Putting a contemporary house in a natural setting may sometimes create a jarring effect. To lovers of the rustic, modern materials and design situated on the shore of Georgian Bay can seem out of place. But a sensitive approach to landscaping can bring the two together with a seamless beauty and integrity. At the same time, this approach can bring the outdoors in, and the indoors out, creating a natural flow from one living space to another.
Jana and Trevor Temple’s new home on the waterfront in Thornbury posed just such a challenge – and just such an opportunity. Meaford landscaping contractor, Mark Higginson, quickly saw the potential to naturally extend the home’s living space right down to where the Georgian Bay waves lap the beach.
“People want the picture to look timeless, as if it’s been there forever,” says Mark. “They want their landscaping to melt into the architecture of the home itself.”
This meshes with the desire of many homeowners to create an outdoor space that’s essentially an extension of their home.
Mark’s company, Natural Stonescapes, got to work, designing the complete landscaping project, which includes real stone steps, a perennial rock garden, a swimming pool with natural contours, and even a rustic beachside fire pit.
From the rear patio doors of the home, which evoke an old-fashioned screened-in porch, you step down to a wide patio constructed of remarkably natural looking pre-cast concrete pavers of seemingly random sizes. To the side, the patio flows into a beautiful cedar deck where a hot tub nestles beneath a dramatic pergola. The patio also features a built-in barbecue and an outdoor shower cunningly disguised by a small arbour.
From the patio, you descend the pre-cast tumbled stone step system to a swimming pool deck of naturally-hued coloured concrete. A sitting wall made of pre-cast tumbled-stone encloses a small terrace adorned with bright perennials.
The showcase of the yard is the 20′ x 40′ steel and vinyl swimming pool with gracefully curved edges. The natural looking tumbled stone coping that surrounds the pool and overhangs the edge suggests the pool is a traditional concrete design.
Here’s where more magic happens. A fence of tempered glass panels, punctuated by posts reminiscent of old pilings, surrounds the swimming pool, making it seem as if it’s open to the beach and the blue waters beyond. A cedar arbour completes the illusion that there’s nothing between you and the beach, though of course, a closed gate is required, and it sits just beyond the arbour.
On the beach, the team constructed a natural stone fire pit. Rustic, yet smoothly finished, benches hewn from cedar logs provide yet another outdoor living/entertaining space while completing the transition from home to nature.
“The great quality of design and workmanship made the vision of our country home’s landscape a beautiful reality,” says Jana Temple.
Carpentry by Paragon Carpentry, Thornbury.
Plant material layout by Jan Pratt, Thornbury.