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.

View of canopy (photo: Chris Pommer/PLANT)
The dining room canopy
Copper and mirror wall with built in table (photo: Chris Pommer/PLANT)
Copper and mirror wall with built in table
View of fountain (photo: Chris Pommer/PLANT)
Table with built in fountain and mirror
View of shower (photo: Chris Pommer/PLANT)
The outdoor shower

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.

View of the slate mulch (photo: Chris Pommer/PLANT)
Slate ground cover
Detail view of the fence (photo: Chris Pommer/PLANT)
Ipe and wrought iron fence

project index

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