Garden design: Serene Georgian-style garden
Home-owners Ric and Shirley Riordon's serene garden compliments their Georgian-style home's architecture and woodsy setting.Driving past this Georgian-style heritage home in a leafy enclave of Oakville, Ont., one would be hard pressed to tell that it is only three years old. Homeowners Ric and Shirley Riordon had the house built to appear historic and wanted the garden design to complement the home’s architecture and woodsy setting. They brought in landscape architect Christopher Campbell to collaborate on a plan, with the focus being on preserving the 120-by-125-foot lot’s many mature trees. The project proved to be larger than Ric – an avid gardener – had ever taken on, but clearly he was up to the task. Here’s how it all came together.
Use symmetry at the front of a house for an elegant formality and let the rest of the garden take on a more relaxed design. Here, an antique gate that homeowners Ric and Shirley Riordon had restored leads to the front lawn.
Embrace, rather than fight, a garden’s natural character. In the wooded northwest corner of the garden, landscape architect Christopher Campbell planted ferns and other shade-loving greenery instead of overzealously pruning or cutting down trees.
Divide and conquer, “there was quite a lot of space to work with here, so I organized the garden into a series of rooms,” says Christopher. A square parterre of dry-laid brick surrounded by low boxwood hedges creates one of these garden rooms.
Seek out appropriate materials for an authentic feel. Antique-look brick, laid in a herringbone pattern, creates the floor of the covered porch. “We practically live out here for a lot of the year,” says Ric. Classic resin wicker furniture also suits the period aesthetic.
Give an entertaining space the best (and perhaps the biggest) area in the garden if it’s a must-have for fully enjoying the summer season. This wide terrace by the pool offers a spot for open-air dining, with comfortable resin wicker seating that invites guests to lounge long into the evening.
Let the garden inspire your outdoor decor. Add fresh flowers, generous hits of green and other garden motifs to your tabletop setting.
Plant for year-round interest in certain areas. Oakleaf hydrangeas along the covered porch are visible from the driveway and hold their spent blooms all winter long. Evergreens throughout the property offer colour and texture to this garden design in each and every season.
Plan garden views like an artist might paint a scene, with a foreground, middle ground and background to create depth, suggests Christopher. Here, a backdrop of mature trees creates the setting for a small bench and some hydrangeas and coneflowers in front.
Be on the lookout for salvage. For the pool house, restored antique round windows were used in the peaks at the roofline, adding authentic period detail. Grey Marcite gives the pool a more natural deep aqua colour.
Turn challenges into assets. Christopher turned the need for privacy along the side of the pool into a beautiful focal point with an elegant trellis wall. A semicircular stone bench and a bird bath add more interest to this backyard retreat.
Select the same finishes as the house for all outbuildings for a cohesive look. Here, the soft grey-green clapboard and cream trim on the pool house match the main house's exterior paint.