September 15, 2008
Stops at two stunning Niagara residential properties highlighted an Aug. 20 tour by the LO Designers Group. A full busload of enthusiastic designers and perfect weather completed the mix, making the day a success.

Tom Laviolette, superintendent of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, led a garden tour at the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture, and then invited participants to a residential property from his portfolio. His design uses native plants sensitively, with special emphasis on texture, to create an enchanted green haven.

A contrasting challenge faced Darren Schmahl of Outdoor Images Landscape Services. He was asked to restore the landscape of a grand, Empire Loyalist home, with an eye toward historic integrity. A select crew of skilled stonemasons, using traditional techniques, supports Schmahl’s work-in-progress. Although the style is vastly different from the Laviolette-designed property, Schmahl and his client are also committed to using native plants.

Participants also enjoyed a special lunch at Peller Estates Winery. Tour organizers Beth Edney and Alice Klamer deserve special thanks for shouldering responsibility, and leading the tour so competently.