Cozy Corner

Landscape Ontario Award of Excellence 2021

Small sites are fun. Typically these yards are riddled with special challenges. Sitting areas and pedestrian pathways frequently collide. More often than not these spaces feel cluttered, confusing visitors who quickly write them off as having no interest or value.

This corner lot in an older section of the city presented all these challenges. The side garden area that constituted the bulk of the functional outdoor space was decidedly underutilized.

The space naturally divided into two sitting spaces. Double grade-level doors off the side of the home spill into a small private deep sitting area perfect for morning coffee and the newspaper. Decking was used to facilitate a barefoot-friendly feeling. A wooden screen provides privacy and backing while a custom iron trellis and urns add bold interest to a large stucco wall.

The pedestrian passes up one step, through two old low columns and around the corner to the main part of the yard. The lawn was removed and replaced with a patio of reclaimed flagstone and herringbone brick. Visitors can enjoy the generous table and umbrella set surrounded by numerous lovely perennials and shrubs. Downlighting from high on the home creates a lovely feeling for both areas as the evening light fades away.

The detail that few will ever notice but that ties the spaces together is the bubbler birdbath. Placed at the intersection of two perpendicular axes, one from the double doors and another running down the center of the dining table, this is the garden element that subconsciously makes this space feel special. Yes, small sites are fun.