winter season when it’s too cold outside. Freezing temperatures are too cold for seeds to germinate.

Fall is a great time to lay sod! In the summer months, it can be really hot and dry, meaning you have to make sure you water your sod a lot! If you don’t, the sod will dry up and die. In the Fall, cooler temperatures, and more rain, means less watering on your part and a better atmosphere for your sod to root itself in the soil underneath. If you’re looking to get sod put in for your lawn go to and contact us through our contact page!

Planting in the Fall!

Do you like daffodils or tulips? These bulbs should be planted in your garden in the Fall so that they are ready to go in the spring! Make sure you put them down deep enough that little critters won’t dig them up and so top frost doesn’t get them. When in doubt read the packaging! It tells you how far to bury the bulb so it’ll be nice and cozy in the soil and away from squirrels and other thieving critters. Bulbs like to be planted in cooler temperatures but before the ground freezes. September and October are good months. November is too late! This is a nice little resource that tells you what flowers are good to plant in the Fall: .

You can also plant a Fall vegetable garden. Some vegetables enjoy cooler temperatures. For more information, you can check out this webpage with 21 vegetables you can grow in the Fall: .

But this post is about preparing your yard for the bitter cold of winter so that’s all I’ll add on the fall gardening subject!

Getting your plants and trees snuggled up for the winter!

Some plants don’t do well in the winter months so near the end of Fall is a great time to start bringing potted perennials inside. Annuals of course only last for the spring and summer seasons and must be replanted the next year.

Now all plants are different. Your best defense against Winter’s bitter attack on your plants is to research what your plants are and what temperatures they can withstand!

Some plants can withstand the cold if you cover their base with mulch. Three inches of mulch around plants protects their roots from top frost and acts as an insulating barrier between their roots and the cold. Young trees especially benefit from mulch around their trunk. A good 8 inches helps protect their roots from frost. Remove the mulch in the spring though, trees and plants need room once temperatures rise. A little mulch in the summer is okay around plants. But try to leave space between mulch and the base of a tree so it can get enough water.

Others will need to be wrapped in burlap to keep them safe from frost nipping at their branches. Trees may need their trunks wrapped in burlap to not only protect from the cold but from sunscald (too much focussed sunlight that can cause serious damage to trunks and other plants). It may be cold but the sun’s rays reflecting off the snow can be a problem for your plants. For more information check the sunscald wiki: .


Burlap and wire can be put around trunks to protect them from hungry wildlife as well. With not as many food sources available in the winter animals like deer, rabbits and mice enjoy their fair share of bark, roots and other foliage to get them through the winter months.  May be good for the animals but it can do a lot of damage to your trees.

I cannot say it enough! Research the plants in your yard! What temperatures can they withstand? Every plant is different and has their own needs.

Trees along an Edmonton, Alberta Street

Now that your lawn is ready and your plants are snuggled enjoy the Fall months! Soon those beautiful colours will dry up into dull browns and the snow will fall! You can rest easy at night knowing that, come Spring, your yard will look amazing!

Have other Fall yard prep ideas? Please leave the ideas in the comments section!

Retaining Walls?

By | Edmonton, Landscaping, Nexstep, Nexstep Landscaping, Retaining Walls, YEG | No Comments

Retaining Walls Keep Soil In Its Place!

When you have a sloped yard it’s easy for soil to get washed away from rain and wind. If you’re trying to put in flower beds, rock, or mulch, you want it to stay put! A retaining wall holds back that soil, rock or mulch and allows you to do more with your yard.

There Are Many Uses For Retaining Walls!


  • To Prevent Flooding!

When it rains water will go wherever the slope leads. Sometimes this means towards unwanted areas like garages or your house. Often people choose to put in a retaining wall to control the slope of their yard. Slope towards a street drain, a canal, stream or in some cases a river. This way the water isn’t causing damage to their buildings.

  • To Give Your Yard Levels!

If you want to put in a fire pit or a little patio, a sloped yard makes it difficult. You don’t want to be sitting on a slope! You can level out an area of your yard by putting in retaining walls. Using retaining walls to hold back soil you can create a flat space allowing you to put in whatever you want.  If you want to put a basketball court in your yard… you can!!

  • To Beautify Your Landscape

Retaining walls are a beautiful addition to any yard. They can be made out of wood, rock, stone, cement, and so much more! There are so many colours and material options that they fit any garden type. Just keep in mind that some materials last longer than others. If you’re doing it yourself than ask the supplier for the pros and cons of each material. If you’re going through a landscaper explain exactly what you want the wall for, they’ll walk you through your options.




Had any retaining walls put in your yard recently? We’d love to see them! Feel free to share them in the comment section!