Throughout Toronto and surrounding area a problem that has faced homeowners and business owners alike is the amount of landscaping space that one gets to work with when they purchase a property.  In retrospect, today we will be discussing minimalist landscaping design. Why? Because what better way to accommodate the small lots provided than with a garden or landscape that fits the size of your home or small business, without compromising quality.  That being said, even if your lot size is larger than the average, the modern look of minimalist designs can be applied to any size property or landscape.

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Beautiful permeable driveway. Oaks Enviro Midori


When looking at gardens, throughout history and still persisting even today, the gold standard or precedent are ornate displays with perfectly manicured hedges, just look at Versailles, in France, or any Renaissance or Baroque landscapes in Italy; what we mean to say is that the standard has been set and it was set hundreds of years ago.  However one could hardly call these minimalist as the landscaping of those eras dwarf Toronto properties on a massive scale. Always remember catering to the size of your landscape is the one of the most important components of design. Minimalist landscaping designs look at the outdoor landscaping as an extension of your interior living space, especially if you are restricted to a small area.  You want your landscaping to be unique, striking, and beautiful without breaking the bank in terms of maintenance or installation costs.

When deciding on what style your garden or landscape should be there are a couple things you need to take into consideration before you adopt the minimalist approach. First and foremost is the architectural style of your home and whether or not you believe it can aesthetically fit with the modern minimalist landscaping design style. After that consideration is made, look at the interior of your home – as the flow from inside to your outside landscape should feel seamless.

Grass around stone


That being said whenever you are designing your landscaping you have to remember that you design for your actual lifestyle rather than your idealized version of it; design for the realistic use of the space not the far-fetched. Nevertheless compromises can be made to accommodate as many wishes and desires as possible.

The reason that urban backyards are such good frameworks for minimalists’ landscaping is because they can become natural oasis within the heart of busy city contexts, and living in within neighbourhoods of Toronto, like Etobicoke or East York, this escape from the bustling metropolis is a rare commodity.  When designing your landscape oasis, especially in small spaces, a great reference on how to use your space can be seen throughout traditional Japanese gardens, which visualize landscaping as nature in a miniature form. Typical Japanese gardens have strong form, contrast, and shapes throughout the landscape. This was achieved by pairing plants in 2’s, 3’s, 5’s, and 7’s while still addressing the scale of the property. This was done by using stone, moss, and evergreens; creating timeless landscaping to be drawn into all year round.  When designing a minimalist garden use quieter hardscape materials like granite, wood, limestone, and bluestone so that the plants can be the stand out in the quiet backdrop.

One of the obvious benefits of minimalist gardens is that you have fewer trees, shrubs, plants and vegetation to worry about, on the other hand pick plants for your landscape very carefully as they need to provide strong architectural structure and form all year round. For example, use trees with irregular or unusual branching like Pagoda dogwood or Japanese Maple. For evergreen lovers that enjoy all season colour, vegetation such as boxwood, pine, yew, and rhododendron are excellent choices.


Things to consider when planning your minimalist garden:

  • Neutral colours:
    • Calming and understated
  • Harmony and unity
    • Varying types of plants all in the same colour, however the tones and shades differ slightly
  • Using dark neutral colours like grey, sand, and black for hardscaping and contrasting them with bright and vibrant coloured plants

As with many things in life, quality outshines quantity and whether you’re in the GTA, or even downtown Toronto, this set of design principles can make your landscaping beautiful, no matter the size!

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GTA Landscaping is a premier landscaping company in Toronto with excellent online reviews. We are certified members of Landscape Ontario operating at the highest professional standards.  We provide landscaping services to Toronto, Vaughan, Richmond Hill and the surrounding GTA area.