Shoreway Drive, South Gordon Head, Victoria, British Columbia – 2009
This landscape design was in response to a newly renovated classic 1960’s home in Victoria’s suburban Gordon Head. Originally the house was designed, built and owned by the locally renowned architect Roger Smythe.
This waterfront home is sixty feet above Haro Strait with a view South East to the American San Juan Islands. Site challenges included extreme grade changes, strong winds and salt spray, voracious deer and the need for privacy from the street.
As a counterpoint to the crisp lines of the minimalist residence, a series of long curved retaining walls create the garden structure. The simple curves of these mortared rock walls provide foreground to large sandstone boulders that are used to retain the hillside and provide planting pockets. The same sandstone was used to create large stone slab stairways through different parts of the garden.
Concrete was the material of choice for the wall caps, walkways and driveway. Poured-in-place patterns of exposed aggregated, coloured and plain concrete were designed to work with the modern look of the residence. The result is a driveway that looks like modern art rather than an expanse of paving.
The existing structure of mature Arbutus and Garry Oak trees created a strong backdrop for the gardens. The deer and onshore winds mandated a planting regime which included rhododendrons placed in protected areas, white pines, grasses, irises, lithodora, etc, inhabit the exposed locations. A Portuguese laurel hedge creates evergreen privacy from the street above with a mass planting of salal and vivid orange, fragrant deciduous azaleas providing structure and interest to the passerby.