Photo Gallery: 40 Gorgeous Gardens

Get landscaping and gardening tips to create a lush, colourful space in your front or backyard. From hedges, container plants and flowers to retaining walls, limestone and gravel pathways, this gallery features great ideas for creating beautiful garden "rooms." Get pointers on the best placement for plantings, too.

Find more articles and inspiring photos in our Gardening & Outdoor Living section.

  • Elegant, Multi-Zone Backyard

    Plants define eating and lounging spaces.

    In this luxe Toronto yard, eating, lounging and entertaining spaces are delineated using plants. A relaxed dining table occupies one corner of the paved patio, separated from the grassy area by a low-key water feature. Right outside of the house, another paved terrace is bordered by lush trees and climbing roses, which soften the effect of the red brick walls.

     
    Source: House & Home May 2013 issue
    Photographer: Michael Graydon
  • Private Hardscaped Backyard

    Climbing hydrangea balances a mostly stone space.

    Climbing hydrangea softens the effect of hardscaping while amping up privacy. One sun-soaked corner of the space is devoted to relaxation, with Belgian sofas made of sturdy teak and cosy, colourful pillows. A koi pond separates that corner from the rest of the yard, which is devoted to dining and entertaining.

    Source: House & Home August 2013 issue
    Photographer: Virginia Macdonald
    Designer: Terry Ryan

  • Low-Maintenance Water Feature

    Use layered river rocks for visual interest.

    Layered river rocks populate the bottom of this low-maintenance water feature, more than making up for the absence of koi or aquatic plants. Easy-to-grow Siberian iris borders the feature, adding to the lush feel and providing a natural screen.

    Source: House & Home May 2013 issue
    Photographer: Michael Graydon
  • Idyllic Lakeside Yard

    A rustic, wooden trellis adds visual interest.

    A rustic, wooden trellis and large stone feature add visual interest to this verdant, lakeside yard. A small patio is the perfect spot to relax and watch the sun go down over the lake, while abundant flowers add a splash of colour and fun.

    Photographer: Virginia Macdonald
    Designer: Karen Cole

  • Urban Backyard Escape

    An elegant pond muffles city noise.

    An elegant pond with a fountain helps mask the sound of cars, making this city backyard feel like a true urban escape. Beautiful hydrangeas and verdant boxwoods add another layer of lushness to the stone patio, while a rundown garage was transformed into an indoor-outdoor entertaining space thanks to 20'-wide accordian doors.

    Source: House & Home July 2013 issue
    Photographer: Virginia Macdonald
    Designer: Artistic Gardens

  • Casual Oceanfront Patio

    Casual landscaping doesn't distract from the view.

    The owners of this Sunshine Coast getaway went for casual landscaping, dominated by indigenous grasses and pretty flowers, so as not to distract from the gorgeous ocean views. A rustic, zinc-topped table is the perfect spot for a lingering dinner party, while twinkling outdoor lights set the mood for a laid-back soiree.

    Source: House & Home July 2013 issue
    Photographer: Heather Ross
  • Lush Outdoor Lounge

    Sandstone pavers keep the yard low maintenance.

    Designer Terry Ryan transformed a weedy backyard into an outdoor lounge by laying sandstone pavers in a variety of sizes, which immediately made the space low maintenance without sacrificing texture or visual interest. A towering magnolia tree is the only remnant of the old space.

    Source: House & Home August 2013 issue
    Photographer: Virginia Macdonald
    Designer: Terry Ryan

  • Divide An L-Shaped Yard

    Cover different areas in the same flagstone pavers for continuity.

    Designer Terry Ryan of Cubic Yard Design worked with the homeowners to create this low-care modern yard defined by its hardscaping and classical elements. He used the same square-cut flagstone pavers in all three zones (barbecuing, lounging and dining) to create flow from one area to the next.

    Take a tour of another yard by Terry Ryan.

    Source: House & Home September 2012 issue
    Photographer: Michael Graydon
    Designer: Terry Ryan

  • Create A Focal Point

    Anchor the end of a garden with a functional greenhouse or shed.

    In this lush Toronto yard, a classic circular fountain creates lively sound and movement, and lends visual interest to the conservatory entrance. A ring of potted boxwoods emphasizes the air of theatricality.

    Source: House & Home May 2013 issue
    Photographer: Michael Graydon
  • Create An Urban Oasis

    Horizontal planks lead ones gaze around the yard's periphery.

    A long planter that sits atop a concrete retaining wall is filled with grasses, softening the lines of the fence. A modern steel container planted with a birch tree offers a touch of nature in this backyard.

    See more before and after photos of this makeover in our photo gallery.

    Source: House & Home April 2012 issue
    Photographer: Michael Graydon
    Designer: Gillian Green

  • Frame A Path With Boxwood

    This was inspired by the cottage gardens of Europe.

    The hedges mark out a spot for rose bushes and waving patches of lavender. In the background, a willow mingles with an ash tree, a smoke tree, a catalpa and a variegated maple. A riot of Spanish lavender spills over the sides of the table.

    Source: House & Home October 2011 issue
    Photographer: Angus McRitchie
  • Invest In A Water Feature

    Purple and red blooms pop nicely against the greenery.

    In the same garden, landscape designer and artist André Boisvert designed a meandering stream, fed by recycled water, that links two ponds. "It's so natural, it looks like it's been on the property for 100 years," says homeowner Mike Lawrence. Local designer Brian Grubert built the aluminum bridge.

    Source: House & Home October 2011 issue
    Photographer: Angus McRitchie
    Designer: André Boisvert

  • Create A Focal Point

    Purple plantings lead the way to a feature fountain.

    In the back of the same house, the crumbling ruin of a warmly-hued, original stone barn wall adds texture and romance. This section of the 15-acre country garden is just adjacent to the pool.

    Source: House & Home July 2011 issue
    Photographer: Virginia Macdonald
    Designer: Sheilagh Crandall of Gardens by MSPlants

  • Combine Short & Tall

    Play with different varieties of flowers and shrubs to create varying heights.

    This lush garden has a symbiosis between formal and natural elements — symmetrical planters and a casual mix of flowers work in perfect harmony. Boxwood-enclosed gardens are filled with foxglove, allium and roses, adding colour to the stone exterior of the home.

    See the interior of this home.

    Source: House & Home July 2011 issue
    Photographer: Virginia Macdonald
    Designer: Gardens by MsPlants

  • Complement Gardens With Hanging Baskets & Pots

    Switch them up from season to season with local varieties.

    At this historic Muskoka lodge, the manicured gardens are made even more colourful with hanging baskets and planters on the steps and along the pathway. They're easier to care for than the garden, and can be transported back to the city at the end of the summer.Source: House & Home May 2011 issue
    Photographer: Angus Fergusson
  • Include Poppies For Bold Colour

    A quaint rural cottage in a storybook setting.

    Located near the Shlei fiord, this romantic home's main entrance is sheltered under the balcony off the principal bedroom. Homeowner Monique Waqué planted the boxwood-edged garden with poppies, carnations, succulents, peonies and Siberian iris.

    See more great cottage and country rooms in our Cottages & Country Houses gallery, Traditional Cottages gallery, plus see more cottage photos.

    Source: House & Home May 2011 issue
    Photographer: Andreas Von Einsiedel
  • Consider A Monochromatic Area

    All-white hydrangeas make a statement.

    Reams of snowy-hued hydrangeas blend well with the white trim of this quaint Caledon, Ont. home. For a simple facade, plant flowers in one colour along the front of a house.Source: House & Home April 2011 issue
    Photographer: Donna Griffith
  • Try Something Different

    A checkerboard lawn offers a graphic look.

    Just steps from the main house, this tranquil garden cottage in Toronto makes a perfect city retreat. The owners designed this low-maintenance lawn ― made of alternating squares of grass and flagstone ― after they came across a similar rooftop garden in Paris. It's also perfect for entertaining, and large enough to accommodate a tent for summer soirées. Architect Anthony Belcher planted the yard with a tasteful mix of white and green shrubs and perennial flowers, including clipped boxwood hedges, climbing hydrangeas, roses and English ivy. Use your own inspiration to create a unique yard like this.

    Source: House & Home April 2011 issue
    Photographer: Mark Burstyn
    Designer: Architect, Anthony Belcher.

  • Make Room For Seating Areas

    Instead of a cottage, splurge on a backyard.

    The fences in this urban backyard have latticed panels to encourage the growth of climbing flowers between classically detailed pilasters. Teak benches are reproductions of a design by the British architect Edwin Lutyens. The raised stone terrace is planted with graceful linden trees, forming a hedge on stilts and a backdrop to the view from the terrace. Clipped boxwood shrubs and climbing hydrangea bushes bring structure to the space.

    Source: House & Home April 2011 issue
    Photographer: Mark Burstyn
    Designer: Anthony Belcher

  • Plant Bright Blooms

    A myriad of colourful flowers makes for an enchanting garden setting.

    Suited to the age and elegant rusticity of an original stone farmhouse, lush plantings and understated stone elements help make a new part of this home look like it's been there for centuries.

    Source: House & Home October 2010 issue
    Photographer: Virginia Macdonald
    Designer: Landscape design, Shelagh Crandall; landscape contractor, Van Ryn Brothers.

  • Green All Available Space

    Add living roofs to awkward structures.

    A mechanical building for the pool blends into the surrounding landscapes with a green roof. The plantings were done in a checkerboard to complement the yard's geometric lines.Source: House & Home October 2010 issue
    Photographer: Ted Yarwood
    Designer: Landscape architect, Ron Holbrook.

  • Opt For Low-Maintenance Groundcover

    Add greenery without the upkeep of a garden.

    English ivy is a great option for yards with large trees and shaded areas. You can still enjoy a lush backyard without the work of gardening every weekend. Groundcovers are easy to care for if you're going to be at the cottage every weekend and can't commit to a high-maintenance garden in the city.Source: House & Home September 2010 issue
    Photographer: Ted Yarwood
    Designer: Landscape architecture and design, Janet Rosenberg and Glenn Herman.

  • Define A Dining Area

    Plant beds to separate sections of a garden.

    This secluded plot of land in Quebec's Eastern Townships used to be a stretch of black asphalt that wound its way up a hill and around to the back of a house. The owners planned the gardens as a serene view from the home and an area to relax and entertain. Beds of boxwood balls and pachysandra define this dining area, while a 75-year-old white pine provides shade from the sun. If you're lucky enough to have a large tree like this, consider positioning a dining area below it for comfortable shade from the summer sun. Neat beds outline and envelop different areas of the garden.Source: House & Home July 2010 issue
    Photographer: Angus McRitchie
    Designer: Garden design assistance, Stuart Webster Design.

  • Position Plants With Purpose

    Take time to plan a garden.

    This Japanese garden is rich with plants like mini dogwood bonsais, weeping larch, rhododendrons, hostas and Japanese junipers, but they're all positioned and used in a way that allows each its unique moment and purpose.Source: House & Home June 2010 issue
    Photographer: Donna Griffith
  • Bring An Indoor Theme Outdoors

    An Asian-inspired home carries the design to the backyard.

    This tranquil oasis draws its inspiration from the Asian interiors of the home. Keeping colourful flowers to a minimum, the homeowner opted for a neutral outdoor palette to blend in with the fence and reed matting covering the garage. To make the small yard look larger, mirrored windows on the garage reflect the garden and sunshine. Tree-hung lanterns mimic Japanese garden lighting, and invite guests into hidden corners of the yard. For such a small, established backyard, limit patio furniture and let the trees be the focal point.

    Source: House & Home May 2010 issue
    Photographer: Rob Fiocca
    Designer: In & Out Garden Design

  • Add A Bold Architectural Wall

    Layer history into exterior structures by using natural local materials.

    This guillotined limestone wall offers a French Provençal aesthetic, while concealing a pool. The striking statement wall overlooks a wild ravine, as well as the kitchen garden and a pond.

    Source: House & Home May 2010 issue
    Photographer: Ted Yarwood
  • Frame Your Garden Vistas

    Anchor your garden paths with metal arches.

    This gravel and basalt stone path is flanked by boxwood, Japanese irises, hellebores and red masterwort. Black metal arches add height and gravitas to the path, which leads to the secluded patio beyond the hedges.

    Source: House & Home May 2010 issue
    Photographer: Janis Nicolay
    Designer: Landscaping, Ron Rule.

  • Create Garden Rooms

    Use hedges and paths to blend garden styles.

    A five-foot high, sculpted yew hedge divides the formal country garden in the foreground from the casual garden room tucked behind. Tiers of plantings step up from the reflecting pond by the house to a studio beyond the hedge, creating a sense of flow through the garden. The use of gravel and stone throughout the various garden rooms visually connects the different spaces, creating a sense of unity.

    Source: House & Home May 2010 issue
    Photographer: Janis Nicolay
    Designer: Landscaping, Ron Rule.

  • Layer In Container Plants

    Create a fun, eclectic look in your garden with large pots.

    For maximum flexibility, combine container planters and flower beds when planning a garden. Container planters are easy to maintain, portable, and great for adding seasonal accents to your garden. Mix and match container sizes and shapes for a pleasing vignette.

    Source: House & Home May 2010 issue
    Photographer: Ted Yarwood
  • Use Found Objects as Planters

    Turn a pretty old birdbath into a garden focal point.

    Add interest to your garden with unexpected container planters. Here, a stone birdbath is planted with trailing flowers and placed at the end of a garden path. For a more casual feel, old kitchen pots, serving bowls, bicycles with baskets and even rain boots can be used as planters.

    Source: House & Home April 2010 issue
    Photographer: Janis Nicolay
    Designer: Landscaping, Ron Rule.

  • Divide Up A Large Backyard

    Combine hardscaping with garden areas.

    A wrought-iron fence sections off a special garden for the kids with a playhouse, butterfly bushes, and edible berry trees. The waterfall, pool and flagstone lounging area are separate from the garden, creating the feel of distinct vignettes.

    Source: House & Home June 2009 issue
    Photographer: Donna Griffith
    Designer: Adam Gracey

  • Frame Paths & Open Areas

    Use hedges and trees to define spaces.

    Borrow a few ideas from this gorgeous backyard in Montreal. Gardening guru Marjorie Harris loves the idea of a path that leads to an open tapis vert, or green carpet. Line the path with boxwood hedges and a mix of annuals and perennials, and surround the "carpet" with taller bushes or trees for privacy.

    Source: House & Home May 2009 issue
    Photographer: Angus McRitchie
    Designer: Carol Papich

  • Grow Herbs For Lushness

    Bright colours define an Okanagan patio.

    Artist Bobbie Burgers sets the table in anticipation of an outdoor feast. Symmetrical planters offer pretty greenery, herbs and salad fixings. The property — to which Burgers and her family escape all summer each year — also boasts a small vineyard and personal orchard.

    See more photos of Burgers' country house.

    Source: House & Home May 2009 issue
    Photographer: Kim Christie
  • Keep Garden Views Open

    Choose open structures that offer both shade and views.

    A sleek pergola overhead maintains views to the sky, while slim stone pillars keep the views to the garden open. Opt for natural materials like stone or granite, and neutral shades of paint so that garden structures don't stand out too much. Let the greenery and flowers take centre stage.

    Source: House & Home April 2009 issue
    Photographer: Virginia Macdonald
    Designer: Mark Hartley Landscape Architects

  • Maximize Garden Corners

    Tuck pretty plants into a shady corner to create an inviting space.

    Plantings of different heights give this garden a loose, organic look, as do the climbing plants up the pergola columns. The addition of a small garden path, which disappears behind the plants, produces the illusion of a larger yard.

    Source: House & Home June 2008 issue
    Photographer: Ted Yarwood
  • Create A Lush Yet Refined Garden

    Choose plantings that mimic an enchanting, English-country garden.

    Running along the side of the house, a wide flagstone path is softened by moss growing in its crevices. The plants appear to grow uninhibited and wild, but the low boxwood hedges and careful dispersion of colour throughout the greenery hints that things are actually well-controlled.

    Source: House & Home June 2008 issue
    Photographer: Ted Yarwood
  • Cover Slopes With Colour

    Tackle awkward landscaping areas with brightly-hued blooms.

    Rising up from the flagstone pool deck, a sloping garden is home to a showy and sweetly scented mock orange shrub, daisies and lilies, as well as a terraced rock garden where more daisies, roses, gold-hued alyssum and a variety of perennial geraniums bask in the sun, creating a sense of tamed wilderness.

    Source: House & Home May 2008 issue
    Photographer: Ted Yarwood
  • Create A Peaceful Sanctuary

    Plant a shade garden to add interest to all areas of your yard.

    Take advantage of every square foot in a garden with a variety of plants for sun, shade and everything in between. Nestled alongside a 12-foot-high granite outcropping, this shade garden is a tranquil oasis that features a cloak of lush greenery, punctuated by fuchsia and white accents.

    Source: House & Home May 2008 issue
    Photographer: Janis Nicolay
    Designer: Home design, garage design, Grant + Sinclair Architects; landscaping, Ron Rule.

  • Plant A Fragrant Garden

    Delicately scented flowers delight all the senses.

    Perfumed by dianthus, lavender and roses, this pretty pea-gravel pathway leads from the main house and winds among rockeries and an old stand of cedars before arriving at this 170-year-old guest house.

    Source: House & Home May 2008 issue
    Photographer: Ted Yarwood
  • Try A Circular Design

    A sunken area offers up a different look at every turn.

    In this leafy backyard by landscape architect Ron Holbrook, formal paving and hedging balance the virtual forest of trees and drifts of euonymus and cedar. A painted bench blends into the greenery, offering a quiet spot to enjoy the outdoors.

    See more of Holbrook's landscaping projects in our photo gallery.

    Source: House & Home July 2004 issue
    Photographer: Ted Yarwood
    Designer: Landscape architect, Ron Holbrook