A stately estate

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A stately estate

A contemporary outdoor colour palette blends seamlessly with a garden rooted in history

Photography By Gillian Jackson

Since the beginning of time, humans have toiled to impose order over the terrain and create art from the landscape. Formal gardens have a long history; from the Middle Ages, English country manors borrowed from the jardin à la française (literally, garden in the French manner) who learned horticultural pursuits from Italian Renaissance gardeners. Before that, planned gardens can be traced back centuries to the Middle East.

But some present-day residential lots defy order, and pose a dilemma to new homebuilders, especially when the lot is on a corner; it’s curve-shaped and it’s not level. Where do you situate the house so it will embrace the terrain?

When realty and history collide

For these homeowners, building a stately, French chateau-style home on an irregular lot wasn’t the only plan. In spite of the curves, they also wanted lush formal gardens. David Small Designs, located in Mississauga, created the home – reflecting the best of French Renaissance architecture, which embraces the irregularly-shaped lot. The hardscaping, landscaping and pool design was entrusted to ProScape Land Design Inc. in Oakville who formalized the exterior plan.


Making a formal, first impression

The large gables, bold, steeply-pitched rooflines and warm, light-coloured stone on the entire exterior of the home set the tone. The landscapers replicated those warm tones in stone pillars, walls and raised garden beds. The placement of the gated entry with ornate wrought ironwork was carefully considered to preserve the mature trees on the property. Boxwood hedges, natural stone pavers and symmetrical plantings were added to give a formal air to the public side of the house.

Layered and lush

The formality of the stone pathway gives way to a wonderful mix of contemporary, traditional and cottage-style elements that work beautifully together on the entertaining side of the yard.

Here, symmetry and balance add a contemporary element poolside; graduated steps lead you from the ankle-deep shallow end to the deep end; gas-operated fire bowls flank the pool and three modern, bronze waterfall features spill from the expansive stone wall.

Traditional plantings

Like a traditional garden, boxwood hedges and cedars frame beds of Chanticleer pear trees, Hosta plants and Japanese and native grasses. Even the white hydrangeas seem to pay homage to historical English Rose gardens, while adding to the understated green-and-white scheme. However, a jolt of electric teal, blues and lime green in the lounges, chairs and ottoman fabric remind us this is where we have fun!

The stone path continues to lead us to a stone wall and pergola-framed lounge area with lots of cosy seating around a large, gas firepit. It’s perfect for roasting marshmallows on a long summer night.

Loggia-style outdoor, covered deck

With entertaining in mind, the homeowners wanted an outdoor living and dining room with a wood-burning fireplace, large table for dining and an unobstructed view of the pool. A medium stained, bead-board ceiling adds a cottage feel, even at 11-feet high! Surprisingly, the curved, wicker seating arrangement by the grand, stone fireplace and the glassed-in balcony work harmoniously together. Stone steps that connect the deck to the pool level offer yet another place to perch and enjoy the view.

So, where is the lawn?

Instead of grass, the homeowners opted for artificial turf for the rest of the yard, now a large dog park devoted to their two Portuguese water dogs. Can you say, “spoiled”?

Contemporary or traditional, formal or wild, gardens are meant to be enjoyed; after all, they are our little piece of paradise.

SOURCES HOUSE, designed by David Small Designs, Built including covered porch, CMA Group POOL, Gib-san Pools LANDSCAPE designed & executed ProScape Land Design Inc. (front yard, dog yard, pergola & pool side) FIRE BOWLS, Grand Effects OUTDOOR FURNITURE, Southport Outdoor Living DECOR, Home Sense & Pier 1 COVERED PORCH LIGHTING Pottery Barn

Designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, Jane Lockhart is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of design and colour. janelockhart.com


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