A rule-breaking front yard

Drain pipe 1Crisscrossing paths lead, well, nowhere in particular. There isn’t a blade of grass. The home’s rain gutter flows into drain pipes that spill into a rock garden/work of art. And trees aren’t necessarily alive to be considered useful and a thing of beauty. This is a front yard that stops you in your tracks.

There’s always a showpiece on any garden tour that stands out, getting people talking and cameras/cell phones snapping. As part of Toronto Botanical Gardens’ recent Through The Garden Gate tour, this garden was it. Defying conventional front yard structure (no lawn, no foundation plantings, no formal flower beds), the whole space was sectioned into small mounded islands of plants, rocks, tree stumps, trellises and sculptures by soft paths made of gravel, stones, and various kinds of mulch. Two rain gutters at one side of the house drained into twin dry creeks. A very dead tree was left to stand, forcing viewers to recognize that it was still beautiful and important to the garden. Though one might be quick to categorize this garden as an example of xeriscaping, it’s much more about questioning the traditional looks and purpose of suburban front yards and coming up with some surprising, inspiring answers. Click on any photo for more details.


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