A Vaughan Residence: Front Yard Design

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"Before" Issues to be Addressed

  • Driveway as dominant feature
  • Grade change between south-neighbour and client
  • Homogeneity of houses and yards in neighbourhood
  • Small yard in close proximity to neighbours'
Client Wish List
  • Replacement of builder's steps and concrete patio slab walkway
  • Japanese maple
  • Hiding of cable box
  • Some lawn
  • Low maintenance

Design Solution (Applying Arts & Crafts Philosophy in a Modern Context)

  • Made integrated whole from disparate parts by echoing architectural details in the landscape and making them come alive (e.g., reflected diamond peak decoration on house in diamond-shaped pavers in walkway; reflected window arches in arch of driveway at garage; repeated window scarf as double walkway on sides of driveway; repeated proportions of doorway and porch pillars in stairs, walkway and patio)
  • Selected hardscape colours and shapes that link house, asphalt, and pavers; created harmonious blending of foliage colours and textures with plants that show well against house and street
  • Used grade changes to generate interest (seat wall, patio, stairs)
  • Created usable (and safer) people-space from previously unused space near house (e.g., newly defined entrance & walkway plus seat wall & patio separated from car-space): new directionality guides and welcomes clients and visitors to front door
Green Practices
  • Reduced water dependency through
  1. mulching
  2. reduced turf area
  3. use of drought-tolerant plants
  • Reduced environmental impact on street through
  1. heightened biodiversity (plant variety instead of turf)
  2. increased permeability of hard surfaces (pavers instead of asphalt); use of permeable, plant-lignin-based interstitial sand (EnvirobondTM) instead of synthetic polymeric sand
  3. maintained existing swales on north and south sides of property
Expected Outcomes
  • A landscape that welcomes clients home and makes architectural details come alive
  • Improved views and added year-round interest
  • Increased potential for greater sense of community: creation of new people-space engages client family with neighbours and street activity
  • Increased aesthetic appeal improves streetscape and encourages more gardens, not grass