From patio parties and backyard barbecues to stargazing and campfires, Canadians can hardly wait for summertime to make the most of outdoor living. At heart, creating an outdoor oasis is all about establishing harmony – striking a balance between a place to retreat and one that offers ample space for social gatherings. According to The Landmark Group’s design and client services manager Darren Bosch, “A good landscape always needs multiple destination points.”
Witness this garden, which Landmark calls Fire On Water. It offers four destinations: a sun-tanning “lounge,” a spacious hot tub area, an upper deck and a peaceful meditation space that’s also perfect for reading.
With three daughters, the homeowners were keen to have several places for social gatherings while keeping the need for maintenance to a minimum. “We wanted an outdoor living space that we could enjoy all the time but wouldn’t be a maintenance ordeal,” explained the wife. When it came to the design, the couple were willing to push boundaries in an effort to establish an outdoor space that was as sophisticated as it was comfortable.
For such an extensive outdoor project, the owners understood they needed a solid relationship with their design team to obtain optimal results. As project leader, Bosch also affirmed that success hinged on effective collaboration. “With their appreciation for design, they really sank their teeth into this project,” he said, adding that without that openness he would never have achieved such impeccable results.
After gaining an understanding of the homeowners’ creative vision along with their spatial needs, Bosch initially suggested the idea of a focal point that included a reflecting pool with seating areas on opposite sides. Sculptured metalwork found throughout the home’s interior further inspired Bosch to come up with the concept of combining fire and water for that focal point.
“With most landscapes the staples are fire, water and lighting, so we brought the idea of having a fire feature above it,” he said. In this case, the fire feature is spectacular, with flames appearing to erupt from the reflective pool. After months in the design and development stage, the fire-on-water element was established as the garden’s signature feature.
Bosch was also inspired to use metalwork in the garden as a contrast to natural elements such as the adjacent forest. “Using the similarly styled metal in both spaces gives the sense that the home doesn’t have boundaries,” explained Bosch. This blurring of boundaries also aligned with the vision of the home’s architect, who aimed to bring the forest ambience indoors.
The homeowners enjoy the tranquility that comes from bringing in natural elements. “We really wanted to incorporate a look that blended from the inside out,” the wife explained. “We wanted clean lines.” Metal privacy panels and vibrant, lush plantings contrast with the ruggedness of the custom-cut, eight-foot by eight-foot flagstones and smaller cobblestone patio details to create the relaxing atmosphere the owners were looking for.
By creating continuity among materials, sightlines and motifs, Bosch was able to achieve an atmosphere that simultaneously offers a distinct outdoor living space with the appeal of a continuous indoor-outdoor environment. Adding to a sense of refinement is the designer’s keen eye for finishing details, including textured glass panels and brushed nickel fixtures.
The fire fountain is the garden feature that really stands out for the husband. “It’s so peaceful because you can hear the water bubbling beneath the flames,” the husband said, marking his patio season not with barbecues and table parasols but with a sense of calm.
BY ANNA LEE BOSCHETTO