A Garden of Eden
When it comes to creating an intimate green space, David Lasker falls into temptation
For a couple who found that they were growing apart after raising the kids, Nickolaos Kon, president of Etobicoke-based Fossil Landscapes, is creating a garden to help the couple rediscover their intimacy. Its myriad “romantic private areas where adults can have fun” will, he says, offer enhanced sensory appeal to sight, sound, touch and smell.
The intention wasn’t to create a backyard bordello or bathhouse. Rather, Kon wanted to make a landscape that would enhance the sensuous aspects of belonging to a couple or group of close friends.
The garden, budgeted at $350,000, will occupy 8,000 square feet of the clients’ 1/4-acre lot in Toronto’s west- end. The plan comprises separate modular zones; readers looking for design inspiration can pluck ideas from among those zones even if their own backyard wilderness is confined to a tight urban lot – or a tight budget.
1 The back of the house steps out to an exterior dining area overlooking the backyard, with built-in barbecue. The bay window opens to function as a DJ booth for music during garden parties.
2 Farther along this walkout level, a circular hot tub wrapped in Corten (rust-patinated) steel will overflow into a stainless-steel spillway. The hot tub measures eight by eight feet, big enough for three or four couples.
3 Stairs flanking the hot tub lead down to the deck of a serpentine 18- by 36-foot lagoon, or natural-setting pool. Budget note: removing the pool and hot tub
would knock $100,000 to $150,000 off the cost.
What to plant
Include aromatic thyme, lavender, rosemary and mint. “You can smell them in the background,” Kon says. “People like to touch plants and feel the texture if they’re fragrant. If I see lavender when I’m walking through a garden, I’ll always touch it.”
The rubbing action helps release the plants’ fragrance and isn’t restricted only to fingers and hands. Touchy-feely appeal extends to the soles of the feet. Indeed, walking barefoot on cool lavender planted between sun-baked patio flagstones is one of those beguiling summer memories that sustain us through wintry blasts.
Kon also plants basil in pots. “When I’m on the job outside, I love to put basil in my ear. It’s an old Italian gardener’s trick. You smell it all day long. It’s such a beautiful way to work.”
Honeysuckle and wisteria vines are also favourites. Wisteria in bloom is like lilac on steroids: reminiscent of but pungent to the point of intoxication. And wisteria’s more-saturated shade of purple beguiles the eye.