a horse lover’s landscape



We want to be closer to our horses.” As design briefs go, that might have been the best one yet.

This delightful client has 17 horses on her acreage and felt separated from them. (After spending a day on site, we totally understood.) We were tasked with designing and shaping a space where the family could spend their time and while still feeling connected with their horses.

Of initial concern was an existing retaining wall about a storey high and it had the kind of path down that you could break your neck on. Obviously that needed to be remedied in the new space.  

Merle integrated a larger berm adjacent to the retaining wall and built in to it a horse shoe shaped fire pit complete with wood storage. From there, a new grass path led down to a set of steps that lead to a lower patio. The adjacent paddock was given new, soft lines that disappeared into the retaining wall and the visual barriers between the family and their horses were removed.

Plant beds in and amongst the retaining walls, fire pit and patio were filled with layers of purple and green. Soft grasses mingle with lavender and russian sage, salvia and anchored by some evergreen viburnum to create layers and depth with a little bit of that meadowland feel. All together it creates a sense of place, of context and meaning. 

This project was a particular favourite of Merle’s. He grew up with horses and working in the company of Samson, Ike, Delilah, Spot and the others was good for his soul. If you look closely at the photos, you can spot the horse shoes he inset in the patio and the fire pit for that ultimate, personal touch.

Boulder steps connect the upper and lower patios.


Sampson helping me out during fence renovations.

You can view more construction progress photos of this project on our Current Projects page.