A yard can be a welcome refuge, even if it’s small; the same applies to a swimming pool. Torontonians Raymond Girard and Laird Kay prove both points with the backyard of their downtown home containing a lap pool just six feet wide. The couple, both avid swimmers, were determined to have a pool despite the tight dimensions of their lot. Girard, a marketing executive, reports that their current version, which they use daily in summer, has served them well. “It’s 26 feet long and we can swim lengths in it, although Laird sometimes bumps his head at the end of it,” he laughs. In addition, “it’s great for lounging,”Girard says. On either side of the pool, which is made of concrete and has a black-limestone deck, a row of bright perennial flowers run its length, while strips of sedum groundcover in between keep leaves and petals out of the water. (Kay, a designer and photographer, envisioned the plantings.) “We used long strips [of plant material] to make the yard look longer than it is – it cheats the eye,” Girard explains. “We both really love Paul Smith as a designer, so we thought,
Why not create a garden with the same kind of rigour?” That attention to detail extends to some strategic lighting underwater and along one side of the garden, a composition that Smith would surely approve of.