Pro of the Week – Neil Burke of BurkeWorks - Real Cedar
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Pro of the Week – Neil Burke of BurkeWorks

posted January 4, 2017

Looking ahead to landscapes

Don’t be deterred when building challenges arise. In fact, expect they will and be prepared to deal with them as they do – that’s the advice from expert builder Neil Burke of Toronto’s BurkeWorks, when it comes to landscape design.

His one-stop residential trades and design company, which specializes in both interior and exterior builds, is known for meticulous execution, especially when it comes to working with Western Red Cedar.

“We’ve always been proud of our commitment to an open line of communication, and proud of our ability to help clients solve problems on-the-fly,” Burke explains.

Communication is key when it comes to working with a contractor, as anyone who has waited for a response from a missing-in-action builder can attest.

Be prepared for challenges

The rule of thumb when it comes to landscape carpentry is to keep an open mind, the expert builder explains.

“Stumbling blocks always appear, and a successful project depends on how a team can overcome adversity. Solutions can come from anyone, anywhere,” Burke says.

His advice when it comes to choosing a landscape carpenter is to go with value over cost. In other words, consider the carpenter’s work as opposed to their pricing.

“We believe that you get what you pay for,” notes Burke.

What to consider with DIY projects

For those tackling their own outdoor Western Red Cedar projects, such as building a new deck or pergola, Burke lays out his pro tips in the following three categories:

  1. Prep – have a good design to follow.
  1. Building – work clean, take your time.
  1. Maintaining outdoor spaces – maintenance is part of every project. Embrace the building legacy you have created.


The natural beauty of Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar is a favorite of Burke’s when it comes to outdoor projects.

“The material is easy to work with, and the quality is consistent. Its built-in, natural resistance to warping, twisting and checking is second to none. Rewards are reaped upon the first cut of the day,” he says.

The warm look and gorgeous feel also add to the appeal for Burke. Watching his clients respond to the natural beauty of Western Red Cedar makes him particularly proud of his finished projects.

To learn more about BurkeWorks, visit