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The Courante at The Toronto Music Garden; photo by Virginia Weiler

By Julie Moir Messervy, President & Founder, Home Outside

Innovation has always been an integral part of how we carry out our mission at Home Outside. Next year will mark the 25th anniversary of the opening of The Toronto Music Garden—the 3-acre public park that I created in collaboration with eminent cellist Yo-Yo Ma on Toronto’s Harbourfront, which won the Leonardo da Vinci Award for innovation and creativity. The park’s design was inspired by The First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello by Johann Sebastian Bach; its innovative idea is the fusion of two art forms—music and landscape design. Little did I know then that all these years later, I’d be using cutting-edge technologies to help bring great landscape and planting design to homeowners everywhere.

Recently, after a particularly creative work session with our design and tech teams, I realized that the mission statement honed carefully over the years for JMMDS, my original landscape design firm, also applies to Home Outside, our tech company. Here it is:

To create, and inspire others to create, exquisite and environmentally sensitive landscapes of beauty and meaning by way of a joyful process.

When I break down this statement into its parts, here’s why our mission stands the test of time for both businesses.

To create, and inspire others to create…
Our original JMMDS team members, who’ve worked together for over fifteen years, continue to bring their innate creativity, plant knowledge, and landscape expertise to Home Outside. Bethany, Erica, Jana, Jennifer, and now Mickey are not only skilled at designing gardens, but also at inspiring homeowners, other designers, contractors, plant sellers, and so many others with the tools to exercise their own creativity.

…exquisite landscapes…
Using the word “exquisite” for every garden bed and landscape design our team creates sets a very high bar! But you have only to look at or to see that every garden and every project adheres to this standard.

…and environmentally sensitive landscapes…
We have spent many hours trying to find the best words to describe our mission to help the planet in everything we do. So far, these words seem to fit best.

…of beauty and meaning…

In The Inward Garden: Creating a Place of Beauty and Meaning, I wrote that “Deep within each one of us lies a garden.” As a landscape designer these forty-plus years, my job has always been to help my clients’ “inward garden” become real, as an outward garden on their land. This is deep, rich, profound, and rewarding work.

…by way of a joyful process.

The only effective process to create an exquisite and environmentally sensitive garden of beauty and meaning is a joyful one. This means that our team, our clients, contractors, partnerships—indeed every relationship—deserve our thoughtful attention and whole-hearted commitment. I ask myself, “Does it make my heart sing or sink?” The ultimate litmus test of a good relationship is joy.


Design for The Toronto Music Garden by JMMDS

Julie Moir Messervy and Yo-Yo Ma at the groundbreaking of The Toronto Music Garden; photo by Cylla von Tiedermann