Decorating & Design

May 21, 2024

Garden Party: A Designer’s Clever Planning Turns A Suburban Backyard Into An Outdoor Oasis

Designer Michelle Hurley always wanted a spacious backyard where the kids could kick a ball without it bouncing into traffic and where she could host a large garden party. In 2014, she and her husband bought a midcentury home in Toronto’s west end. Not only was the backyard 6,000 square feet, but with Mimico Creek so near, the family could hear water tumbling over the rocks. “The fact that this property is so close to the city blew us away,” says Michelle.

An extensive renovation to the house meant there wasn’t much budget left over for landscaping. “Our contractor built the decks and patios, but we did nearly everything else ourselves,” says Michelle. A new deck with a barbecue runs along two-thirds of the back of the house, and two limestone patios serve as everyday living and dining spaces. “We like the feeling of having our feet on the ground, so most of the space is at ground level as opposed to up on the deck,” says Michelle. “It’s more private and closer to nature.”

Scroll down for a look inside Michelle’s backyard — and discover her best garden party tip and design ideas!

Author: Wendy Jacob

Alex Lukey


House & Home


Michelle Hurley