We love when homeowners envision their space with their family’s lifestyle in mind. For our recent project in the beautiful Glenora neighbourhood, we were lucky to work with fun-loving homeowners who had a clear vision for how they wanted to use their yard. The family worked closely with designer Jason Stubbs to create a truly special landscape design.
The Vision: Modern and Practical
The homeowners were looking for a modern, clean design that would complement the contemporary architecture and long, narrow lines of their home. The family was also looking to incorporate features of their existing landscape they wanted to keep, like the beautiful mature trees. They were also looking for beautiful and practical features like garden lighting in the front and patio areas.
Visually, the space would need to be beautiful—that’s always a given. However, the family really approached this project with clear ideas of how they wanted to spend time outdoors. They requested space for a basketball hoop directly off the driveway and a spacious entertainment area with a fire pit that would be accessible from their outdoor kitchen. The yard would need to have some privacy without looking too severe. And, of course, there needed to be ample space to play with the family dog!
In this case, the family was a pleasure to work with—but the lot itself posed some challenges. In the original design, the space for the garden was awkwardly shaped; it stretched along the front of the home and turned a corner into a large, slightly curved space. Due to the shape of the surrounding street, the yard was very exposed with ample foot and vehicle traffic on either side, posing a challenge for creating privacy.
Furthermore, because of the location of the yard, it was impossible not to impact other properties. Our team recognized that removing the existing landscape would have an impact on the raised garden beds in a neighbouring yard. This home was also an infill property, which came with grading issues that needed to be corrected for the landscape to meet regulations. To create the entertainment space the family was looking for, we needed to address the grading issues to build in concrete seating in the right position.
Instead of trying to hide the awkward length of the property, Jason worked with it so the finished design would complement and repeat the rectangular shapes of the house. These shapes acted like “corridors” of lawn and pavement, which helped the overall design feel spacious and airy. Jason integrated living spaces that repeated the theme of long, rectangular shapes, and softened them with a minimalistic planting of flowering shrubs. We created subtle privacy screens using clusters of tall ornamental grass and sited the garden to incorporate the existing trees.
To create the entertainment area, we built a rectangular U-shaped concrete and wood seating wall. The concrete and wood finishes and rectangular shape perfectly complemented the design of the home while offering ample seating room and appropriate privacy. To reduce the harshness of the rectangular shapes in the patio, we nestled in two circular fire pits and added some moveable seating with a curvy, modern design.
The dog run took up the long, narrow space between the patio and the street, walled in with a neat row of shrubs and trees. This area was accessible from the mudroom, which made it easy for the family to let the dog in and out. We also installed artificial lawn in the dog run to keep it easy to clean and maintain—no more patches of dead grass in the spring!
We had a great time working with this family to create a space that married casual living and upscale, modern design. This project was a great example of how the challenges within a space can inspire some of the most creative solutions.