Tag Archives: decks

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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Active Home: Stretch Out The Seasons

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Active Home: Stretch Out The Seasons

Photography, courtesy of Lisa Rogers

Trying to extend outdoor time in our seasonal climate, and squeeze as much living as possible out of our backyards, has become a national preoccupation. With the addition of fire pits, heaters, deep-seated sectional sofas, dining areas and lots of lights, it’s easy to accomplish.


The quality of outdoor furniture has come a long way. There are far more durable and water-resistant options available, but good quality does cost more.

When it comes to frames, there are all-wood ones, like teak, ipe (an exotic hardwood) or treated pine, as well as ones that are a wood/metal mix that include solid aluminum, stainless or iron. Hardy resin/wickers inject a weathered Hamptons’ look.

Whatever style you choose, stick to a minimal colour scheme that complements your home. Turquoise and lime suggest a seashore theme, while green and red are pure Muskoka, and black and tan are fashionably uptown.

Consider your sight-lines when positioning furniture. When sitting, make sure your eyes rest on a pleasing view. If not, reconfigure.

If you don’t have a deck, balcony sized furniture can be arranged to create a similar experience. If you’re short on space, consider an expandable table and stackable chairs. Storing cushions and dining essentials can be a challenge, so incorporate a waterproof bench or a cubby by the back door. Keep extra throws on hand for chilly evenings.


Even the smallest water feature can add a soothing ambiance to an outdoor space. There’s nothing like flickering flames from an outdoor fire and candles. Depending upon your space, flameless candles may prove to be a safe alternative, or string small white lights through a tree or along a fence. Ethanol fire pits are a great option, but check first with your condo board.

Long gone are the days when you had to put a speaker in the window from your massive stereo system. Playing music outdoors is easy, and it sounds great. Tune into your favourite playlist through your computer, phone or Sonos speakers, but ensure that the neighbours don’t have to listen too.


Typically, an outdoor space is more private if you’re living in a low rise home, than a townhome or condo. Imaginative fixes to counter balance this concern include the installation of lattice or bamboo screening. Also, you can place boxwoods or ornamental grasses in tall, matching containers along the edge of your deck – they not only create privacy, but augment your deck-scape.

Umbrellas come in all shapes and sizes, and can be positioned to shade targeted areas. If space isn’t a concern, consider a a pergola. Not only is it an attractive architectural feature, but it can be fitted with a retractable canopy system and screened in to keep out pesky pests.

Take the time to smell the roses, listen to the birds and watch the sun set every evening by increasing the time that you spend outdoors this summer – and fall.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes, and has appeared on Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV, Flare TV and The Shopping Channel. Lisa is a regular guest consultant on City’s Cityline.


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Reno Expert: Picture-Perfect Patio

Reno Expert: Picture-Perfect Patio

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Reno Expert: Picture-Perfect Patio

by Jim Caruk

Create your own great outdoor space

With summer upon us, most of us are keen to spend as much time as possible outdoors. But is your own backyard an inviting oasis, or an overgrown disaster? If the ongoing real estate boom has taught us one thing, it’s that land is very valuable. As homeowners we should take advantage of every square foot we’ve got. Here are some ideas on how to turn your urban jungle into a slice of paradise.


The first factor to consider is what you like doing when you’re outside. Are you a gardener, a DIYer in need of a workshop, a consummate host looking for an outdoor entertaining area or, if you have the space for it, would your own private basketball net or tennis court be your dream use of the space?

My own backyard is built around an in-ground pool. Realtors and others will tell you that putting in a pool isn’t a good investment when it comes to resale value. But I wasn’t thinking about some future sale. I was interested in enjoying my house while I live in it. No need to drive north to a cottage when I can go for a dip at home.


Obviously, the size of your yard will be the main factor in determining how much—or little—you’re able to do. Case in point: when building permanent structures such as decks, sheds, and gazebos, there are usually setback restrictions—meaning they have to be a certain distance from the property line. (These projects may also require a building permit. Read “Deck Building Do’s and Don’ts” for more details.)



Canada’s extreme weather is hard on exterior building materials. Which is why the durability of a composite deck board such as those made by Trex is such a good investment.

Photography courtesy of Trex


The surrounding tree canopy also plays a role. If there aren’t many mature trees in your area you’ll likely need an umbrella or awning to shade your seating area. If you have lots of mature oaks or maples, you’ll have to consider lots of cleanup time for pools and patio areas. With evergreen trees, you’ll find yourself seasonally scooping up needles and pinecones. But they’re acidic, so you’ll have to carefully plan any other vegetation you plant to make sure they’re tolerant of that.


To make maximum use of the space, consider adding patio heaters to your plans. Options range from gas firepits to stylish lamp-style models. Either type can be directly plumbed to your household gas service, or run on refillable propane tanks.

Finally, don’t forget that old cliché about good fences making good neighbours. Most municipalities have restrictions on how tall a fence can be. If privacy is a key factor in your planning, build a fence with solid, overlapping boards that run the full height of the divider instead of the ubiquitous lattice-topped designs.

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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Reno Expert: Solid Structure

Reno Expert: Solid Structure

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Reno Expert: Solid Structure

by Jim Caruk

The Do’s and Don’ts of Deck Building

If you’ve ever flown to Florida or southern California, you’ve probably noticed how many suburban backyards are dotted with pools. Here in Ontario, the recurring backyard theme is a deck. Whether they’re clad in natural wood or a composite product such as Trex, decks are outdoor extensions of our household living space. Many are simply a place to park the barbecue and a patio table but, increasingly, they’re loaded with bells and whistles that literally include a kitchen sink.

Since (most) decks don’t involve any wiring, plumbing, or overly complicated structural elements, building one is something a lot of DIYers are willing to tackle. But there are a number of common mistakes they make.

Generally speaking, if your deck meets any or all of the following conditions, you’ll need a permit:

a) The deck will be attached directly to the house

b) Will have a surface area of more than 100 sq.ft., or

c) The top of the deck boards will be two feet or more off the ground.

As part of your permit application, you’ll need to include your property survey and a drawing showing where the proposed deck will go.

Here are three key areas where DIYers—and some unqualified pros— make mistakes when building a deck.

Photography courtesy of Trex
Photography courtesy of Trex


If the top of your deck boards are two-feet or more off the ground, you’ll need a railing that’s at least 3′ high around the perimeter. (If the deck is 6′ or more above grade, the railing will need to be at least 3’6″ high.)

The gap between the vertical slats— or pickets—has to be less than four inches. The idea here is to prevent a small child from squeezing through and getting stuck.

Another option is to use glass panels. These cost more than lumber would but give you an unobstructed view of the yard.

Built-in seating along the railing can be a great way to maximize space, but keep in mind that a building inspector will measure the railing height from the top of the seats. After all, the main point behind these rules is to avoid having a child—or perhaps tipsy adult—topple over the side and get hurt.


Again, if the deck is more than two feet off the ground, you’ll need stairs with a railing that meets the above-mentioned guidelines. The stairs themselves must be between 47/8″ and 77/8″ high, and 91/4″ and 14″ deep. The key to building stairs is that each one has to be the same height and depth as all the others. If not, you’ll find yourself stumbling on any that are out of line with the others.


Even if you’re using a composite material such as Trex for your deck boards and railings, you’ll likely use natural wood for the framing. Typically, that means using pressure-treated (PT) lumber. But the chemicals used to make the wood rot- and insect-resistant can be corrosive to most building hardware. Make sure you use PT-approved screws and hangers. Also note that any framing members must be attached with nails, not screws. Screws do not have the sheer strength to support the load properly.

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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