The residence is a historical estate from the 19th century. The site is generally flat from one end of the property to the other and therefore, drainage became one of the most important design considerations. The site included a number of older trees that were nearing the completion of their life cycle. Over the years, no thought had been given to the planting of newer trees to create a successional growth for the future. On looking views from tall neighbouring homes did not allow for client privacy. Entertaining during the day and into the evening by todays standards were non-existent when this original landscape was built. Finally, the pool was in desperate need of upgrading.

First, a Tree Succession Plan was prepared to replace dead and/or dying trees. This plan allowed for younger trees to replace older ones and also for evergreen and deciduous plantings alike for year-round interest, privacy and buffering. New trees were planted at varying sizes in order to create a proper cadence throughout the property. Numerous large caliper trees were lowered into place by use of crane to create immediate screening and also to give the appearance that these trees have been on the site for a long time. The site was quite open to the surrounding neighbours and creating privacy was the number one request by the client.  Large caliper trees were spaded into place along with smaller trees strategically located and now, there are no neighbouring homes that can be seen. Large parties are often held at the property that requires many smaller spaces within the larger garden area. Rooms within rooms were designed and built to accommodate larger and smaller parties.

The property is used during the day as well as into the evening.  Night lighting was implemented to create comfortable intimate areas for people at dusk and well into the evenings. Elements of fire and heating were installed by way of a fireplace and ceiling heaters in order for the site to be used on the chillier days and nights. A large pool became the focal point of the space.  A 30′ x 50′ gunite pool was installed with built in water features for background sound and a remote-control cover for safety.  Fire bowls were also installed to create a powerful atmosphere of fire and water regardless of whether people are in the pool or not. A stainless-steel trench drain was installed on all four sides of the pool to help resolve an overall grading issue.  The surface of the pool also acts as a reflective surface for the surrounding landscape adding another element to the already warm welcoming space.

The design process was implemented over a two-year period with the clients. There were numerous consultants involved. The Landscape Architect became the prime consultant to oversee the design implementation of this work. Through painstaking efforts coordinating sub consultants and trades, the project eventually came together. All of the participants were specifically invited because of their expertise in their decided fields of work. Coordinating all of them was a challenge onto itself and there were many instances where arguments arose due to workspace and differing opinions. In the end, everyone was proud of what we had created. Although the design process and contract administration took up a great deal of time to perfect, it is also important to consider the amount of time and effort required after the project was installed. Going through every aspect of the design to ensure that the elements of fire, water and lighting are perfect and working in harmony with each other. These things take quite a bit of time and require being on site at various hours of the day and night to perfect. Now, no matter what time you are in this space, you feel absolutely comfortable in the created surroundings. The feeling is one of serenity. The landscape is now in harmony with its surroundings, neighbourhood and community. With the comfortable cadence created with different size trees, the landscape appears to be one that matches the age of the home. Both the house and the landscape have been designed together and have been there for a very long time.

Name of the project: Simcoe Sophistication
Project category: Gardens
Role of the entrant in the project: Landscape Architect
Other designers involved in the design of landscape (if any): Haig Seferian
Project location: Simcoe, ON
Design year: 2017
Year Built: 2019


LILA 2024 Sponsor