Decorating & Design

July 4, 2023

A Bare City Garden Becomes A Resort-Like Escape With À La Carte Options

Toronto’s East End Beaches neighborhood has always had a Cali vibe, with its old-school boardwalk and beach volleyball players. When homeowners Liz O’Neil Meurehg and Claude Meurehg were contemplating their North Beaches backyard, they wanted to channel those summer vibes into the fall with a covered cabana and firepit. That meant transforming  a boring swathe of grass (with little privacy) into an oasis that could be enjoyed from sunup to late in the evening.

The backyard’s blank canvas provided an opportunity to check off the family’s long list of wants. “The pool was a priority, but we didn’t want it to take up the whole yard,” says Liz. Other wish list items included a grassy patch where their two kids could play, a sheltered seating area, a large deck and dining space for entertaining, an herb and vegetable garden, and somewhere the family dog could find a spot.

It was a tall order for landscape designer Leigh Gravenor, who was charged with the task. “When you put pen to paper and start designing, the client sees that some areas need to be prioritized in terms of allotment of space,” says Leigh. With her expertise, they were able to scale down some requests (instead of a large veggie garden, Liz uses planters near the pool), and the result is almost everything Liz wanted.

Author: Wendy Jacob

Patrick Biller


Leigh Gravenor