Small Toronto Rowhouse Yards Challenge Owners and Architects Designing Outdoor Rooms

From the Globe & Mail writer Carolyn Ireland, "Near Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue, a few doors away from the hubbub of Toronto’s Chinatown, Paul Johnston has created a tiny, shady refuge.  After he bought a Victorian-era row house on Sullivan Street, he put in a new kitchen and replaced the rear façade with a wall of south-facing glazing. That left him staring at a cramped back garden full of off-kilter patio stones. "Mr. Johnston is quick to admit that he didn’t give Ron Holbrook a lot to work with when he asked the landscape architect to design an outdoor room in the scant 11 feet between the rear of the kitchen and the front wall of the garage. Side to side, the lot is 15 feet.  'This is without question the smallest garden I’ve ever designed,' says Mr. Holbrook, who adds that the tighter the space, the greater the challenge.

"Urban spaces may be compact, but most homeowners still want greenery, seating, lighting and a place to put the barbeque. Fitting all those components into a 'room' puts the skills of a landscape architect to their best use, he believes.  Mr. Johnston, a real estate agent, is encountering more buyers who want small, urban spaces that don’t fit the traditional notion of a garden or backyard.  A few blocks away on Lippincott Street, Cecconi Simone Inc. designed outdoor rooms for each of the units in their Lippincott Living mews houses."  Full article with image gallery here.