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Robert’s west coast terrace

June 8

The fantastic weather we’ve been experiencing over the last few weeks in Toronto has brought to mind a hot sunny visit to Vancouver last summer (when Toronto’s weather wasn’t quite as wonderful), and the relaxing time I spent on my friend Robert’s patio, in Vancouver’s leafy West End neighbourhood. When he purchased his home almost 20 years ago he knew he could easily create an inviting space from the large 10’ x 20’ terrace (originally hemmed in by dark-brown fencing) that reflects his passion for plants and international travel.

Although the ground-floor unit faces the street, Robert created an urban oasis in which one quickly forgets where one is.  He painted the fencing in a light cream colour, a calming backdrop to the numerous green and blue glazed and vintage concrete planters filled with lush greenery including shade loving Hostas, which grow well (despite the dense tree canopy) and over-winter easily in Vancouver’s milder climate. Before planting the taller planters, Robert placed chunks of discarded Styrofoam in the base of each to cut down on the amount of potting soil required and to make the pots easier to move around.

Old mirrors extend the space and reflect the sometimes-limited natural light. The soft accessories also contribute to the calming effect.  The pillow covers are from India, the throw from Cape Town, South Africa, and Robert picked up the oh-so-relaxing hammock on a beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A moss-worn water fountain sits in one corner, helping to further to block out any reminder of the existence of the street just to the other side of the fence, while a tiny gothic looking figure from Costa Rica quietly keeps watch over the serene scene.

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