12 Feb 2017

Joel Weeks – Toronto, ON

This unique park development in downtown Toronto involved the decommissioning, demolition and removal of Carroll Street, which divided the two parcels of land dedicated for the park. Once we completed the street and site demolitions, we merged the two parcels into one and formed the footprint for the park development. The one hectare site was rough graded and prepared to receive the site servicing. Storm lines, water lines and drain lines were installed throughout the site to service the new splashpad and manage the site drainage. Electrical servicing was also distributed throughout the site to power the 10 new walkway light poles and luminaires. All electrical and mechanical servicing was tied into the existing site mechanical bunker. The park treatments included various subtle berms scattered throughout the site, numerous raised planting beds that were retained by architecturally finished and sandblasted cast in place concrete walls, some of the walls also acting as seatwalls. A full coverage irrigation system was installed throughout the park for all sodded areas and planting beds. A playground system was installed as well as a new children’s splashpad with above ground features and floor jets. Architecturally finished concrete walkways and plazas were cast in place. Planting for the project consisted of 68 specimen trees and over 5,000 shrubs, perennials and grasses. Various site furnishings were installed and landscape features such as log timbers,  crushed granite, and upright logs acting as seats or steps were incorporated into the play areas of the park. Final surface treatments consisted of mulch, sand and sod.

Awards: CSLA Regional Merit Award, shared with the design firm, Janet Rosenberg & Studio

Architect/Designer: JAnet Rosenberg & Studio

12 Feb 2017

Ashbridges – Toronto, ON


The Ashbridges Bay Skatepark is a progressive approach to cast-in-place concrete skateboard park design. The street-style skateboard park is approximately 21,500 square feet and makes use of 1,200 cubic meters of concrete to create a park suitable for all levels and abilities. Drawing on the creative architecture of skateboarding meccas worldwide, the park’s design incorporates a number of completely original sculptural elements which exploit the versatility of concrete to create a cohesive linear urban skate plaza that recreates the true street skating experience.


The use of concrete in the park’s construction afforded designers the opportunity to incorporate a high level of details for a reasonable cost. The versatility of concrete was of great value in forming the sculpturally complex and diverse hybrid shapes which populate the park. Further, the distinctive mix of straight lines and two and three-dimensional curves on skating features like the lilypad, would be difficult to imagine in any other material, as would the rising and falling bank to ledge; the curves of the noodle and the rainbow hubba; and the sharp angle of the east entry’s planted V. Concrete’s capacity for cantilevering, fusing, and bridging come together in a very distinctive concrete element: the wedge-towedge over the plant gap. Concrete’s ability to take on colour further adds to the skate park’s character. Like city freeways, acid etched green linearities accentuate the plaza’s directional nature. The cantilevered window wall frames an orange/blue sky over green rolling hills; the plaza’s wide green concrete swaths and thin blue steel lines echo the natural palette that is glimpsed through this window.


Innovation in this plaza also takes place below the park’s surface. Concrete can weather with exposure to the elements, so the selected mixes and additives (all donated) were carefully selected to prolong useful life of the park. The incorporation of Hard Cem integral hardener provided superior hardness and improved durability of the finished concrete product. The hardener was added to the concrete mix during batch operations, eliminating many quality control issues and achieving labour savings at the site. The end result is a glassy, lasting concrete finish. The preservation of the surface increases skater safety, because the low friction of the finished product allows a falling skater to slide harmlessly on the smooth surface. In addition to providing increased hardness for abrasion resistance, HardCem provides a number of other advantages to the project including full-depth concrete hardening, long-term economic value, superior uniform quality control, lower application costs and better occupational safety during construction. With its progressive relationship to the natural landscape, innovative international forms, and unique “never before done” elements, Ashbridges Bay Skatepark will carry a whole generation of Toronto street skaters, and national and international visitors, into a creative, active, and imaginative future.

General Dimensions

  • 21,500 square feet
  • 1,200 cubic meters of concrete
  • 16,000 cubic meters of fill

Project Type

  • a progressive approach to cast-in-place concrete skateboard park design
  • Toronto’s first urban skate plaza, based on real-life street structures
  • suitable for all levels and abilities, incorporating a number of completely original sculptural elements which celebrate the infinite versatility of concrete


  • Site excavation, grading, drainage installation and connections to storm lines
  • Dosposal of existing contaminated fill
  • 90 driven piles to support all concrete elements
  • Up fill with aggregate to form bowl foundations
  • Installation of reinforcing and concrete for bowl walls
  • Concrete Walkways and Skateways
  • Concrete Stair and Grind Walls
  • Wood rail fencing


  • LANDinc.
  • Spectrum Skatepark Creations Ltd.


12 Feb 2017

London Central Library

The reading garden is a semi-public open space designed to provide a controlled-access outdoor extension for library users. Two architecturally articulated street edges between existing buildings define and announce the infill garden and give way to an intricate matrix of internal programmed spaces with strong contrasting spatial qualities and experiences. The varying interior spaces include flexible open and enclosed areas for formal events and passive activities, lush gardens, walkways, a secured children’s garden and water features..


  • Canadian Society of Landscape Architects Award, Regional Mert
  • City of London Urban Design Award of Excellence


  • Vafiades Landscape Architect Inc.
  • Parterre Landscape Design Associates
  • Arthur Lierman Landscape Architecture

07 Feb 2017

Edenbridge – Etobicoke, ON

Symmetry was the central landscape design theme for this Neo-Georgian home nestled in the heart of Etobicoke. The position of the flowering crabapple tree was used as a reference point whereby intricate interweaving of asphalt, permeable pavers, clay brick and gardens created balance. The clean and elegant lines were visually reinforced with masonry pillars, an armour stone retaining wall and flagstone walkway.

06 Feb 2017

Valiant – Etobicoke, ON

Looks Easy. Looks can be Deceiving

Homeowners and Custom Builders in the Greater Toronto Area require fully integrated solutions on-time and on-budget. The housing market demands quick turnaround times and value-based design themes that satisfy municipal permitting and building code requirements. At Valiant, Pine Valley provided expert consultation and turnkey services in overcoming zoning, city property tree removal and reinstatement, flooding, site servicing, and new design integration with existing structural and site conditions.

The purchasers were scheduled to move in, and as as a tear-down new build, time was running out. Deficiencies had to be addressed immediately. The front yard was flooding and excess water undermining neighbouring properties due to a very active sump pump and poor drainage conditions. The front yard was regraded, sump pit line buried and redirected to the front swail, a culvert was rebuilt and sloped to the neighbouring catch basin.

All construction debris, contaminated soil, small trees and shrubs were removed, and the entire property filled and graded to meet-and-match the neighbouring properties and allow for proper water drainage. Water drainage continued by joining the roofs eavestroughs to newly buried piping from the rear of the home to the front road. The ungainly and noisy air conditioner abutting a neighbour was moved and set in a muted grotto. A good start in winning over the neighbours!

Masters of Concrete

The skills of Pine Valley’s architectural concrete crews were called upon to provide the needed precision, structural integrity, design flare, and speed. On the front porch, the floating stair system needed to be meticulously formed to accept a prefabricated glass railing system. The grooves for the glass could not be too shallow, too deep, too rough or too wide as both concrete and glass expand and contract through summer and winter. Concrete window wells were custom formed on the sides of the home.

What to do with the big basement windows at the back of the house that was built too low for the proper grade (ground elevation)? How do we get the light in? How do we make sure nobody falls 5 feet down? Pine Valley designed and engineered a two-tier concrete window well complete with water drainage, that also functions as a retaining wall. By looking outside the window, you see wood-plank-textured concrete and a whispering grass garden ready to accept LED lighting and further planting in spring. The concrete patio slab extends from the new walkout wood deck and landing.

A shared concrete side walkway was negotiated with the neighbour, and work begun on the driveway. To meet the Urban Modern theme of the home, the front walkway and driveway is linear. High performance concrete, allows for very subtle textures that differentiate the Valiant’s concrete driveway from all others, as it features a sand-blasted picture frame around an acid-washed slab. Monolithic in look to appear wider, instead of traditional elevated curbs with a boxed-in perspective.

Finishing on a Good Note

The big tree in the front was removed and 7 trees installed in it’s place to satisfy the city. Additional features included: a new wood gate, chain link gate, Sapelli wood frame constructed under the porch, planting and sodding. A flared asphalt causeway was constructed above the front road culvert. The fencing and gate systems were modified so the owner’s small dog could not squiggle through. As a goodwill gesture, Pine Valley patched the neighbour’s asphalt driveway which was failing due to the pre-existing flooded site conditions … and helped our client win over the neighbours.

The Valiant is Urban Modern. Elegant, clean and simple.

06 Feb 2017

Stephanie – King City, ON

By stepping into Stephanie, you are whisked to a majestic and theatrical resort destination designed to accommodate “everyone”.

Pine Valley was commissioned by the owner to address the deficiencies of this 3 acre property whereby all topsoil was stripped and 4400 cubic meters of fill was brought in to balance elevations and grade. After completing construction of the home, the owner envisioned creating the “dream backyard” that catered to large gatherings of hundreds of people with multiple landscape design themes and private areas for relaxation, conversation, sun or shade.

Water elements were integral in unifying and softening the hard surface themes of this residential resort. To power all the hydronically heated swimming pools, waterways, fountains and ponds, a special Cabana was constructed to house the intricate mechanical and pump systems. Ground Profiles for the pools and water features were precisely dug out, with piping and electrical systems making their way below ground into the basement area of the Cabana. All of the reinforced concrete was formed and poured into place to create custom pools and water features lined with Italian glass tile and accented by commissioned ornamental features including bronze fountainheads and spigots – representing cherubs, lion masks, Neptune and leaves. A 16-person hot-tube with privacy wall on the top landing concludes the water elements.

For leisure, patrons enter the shallow pool through a sloped walk-in beach, and can wade under a bridge to find a hidden grotto masked by a waterfall. There’s more. As the water falls, hidden background speakers complement the ambient sounds to create a true private oasis of calm, relaxation and wellness.  For the more active patrons, a walkout from the center Fire Pit lounge joins a deep pool that challenges the best swimmers. After the vigorous swim, a flight of stairs out of the pool reveals the Cabana area.

Sustainable Energies. Photovoltaic panels helped irrigate and sustain the 3 acre property whereby greywater was collected by a system of pool deck drains and elevated eavestroughs stored in 15,000 liter cisterns beneath grade.

The Stephanie is rich with purposeful design features including a ventilated pizza oven, large format flagstone and masonry, large format retaining walls, lookout areas, a low-voltage illuminated soccer field, picnic areas, respite areas and an entertainment commons. There’s more …

Please contact us for Site Visit and Tour availability.

05 Feb 2017

“La Loggia” – Vaughan, ON

Like a noble summer residence, enjoy cooling winds and the fantastic view from the gallery of this classical Italian design theme.

Patrons arrive upon a wide-berth interlock driveway flanked by stately elevated berms. By making your way along a sweeping tumbled interlock walkway and manicured landscape, you will pass the Cabana elevated on an ipe-wood deck and into the square. Children play in the shallow wading pool beside the custom-formed shotcrete swimming pool. The Eramosa square-cut flagstone used for the pool deck and gallery perfectly match the gallery’s columns and arches.  Armour stone retaining walls hold back a continuous perimeter garden which merges onto the ipe-wood walkout deck. At night, the columnar stone Firepit brings warmth and conversation while low-voltage lighting illuminates the square.

Please contact us for Site Visit and Tour availability.

05 Feb 2017

Syvaldene – Woodbridge ON

The Slyvaldene represents an elegant design theme where classic masonry and stone features permeate the focal points of entry, basement walkout, pool, cabana, and BBQ Fire Pit.

Classical curb appeal is emphasized by a rolling natural stone-bordered asphalt driveway, and easy maintenance gardens. A Flared flagstone walkway and stairs (with concrete foundation) direct you to the new reclaimed cedar Gable overhanging the front doors.

As you walk along the interlock walkway, you are surrounded by a lush landscape of shade tolerant perennials that brighten and demarcate the woodlot in the backyard. For the basement walkout, instead of traditional concrete walls, an oversized window well – acting as a retaining wall – was created with a battered armour stone system accented by green garden tiers. Steel railings provide fall protection all-around with flagstone-laminated concrete stairs rising up to ground elevation.

The interlock pool deck surrounds the custom-formed shotcrete concrete pool bordered with natural stone coping. An integrated natural stone, brick and cedar timber Cabana houses the outdoor shower area.

A natural stone/brick outdoor barbeque and open Fire Pit is woven onto an elevated flagstone deck resting upon a concrete foundation

Please contact us for Site Visit and Tour availability.

05 Feb 2017

Golf – National Estates, ON

Constructed for ease of access and entertaining, and by balancing all elements of landscape design, the one-acre Golf Avenue is a beautiful kaleidoscope of colour, function and crafted engineering.

From the entrance, the lighted masonry entry wall mirrors the masonry block features of the existing home. Guests drive onto a bordered asphalt driveway with flared ends that continues by a turnaround to the guesthouse. The driveway was engineered to divert excess rainwater all the way from the guesthouse to the front of the home with a calibrated minimal slope. Patrons appreciate the wide and fully accessible natural stone walkways for ease of access and carry.

Rolling and free-flowing gardens comprised of rocks, trees, shrubs, grasses and perennials accentuate or harmonize entry points, walkways and landscape construction features. The planting of trees and shrubs also provide a natural privacy screen(s) based upon line-of-sight measurements and anticipated growth. Moreover, the gardens and rockeries double as retaining wall steppes for erosion and run-off control within the layered design theme.

An integral theme is the creation of a habitable Koi Pond, surrounded by a perennial garden that masks the water filtration system. Water is fed through a custom-formed and reinforced concrete water trough and Lion’s Mask (from the renowned Heather & Little) customized as part of the Water Rill alongside an Open Leaf Rill.  What’s interesting to note is that Pine Valley incorporated the trough theme from our award-winning London Rotary Reading Garden.  A custom metal and wood arched bridge spans the Koi pond.

Other new construction features include: beveled natural stone walkways and step systems, armourstone retaining walls, swimming pool, playground structure, and Cabana complete with indoor kitchen, shower, washrooms and towel storage. The property is irrigated and features low-voltage ambient lighting illuminating all thematic elements and walkways.

Please contact us for Site Visit and Tour availability.