Tag Archives: Deck


Custom deck features you may not have thought of

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Custom deck features you may not have thought of

It’s spring and here in Canada we’re starting to think about outdoor projects – and so are our clients, whether designer, contractor or supplier. While we can’t bring down the prices of materials or make them more readily available (oh, how painful it is), we can share one of my successful deck projects with you to show you how you might be able to offer additional value to your clients with some creative thinking.

Basically, here are five deck project features that may help your creative juices:

  1. Garbage can niche: We designed this as a great way to hide the unsightly, but obviously necessary, garbage and recycling bins our client had to store. We tucked them under the deck and gave them some doors to hide them away neat – in a way that blends into the deck design around it.
  2. Custom built-in bench: You know that niche for the garbage? Well, some of you may be thinking (probably our contractor friends out there!) that the deck doesn’t look tall enough to fit those. You are correct. So, we created a happy accident. We designed a custom builtin bench above this area to allow the “head room” for the garbage, while also providing a nice area for relaxing next to the grill.
  3. Under deck storage: We loved the design of the fence and railing and again used it to hide more storage – we wanted the deck to look just as good when our client was entertaining regardless of the storage it had. So, we designed some “hidden” doors on the yard side of the deck to allow the client to store things like bicycles, outdoor equipment, and maybe some of their patio furniture in between seasons.
  4. Fencing integrated into privacy screen: The fence is obviously a beautiful feature of the backyard. This was indeed designed at the same time as the deck itself was, with the mind to use it to hide the fact that our clients desperately wanted privacy from their neighbours – and we were fans of the trellis currently used. We integrated the privacy into the fence and deck on both sides, so it fades into the background.
  5. Power for electronics: We always ask a lot of questions when we design, and one thing came up – they love to take their laptops outside to watch videos and work on the deck in warmer weather. We made sure to note some convenient locations for power to the contractor, so they can charge their electronics while they relax!




Melissa is the owner and registered interior designer at Sanura Design, where she offers turnkey design services homeowners and small businesses with “intelligent, quality design and a sense of humour”.


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Deck decor - Make your outdoor space a distination oasis

How to make your outdoor space a hot destination oasis

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How to make your outdoor space a hot destination oasis

We Canadians love our backyards, and no wonder. We have been spending so much time at home with COVID-19 that we love to spend more time outside. And stay out there – listening to the birds, the burble of a water feature, watching the sun set, connecting with friends and family, even at a distance.

As the pace of life quickens and our homes shrink in size, the outdoors is literally the last frontier – and the reason why we’re spending so much more on making the backyard, or deck or balcony a destination oasis.

Out with the white plastic chairs and plexiglass tables, in with the fire pits and heaters giving us a much longer outdoor season, deep-seated sectional sofas, teak dining tables and chairs, and strings of lights. Outdoor furniture manufacturers have been eager to meet our need to linger outside with a wider range of furniture, with longer lasting frames, fabrics that retain their shape and water resistance, and cushion foam that stays comfortable.

Here’s what you need to know:

1) Plan out your space according to how you intend to use the deck. If you are a big reader or sun worshipper, but don’t like eating al fresco, set up your space with more living room type furnishings, and tuck a small dining table off to the side and out of the way.

2) Check materials carefully. There’s teak, treated pine, metal mixed with wood, solid aluminum, stainless and wrought iron. Of these, teak and aluminum last the longest, and are probably the most expensive. Teak you need to baby a bit, while aluminum just wipes clean.

3) Consider modular furniture – pieces that fit together as a sectional or stand alone as chairs – for flexibility. You can change the seating arrangement to suit the occasion or your mood.

4) Decks aren’t just for daytime. Small white lights are magical when strung from house to tree. Add candles around the edges of your deck or patio – flameless ones are safer. An ethanol fire pit not only creates mood, but keeps feet warm and can easily be moved around.

5) Music really adds to the ambience – not so loud that your guests can’t hear each other or the neighbours complain, but as background.

6) As for styles, the sky’s the limit, and they can reflect your dream destinations, or they can reflect the decor of your home. Fancy a week in the Hamptons? Check out sectionals in whitewashed and weathered greys – made from resin wicker – with East Coast fabrics such as navy and white stripes (in water repellant fabrics). Prefer life in a Park Avenue brownstone? Then wrought iron with deep charcoal cushions set amidst a row of boxwoods might be better for you.

7) Don’t forget the floor – wood flooring tiles are easy to install, and create an immediate room setting, especially with the concrete of a condo balcony. Add an outdoor rug to pull it all together.

8) There’s nothing like dining al fresco, and if you’re the type who likes tons of people over, an expandable table might be the best choice. Classic wrought iron tables look great and last forever but are pricey. There’s always teak, but it’s pricey, too, so check out budget-friendly teak alternatives that work equally well. If your deck is on the small side, go for stackable dining chairs.

9) Stow outdoor dining essentials – bright coloured table mats and napkins, covered lanterns or candle holders – near the back door or in a waterproof storage bench. Make sure to keep throws handy to ward off the evening chill.

10) An umbrella will shade the table from the sun and rain; one with a tilt arm that can be adjusted to follow the sun all day. The new pergolas do the same and more, especially when fitted with a retractable canopy system or screen to protect against bugs.

11) For privacy, especially on a condo balcony, you can create a privacy wall by positioning a row of evergreens in matching containers along the edges of your deck. Erect lattice or bamboo screening, then add wall mounted planters and a water feature for an instant retreat.

12) Depending on the space you have, hammocks are well worthwhile for the downtime they afford – snoozing or watching the stars. Add colourful pillows and a sea of planters for a cosy destination.

13) Containers are the way to go for gardening. They come in all shapes and sizes and materials (remember that resin is lighter and therefore easier to move). Depending on the direction they face, condo balconies are ideal for herbs and tomatoes, but they need a lot of water, so make sure you have proper drainage. Tropical plants love sun and add a festive air to your deck – you can also bring them in come fall. If you have less direct sunlight, fill tall tapered containers with ornamental grasses for a clean, modern and minimalist look.

14) Just like inside, the deck is made livelier with the addition of some artwork, such as wrought iron grills, architectural salvage, window frames (with or without mirrored glass).

In the end, if you choose any of these tips, who needs a cottage?

Lisa Rogers is Executive Vice-President of Design for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline, a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health, wellness and design.


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All decked out

Five outdoor living trends that will take your backyard experience to the next level

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Five outdoor living trends that will take your backyard experience to the next level

Photos: Deckorators

As the summer season begins, you might be contemplating ways to reclaim your outdoor space. Whether you’re considering a simple deck upgrade or a complete redesign, online galleries, social media and magazines are a great way to get inspiration. Take note of these top five trends and learn more about new and exciting products and how they can work for you.

Varied-plank decking

A distinctive and thoughtfully designed deck is a sound investment. From a style perspective, varied-plank decking extends the look of wood flooring using various widths of deck boards to create a contemporary vibe, giving the illusion of transitioning interior elements to your outdoor space. By using multi-width planks, you can create unique patterns and designs for a truly custom look. Whether you’re using a smaller 3.5″ wide board or a larger 7.25″ wide board from the Deckorators Voyage Decking line, alternating widths will give a beautiful, timeless appeal to flooring.

Complementary colours

Canadian homeowners continue to play with complementary colour combinations. Emerging this year is the double-picture frame board technique, where the outside board colour complements the second inside picture-frame board colour. Finding a timeless colour pairing takes time and there’s no need to rush the decision. To determine a pleasing colour scheme, pick a primary colour and then match it with an opposite shade on the colour wheel. Playing with bold and unique colour combinations and integrating design elements, such as adding a “racer stripe” in a complementing yet contrasting colour, will result in a look that you’ll appreciate for the long haul.

Play in the shade

Backyard sun protection is an often overlooked but vital feature. Depending on your needs and the shape of your space, two options for backyard covers are the tried-and-true patio set umbrella, and the latest trend in sun protection, the sun sail. Both protect from the elements, but the sun sail extends further, designed to cover a wider area, helping to shield against UV-rays or a sudden downpour. Unlike an umbrella, the sun sail is a dramatic statement piece in any backyard. Plus, you can make it your own with bold colours, and by choosing a dynamic, geometric shape that protects but doesn’t hinder airflow. What will work best for you will be determined by the size and shape of your space and the kind of protection you need.

Functional lighting

Outdoor safety never goes out of style. Properly designed outdoor lighting extends daylight hours, allowing you to enjoy your outdoor space well into the evening. The right outdoor lighting will enhance the ambience of your space as well as increase safety of the area by illuminating deck space and improving the visibility of steps for your family and guests. One popular and subtle option for this desired look is the LUNA Step Light offered by Deckorators by Hinkley Lighting, as it fits seamlessly into deck stairs without stealing the spotlight, making sure you don’t miss a step.

Easy railings

Railings are not only functional, their design can truly elevate and complement an esthetically pleasing deck and landscape scheme. As one of the most visible deck elements, railing trends in 2020 are focused on mixing wood and metal elements for a natural and industrial look, such as a brown deck with bronze or silver railing. When deciding on which railing best suits your needs, don’t forget the view. Cable or glass railings are ideal to ensure visibility of beautifully landscaped backyards, decks or docks. The ALX Contemporary Cable Railing by Deckorators combines these trends, available in a scratch- and corrosion-resistant bronze with cable spacers that don’t hinder views.

Look for trends that reflect your esthetic and meet all your functional needs, then share your ideas with a local contractor who is well-versed in the latest products and styles for a second opinion. To find a reputable deck builder in your area, visit Deckorators.ca/Contractor.

Jase DeBoer blogs about deck ideas on the Deckorators On Deck Blog.

As senior category marketing manager for Deckorators, DeBoer has extensive knowledge of how deck design elements can work together to create a personalized outdoor oasis brimming with style.


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How to decorate your deck for the summertime

How to decorate your deck for the summertime

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How to decorate your deck for the summertime

If you’re like me and you spend a lot of time outdoors, creating a warm and inviting space to chill out and enjoy nature is important. Whether we’re entertaining friends and family, or simply enjoying a morning cup of coffee, our exterior environment is equally as important as inside our home. I’ve spent a lot of time decorating our decks in our homes in Etobicoke, Muskoka and (eventually) Arizona so we always have a place outside that’s comfortable, while still in keeping with our interior design aesthetic.

Focus on furniture

Select natural materials and finishes to give an overall sense of calm and peace for your backyard deck. Teak furniture is ideal as you don’t have to store it indoors during the winter, while faux wicker pieces have a great organic feel, never break down and are really easy to clean. If you get a lot of direct sunlight, create shade with a cantilever umbrella. Transportable, small tables also work well as a convenient place to lay down a book or place a cocktail!


Linger on your deck into the evening hours with friends and family by softening your deck and seating area with colourful, durable accent pillows in an array of lovely summer shades. Make sure you buy pillows that are constructed with outdoor fabrics so nature doesn’t take its toll. Toss them on your patio chairs, a sectional or a bench for an instant colour lift.

Build a small garden

Before you start selecting what plants and flowers you’re going to use, make sure you evaluate your sun exposure, wind and general temperature zone your home is in. All of that will affect which blooms will grow best.

Whether beside the patio/deck door, along the stairs or a railing, scatter beautiful potted plants all over in varying size and shape, while also using a bunch of annuals and perennials for beautiful shots of colour. There’s certainly no shortage of planters available, so you can virtually find any size and style that suits you. This is the time I also plant my favourite herbs (a sunny patio is the perfect spot to grow them), along with a tomato plant or two. If you’re uncertain what to plant where, your best bet is to go to a garden store so they can answer any questions you have.

Throw down a stylish outdoor rug

Turn your patio or deck into an outdoor living room by accessorizing with an outdoor rug that’s all-weather and durable. It will lend a cosy vibe to the space, plus it’s nice not to have to wear shoes! They add a nice textural element, while also being highly functional (they will help anything from being tracked when you move in/outdoors). Opt for a rug in a neutral colour so as to blend in with your existing deck (and furniture) as best as possible.

Create privacy

Love your deck, but not your view? Block out your street, a busy intersection or that nosy neighbour by using a row of evergreens to form a privacy wall where you need it. It’s the easiest way to build an intimate, private space in your backyard. I love faux hedges and plants, too! Definitely less maintenance, and they last for years. If you have the space, consider a retractable awning, that will not only protect you from the sun, but will also act as an anchor to your space giving a more intimate feel.

Alternatively, you could install a wooden lattice wall to one side of your deck and plant clematis and climbing roses that will naturally grow up the lattice. Over time they’ll form a gorgeous wall of blooms.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.


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Building a new backyard deck? Take your time and do it right

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Building a new backyard deck? Take your time and do it right

Whether you’re looking to install a new deck or want to make minor improvements to your existing one, deck building should never be rushed. There are a lot of new products on the market, so it’s important to do your homework and plan for your space to get the best possible outcome for your property.

Achieving the deck of your dreams is an investment that will undoubtedly add value to your property. A new deck becomes the outdoor hub for family and friends to enjoy well beyond the summer months. It will provide a wonderful place to entertain, grill and make cherished memories. The right deck built with quality, long-lasting materials, will endure for decades.


While it’s important to pay close attention to the details and planning of your deck building, the process should also be enjoyable. The first step towards creating your vision is to become inspired. You may already have an idea of what you want, but if you don’t, there are endless possibilities and options to explore. Look at different decks online, in magazines and on social media, or even just walking through your neighborhood. You never know what you might discover.


No matter your budget, the deck layout is determined by the space that’s available. If you have a smaller backyard or prefer a minimalist approach, you might consider a simple design with clean lines such as, square or rectangle. Popular dimensions for decks include 12’x12′ and 16’x20′ – both create ample space for outdoor entertaining and relaxation.

Homeowners who want a more personalized design often opt for custom shapes, sizes and styles. Multiple levels can offer space for covered sections – perfect for outdoor kitchens, grill corners, hot tubs and water features.

Subtle outdoor lighting enhances the ambience in the evening hours and is a crucial addition for most decks regardless of size.

Simplify the creation of your deck layout by using a deck design tool. Using a design tool will help you visualize your future outdoor space and help determine whether your plan meets your outdoor living needs.

Wood or composite

Wood has long been considered the go-to material for decking, but composite products are gaining in popularity. Composites are developed from a mix of recycled plastic and wood fibres and offer the luxury of low-maintenance and increased durability. Not to mention, there are a variety of unique finishes available, plus new technology geared to circumvent expansion and contraction issues and withstand common water challenges like rot, wear and warping.

Deckorators offers some of the industry’s best warranties, such as a 25-year Structural, a 25-year Stain & Fade, and a 25-year Removal & Replacement warranty to help you feel confident in your decision. Deckorators also has designated Certified Pro contractors available to help you each step of the way.

Decking patterns and colour

Adding a pattern to your deck design can provide a unique style that is sure to stand out. While the shape of your deck is one consideration, the colour options, styles and finishes enable you to customize your outdoor space. Consider incorporating a multi-colour pattern such as: herringbone, hexagonal, V-shaped, sunburst or picture-framed boarder. Even a standard-shaped deck can be made to look like one-of-a-kind, creating an extension to your home while adding some personality.

Playing with colour will also help you find the tone that’s right for your property and surrounding space. To get familiar with what’s available, check out new PANTONEVIEW home + interiors 2019 to identify trends, proven colour combinations as well as timeless shades that will stand the test of time.

Find a builder

When you’ve completed your research and have an idea of what your dream deck looks like, it’s time to contact a local contractor who will implement your plans and achieve the outdoor space you want. Industry leaders, like Deckorators, understand the importance of finding a certified deck builder that can work with your product of choice. Additionally, the established Certified Pro program trains local contractors to work with Deckorators’ products and meet a variety of client needs.

Jase DeBoer blogs about deck ideas on the Deckorators On Deck Blog. He also hosts the bi-weekly Deckorators Facebook Live program “On Deck,” which offers homeowners insight on tips, trends, and products to take their deck beyond ordinary. As senior category marketing manager for Deckorators, DeBoer has extensive knowledge of how deck design elements can work together to create a personalized outdoor oasis brimming with style.


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Reno Expert: Decks

Durable Decks: Five ways to make your deck last longer

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Durable Decks: Five ways to make your deck last longer

Photography: bigstock.com

The kitchen is the hub of any home. But once the warm weather rolls around, in most cases the deck becomes party central, serving as an outdoor dining room, living room, and food preparation space, all in one. If you’re looking to replace a rickety, weathered, old deck this summer, here are five things to consider so that your new one lasts a lifetime.

Be code-compliant

Depending on where you live, the size of the deck, and how high it is off the ground, you may or may not need a permit to build a deck. But even if your project doesn’t require a permit, you or your contractor should definitely follow the building code specs during construction.

The city of Markham has a free, downloadable guide (search for “Residential Decks: A Homeowner’s Guide” on their website markham.ca.) that covers the Ontario Building Code requirements, along with helpful diagrams showing how the parts come together.

Key items include the minimum height required for railings, the maximum gap allowed between the vertical pickets supporting the railing, and the maximum and minimum allowable height and depth of each stair tread.

Plus, no one wants to get themselves in the situation where a neighbour calls the city and you find out after it’s built that your new deck is too close to the property line.

A solid foundation

Any structure, including a deck, is only as durable as its foundation. The footings that support the deck need to extend below the frost line – in southern Ontario that means at least 4′-deep.

The wood used for the framing should be pressure-treated (PT) to prevent rot and insect-damage. If you’re splurging on higher-end materials, such as cedar or composites for the deck surface, a properly designed deck will cover up and shield the green-hued PT from view.

Note that PT wood is corrosive to most screws and nails, so you need to use PT-approved hardware – look for an “ACQ-approved” label on the packaging. Also, keep in mind that the ends of any PT lumber that is cut will need to be treated on-site with preservative.


Composite deck boards are rot- and insect-resistant manufactured lumber that is made from a mix of recycled plastic and wood. When they first came out, some composites were plastic looking, excessively hot to the touch, and could even start to sag in the heat. Since then, the technology is much improved and there are a number of realistic-looking options available in a variety of colours and textures. Composite deck boards also come with warranties up to 25 years, protecting you against defects. If seasonal expansion and contraction causes a wooden deck board to start developing foot-stabbing splinters, you’ll have to foot the cost of replacing those boards.

Whatever material you choose for the deck boards, be sure to leave a gap between each to allow for seasonal expansion and contraction of the material and to allow rain and debris to fall through.

Aluminum and glass railings

As I mention in my last column (Planning for the Future, in the April/May ’19 issue), glass and aluminum railings offer a low-maintenance, splinter-proof, weather-resistant alternative to the standard wooden railing. Of course, most people choose this option for the unobstructed view that these products offer.


A deck is not a build-it-and-forget-it project. At least once a year, inspect components and wood for signs of rot, paying particular attention to key structural elements, such as railings, stairs, and the main support posts. You should also check and tighten any nuts and bolts used as fasteners. Periodically clear out any pine needles and other debris that gets stuck between the deck boards, as those will hold water against the wood, leading to rot.

Every year or so, you should scrub the deck with a cleaner specifically formulated for the type of deck boards you used. These products are applied with a broom or brush, and then washed off with a hose. Don’t use a pressure-washer as the intense spray can breakdown the wood fibres leading to rot, or even carve gouges in the surface. After scrubbing, you’ll want to seal the surface with a UV protectant.

Finally, change up the furniture floor plan on your deck periodically so that you don’t get sun discolouration in sections, and avoid using exterior carpets that get saturated and hold water against the deck boards.

CAPTION: Photography courtesy of Margaret Mulligan

Jim Caruk, Renovation Editor

We look forward to hearing from you and welcome your feedback. Do you have a reno or decor question for our team of experts?

Email editorial@renoanddecor.com


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HomeStars helps you reach #deckgoals this summer

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HomeStars helps you reach #deckgoals this summer

Before starting the process of finding, interviewing, and hiring a contractor for any home project, you’ll want a solid understanding of how much you should expect to pay and the quality of the product you will receive in return. When it comes to deck installation, the final cost of your project in large part is determined by the deck’s material and the deck’s size. While this seems simple enough, it can be hard to envision how those these abstracts will look when they eventually appear in your back or front yard. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some of our favourite review photos of HomeStars deck projects at four different price points.

Under $10,000: Basic deck or porch in Toronto

Toronto-based The Custom Deck Company took on these two projects for under $10,000. They incorporated planters and a privacy fence into the rear deck, while the front porch is made entirely of cedar and incorporates a beautifully detailed railing. These are both fantastic designs for homeowners looking for decks on the smaller side, with some basic add-ons. Cedar decks tend to be slightly more expensive than pressure treated lumber, so there is a trade-off between size and material. If you like either of these designs, it’s time to find a deck specialist in your area who can help bring it to life.

Under $15,000: Deck with add-ons in Markham, Ont.

Infinity Decks completed this beautiful backyard deck construction in Markham. These homeowners wanted to replace and extended their dated deck, as well as add a privacy fence and bench. This deck is constructed of pressure treated lumber, includes a bench with planters and a small privacy fence. Costing just over $10,000, this project is a great example of the fantastic quality a mid-range budget can get you. For projects of this size, pressure treated lumber will most likely be the most economical option. If you’re considering a design with similar add-ons for your backyard, we recommend consulting a number of deck installation pros before committing to a final concept.

Under $20,000: Composite deck in Toronto

Royal Innovation built a beautiful composite deck for this Toronto backyard. This deck features lights on the stairs and a beautiful glass and aluminum railing. Composite is typically longer-lasting than organic alternatives like cedar and pressure treated lumber, which explains why this deck project cost approximately $15,000. There are many different kinds of composite, so be sure to consult with a deck installation company who specializes in composite models.

More than $20,000: Multi-level composite deck in Calgary

Calgary’s Gray Jay Carpentry installed this beautiful multi-tiered composite deck for $30,000. The upper level of the deck is the perfect size for a dining table is complete with additional seating in the form of a built-in bench. The lowest level is perfect for casual seating and hosting larger groups. If your household loves to entertain, get started on a deck project like this with the help of a pro.

If you’re feeling inspired by these projects, it’s time to find a pro who can bring your vision to life. From material to size and add-ons, there are many ways to customize these designs to suit your budget and backyard. Don’t spend another long weekend indoors – get your deck project started today!

*Costs based on data provided by homeowners.

by Karen Rhamey

As Social Media Coordinator, Karen is constantly online sharing the latest design trends, home improvement hacks, and seasonal maintenance reminders with homeowners across Canada. Follow us at @homestars!


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Made in the shade: 4 ways to add backyard sun protection

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Made in the shade: 4 ways to add backyard sun protection

By: Darla Grant-Braid

Come rain or come shine, there’s one thing that every backyard needs and that’s shade. Whether lounging, BBQing, or gardening, a shade element is necessary to ensure your comfort and make it possible for extended enjoyment of your outdoor space. Shade elements come in all shapes, sizes and price points. Here are a few options:


The classic patio umbrella has been a staple in backyards for generations. While the designs may have changed over the years, at its heart, this traditional shade element remains the same.

Whether supported by a center post or an offset design, patio umbrellas are a low-cost way to add colour and shade to your outdoor living space.

Additionally, they can be easily moved from place to place, and also offer excellent protection from the rain. Their relatively small size means that they are easier to store in the off-season than some other options.

Cons: Can be dislodged by wind, minimal coverage.

This option does not require professional installation.

Portable Gazebo

Portable backyard gazebos have been a popular option for the past decade. They provide more coverage than umbrellas, typically enough to shelter an entire dining or lounging area.

Many of these portable gazebos also allow the option of insect protection, via screens. While costlier than umbrellas, the wide range of styles and construction materials make this an affordable option for most homeowners.

At the lower end of the price spectrum, there are gazebos that are either freestanding or meant to be held in place on grass through ground stakes, while at the higher end, there exist gazebos with sturdier frames, intended to be bolted to a hard surface.

Cons: Certain models may be unable to withstand storms without incurring damage. Some models must be stored over winter or may run the risk of rusting.

This option may require professional installation.


A pergola is an architectural feature, traditionally constructed as a garden archway. In recent years, these wooden structures have gone from acting as simple archways to becoming the focal point on decks and patios.

The pergola is typically a frame, consisting of posts and crossbeams. This means that the “ceiling” is primarily open and will not provide complete sun protection. The shade provided by your pergola is determined by the size and spacing of the crossbeams. Although sun protection can be extended by adding canvas or other fabric to the beams.

Cons: Pergolas can be expensive to install, may require a building permit, and does not provide complete sun protection.

This option requires professional installation.


An awning is fabric stretched over a metal frame that is attached to the over, over a window or door. They can be fixed or retractable.

In addition to providing limited sun protection in the outdoor living space, awnings can have an impact within the home as well. Their position above a window of glass door means that they can help reduce a room’s internal temperature and also protect furnishings from the impact of direct sunlight.

If your awning is positioned over your grill or outdoor kitchen, they can allow for more comfortable outdoor cooking in both sun and rain.

Cons: Retractable models can be expensive, may be susceptible to wind damage if not retracted, may be prone to mold and mildew if not cleaned.

This option may require professional installation.

*Article courtesy of EiEiHome


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Make Deck Building Safety Priority #1

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Make Deck Building Safety Priority #1

By: Darla Grant-Braid

The temperature is warming (ever so slightly) and the sky is beautifully blue once again … spring is on the way. That means it’s time to get serious about planning backyard projects. For many Canadians, adding or repairing a deck is a top priority, with the age-old question being, should you hire a professional deck builder or build the deck yourself?

As tempting as it may be to try and build your own deck, the truth is that DIY decks can put the safety of your family and friends at risk. We spoke with Frank McGillan –Owner of Decks R Us, a renowned deck builder in Durham Region, Ontario about why safety should be the number one priority when it comes to building a deck.

Why You Shouldn’t DIY

Deck building is one of those projects that household handymen have been attempting for generations. Armed with rudimentary carpentry knowledge, a group of able-bodied friends, and usually too much beer/pop/pizza, they take on the task of building a structure intended to support hundreds or even thousands of pounds at any given time.

While it is possible for some home builders to have a working knowledge of framing and decking, there is much more involved in building a safe, reliable deck.


“Many times, there is a building code that needs to be adhered to,” McGillan explains. “Most DIYers do not know the building code and have problems later.” In fact, he suggests that certain deck repairs should be left to the professionals as well. If the repairs are structural, such as beams, framing, or railings, the safest option is to hire a professional deck builder.

Understandably, most DIY deck building projects happen in an effort to save money. Unfortunately, this can result in the exact opposite. If a DIY deck build or repair should fail, it can end up costing more money to have it corrected. Even worse, if people are injured due to the failure of that deck, it can result in legal fees, reparation for the injured party, and even emotional costs.

Hiring a Deck Builder

When you’re ready to hire a deck builder, take time to do some research. Narrow your search down to at least three deck contractors. Take a look at websites, read reviews, and browse image galleries of their past projects.

It helps to have a few questions in mind when you contract your short list of contractors. “[Be sure to ask] how many years of experience they have, and if they have an eye for detail,” McGillan says.

Mr. McGillan also says to be on the look out for one very important thing. “If they tell you that you don’t need a permit, walk away! Only decks that are 24 inches or less don’t need permits.”


Keep in mind that you’re going to be working closely with your deck builder, so be sure to access their customer service. For example, anyone looking for a deck builder in Durham will discover that Decks R Us has a strong believe in providing outstanding deck design, building, and unbeatable customer care.

“Decks R Us never asks for a deposit, and we never charge for permit drawings,” McGillan says. “When we start we stay and finish. No going from job to job.”

About Decksrus

Over the last 35 years, Frank McGillan and Decks R Us have built over 1,000 decks. They specialize in deck building an renovation, custom caps, an custom railings. To see galleries of their work and for more information, visit www.decksrus.ca.

*Article courtesy of EiEiHome


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Deck Building Contest

MicroPro Sienna is running a contest for contractors to enter photos of their best decks. There will be four winners of $1,000 worth of the company’s treated decking. Full details at SiennaProSpotlight.com.



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