I am very fortunate to work from home and one of the best features of my home office is a fantastic terrace space with breathtaking views of the city’s west end parkscapes and the downtown skyline. For a little quiet contemplation throughout my work day, I head to the terrace, relax in my exotic garden and take in my gorgeous views. feeling recharged & energized, I’m ready to start my day.

This year my inspiration arrived spontaneously in the form of a rustic vase. It’s worn and etched markings revealed a wonderful combination of copper, purple & yellow hues. A theme soon emerged and I set out to create a slightly wild and and free interpretation of a rain forest garden on an urban terrace. The plants that I used are coleous, that features bright warm colours, trailing ivy, white begonias, sweet potato ivy in vivid green and warm bronze/purple , yellow hibiscus & sundaze everlasting gold for pops of colour, and finally ferns to complete this look of an exotic rain forest. I mixed in a banana leaf plant in one feature planter as its large unusual leaves adds a particularly appealing dimension to the garden. Elegant ornament grasses sway beautifully on a breezy day.

Faced with a very large area of approximately 1100 sq.ft. , I set out to create a visual screen to divide the area in half. Curly twigs and bamboo shoots arranged in large pots and accented with white begonias act as a divider. Smaller pots, filled with my selected plant material, fills in the area near the base and provides texture, varying heights and interest. Ornamental garden accessories add surprise and complement the weathered textures throughout. Solar cell lanterns and draped fairy lights provide a wonderful mood when the sun goes down.

With a large area to cover, a total of five plantscape groupings were created. Within each area, I maintained the same plant selections to achieve rhythm and harmony. Varying heights create contrast and visual interest. I used large planters and smaller ones to emphasize scale. I chose interesting greenery such as ivy & ferns to fill in and complement a few select flowering plants.
Three distinct seating areas are included for dining, lounging and a quick beverage or conversation.

TIPS FOR CREATING THE PERFECT PERSONAL OUTDOOR RETREAT

• Awaken your senses and pay attention to what attracts you
• Imagine your ideal personal retreat and describe how you want it to feel
• Spontaneously collect images that you are attracted to and identify what elements you love
• Your theme will begin to take shape
• Choose your plants & accessories that capture your vision
• Choose planting material to suit your exposure to light, shade & drought tolerance
• Remember to vary heights and planter sizes & textures
• I recommend three colours for your plantings and a neutral such as white
• Don’t forget to accessorize
• Source other materials such as twigs and artificial greenery that offer low maintenance
• Don’t forget to include lots of greenery to fill in spaces and provide a lush dimension