PHOTOGRAPHY: JEFF McNEILL
Condo life with a garden. That’s how Eva Sachs describes her renovated ranch-style bungalow and adventurous backyard. A contemporary take on a country meadow and pond.
Eva, a financial divorce consultant, and Richard Sachs, a technology strategist, became empty nesters five years ago. “We don’t have a cottage. When it came time to downsize, we felt limited by condos with small terraces,” Eva says. “We bought a bungalow with good bones and completely gutted the inside. We live on one floor but still have a garden.”
Their contemporary-style family room and kitchen overlook the 80-by-30-foot backyard.
The original garden – overgrown, unkempt and dominated by a mature maple on one side – didn’t match the home’s new interior design. “We wanted an integrated space that would be an extension of the house,” Eva explains. “We wanted something a bit different, light and airy but comfortable, relaxing and simple.”
They contacted Kennedy McRae of Earth Inc. after viewing the company’s garden exhibits at the Toronto Interior Design Show. When he asked them to describe what they wanted, they told him “clean, fresh and green.” Richard requested a water feature and no lawn. Other than that, the couple gave Earth Inc. carte blanche.
Earth Inc. levelled the garden but kept the maple, which they surrounded with pea gravel. During garden parties, guests linger in small groups under its branches.
The cedar-plank bridge spans a small field of panicum, a tall prairie grass that turns brown in the winter. From inside, the family views the meadow all year round. By evening, it’s illuminated by deftly placed garden lights, designed and installed by Musico Electric Contractors. “Lighting is so important in winter, when night shows up so much earlier,” says Kennedy. “It becomes an amazing space to look over.”
Beyond the meadow, river birches and white-flowering serviceberry shrubs stand in front of a tall, black privacy fence. An elevated water feature divides the meadow from the patio, breaking up flatness.
Many shades of green soften the stark white of the hardscape. Locust trees were planted to shade the patio. Pea-gravel squares add texture to smooth concrete surfaces. From Restoration Hardware’s Makena collection, the fire table adds warmth and focus.
“White, black and green. How cool is that!” says Eva.
The dining terrace and patio are perfect for entertaining. In summer, the couple set up a projection screen for outdoor movie nights with family and friends.
“You’ve got to give a lot of accolades to clients willing to do something different,” says Kennedy. •