From petit getaways to a sky-high terrace with a 360-view, here are some of the city’s most design-savvy patio spaces
Step onto the best Toronto patios you can’t see from the street.
1 Multi-tonal Modern: Panels of white concrete and black Anthracite zinc create the bold backyard environment of this Tudor Revivalist house with an uber-modern backyard addition — home to the co-principals of blackLAB Architects. The stark lines of the zinc box are warmed by a sprawling wood platform and in-floor uplighting, while a substantial glass door from Tiltco floods the open-concept kitchen, dining and living area with natural light.
2 Concrete to Jungle: A patio landing acts as the transition point between this concrete cantilever home and its lush backyard. Board-formed concrete walls and flooring mimic wood planks, softening the movement from house to wild — the backyard transitions into a protected Don Valley ravine. Architect Angela Tsementzis also ensured the house’s second story performs double duty as an overhanging patio shelter, so a surprise rainstorm never ruins a dinner party.
3 Textured Terrace: Accompanying a 16th floor penthouse at King and Bathurst, the rooftop terrace of designer Tom Deacon spares nothing in the way of texture and view. Flagstone, river stone and concrete pavers connect with decking and a pergola, both in ipe, to create outdoor rooms. Pops of colour are weaved in with the patio’s garden planters and vibrant lounge-worthy ottomans.
4 Country Calm in the City: Skygarden House scores its name from the home’s top-floor patio off the master bedroom. The whimsical, secret-garden space is finished with ash decking and plants that pop from a recessed planter. Topped by a dreamy canopy from nearby trees, it boasts lots of privacy, but a cutout in the roof overhead lets in the sun (and the rain). With such innovative approaches to maximizing space, it’s not hard to see why the architect Heather Dubbeldam won an OAA Design Excellence award for the project in 2016.
5 All in the Angles: When architect Luc Bouliane was tasked with updating a century home in Leslieville, he merged his white-washed cedar-and-aluminum-clad addition to the outdoor area by using the same material for the asymmetrical back patio. Surrounded by warm cedar fencing, hits of plant life, and comfy furniture from Fresh and Hauser, it’s the perfect locale to ogle the edges of what Bouliane refers to as a “thing” – an angular nine-faced polyhedron that serves as an addition to the original brownstone.
6 Mixed Media: Toronto’s Thrush Holmes — a mixed media artist and master carpenter — took a tiered approach to the patio space of his High Park home. The result? A backyard with multiple zones and lines of sight that feels distinctly silo’d from the urban world surrounding it. An elevated deck bridges the solarium and backyard sauna – once a shed that Holmes converted himself. Stepping down onto the stone and gravel platforms, the cedar facades and mature greenery enforce the feeling of an inner-city retreat.
7 The Royal Treatment: With a massive backyard to work with, David Long from The Practice of Everyday Design decided to give the patio of this Parkdale Victorian the royal treatment. The aluminum-clad addition walks out onto an elevated platform accented by warm built-in lighting and leading to a cobblestone pathway. In keeping with the open-concept approach to the interior, indoor flows to out through accordion-like thresholds from Authentic Windows and Doors, the eye-catching piece de resistance that makes this pared down space particularly memorable.
8 Lookout to Walkout: Looking to maximize space in their Edwardian period home, architect Vanessa Fong and designer Ryan Taylor took an out-of-the-box approach to a bay window in the house’s main dining space. Modernizing the old vernacular form of the window with a floor-to-ceiling glass door, the design duo turned a lookout into a walkout. When open, it connects the dining room to a sprawling wood deck, turning the whole environment into an indoor-outdoor space.
9 Present Meets Past: To get an 1892 Victorian in the Annex up to speed, Williamson Williamson Inc. opted for an uber-modern backyard that would provide weather protection and privacy. With a lush tree cover already established, they opted for large walkthroughs on both the main and upper patios. The double (and triple!) glass doors and balcony juxtapose the house’s original brick, while roofs with built-in lighting ensure a warm, cozy kind of coverage.