Creating garden walls with gabions

Outdoor dining area defined by gabion cage garden walls

When visitors see our garden renovation, one of their first positive comments is about the gabion retaining walls. We agree. For high design impact at low cost, the gabions – the stone-filled wire baskets shown above from our window on a rainy day – were among our most satisfying decisions. Other options for the garden walls ranged from cheap (cementing the old limestone pavers that […]

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How we built our shed from a kit

Our back yard transformation began with the demolition of our +30-year-old cedar shed and construction of a big, beautiful new Urban Studio from Summerwood. We managed to snag it at a Black Friday discount in November 2020. Picturewise, this is a long post! Here’s the TL:DR. We’d thought about a new shed for a long time. Summerwood offers […]

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DIY-ing a garden to gather in

Outdoor dining area in a renovated garden

In 2020-21, who didn’t miss seeing friends and extended family, or dream of being able to celebrate with them again? Because outdoors is the safest place for that, given the pandemic, garden renovations boomed. Prices for building materials shot into the stratosphere, if you could find any, or find someone to build things for you. Our solution was to do it […]

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Even small gardens can have a cutting garden

Way back in winter 2019/20, I decided to turn some of my bigger planters from vegetables to flowers. Yes, I made a cutting garden in the Microgarden. With no regrets. Not one. When the Plague of 2020 had everyone else scrambling to buy up veggie seeds, I already had my seeds – for Zinnia, Calendula, Cosmos, and other long-blooming flowers […]

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See the cherry blossoms here, instead

In 2020, if a cherry blossom blooms in the city, and there’s no one to see – will it still look pretty? Yes. It will. But you won’t be there this year, will you? Even Sakura Watch is on pause to discourage folks from social the-opposite-of-distancing when the cherries bloom in High Park. So, while you’re home […]

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An Asian garden in North Rosedale

Every year, though perhaps not in 2020, I see more gardens than I have time to share. That’s why our armchair garden tour brings us close to home with this small but standout garden in North Rosedale from Through the Garden Gate 2017. I got the impression that this lovely garden is a DIY. As the […]

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Armchair garden tour: The gardens of Alcatraz

Forget that COVID-19 has us housebound. Instead, let’s take off for a garden tour – in the safety and comfort of our favourite seats. Where better to begin our jailbreak than the gardens of Alcatraz! I’ve wanted an excuse to show you them since way back in 2013 after the San Francisco Garden Bloggers Fling. To me, the name “Alcatraz” went with movies like “The Bird Man […]

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Garden design lessons from florists

We’d come home exhausted after a day of loading and unloading furniture and boxes for our #1 Dot’s move to a nearby city (okay, it’s Hamilton). What was waiting for us on the porch but this beautiful arrangement. As I turned it round and round to choose “the front*” it occurred to me that a well-designed floral […]

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Stanley Luk’s Terrace Garden Paradise

Landscape architect Stanley Luk packs a whole lot of heaven into his 300-square-foot/28-square-meter condo terrace. My visit on a sunny Sunday morning in late July captured this 5-year-old garden in the sky in just one of its seasons. Trust me, there are at least three seasons of delight here. Visiting brought both pleasure and pain. On one hand, Luk’s […]

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