This turn of the century house had been recently renovated, and along with the new contemporary design, all the new windows, porch and woodwork were black against very dark red brick. The house faces North and was dominated by a Norway Maple (since removed) and therefore presented a very dark aspect to the street. The 30' × 40' garden design focuses on creating a strong dominant colour as a foreground to the darkness of the house. The planting scheme is a varied selection of shrubs, perennials, ferns and groundcovers that are limey green, and green and white variegated and flowering white – a bright sharp colouring that catches the light and shines against the dark backdrop of the house in the summer.
The garden is bisected into two zones – an entry zone – a black stone courtyard with groundcover strips, and a huge field of 26 dogwoods against a refurbished row of yews. The winter aspect colour is also intense: it is a dense field of red stems against the white snow and dark house backdrop. A magnolia emerges out of the dogwoods – blooming in Spring just as the dogwoods start to change from red stem dominant to green and white leaf dominant. The house renovation put the kitchen at the front with very large windows – the field of dogwoods and magnolia correspond to this view.
Entry view from street
Planting strips within stone courtyard
View from the front porch
Entry path with Garden shed
The 30' × 87' rear garden is terraced with three zones: a large lawn and herb garden for play; multilevel decks interwoven with shade plantings and trees that connect the interior living space with the outdoor area with seating; and a lower parking level at the lane.
The interior living space is extended by three terraces: a small upper terrace, a middle dining terrace, and a lower terrace connected to the lawn. The upper wood steps are long, creating casual seating around the middle deck, the bottom stone steps are long in order to provide casual seating at the edge of the lawn, and the metal steps function as a bridge between the lawn and lower terrace.
Several new trees were introduced to the rear yard, creating shade for the home’s mostly glass façade, and a largely native plant selection was used for the garden. Significant grade change was carefully concealed by the three-stage terrace as well as by the interlaced planting and floating steel staircase. A long cedar bike and garden storage shed was built into the fence flanking the lawn.
View from the upper deck
Steel stair cascading between decks
Planters are embedded in the decks
Seating built into the stairs
The steel stair floats over the planting
Multilevel decks and the bike-storage shed
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