Playground Design & Build
Elmira and Toronto Ontario, Canada
toll free: 1.877.269.2972
P.Eng, Certified Irrigation Technician, Horticultural Technician
Graduated from engineering in 1983 from University of Waterloo, twenty years of corporate experience, a tutlege under internationally renowned landscape designer Keith Davitt of New York, and working in his mother’s garden since age 7, Mark has never been known to think inside the box. He thrives on making landscapes that are one-of-a-kind yet functional. To him, the more complex, the better. One client expressed “Our initial interview with Mark Schwarz was striking in how carefully he listened and how knowledgeable he was.” It’s not uncommon for Mark to advise a homeowner on a better or more economical solution than they originally intended. “I want what best for the client …not just what we’re familiar with.” At the end of the day when he hasn’t used up his vigor on consultations, designs, and getting dirty, you’ll often find Mark using up the rest of his energy on canoing, biking, hockey, soccer or hiking with his kids and their buddies.
Sam has come a long way from when he started his own business cutting lawns as a 14 year old. His abilities and strong work ethic in construction & maintenance was what attracted Mark to partner with him in business. Skilled in stone, wood, and landscaping in general, Sam has an obsession for efficiency. “Get the job done correctly, on time, and on budget.” One client still speaks of his coming out before 4:30 AM to accommodate her tight schedule. Sam’s first major project in which he wrote the proposal, quotation, and project managed, won a Landscape Ontario Award of Excellence in 2012. Canada’s largest garden festival, Canada Blooms, has also claimed Sam as their Assistant Operations manager. Sam is also known for attracting motherly attention from little elderly ladies. Maybe it has to do with that Elvis Presley smile, Sam!
Born and raised in Toronto, Kevin leads Earthscape’s Operations in the GTA. Being hired at the age of 12 to keep grounds at a local motel, by 14 he knew that landscaping was the career choice for him. Now, almost 30 years later, he still is passionate about outdoor design and construction, and has made a name for himself in project management. Kevin graduated from Humber College’s Landscape Technology program with highest honours, and upon graduation, he became a teaching assistant for the same program. He continued teaching at Humber and instructed construction-related courses through Landscape Ontario during the winter for a number of years, and is now well known as the Operations Manager for Toronto’s popular garden festival, Canada Blooms. “I love to create beautiful spaces for clients and see the joy on their faces when the projects are complete.” Passionate about many outdoor activities (mountain biking, camping, skiing to name a few), Kevin especially loves spending time with his family.
Laura’s involvement with her children’s new school and their need of a play area triggered her fascination in natural playgrounds. Her keen participation in the school’s new playground process introduced us to Laura’s abilities in planning and attention to detail. Her past experiences working for non-profit and governmental businesses, including the University of Guelph, has been a welcomed addition to Earthscape. Achieving numerous academic awards during her university years, including the prestigious Winegard Medal (highest award for all U of G undergraduate students in 1996!), Laura’s research focused on Human and Urban Social Geography, feeding her interests in how people use space around them. “I find it fascinating to see how children play in their spaces and how best to design them to maximize play value.” Even though Laura considers herself ‘just a mom’ – being very involved in her children’s energetic lives – she is also active in many non-profit events. When time permits, she enjoys kicking back with her husband to watch NFL football and enjoy red licorice on the side.
B.Sc, MBA, Landscape Design Certificate
Anne, has been an enthusiast in ecology for as long as she can remember. A bachelor degree in biology and geology, Anne’s strong interest in design, sketching, and math, with a passion for gardening, caused her friends to encourage her to become a professional landscape designer. Life-coaching young people on the side, she finds that her coaching training has been useful in helping her to guide homeowners in developing their vision for their properties. “I believe our connection with the beauty of the natural world is fundamental to our well-being. It nourishes our soul.” When Anne is not busy designing landscapes, you’ll find her playing classical and jazz piano, skiing, playing tennis, or of course, gardening.
Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
A designer who can also run a construction crew gives lots of opportunity to be involved with a project from beginning to the end. Working at a garden center at the age of 17 was only the beginning for Zac in the field of landscaping. Graduating from University of Guelph’s Landscape Architecture, he joined Earthscape in 2009. It wasn’t long before he demonstrated his abilities in driving skid steer, operating excavators, forming concrete, and working with stone while creating 3D CAD designs. Not being able to decide if he liked designing better than construction, Zac decided to do both. “I love being involved at every stage of creating landscapes.” Voted athlete of the year (twice!) back in his high school glory days, Zac still enjoys relaxing in front of a good game of baseball or hockey.
Dubbed the ‘MacGyver’ of Earthscape, Ben heads up our fabrication shop, sources materials, oversees shipments, and maintains equipment. Even before he was a teen he loved creating, welding and woodworking in his father’s workshop whenever he had time on his hands. Now, a licensed Diesel & Coach Technologist, Ben is known for his hard work and uncanny problem solving abilities. ‘I love inventing and I don’t mind getting dirty.’ A real outdoorsman and avid traveller, Ben also loves to be big brother to teen boys, inspiring them to stay out of trouble and become skillful workers. Never one to be idle, you can always find Ben tinkering with something, or planning some wild adventure with his buddies.
Ben’s eclectic background is well suited to his role as the Construction Detail Designer for our playground team. A graduate of the Environmental Studies Faculty of the University of Waterloo, Ben enjoyed an academic learning experience and regular co-op job placements to round out his experience. A personal highlight was his role as an Outdoor Education Instructor and his part in the mental, physical and emotional development of elementary students in a natural, outdoor environment. Since then, Ben has travelled twice to South-East Asia – once as an English Teacher in Vietnam and once as a Scuba Instructor in Thailand. Having returned home, Ben graduated from the Construction Carpentry program at Algonquin College and now puts his woodworking and outdoor experience with children to full use with Earthscape’s Inspired Play. A fan of country music and the great outdoors, Ben’s sense of humor sure keeps life interesting.
Graduated from Niagara College’s Landscape Design and Horticulture, Scott heads the maintenance department of Earthscape. He has always loved working with his hands and being outdoors. While beginning his education in a more indoors trade, Scott discovered how much he missed the outdoors. With the help of a scholarship from the Elmira & District Horticultural Society, he pursued landscaping as a career. From his first landscape job for an elderly couple in his neighbourhood (aged 14), Scott progressed to working for Elmira golf course. A real sports-aholic, you won’t find Scott sitting down for long. He uses his passion for biking to help a couple charities in their fundraising efforts. ‘Always give someone a reason to smile everyday’ is a goal he strives for daily. People who know Scott would say he’s doing a good job of doing that.
Preston’s interest in nature and the great outdoors began as a child. He loved outdoor sports and ‘exploring’. Preston pursued his Bachelors in Business Administration and International Development and now seeks to add value in play through good design and natural elements. Preston’s experience from years of tree planting, working among children and at-risk youth, combined with his certification in playground safety, all contribute to his knowledge of natural play. A real family man, Preston still enjoys sports along with playing his guitar and exercising his culinary skills.
B.Sc , B.R.E
A veteran craftsman, teacher, facilities manager …Dennis brings with him a wealth of experience and trades skills. Raised in Elmira, Dennis helped his father build houses as a young man. Moving to and living in Africa for 24 years (teaching at a boarding school and improving the facilities there) encouraged his creativity at using raw materials, making Dennis an excellent fit for being the department head for our natural play space department. His passion for working in development projects and with disadvantaged peoples is key to his effectiveness in the landscape construction industry. “I like to make life better for others and improving their living environments”. Kids just love his wooden animals and play structures he creates using raw or repurposed materials!
© 2015 Earthscape Elmira and Toronto Ontario 1.877.269.2972