This 18 × 22 ft (6 × 6.5 m) urban back garden was designed as an outdoor dining and writing courtyard “room” for two writers in downtown Toronto. The room’s perimeter is defined by a stone “area rug” and wood “runner” at the floor, a removable canvas “ceiling”, and new “wall” (fence) finishes, designed to extend the eye up and beyond the space: a slowly oxidizing copper wall with mirror, and toothed trellises for vines. These richly coloured, textured, and changing materials surround the central garden room element: a nine foot long fixed stone and steel table with a built-in fountain. In addition to chilling wine, the fountain is an aural backdrop to city noise, creating a distinctly private place in the middle of the city. Along the length of the runner is an outdoor copper deluge shower, barbecue area, a chaise longue for two with built in planter, and storage lockers.
The 12 × 18 foot ornamental front garden is a modern reinterpretation of the traditional historical urban street idiom (evident on most of this Victorian street) of low wrought iron fence containing planting and a heavy cast iron vase. The decorum of the “social contract” with the neighbors is maintained, but the execution is turned on its head: the ground cover is junk slate – the off cuts from a flooring factory, the vase a wrought iron spring – anything but heavy and stable, and filled with “dead things” (the client requested a no, not low maintenance garden. The wrought iron fence is simple and incorporates a wood band.