Saturday, October 31, 2009

Landscape masonry edicate...

As I have always mentioned before... Landscape Architecture is about using materials from an existing structure to bring into the landscape and tie things together. This particular project was about just that...

The homeowner was very fun to work with from the start. When I first arrived on his project he asked me to drive up and down his street and pay attention to all the homes on his street....look at all the landscape ideas they have done....then come back and show him something different!!! (I like a challenge!)

I did exactly that and came up with the walls and pillars matching the stonework on the home. I decided to go with squares and rectangles as the paving shapes for the pathway rather than sweeping curved lines.

In the end, the client was very pleased and the look of the landscape was said to bring a bit of the old Forest Hill in Toronto look... into the Suburbs of the G.T.A. (Greater Toronto Area).

Thursday, October 01, 2009

New Toronto Pool Bylaw

This past year I have had a few questions posed to me about a new Bylaw in effect for the City of Toronto in regards to pools. The questions are about pools being fenced in from all 4 sides of the yard by an enclosure between the house wall and the pool itself. Basically, in my previous article I outlined my adventure on trying to find what the bylaws are for the City of Toronto. Not a very fun adventure!

So, for this article I decided to display a couple of diagrams to help illustrate the new bylaw....

Under the old bylaws, the above diagram displays what was acceptable (bylaw compliant) as a typical pool layout for the City of Toronto and is still acceptable for most areas outside of Toronto. The diagram shows the pool location in relation to the property line and must meet certain setbacks (the minimum distance allowed for a pool to be built from the property line). In Toronto the setback is 4 feet from the property line and in other areas of the GTA the pool must be 5 feet from the property line.

There must also be a fence enclosure set in all around your backyard with self-closing/self-locking gates. The fence itself must be built at a regulated height... which for a Toronto single residential property is 1.2 meters or 4 feet high. Any door leading from the home to the enclosed pool area in the yard must have child safety locks installed as well (no longer acceptable in Toronto). Garage doors leading into the enclosed pool area must also comply with child safety locks and a self-closing device.

The new City of Toronto pool bylaw explained...

Basically, the above diagram displays what all the hype is about... as it was previously acceptable for you to have a pool enclosed on 3 sides of your yard by a fence and self closing gates with the home acting as your fourth side to the enclosure... you now have to incorporate an enclosure (fence with self-closing gate) that stands between the pool area and the back wall of your home...connected to the other fence enclosures to form a complete square. The only way to get around this bylaw is to simply not have a door that opens or allows you access from your house into your backyard within the enclosed pool area.

For that matter... windows that open into the enclosed area must also have locks that prevent the window from being opened more than 10 cm or 4 inches.

So...where does that leave you? If bricking in sliding glass doors that lead into your yard is not an option... then you must come up with a way to provide a 1.2 meter high...or 4 foot high barrier between your home and your pool! My diagram displays a simple layout to provide a solution to the bylaw. But what if you don't want the yard divided like that?

There are in some ways, ideas that can address the bylaw and still keep your entertaining space open. Playing with deck levels and elevation changes in your yard could help you to disguise a fence with a gate. But there are the unfortunate circumstances for some backyard layouts where you are simply stuck with the great wall of China going through your backyard!!!