Inspired by the homeowners’ travels around the world and designed by landscape architect Virginia Burt, this urban garden intertwines natural plantings, specimen cultivars, and unique features to create a harmonious environment that engages the senses and captivates the eye.
As a visitor, the garden is experienced as a journey through three thresholds: entry, through unique and subtle details that delineate the street; passage, through a serpentine fence and gate; and place, marked by a corten steel moon gate. Beyond the moon gate and at the heart of the garden, is a vegetable garden and shed made of salvaged materials from Virginia’s family history; rough sawn timbers from her Grandfather’s barn and an antique tool for a door handle are nostalgic elements that draw from Virginia’s upbringing on an apple farm.
Beginning at the street, granite and a robust steel solution to define the garden edge at the sidewalk exemplifies adaptation of a cultural form and was designed to reflect a Japanese bamboo rail. The granite hardscaping and surfacing details continue and transition throughout the garden to enhance the overall cohesion of the design while ensuring longevity and durability in an urban environment. From the sidewalk edge, pedestrians and onlookers are guided to the permeable driveway and stepped path towards the garden gate.
Incorporated seamlessly in the Corten steel serpentine fence, the gate and individual steel fence pickets meander in undulating waves through native plantings, evoking a sense of movement and flow while functioning to contain the homeowners’ small dog. Beyond, compacted screenings, granite, and reclaimed bricks combine into a meandering path through no-mow fescue, towards the Corten steel moon gate. Specimen prostrate pine, specifically selected to resemble a bonsai, juxtapose the vertical steel plane in colour, texture, and form.
The moon gate, a traditional architectural element found in Chinese, Japanese and Bermudian gardens, is simply formed by a circular opening in a singular sheet of Corten steel. With distinct design and imbued symbolism, the moon gate functions to mark the entrance and provide privacy to the most intimate area of the garden. The passage through the gate leads visitors to the vegetable garden, shed, and towards an intimate gathering terrace framed by Japanese maples and moss covered boulders. A sculpture from the homeowners previous residence and custom granite water feature define the intimate gathering terrace. Chosen plantings of varied colour and texture provide sensory and all-season interest, even in the depths of winter, when viewed from within the new modern home.
Overall, this modern urban garden is more than just a visual spectacle; its a contemporary haven where design and nature coexist to capture the essence of the homeowners’ past and journeys together. The interplay of Corten steel, salvaged materials, granite surfaces, and thoughtfully chosen plantings transforms this space into a captivating retreat within the city, providing homeowners and visitors alike a sense of immersion. Ultimately, a dynamic tapestry of colours, textures, and forms combine to provide timeless beauty in the seasons of life to come.