Three generations of one family live in a semi-detached house on an urban hillcrest that drops off sharply in their backyard. They wanted an enclosed, courtyard-like rear garden that would enable them to use as much of the slope as possible and provide some privacy on a tightly constrained site. Wood structures occupy significantly more area than the planting beds on this small, sloping lot. These structures perform multiple storage functions and create distinct areas – the dining area, the bridge to the shed, the stepped-down ‘secret garden’ at the rear with a Venus Dogwood tree and bench seating, and several planted areas. Vibrantly painted slats accent the natural-finish boards in the cedar fence, ensuring that there is colour in the garden year round. Between the side walkway and the rear entry a half-storey below, a balustrade with angled slats organizes the accent colours into a spectrum. From the interior of the house, the chromatic shift in the slats and the spaces between them create visual effects that change with the viewing point.

The bridge to the shed (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
The bridge to the shed
Dining and the secret garden (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Dining and the secret garden
Secret garden (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Secret garden
View from the lower apartment (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
View from the lower apartment
View from the upper apartment (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
View from the upper apartment
Colour! (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Small courtyard, full of activity (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Small courtyard, full of activity

project index

  1. A Conversation of Views
  2. Admiral Road Garden
  3. Airdrie Road Garden
  4. Airdrie Road Residence
  5. Albany Avenue Residence
  6. Alexandra Park
  7. Aporia Records
  8. Asphalt Poetry
  9. – Poem
  10. Baby Point Gardens
  11. Beach Garden
  12. Beach Village BIA Master Plan
  13. Beaty Residence
  14. Bennington Heights Garden
  15. Berkeley Street Residence
  16. Bin-Scarth Garden
  17. Blink and you miss it.
  18. – Poem
  19. Block 22 Landscape
  20. Bloor St. Apartment
  21. Blue Note
  22. Booth Avenue Residence
  23. Boustrophedon Garden
  24. Braemore Gardens Residence
  25. Browning Avenue Residence
  26. Brunswick Avenue Residence
  27. Camp Arowhon Offices
  28. Canadian Firefighters Memorial
  29. Channelled Buried Moved Lost
  30. Chocolate Loft
  31. City Instrument
  32. Clarendon Garden
  33. Conversation Piece
  34. Creemore Farm
  35. Danforth Mosaic BIA Master Plan
  36. Dickson Park Garden
  37. Dilworth Residence
  38. Don Landing Revitalization
  39. Dublin Grounds of Remembrance
  40. Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden
  41. Dupont-by-the-Castle BIA
  42. East Point Bird Sanctuary
  43. Eglinton Ave Forecourt
  44. Eglinton Park Master Plan
  45. Elizabeth Fry Society
  46. Ellsworth Residence
  47. Face to Face | Tête à Tête
  48. First Avenue Garden
  49. First Avenue Residence
  50. Flyover Canada
  51. Foote’s Pond Wood
  52. Forest Hill Village Streetscape
  53. Gaze, Glimpse, Glance
  54. Goldring Landscape, University of Toronto
  55. Gormley Garden
  56. Governor's Bridge Lookout
  57. Greener P
  58. Greer Road Garden
  59. Greer Road Residence
  60. Guelph Bridge
  61. Head in the Clouds
  62. Helena Ave Residence 4
  63. Junction Craft Brewery
  64. Kelpies Competition
  65. Kew Gardens Streetscape
  66. Kipling & Islington Developments
  67. Le jardin du repos
  68. Lenticular Curtain
  69. Leslie Slip Lookout Park
  70. Liberty Village Parkettes
  71. Liza’s Garden
  72. Lynwood Garden
  73. Macroscape
  74. Markham Garden One
  75. Markham Street Residence Two
  76. Midtown Yonge Streetscape
  77. Mulock Park
  78. Nathan Phillips Square
  79. – Streetscape
  80. – Peace Garden
  81. – Podium Roof Garden
  82. Orchard View Garden
  83. Osgoode Atkinson Green Competition
  84. Owl Cottage
  85. Paperstone Scissors
  86. Peripheral Sitings
  87. Pottery Road Crossing
  88. rare
  89. Ravine Forecourt
  90. Ribbon of the Lower Don
  91. Riverside BIA Master Plan
  92. Roxborough Garden One
  93. Roxborough Garden Two
  94. Ryerson Centre for Urban Innovation
  95. Ryerson University Science Building
  96. Schulich School of Business
  97. Sheridan College
  98. – Trafalgar Campus Master Plan
  99. Spadina Quay Wetland
  100. St. Anne's Road Garden
  101. Stratford Market Square Competition
  102. Stratford Patterson Theatre Competition
  103. Superkids Dental
  104. Superlegible
  105. Sweet Farm
  106. Sweet Farm Pond House
  107. Swift Medical Offices
  108. The Meadows Reconsidered
  109. The Red Sash
  110. Thick & Thin
  111. Tipping Point
  112. Tranby Garden
  113. Tree House Residence
  114. UBC Okanagan – The Commons
  115. UHN Tunnels
  116. University of Toronto Mississauga Welcome Centre
  117. Venice Biennale 2012
  118. Vermont Square Park
  119. Vernon Avenue Garden
  120. Walk the Walk
  121. Walmer Road Residence
  122. Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial
  123. Wellesley Cottages Garden
  124. Wells Street Residence
  125. Westminster Residence
  126. With Words as Their Actions
  127. Woodlawn Avenue Residence
  128. Woven Stories
  129. York Park