Creating a Dream Backyard

Michael Taylor self-identifies as an “apartment kid” who didn’t have access to a backyard growing up. Now as an adult, raising a family of his own, this Urban Forest Champion is committed to providing his kids with the perfect outdoor space. And, no backyard is complete without the addition of native trees and shrubs!


From repairing a deck to reseeding the lawn, Michael and his family have spent four years overhauling the backyard. Unfortunately, a mature tree had to come down. But, they were eager to plant something new in order to reap the benefits of backyard trees! This is where LEAF comes in. We helped them select and plant the right native species for the space.

I had a chance to connect with Michael and learn more about what inspired this backyard project. This is what he had to say:


How did you first become interested in the urban forest?

My wife and I bought our first home almost four years ago and wanted nothing more than an exciting play space for our growing family. The house we bought was well built and had potential but the backyard needed some serious attention. That is when we decide to do a complete overhaul on the backyard. We repaired the deck, replaced the fencing, removed a heavily damaged honey locust tree, regraded and reseeded our lawn and created a flower bed area for future planting. This is where we planted our new beautiful paper birch and two meadowsweet bushes.



How did you find out about LEAF and how have you been involved?

A friend of mine and neighbours in my area had told me about LEAF. They said they were a very genuine and caring company and would help select species of trees and shrubs that would thrive in our yard. So once hearing that, I contact them for a consultation and they were happy to help with our backyard project.


Please share an interesting story or memorable moment from your experience with LEAF and/or the urban forest

A memorable moment from my experience with LEAF and my urban forest is noticing all the work that had been done to backyard and looking at the finished product. As fall approached and I was watering my lawn, new planted tree and shrubs by LEAF, I realized that I had created a space for my family and friends to enjoy.


What does the urban forest mean to you and what message would you like to share with others to encourage them to become involved?

This is my first ever backyard. As an apartment kid, I never had a unique outdoor space to call my own. I had parks and ravines to venture into but never my own backyard. So being a new father, I wanted to create a fun and enjoyable place for my children that I never had. And, as of this spring with some finishing touches, my children will have that space. I have also come to realize that planting and gardening is enjoyable and relaxing. It gives you an opportunity to be creative and learn a thing or two while you do it.


Is there anything else you would like to share?

I would like to thank LEAF for all their help in assisting me with creating the backyard of my dreams. Although it isn’t 100% yet, it will be and it’s a lot closer than it was when I started almost 4 years ago.


Need help finding the right tree for your space? By participating in the LEAF Backyard Tree Planting Program you receive personalized help from a certified arborist to pick the right tree for you and your property all at a subsidized rate! Visit our Homeowners page to find out more.


Daniela Serodio is the Marketing and Communications Manager at LEAF.


The Backyard Tree Planting Program is supported by the City of Toronto, the Regional Municipality of York, Durham Region, the City of Markham, the Town of Newmarket, the Town of Ajax, the City of Oshawa, the City of Pickering, the Township of Scugog, the Town of Whitby and Ontario Power Generation.