Simple gardens reduce seasonal overload

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Enjoying the simple pleasures of a new terrace garden

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When the Man of the House (MOTH) and I downsized to a condo in 2021, we said good riddance to outdoor work, taking with us just two resin wicker chaises, a pair of cast-iron planters, and a very worn-down child’s wrought-iron table and chair set that had sentimental value.

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For the next two years, we enjoyed having the chaises in a corner of the new terrace garden. The tiny chairs served as side tables. Planters added a jumble of colour. Simple.

A few plants were added to the neglected raised garden, but things mostly ran along a live-and-let-live principle. I amended the soil with my own kitchen compost, and allowed a patch of pollinator-friendly thistle to flourish. Also simple.

This spring, I applied the same minimum-care rule to seating for entertaining and lounging, turning to direct-to-consumer, modular furniture brand Burrow, which recently launched an outdoor line in Canada.

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MOTH and I settled on a roomy five-piece outdoor corner sectional from their Relay collection. Choosing arms at each end makes it more comfortable for sitting upright or reclining. The same line includes loveseats, chairs, and several sizes of sofa, including a generous eight-piece U sectional.

The powder-coated, non-rusting, galvanized-steel frame was extremely easy for me to assemble by myself. MOTH helped adjust the feet so that it sat perfectly level, but it took less than five minutes. Marine-grade hardware includes a simple, effective locking system to further prevent shift or wobble.

Seat frames are covered with sturdy all-weather mesh; the finishing is meticulous. On top of that go UV-resistant cushions that are supportive but not hard, and pleasantly deep.

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Back cushions are softly rounded, and the end arms work nicely as a backrest for reading or using a laptop. They are held in place by a fabric band that slips over the frame, which gives it a more tailored, finished look from any angle.

It’s an extraordinarily comfortable piece of furniture to sit and lounge on, and the naps I had on it (research!) were restful enough that I’d consider letting an overnight guest sleep on it.

The colour I chose is Salt, a versatile neutral with just a touch of creaminess. It’s awfully pretty from dawn to dusk — whether the sun’s out or not.

The textile’s repellent qualities are impressive: I’ve watched liquid simply roll off it, and seen first-hand a drop of blueberry jam come out with soap and water!

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Cushions and fabric dry faster than any other material I’ve seen — even after a thunderstorm.

I half-heartedly looked for a coffee table better-scaled to the sofa than the old wrought iron, but quickly decided to stick with what we had. We didn’t even repaint the piece, because this was a hassle-free makeover, remember?

I did add a weather-resistant outdoor cart. To see it, and for more makeover details, go to

For the seating area, I chose a UV-resistant polypropylene indoor/outdoor rug from Rona that requires almost no care. Made in Turkey, its distressed finish has a Persian-inspired motif with blue, orange, and pink tones that echo the colours of the potted plants.

Tools and extra pots stay in a storage box (also from Rona) that’s made from a resin wicker similar to that of the chaises. It opens at both the front and the top, which is very useful when you’re using the top as a work area.

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Bright begonias and flower-heavy hibiscus in clay pots are also easy care. Right now, they make colourful fill for garden gaps. Later, they will be brought indoors to overwinter.

Pots of herbs — including lavender and lemon balm — give me access to fresh seasonings until at least October. Sometimes, though, I cut a few stems and crush them with my fingers until they perfume the air.

Then I look up into the summer sky and think about how lucky I am to be in a garden with nothing to do but enjoy its simple pleasures.

Vicky Sanderson is the editor of Around the House. Check her out on Instagram@athwithvicky, Twitter ATHwithVicky and

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