This backyard is inspired by idyllic Japanese gardens

A Japanese-inspired oasis

This couple built a miniature landscape evoking Canadian cottage country

By Jean Grant| Photography by Erin Leydon
| July 18, 2020

Shlomit and Doron Dekel, co-founders of medical device companies ClaroNav and Fio, bought their 1960s bungalow at Dufferin and Finch in 1993. Seven years ago, they took on a multi-year renovation project. They were happy with the indoor upgrades but not the view: their giant floor-to-ceiling windows looked out onto an L-shaped asphalt driveway, with a patch of lawn off to the side. The couple enlisted BSQ Landscape Architects to give them something more exciting to look at—and they knew exactly what they wanted.

In the ’80s, the couple spent half a year working in Asia, and dreamed of having a space inspired by traditional Japanese gardens, with idyllic miniature landscapes. They imagined a deck sitting atop a mini lake, surrounded by little hills and valleys and topped with trees that would provide some privacy from the street.

The result is a picture-perfect scene that provides a sense of calm whenever they glance outside—a view they appreciate more now that they are both working from home. The couple read on the deck with their collie, Scott, every evening after they finish work, waving to neighbours and fielding inquiries from curious passersby. “It gets attention,” says Doron. “It’s just so different from any other garden in the neighbourhood.”


 

They surrounded the pond with granite rocks and irises, which add pops of colour to the garden. The koi fish have now survived two winters:

This backyard is inspired by idyllic Japanese gardens

They added a stone bridge over the stream and stone pagodas around the pond, which are meant to resemble miniature Japanese temples:

This backyard is inspired by idyllic Japanese gardens

The glass doors slide back so that the east-facing deck feels like an extension of the living room:

This backyard is inspired by idyllic Japanese gardens

They moved their Japanese maple to feature it more prominently in the garden:

This backyard is inspired by idyllic Japanese gardens

And here’s the front of the house. They moved the driveway to the other side of the front yard so it would be out of view from the main windows:

This backyard is inspired by idyllic Japanese gardens
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