The start of a new school year/football season/planting season had me looking back today and longing for vacation season. My wife Julie and I visited Toronto, Canada in August, and we found some landscaping inpiration you can incorporate into your yard here in Knoxville, Tenn. Here’s what we liked most:

Creative Use of Pavers

Not only did Toronto have generously sized dedicated bike lanes (hooray for the environment!), but they also did the design right by using pavers rather than painted concreate or asphalt. The pavers will last much, much longer, and are less likely to wear. So consider pavers for your next backyard project and make sure you or your landscape architect/designer are using them creatively.

Creative Use of Pavers

Seating With Mixed Materials

Overall, Toronto had a great mix of materials in its landscaped public spaces. We saw natural stone, wood, poured conrete, metal and more. Specifically, these two outdoor seating options caught my eye.

I love the clean, modern look of the bench below with a concrete base and wooded slate seat.

Creative mixed material bench

It was also inspiring to see this simple conrete bench with such a dramatic artistic element.

Concrete seating with artwork

Outdoor Art

Like Knoxville with its public art, supported and promoted by groups like Dogwood Arts and Keep Knoxville Beautiful, Toronto has an artistic side, too, including the famed Graffiti Alley (it’s like downtown Knoxville’s alley on steroids!).

Toronto's Graffiti Alley

Toronto's Graffiti Alley

Another art installation I loved was this whimiscal undulating boardwalk (representing the incoming tide from Lake Ontario). Just picture something similar in your own backyard representing the Great Smoky Mountains!).
Whimsical Boardwalk Art

Bringing Vacation Home

How can you get it at home? Encourage your landscape architect or landscape designer to use more creative and decorative flourishes in your next paver patio project. Mix it up with various types of material (try combinations of hard and soft, textured and smooth, or colorful and mute .. check out this blog post for help with plant pairings). And don’t forget about incorporating artistic flair into common elements such as seating or railings. And lastly, don’t be afraid to go big and bold to personalize your outdoor space with art that speaks to you.

For help getting inspired for your next Knoxville landscaping project, give me a call at 865-765-5550 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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