The last decade has seen a dramatic shift in the way condo developers approach landscape design. Rethinking the development’s plan to include landscape design as an integral part of the project’s concept, developers are embracing the benefits of connecting to nature and actively integrating green space into their urban landscapes. Cascading water features, community park areas or even individual garden plots for residents offer an identity to new condo developments. When Landscape Designer, Duane Ensing of Landscape Solutions met with Abstract Developments to design a landscape plan for a new condo build neighbouring Beacon Hill Park, he knew the project would have to reflect the character of the well-established community.
Balancing beauty and function with Abstract’s design goals, Ensing set to work on creating a low maintenance landscape with a high level of aesthetic interest. Tasked with creating a welcoming entrance and year-round foliage interest with colour variation, Ensing adds that “the goal of condo landscaping is to increase the owners’ enjoyment of their property and enhance the value of investment in their home. A cedar arbour defines the entrance and guides residents to the cascading waterfall leading to the building’s entrance.
“The inspiration for the project was to create a connection to Beacon Hill park located across the street. To build a balanced landscape that would reflect the building’s natural surroundings, I included a cascading water feature, upstand concrete walls, hardscaping with natural materials and a variety of plants that would create year-round interest,” adds Ensing.
A colour palette ranging from pale yellow to bursts of strong reds, the winter flowering witch hazel was incorporated for its extended flowering season and curiously beautiful flowers that emit a sweet and slightly spicy fragrance. Low maintenance black mondo grasses were planted along the walkway for evergreen attraction.
The hardy Himalayan sweet box was included for the plant’s love of all seasons. Emitting a sweet fragrance, Himalayans are a tough evergreen with bright green glossy leaves that are agreeable in shade. On sunny winter days, their scent will fill the air and their dark purple berries will attract birds. Yews were added for hedging and screening purposes while Upright Beech trees inject interest and colour along narrow portions of the site.
A cascading concrete water feature brings a modern appeal to the landscape and establishes an atmosphere of tranquility and calm as you ascend the stairs. “We strive to create beautiful spaces that maintain both the client’s budget, design goals and of course, the municipal requirements that come along as part of the design and budget process. We successfully created a landscape at 1014 Park Blvd that is attractive, inviting and low maintenance: a win-win landscape for the project.”