Trends in Landscaping – Designing Elevation Changes with Retaining Walls

Creating elevation changes in the landscape can make your space more functional and visually intriguing.

Our landscape designer Jesse walks you through some of the thoughts behind designing with elevation change using retaining walls.

If you’re looking to build a retaining wall or replace an existing failing retaining wall, we can help. Get started at building your retaining wall here.

How to Select Hardscape Colours

Lafitt Slate Victorian. Mega-Libre Rustic. Avalon Slate Rio. River Rock Grana Charcoal. Ardesie African Stone AD 03 NAT.

Hardscape naming conventions can be SUPER CONFUSING!

Three colour blends are the most popular finishes on the market, but the names they use are tough to decipher sometimes.

Here’s our attempt at translating the colour portion of the equation.

Looking for mostly grey? Victorian is our most popular colour and offers a beautiful mix of grey and charcoal with splashes of tan/brown accents.

Looking for mostly brown? Toscana is for you. It provides a tan/brown blend with grey accents mixed in.

Want to pick up some red hues? Rustic is your ticket. It’s a subtle blend of red/tan/charcoal.

Blends not for you? You can have grey or dark grey (charcoal).

Not crazy about the hints of brown in the Victorian finish? We’ve got two new colours coming in select products. Rio and Tofino Grey offer a two-toned grey & charcoal colour blend. They’ve given them two different names due to the fact that they are manufactured in different locations and regional aggregate mixes show colour differently. So while they’re not the same colour, they’re at least in the same colour family.

That gets you through the most popular colours.

You’ll also find names like Rocky Mountain Blend, Silverado, Earth Blend, Shadow Blend, Autumn, Desert Buff, Sandstone, Coastal, Midnight Black, Gascony Tan, Ashbury Haze, Sienna, and Dark Charcoal – just to mention a few.

AND DON’t GET US STARTED ON PORCELAIN PAVERS! (We’re looking at you Pierre Bleue Sablee)

And if this write up/video doesn’t make things any clearer, that’s why we have a full time, year round staff of seven product experts that live and breathe this stuff. Come see us and we’ll help you navigate the colour wheels to find the perfect fit for your new outdoor space!

What Makes The Rusty Shovel ‘Landscaping Made Easier’

As published in July issues of Neighbours Magazines


If you have a landscaping project ahead of you – we want you to start it with us. Whether you’re developing a new yard from scratch or renovating an existing yard, doing the work yourself or hiring it done, our team makes it easy.

Here’s how it works:

If you don’t know exactly what you’d like to do yet, we’ll set up an appointment for our landscape designer to come out and meet with you for a consultation and work with you to develop a plan that will be both aesthetically beautiful and functional.  The plan can be as simple as a pencil sketch, or as intricate as a computer drafted blueprint with 3D renderings of your new space – we’ve got a solution for every budget and project size.

Once that plan is complete, or if you already have a plan and know what you want to do, the next meeting takes place with one of our materials specialists. Working from your plan, these specialists will work with you to select the products that will bring your plan to life – considering your budget, style, and functional requirements.  From there, we do a takeoff of all the materials required for your project.

Now that we know exactly what your yard is going to look like and what we’re going to build it out of, now is the time to decide whether you want to build it yourself, or have someone do some or all of it for you.  And either way is just fine with us.

If you want to tackle the work yourself, we have an endless library of how-to videos and articles for you to reference during your build. Whether it’s a sprinkler system, patio, retaining wall, putting green, water feature, or landscape lighting project, we’ll make sure you have all the information to complete your project properly to give you the greatest chance for success.  We even offer a Site Setup Service where we come out to stake out your yard and shoot elevations to make sure you are building everything just as the plan intended.

Don’t want to tackle the work yourself? No problem.  We don’t offer installation services directly at The Rusty Shovel, but the reason for that is half of our business is dealing with professional landscapers who do offer those services.  That’s why we developed our Contractor Referral Program. After working with you to determine the scope of the project and what products are required, we can shop your project to our network of contractors and secure quotes for installation on your behalf. This isn’t something that we take a markup on or get some sort of kick back from. It’s just our effort to bring more efficiency to the process and ensure that you get the most accurate quote in the timeliest manor.  Our hope is simply that you choose our products wherever possible for your installation.

So, if you have a landscape project in your future, let us help simplify the process for you. You don’t need to organize a parade of landscapers through your yard and try to sort out whether everyone is quoting on the same project scope. We’re your one stop from plan to product selection, material takeoffs to quotes, DIY or installed for you.

Get started at with a consult request, or visit our showroom hiding behind Staples at 680 Angus Street in Regina. We’re more than just great landscape supplies – we’re Landscaping Made Easier.

3D Design

Our Regina Landscape Design Services

3D Landscape Design Rendering

At The Rusty Shovel beautiful yards are our passion and we love nothing more than sharing that passion with our clients.  The best way to do that is with our Landscape Design services.  Our in-house designer, Jesse Matlock, has designed hundreds of unique and custom yards of varying budgets.  With an honours in Sustainable Landscape Design, Jesse has the creativity and knowledge to not just design beautiful spaces, but also functional spaces.  It Is not uncommon for our clients to get a design done only to be blown away with the actual potential of their yard.  Where you see a tired old patch of grass, or an overwhelming new lot, or an overgrown yard we see possibility and solutions.

Our Landscape Designs always start with a $150.00 consultation that happens on site and acts as a collaborative brainstorming session to make sure the client’s wants and needs are being identified.  From here, Jesse will take your wants and needs and translate them into a concept sketch right then and there.  With that concept sketch in place to unlock the potential of the client’s space, we then offer a computer rendered design that fully clarifies what the yard can become.  The computer renderings include 2D construction plans that outline all of the building materials and quantities, plant selections and locations, and landscape lighting selections and locations.  On top of that the customer also gets their space shown in 3D photo realistic images.  These images give the client the experience of being in their yard before it is constructed so they know exactly what things will look like…and they get those images in both daytime and nighttime settings.

Landscape Lighting ViewIt is no longer a problem where clients hope they or their contractor interprets the design right, everyone can see it.  We love the computer rendered design phase because it always saves our clients time and money by having everyone on the same page with how things should look and exactly what material selections should be made. No more randomly picking plants and hoping that they live or regretting a paving stone colour selection.  The cost of the design is saved by the client the second one construction mistake or material mistake is avoided.  In the end, seeing or hearing about our client’s beautiful new spaces that they are now living in and enjoying is the most rewarding. It means we have transferred that passion we have for landscaping to our clients…and it happens with a design that shows them the space they always had right out their back door.

Want to keep up with some of Jesse’s latest work? Check him out on his Landscape.Designs Instagram account.

And if you’re ready, get more details and request your landscape design consult right now!

An Example of 3D Rendering – How It Helps You With Your Yard

The Shovel Crew is getting a bit of a wardrobe refresh this spring from our friends at Silver Screen Sportswear.

But what this post is actually about is how awesome 3D renderings are. When I saw these done up with our logo – it confirmed my choices and got me super excited to get it all in. The same goes for your yard. It’s a substantial investment you’re making in your property, so why not view it in 3D first to make sure you’re going to love it when it’s finished? It takes a potentially anxious/stressful experience and turns it into PURE EXCITEMENT about how you’re going to use your finished yard. Jesse can help you through that process.

(You can get more info and some landscape design portfolio samples here)

And finally back to the clothes. We’re doing a limited run for our staff right now, but if you’re a shovel fan, put in your requests and I’ll see what we can do on another run later in the year for you. We could always use a few more brand ambassadors out there

Landscape Lighting View

The Next Generation of Landscape Design

After designing over 300 yards the last few years we have boiled down all of that experience into what we saw as the hardest, yet most crucial part of the design process:  “explaining the final design and vision to the client”.  Now this is not a knock against our clients (you are an A+ bunch), however, taking all of the images that the designer sees in his/her head and then reducing those images to a 2D drawing leaves many concepts lost in translation…no matter how thorough the design notations are.  That is why we have shifted away from offering the option of getting either a 2D or a 3D computer rendering and instead are offering only the full package now.  That is, 2D take off plans (hardscape, planting, and lighting) and the fully rendered 3D model of the design.  Client understanding, and project success have been continually achieved and exceeded once the full 2D and 3D package was given to a client and/or contractor.  To improve the customer experience even more we have added onto our software capabilities and now deliver the 3D design in photo real renderings with both a daytime setting and nighttime setting so the client can see what their landscape lighting will do when the sun goes down. This capability is the next generation of landscape design.

Take a look at the included video to see and hear Jesse talk about what makes our new process so valuable.