A.L.D Company History

Dear Garden Friends

Artistic Landscape Designs Ltd. was established in 1955 by my parents.

Over the years the Artistic Family has continued with devotion to customers education, and advice. We continue to produce beautiful spaces including patios, walkways, walls, lampposts, water runs and colourful garden beds to carry on the founders legacy. We also celebrate Mossy, our General Managers 33 years of devoted service to our clients, both commercial and residential and the efficiency of our operations. Our goal is to help you recreate the Art of delightful outdoor living where you can sit, feast, enjoy, step out and live fully! Summertime living at its best, laugh, play and feel joy. Be amazed! Be Artistic - inspiring Ottawa for over 68+ years. We create beauty...you live it.

Eva Schmitz, President

A.L.D Company History

By Eckhart Schmitz

Artistic Landscape Designs Ltd.'s Founder Hans Juergen Eugene Schmitz, my father, was born to Marianne Hermine Suelzenfuss and Hans Ferdinand Schmitz in Wiesbaden, Germany on September 3, 1929. On his 21st birthday (1950) he became engaged to his future wife Edeltraut Jacob, my mother, and completed his education in Landscape Architecture in Germany.


As a young man my father cultivated vegetables at a Nursing/Retirement Home in Erbach, Germany along the Rhine River. It was in Erbach that my father met our mother. His careful and attentive nurturing of his crops ensuring the very best soil conditions and moisture resulted in the most bountiful harvests to serve the needs of the home and in fact a considerable surplus that was brought to market. Soon the entire community of Erbach were cognizant and nourished by my father's crops especially his prized tomatoes.

In 1952 he decided to immigrate to Canada. At the time of immigration, policies dictated that he had to complete one year as a farm laborer (near Merrickville, Ont.). After he worked in Aylmer Quebec at Edgedale Nursery for the summer, he found fulltime employment at the Nickel Smelter in Sudbury. It was only then that he could sponsor his financee to arrive from Germany. They were married in Sudbury on June 29th 1954. Their first child, Eva, my sister, was born in Sudbury in September 1955.

My father registered his company Artistic Landscape Design Ltd. in Sudbury in October 1955 and my parents and Eva moved to Ottawa to join his brother, also a Landscape Architect who was also engaged in the Ottawa community. Early landscape construction had more possibilities in Ottawa than in Sudbury!!! In the late 50's and 60's Artistic Landscape Designs Ltd. took part in annual displays at the exhibition at Landsdown Park in the Horticultural building and won many awards for design and execution. Design and building of gardens was unheard of at that time in Ottawa.

In those early days, work was directed from the home residence in Heron Park. The first work vehicle, a VW convertible beetle with a small utility trailer. During the winters My father worked at Camp Fortune Ski Hill and at Heggtveit Ski Shop on Queen Street. By 1962 our family had expanded to four children (two girls and two boys). My mother, while taking care of us children, was instrumental from the very beginning in working steadfast and diligently in support of my father's enterprise. It was certainly a team effort. The Artistic Landscape Designs property on Bank Street was at first just rented, and then purchased by 1964. It was a choice property of 5 1/2 acres because it had the Sawmill Creek for irrigation. Years of hard labor to clear it followed. Cultivation of potatoes and vegetable crops to improve the soil conditions continued for years. (Crops were donated to the Salvation Army). Through the financial loan of a generous customer who believed in the future of Artistic Landscape Designs, the company was able to obtain the first orders for landscape supplies.

By spring 1965, retail sales started at Artistic Landscape Designs Ltd. and the show garden was in its initial stages. Nursery stock, trees and perennials were grown and tended.

"Potted plants" were offered to the public - a novel idea at 50 cents extra to allow people to plant out of season (mid-summer for example). The"myth" had still not died, that plants could be planted anytime other than spring or fall. The first shipment of ornamental plants arrived from Sheridan Nursery from Toronto in spring of 1965. Buildings were erected; offices and procedures were developed. Consultations and garden advice had become a significant part of the service given to the general public.

The first catalogue was issued in 1965; it was a family affair. It was researched, written and typed by my mother, printed on a "Gestetner"(printing press) by my father, and then assembled and stapled by an assembly line of us kids. My father actually drove us to new developments to hand deliver door to door!

Business trips became combined family trips. For visits to the Botanical Gardens, the Experimental Farm and customer homes, (for consultation) we children came along. Trips to pick up and load material were common, and often two trucks were used, my father in one and my mother in another.

Since the nursery property started in a farm-like environment, our family loved to keep many pets and farm animals: as well as dogs and cats, there were geese, chickens, monkeys, raccoons, birds and a pig named Rooty. This is something that many of our early customers would remember. (See Childhood Memories, Growing up as A.L.D.). By the spring of 1965 we also had two brown VW trucks for our landscaping crews and for the use of picking up products for the nursery, for example Kingston for sandstone and Toronto and Montreal for nursery stock.

From the mid 50's our European stonemasons produced walls, posts, patios and steps according to Mr. Schmitz's design under his direct supervision. Much wrought iron was also designed and included in projects from the early 50's and 60's and onward.

In the mid 70's we had retail staff and Eva, after receiving further education in Germany, started to work for the company full time, while the the rest of us children worked part time in their our teenage years. My brother, Hans Juergen Jr., started full time in 1979 after his apprenticeship and I started full time in the early 80's. The landscape department grew. In September 1982, my father was diagnosed with a brain tumor, exceptionally large and benign, which had grown slowly over a period of approximately 30 years. Surgery to remove it was life threatening but, ultimately, very successful. A long convalescence followed during which he couldn't talk or walk. Recovery was miraculously complete by the spring of 1983. He resumed consultations and designing gardens for many more years until 2004. On May 1st 1984, a major fire destroyed our office buildings. It was a wood structure and the fire officials discovered that the cause was electrical wiring that had been chewed by rodents. We immediately erected temporary facilities the next day in construction trailers. We built our current building and moved from trailers into the new building one year later, in May 1985. We hired Mossy Fallah in Spring of 1984. He is still with us, in his capacity of General Manager, and takes care of most daily operations including retail and trade sales.

By the 90's we were very busy with installations for 'outdoor living'. We were teaching, consulting, speaking and many new varieties of plants, paving stones, garden walls and garden accessories were introduced.

By 2000 and onward, gardening is continuing to be immensely popular. 'Outdoor living' has become trendy and desirable.

In one of our earliest Catalogues my father wrote:

"Gardening as we see it is a great teacher in skills and knowledge but more so in virtues, thus, gardening employs all capacities of man. A garden reveals more than most people are aware, the character of its owner. Without sincerity, a searching mind and devotion, one will not be able to develop a garden to beauty and maturity. Garden culture is not a luxurious item of the fashion world but an articulate effort to fulfill part of the innermost supposition!

A Garden is a refuge where one can forget, at least for some time, the worries of ongoing instability of world peace and stress from daily life.

We will continue to provide the total gardening experience supplying consultation designing gardens, construction of gardens, retailing of all gardening goods, sales to trades, diagnostic deficiencies, diseases and tests, appraisals, teaching, guest speaking and charity work.

We believe our mission statement is clearly stated in our company name.

Gardening is a refuge, where one can forget, at least for some time, the worries of ongoing instability of world peace and stress from daily life."

Our founder, my father, H.J. Schmitz Sr. passed away November 17, 2011. He is survived by his devoted and loving wife, my mother, his four children, My sister Eva, my sister Edel, my brother Hans J. Jr, and my myself, along with eleven grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.

My Father's life philosophy can best be expressed in a quotation by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe "I know well enough that one does not receive thanks for what was made possible after the impossible was demanded - still, however, I will not refrain from undertaking the best I can!"

It is this guiding philosophy that we carry forward in continuing his legacy.

Indeed, it gives me pause to reflect, that it is, in principle, this sort of pioneering spirit and philosophy that was the foundation of all our forefathers, from all their origins, that built the foundations of this great country. We have been favoured with great opportunities made possible by the sacrifices of those that came before us and persevered through difficult times when the country was young and in its development stages . It is in this spirit that we must all build on for our future generations to follow. My father was a pioneer in his field as he made it his task to develop artistry and cultural expression in garden landscapes for the community in Ottawa. It is our task to carry on where he left off.

Artistic Landscape Designs Ltd. has continued to perfect education to clients, offering workshops, teaching at colleges, speaking at community venues and supporting Ottawa charity groups. We are involved in researching and growing newer, finer perennials, (some rare and unusual) and testing shrubs and trees for hardiness continues (before releasing to the public). The Landscape Department continues the "creation of the beautiful", with our dedicated staff many who have been with us 30 years and counting. The garden maintenance department has grown as has the size of the stone yard as people increasingly desire sitting areas in their yards, with ponds and water runs. Decorating the garden spaces has become very popular (see Boutique). Our trades' customers are increasingly at home at Artistic Landscape Designs Ltd. In 2005 Artistic's leadership was passed on to Eva and myself. We have continued to thrive and grow, obviously inheriting the Schmitz gene of "strong sense of duty" instilled by my parents.

In 2012 we finally broke ground and increased the garden center area with a large airy greenhouse; a new space 5,000 square feet. Opening ceremonies were held in June 2013 and ribbon cutting by Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. The third generation Schmitz clan is growing up and joining the work force. We also celebrate many staff members reaching 25 years of service (at least 10 in the year 2012). Many of our clients are repeat customers, as are their relatives and children.

The trend towards outdoor living has grown up to be sophisticated, low maintenance, however intriguing and unique as everyone adds his special feature to their glorious new garden! We have added a Garden Boutique of 2,600 square feet and, new in 2015, we have added a Design Studioand many additional classes and workshops have been added in our Gingko Room. The Garden Center and Stone Yard are in the capable hands of Mossy (Mostafa Fallah) now with us in his 30th year at Artistic. My mother was also still seen and heard giving her expert advice well into her 70's. People surely remember her! In 2015 we look forward to serving all new and experienced gardeners at Artistic Landscape Designs Ltd. now in its 68th year.

We would like to acknowledge and thank the long term A.L.D. Staff - 10 years to 31 years of excellent service:

  • George Findley
  • Thavone Bovalavong
  • Roka Hyng
  • Yon Preap
  • Mark Weisenberg
  • Robert Wolodarski
  • Keith Presley
  • John Evans
  • Mostafa Fallah
  • Hang Hor Chhor
  • David Carson
  • Chean Ros
  • Than Ros
  • Edel Schmitz
  • Daniel Eastman
  • Dariusz Jakubaszek
  • Findbar Mitchel
  • Krystyna Milosek
  • Elaine Stewart
  • Lysa Swim
  • Michael Cahill
  • Wayne Waddell
  • Randy Williams
  • Bran Jose Moreira
  • Ted Glaza
  • James Hayes
  • Wayne Hayes
  • Derek Donaldson
  • Dan Plunkett
  • Jason Forward
  • Claire Glendinning
  • Darin Ung


Also a hearty thank you to our wonderful suppliers of many years:

  • GBD Gardening by Design
  • Peter Kathmann Construction
  • Greenscape
  • Brenning Paving
  • Local Paving
  • Permacon Landscape Products
  • Techo-Bloc
  • Banas Stones
  • Mori Nursery
  • Sheridan Nursery
  • Braun Nursery
  • Heritage Nursery
  • Greely Sand and Gravel
  • Sweet Sand and Gravel
  • Gro-Bark
  • Greenway Turf
  • Greenstar Plant Products
  • Ridgecraft Garden Products
  • Lechuza
  • Leitrim Ready Mix Concrete


Companies we work closely with (affiliate companies):

  • Lanark Cedar
  • Oakwood Renovations
  • McGee Fencing
  • Kemptville Pool and Spa
  • Mermaid Pools

With our dedicated staff, our valued suppliers and affiliated firms, we look toward the future in serving you in our very best capacities. We look forward to assisting you in all aspects of garden/ landscape design and construction as well as garden maintenance in order that you may create your very own "Outdoor Living Retreat" in which to relax and enjoy with family and friends.

"A garden is a friend that you can visit any time." - unknown author

With my Kindest Regards,

Eckhart Schmitz, CEO, Director of Operations

Let's make something great together

Tell us about your garden, and get a price with consultation

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