Decorating & Design

June 9, 2022

Garden Design Pro Sarah Keenleyside Reboots Her Own Toronto Backyard

A busy design professional and TV star (she’s the cohost of HGTV Canada’s Backyard Builds), Sarah Keenleyside let her own downtown Toronto backyard simmer on the back burner for more than a decade. With the birth of her baby, Jack, in 2019, she realized that even though she and her musician husband, Justin Rutledge, live in a big city, she wanted Jack to have plenty of opportunity to play outside. “I think having grass underfoot is a part of childhood,”says Sarah. “That’s what I remember — running through sprinklers, turning cartwheels on the lawn and splashing in blow-up pools.”

The backyard was a decent size at 1,265 square feet, but it wasn’t living up to its potential, with an old deck and overgrown garden punctuated by three spindly lilac trees. Sarah wanted the backyard to be an extension of their home’s main floor, with space for dining, barbecuing and lounging.

Scroll down to see how Sarah transformed her own backyard into a city oasis!