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Good in my garden | A Japanese-inspired Zen garden

Yvon Matte has never been to Japan. But from spring to autumn, he is transported to a peaceful universe of Japanese inspiration, which he has shaped over the past 20 years and which serves as a refuge when he feels the need to decompress.



Danielle Bonneau
Danielle Bonneau
Press

A few months spent working in the Pépinière Jasmin, during the summer of 2000, ignited a passion that has never cooled. “I saw so many beautiful things,” he recalls. There were shrubs and accessories, like statues, that represented Japan. This led me to read and browse the internet to find out more. ”

When he bought his semi-detached duplex in the borough of Saint-Léonard, in Montreal, in 2001, his property looked like any around. The front was grassed and there was a large vegetable patch in the back as well as fruit trees. He surprised his neighbors, mostly of Italian origin, when he sought to distinguish himself.

“I don’t like grass,” he explains. The first thing I did was a pond, in front, with a little arrangement. The following summer I added a pond in the back. Then I developed the concept a little bit at a time. ”

PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, THE PRESS

Over the past 20 years, Yvon Matte has transformed his property in Saint-Léonard into an oasis of Japanese inspiration.

Details and resourcefulness

The decor he has created in front of his home, to the delight of walkers who take the rue de Louisiane, is fascinating. Lots of details help to create an oriental atmosphere. There are for example, in the background, two junipers that he learned by himself to cloud pruning. An almond tree and a magnolia tree, spectacular when in bloom, notably border the bamboo fence. In addition, there are lanterns and a bright red bridge, the sculpture of a Buddha and a fountain in the middle of a rockery. In the evening, the lighted garden takes on a whole new dimension.

  • Yvon Matte has created a fascinating decor, which charms those who walk in front of his property, both day and night.

    PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, THE PRESS

    Yvon Matte has created a fascinating decor, which charms those who walk in front of his property, both day and night.

  • The almond tree, at the front of the property, is particularly beautiful when it is in bloom in spring.

    PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, THE PRESS

    The almond tree, at the front of the property, is particularly beautiful when it is in bloom in spring.

  • The magnolia in bloom also attracts attention.

    PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, THE PRESS

    The magnolia in bloom also attracts attention.

  • In the evening, the lanterns light up and cast a soft light in the skillfully lit garden.

    PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, THE PRESS

    In the evening, the lanterns light up and cast a soft light in the skillfully lit garden.

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The former professional photographer, who created two Facebook pages (My Japanese Garden 2020 and Super passion : bird photography), is very creative. “I am visual,” he explains. I look at the details a lot. ”

Around his balcony, at the back, decorative openwork panels (offered at Rona and Réno-Dépôt), which he surrounded by wooden frames, have become guardrails. Large bamboo panels purchased from Home Hardware serve as a partition and fence, providing both privacy and special flair.

Because the court has also been transformed at the discretion of the inspiration (and considerable efforts) of Mr. Matte. Thirteen years ago, when his two children were teenagers, he himself prepared the ground for a swimming pool, digging with a pick and a shovel, to prevent the machinery from damaging his layout. before its property. Less used since the departure of the children, the swimming pool contributes in its way to the surrounding calm. The sound of the waterfall flowing into it mingles with the song of the birds, attracted by the many feeders and huts suspended for them.

  • The path to the rear of the property is equally littered with Japanese-inspired elements.  It will evolve with the summer and the plants that will grow there.

    PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, THE PRESS

    The path to the rear of the property is equally littered with Japanese-inspired elements. It will evolve with the summer and the plants that will grow there.

  • The courtyard has also been transformed by the inspiration (and considerable effort) of Mr. Matte.  A swimming pool surrounded by a bamboo fence contributes in its way to the surrounding calm.

    PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, THE PRESS

    The courtyard has also been transformed by the inspiration (and considerable effort) of Mr. Matte. A swimming pool surrounded by a bamboo fence contributes in its way to the surrounding calm.

  • In the courtyard, the sound of the waterfall, which flows into the swimming pool, mingles with the song of the birds.  In the foreground, the red and black painted gutters will soon house annuals, which will bloom all summer.

    PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, THE PRESS

    In the courtyard, the sound of the waterfall, which flows into the swimming pool, mingles with the song of the birds. In the foreground, the red and black painted gutters will soon house annuals, which will bloom all summer.

  • This inviting and relaxing place adjoins the swimming pool.  Yvon Matte affectionately calls it “the tea room”.

    PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, THE PRESS

    This inviting and relaxing place adjoins the swimming pool. Yvon Matte affectionately calls it “the tea room”.

  • Each object has been chosen with care.

    PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, THE PRESS

    Each object has been chosen with care.

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Passionate, the owner even went to the countryside to choose one by one the rocks he used to form rockeries and decorate water basins. He only bought the largest and heaviest stones, which are the basis of his achievements. He also gave an Asian touch to two relaxation areas with very different functions, which he arranged and which he affectionately calls the small tea room and the gazebo.

Red and black

Almost everywhere, red and black stand out. Here, they are the gutters transformed into flower boxes and there, dapper birdhouses. The most imposing structures are the work of cabinetmaker Gratien Simard, from the company in joinery Demand.

PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, THE PRESS

The magic happens, one element at a time.

“For 20 years, it has been based on photos that I give it,” explains Yvon Matte. He is the one who made everything in red wood, up front, be it the bridge, the garden gate, the lanterns, a structure supporting a black steel bell and a black and red miniature canoe. . At the back he made another Asian structure and a swing, which I placed at one end of the pool. ”

At the heart of his never-ending project are plants. “They are essential to create the atmosphere,” he emphasizes. They change all the time. Every week there is something new, whether it’s flowering or color. Even when there are no flowers, dark greens and pale greens evolve. ”

PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, THE PRESS

This summer, the Wisteria “Blue Moon” creeper with beautiful colorful spikes will weave its way around the dragon, which surmounts the custom-made swing set at one end of the pool.

Its flowering trees hold its attention in spring. Throughout the summer, other varieties of plants will take over, such as the climbing Wisteria “Blue Moon” with magnificent colored spikes, which will creep around the dragon surmounting the swing. The pleasure will be constantly renewed, until the fall. He made sure of that.

Call to all

Are you passionate about horticulture and are you proud of your garden? Would you like to present it and tell us about it? Send us a photo and describe your vision to [email protected] We will present the most original creations as part of a summer series.