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Whenever anyone asks me what's the firststep in the process of creating a truly greatgarden, I always say it's to have the goodsense, or the good luck, or the good fortuneto be retained by outstanding clients whopossess a clear sense of their goals and areasonable understanding of my designaesthetic. And, in the case of the garden I amabout to describe, I was very lucky indeed. A Designing Man10Photos by Peter Gumpesberger and Toni Hafkenscheid

oth my client and his wife knew my work well (which manycritics and commentators have termed "ClassicContemporary"), and were very keen that I transform theirgarden into an outdoor space that would give them, their childrenand their family and friends a "memorable experience" every timethey entered it. Those were the marching orders, and I amimmensely gratified that they are so pleased with the results.Designed by architect Howard Heintzman, my clients' house sitson a large property in the Bridle Path district of Toronto, and isnotable for an oversized front garden quite removed from thestreet and sidewalk. When they purchased the property - myclients are the second owners - they completely customized theinterior to suit their taste, and then decided to customize thegarden as well. That's when I entered the scene. In any design project, it's often an initial decision that will have apivotal impact on the overall look and structure of the landscape.In this instance, it was my client's decision to remove the existingcircular driveway and replace it with a formal entry courtyardgarden. That was an unusual move. Many people believe circulardriveways are the "height of luxe," and because it's often difficultto get planning permission to install one, once in place, they areby Ron HolbrookTHE ART & AESTHETIC OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTUREseldom removed. So when the client informed me of his decisionto remove the existing grand driveway, it opened up the possibilityof creating a truly extraordinary front garden. Secluded from a pretty street by eight-feet tall European beechhedging, the front garden acts as a formal alfresco green entranceroom, although it turns an eye-catching copper colour in the fall.The privacy of the space is maintained year-round because thebeech hedging, which serves to frame and enclose the space,never loses is foliage. Passing through the green hedge wall andentering the garden itself, on an axial walkway framed by an alleyof pear trees and boxwood hedges, you encounter a spacearticulated in a design language that has become my signature:symmetry, balance, and a classical sense of order as expressed, inthis instance, through an expanse of lawn with specimen trees,framed by boxwood, carefully chosen on field trips to severalnurseries with the client. Too often clients forget that working with a landscape architect is acollaborative exercise, and the end result is greatly enhanced - andthe client's satisfaction more assured - if they involve themselves inthe process of choosing the trees and other planting materials. As Ioften tell them, choosing the flora for your garden is more or less akinB11