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 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. Cortleigh Boulevard Garden
  35. Creemore Farm
  36. Danforth Mosaic BIA Master Plan
  37. Dickson Park Garden
  38. Dilworth Residence
  39. Don Landing Revitalization
  40. Dublin Grounds of Remembrance
  41. Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden
  42. Dupont-by-the-Castle BIA
  43. East Point Bird Sanctuary
  44. Eglinton Ave Forecourt
  45. Eglinton Park Master Plan
  46. Elizabeth Fry Society
  47. Ellsworth Residence
  48. Face to Face | Tête à Tête
  49. First Avenue Garden
  50. First Avenue Residence
  51. Flyover Canada
  52. Foote’s Pond Wood
  53. Forest Hill Village Streetscape
  54. Gaze, Glimpse, Glance
  55. Goldring Landscape, University of Toronto
  56. Gormley Garden
  57. Governor's Bridge Lookout
  58. Greener P
  59. Greer Road Garden
  60. Greer Road Residence
  61. Guelph Bridge
  62. Head in the Clouds
  63. Helena Ave Residence 4
  64. Junction Craft Brewery
  65. Kelpies Competition
  66. Kew Gardens Streetscape
  67. King's Landing Apartment
  68. Kipling & Islington Developments
  69. Le jardin du repos
  70. Lenticular Curtain
  71. Leslie Slip Lookout Park
  72. Liberty Village Parkettes
  73. Liza’s Garden
  74. Lynwood Garden
  75. Macroscape
  76. Markham Garden One
  77. Markham Street Residence Two
  78. Midtown Yonge Streetscape
  79. Mulock Park
  80. Nathan Phillips Square
  81. – Streetscape
  82. – Peace Garden
  83. – Podium Roof Garden
  84. Octane Medical Campus
  85. Orchard View Garden
  86. Osgoode Atkinson Green Competition
  87. Owl Cottage
  88. Paperstone Scissors
  89. Pendrith Residence
  90. Peripheral Sitings
  91. Pottery Road Crossing
  92. rare
  93. Ravine Forecourt
  94. Ribbon of the Lower Don
  95. Riverside BIA Master Plan
  96. Roxborough Garden One
  97. Roxborough Garden Two
  98. Ryerson Centre for Urban Innovation
  99. Ryerson University Science Building
  100. Schulich School of Business
  101. Sheridan College
  102. – Trafalgar Campus Master Plan
  103. Spadina Quay Wetland
  104. St. Anne's Road Garden
  105. Stratford Market Square Competition
  106. Stratford Patterson Theatre Competition
  107. Superkids Dental
  108. Superlegible
  109. Sweet Farm
  110. Sweet Farm Pond House
  111. Swift Medical Offices
  112. The Meadows Reconsidered
  113. The Red Sash
  114. Thick & Thin
  115. Thistletown II Townhouses
  116. Tipping Point
  117. Tranby Garden
  118. Tree House Residence
  119. UBC Okanagan – The Commons
  120. UHN Tunnels
  121. University of Toronto Mississauga Welcome Centre
  122. Venice Biennale 2012
  123. Vermont Square Park
  124. Vernon Avenue Garden
  125. Walk the Walk
  126. Walmer Road Residence
  127. Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial
  128. Wellesley Cottages Garden
  129. Wells Street Residence
  130. Westminster Residence
  131. Weston Village BIA Masterplan
  132. With Words as Their Actions
  133. Woodlawn Avenue Residence
  134. Woven Stories
  135. York Park