PHOTGRAPHY: JANIS NICOLAY
An artful combo of smart landscaping and statement-making black and white turn an urban backyard into a chic retreat.
The yard was a mud pit,” says designer Megan Baker. “There was no landscaping, no grass – there weren’t even stairs up to the house!” The heritage home in New Westminster, B.C., had gone through many renovations before the current owners bought it. “Original details had been stripped away inside,” says Megan, “but I saw this as the jumping-off point to do something more modern outside for the young couple who lives here.” A black and white palette, dedicated lounging spots, a dining zone demarcated by a custom pergola, and plenty of grasses, shrubs and trees transformed the space into a cool, modern oasis.
“THE KEY TO A BLACK AND WHITE PALETTE IS LAYERING IN PATTERNS AND TEXTURES THAT ADD INTEREST WITHOUT COLOUR.”
The yard’s lounging area is defined by paving stones laid in a herringbone pattern. “This classic pattern is a nod to the home’s heritage,” says designer Megan Baker (pictured here). A round terrazzo coffee table throws some curves at all the straight lines and puts an elevated spin on the budget-friendly furniture.
The wrought-iron sofa and chair impart an airiness that Megan loves. “The metal bases work so well and, from a distance, make the cloud-like seat cushions look like they’re floating,” she says. A mix of black-andwhite toss cushions continues the palette with pops of pattern, while the brass side table factors in a warm finish and ups the style factor. “It simply adds an element of chic,” says Megan. “I like to include pieces that don’t make sense for any other reason than being an object of interest.”
A small round table between the lounging and dining areas is perfect for serving up drinks and dessert. Gold and woven accessories are a nice foil to the black, white and grey palette, and dress up the otherwise plain surface. “I advocated for spending the available funds on the elements of design, like landscaping and paving, which would truly build the space and create a foundation for decorative vignettes like this,” says Megan.
Black and white table linens add layers of pattern, while natural woven elements soften the palette’s graphic punch.
“BLACK WAS A STATEMENT CHOICE AND GOING ALL THE WAY WITH IT ON THE FENCE MAKES IT WORK. PLAIN WOOD WOULDN’T HAVE SUCH AN IMPACT.”
“The owners really didn’t need a big green lawn, but I wanted some grass, so I used it sparingly as a way to define the different zones,” says Megan. “The pavers act as a pathway between the outdoor living and dining areas and they feel modern.” The custom steel pergola is the garden’s focal point; its hollow structure houses wiring for the light. Megan sprayed the Muskoka rockers, plucked from the owners’ basement, black. “Their shape is a nod to the heritage house, but black makes them contemporary,” she says.