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Finding Voice: An Examination of What Makes ‘Home’

  • Date

    January 12, 2017

  • Time

    10:45 am – 11:45 am

  • Location

    Pinsent Room

  • Building

    Toronto Congress Centre



This session will be an exploration of context between three award winning gardens in two contexts, wild and suburban landscapes.

Home is not a place we happen to live, it’s a place where we come into being, where we are able to express ourselves – ideally a refuge. Creating a garden as part of a home is like writing a story. The designs are driven forward by the setting, sometimes the plot or action, and always by the characters. Balancing the three to build authentic places, we as designers, desire to reflect the beliefs, values, and experiences of our clients back onto their landscapes.

The ‘comfort of home’ infuses gardens only when our clients are truly at ease in the landscapes in which they live. Examples of three built landscapes for three very different owners will demonstrate authenticity. The first is a garden where the harsh setting dictated design. The second garden, driven by action, was constructed from the beautiful historic remnants of a home that had been lost. The third— its content shaped firmly by the client—found voice through its characters.

As landscape architects, we are most successful by understanding place and time, and having a profound respect for the people for which we work. The stories of these three award winning gardens contain universal challenges and discrete opportunities, which resulted in very different physical expressions of home


  • Virginia Burt

    Virginia Burt FCSLA, FASLA

    Virginia Burt Designs Inc.

    Burlington, ON

    Virginia Burt, FCSLA, FASLA, creates landscapes and gardens of meaning for residential clients, healthcare facilities, and academic and governmental organizations.

    Full Bio