Near the heart of Victoria, in the Shutters Spa and Residences, Roger and Lisa Edgecombe bought a luxury townhome boasting a 150-square-foot private rooftop patio. The home hit all the marks, but the patio left the owners disappointed. Inspired to use the outdoor space year-round, the Calgary expats described the patio as completely unusable and incongruent with the home’s contemporary interior.
Despite it looking like an overgrown farm with very little privacy, the couple could visualize the potential but were unsure about the execution. Topping their wish list was a contemporary space reflecting their personal style, a serene atmosphere for relaxing and entertaining and a space to grow edibles. Turning to Bianca Bodley at Biophilia Collective to help bring their ideas to fruition, the result is a serene urban oasis with all the elements of a stylish room.
“As soon as we met Bianca, we knew she understood what we were looking for and would be able to help create the look and feel we wanted for our urban space.” Able to see beyond the tangled green mess, Bodley immediately gave the couple a sense of the patio’s potential.
As modern architecture endeavors to blur the lines between indoor/outdoor living by inviting the outdoors in, Bodley manages to extend the indoors by creating outdoor rooms that reflect the interior. Her goal was to create a design that would maximize the space and still meet all the client’s requirements. She emphasized that comfort and a clean design aesthetic were the driving factors behind the design.
Her challenge was to create a private rooftop garden to feel both spacious and intimate, with distinctive areas for relaxing and growing herbs and fruits. “Natural materials like concrete, wood and water give the space an organic feel while strategically placed plants create a restorative private retreat from the bustle of modern life. We created a shaded private area for lounging and entertaining and also an eating area surrounded by a modern landscape with an edible garden space,” says Bodley.
Reflecting the couple’s comfortable contemporary style, Bodley states that she “layered the garden with bamboo and grasses and a few ornamental Japanese maples as feature trees.” The bamboo and grasses add height and movement to an established evergreen backdrop of yew trees. Japanese maples provide seasonal interest with colour and texture. Carefully balancing strategic order with a playful massing of textures and colours, Bodley created an organic screen for privacy.
Her favourite pairing in a contemporary garden, Bodley emphasizes the bold juxtaposition of raw elements with plants and trees. Custom concrete planters and raw oxidized steel planters create drama and interest with a combination of plants and herbs that thrive in the patio’s sunny location. Lush and fragrant, wisteria was selected to add greenery over the doorway. A vigorous grower, wisteria adds a burst of colour in the summer.
To add a touch of serenity to their space, Bodley built a custom water feature that sits subtly amongst plants in the contemporary space. Inspired by Restoration Hardware fountain images, the couple requested Bodley design them a piece that was the appropriate scale and design for their patio (and for a fraction of the cost). Twinkling patio lights, the piece de resistance (and Bodley’s small obsession), bring this outdoor room to life in the evening.
With a thoughtfully curated variety of shapes, textures and materials, Bodley worked her green magic to create a private urban oasis that is simultaneously sleek and modern and warm and inviting. Edgecombe adds that “prior to the patio’s redesign, we rarely used the space. But now we are naturally drawn to it and thoroughly enjoy entertaining friends on our new patio; we are constantly getting compliments on it.”