Tag Archives: outdoor living

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!

Pillows

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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Product Showcase

Product Showcase: Outdoor Living

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Product Showcase: Outdoor Living

LIFESTYLE OBJECTS THAT CREATE A STIR

Looking for a table with a lot of personality? The ADAN Collection from Vondom in Spain provides a shape faceted like a diamond yet responsibly made from recycled resin. This multi-functional architectural piece can be used as a seat or side table. ARD Outdoor offers lifestyle objects that create a stir, fitting in with any style, and made from materials that allow for both outdoor and indoor use.

ARD OUTDOOR

MAKE THE MOST OUT OF SUMMER

Make the most out of summer weather and your outdoor space with this attractive seating group from DOT Furniture. The aluminum frame showcases a contemporary “string” arm detail and coordinating olefin cushions. Add this set to your backyard patio for the perfect place to enjoy after-work drinks with friends, family board game nights, or al fresco snacks.

D.O.T. FURNITURE

EASY TO INSTALL MASONRY

Fusion Stone is an easy and affordable way to upgrade your home, inside and out. Utilizing a patented system of thin-stone veneer, it is easily installed with the included stainless-steel clips and screws. Available in three distinct types, all backed by a lifetime guarantee, Fusion Stone can be installed on both new and existing wall assemblies.

FUSION STONE

ENHANCED TRACTION

Deckorators Voyage composite decking features Enhanced Traction and the look of interior hardwood flooring. Made with patented Eovations technology, Voyage decking is strong, lightweight, thermally stable, and backed by a 25-year limited warranty, including removal and replacement, as well as installation in the ground or water.

DECKORATORS

MIX AND MATCH DINING

The CANVAS Mercier set is sleek, bold and contemporary. The dining table has satin-black post legs and frosted-glass tabletop that pairs seamlessly with the black stacking chairs, with padded backs for comfort, all complemented by grey faux-wood arm caps that add that extra bit of style.

CANADIAN TIRE


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A “Bright” Idea for Your Backyard

A “Bright” Idea for Your Backyard

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A “Bright” Idea for Your Backyard

When it comes to enjoying your outdoor living space after the sun goes down, lighting is key.

One of the hottest trends – literally – for 2018 is the incorporation of warming features into outdoor spaces. From fire pits to decorative wall sconces, products that lend physical and ambient warmth are one of the most popular additions to any outdoor living area.

By incorporating a few different outdoor lighting accessories, you can create a perfectly curated – and adjustable – atmosphere for any setting or gathering. Simply choose which outdoor elements to highlight, and it’s easy to completely change the look of your outdoor living space without moving a single piece of furniture. Here are five easy and affordable outdoor lighting options to match the style of any backyard retreat.

Decorative Candles

Candles provide effortless décor to create a distinctive mood. Pair different shapes and sizes to create a soft glow. Swap out new colors and styles for a seasonal or holiday theme, or just to switch it up. Flower-shaped candles floating in a bowl can serve as an elegant centerpiece for an outdoor party.

Deck Lighting

Deck lighting takes sophistication and subtlety to a whole new level, illuminating your space at night and seamlessly blending into your deck during the day. For an easy DIY option, Trex Deck Lighting can be installed in a new or existing deck. It’s also energy efficient, dimmable and cool to the touch, making the fixtures safe for children and pets.

Tiki Torches

Tiki torches are a festive way to light up your outdoor space. Line them along the perimeter of your backyard or pathways to transform your space into a tropical paradise. To prevent the tiki torches from falling over, quick-set cement them into terra cotta planters or aluminum buckets. This also will make them easier to move and store.

Twinkle Lights

Not just for weddings and the holidays anymore, twinkle lights add charm and a lot of fun. All styles offer the flexibility of year round use and pair gorgeously with any outdoor décor. Twinkle lights can be hung in several creative spots, including under a patio umbrella, around a tree or strung around the perimeter of a gazebo or pergola.

Landscape Lighting

Perfect for showing off your favorite flowers, shrubs or architectural features or lighting up walkways – landscape lighting can take your outdoor space from invisible to inviting. Steer clear of the dreaded, garish corner spotlight, and instead install a mix of lighting features, such as path lights to brighten walkways, well lights to illuminate foliage and small structures or multifunction lights that cast a wide glow to add warmth to your garden or trees.


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How to make the most of a small outdoor space

How to make the most of a small outdoor space

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How to make the most of a small outdoor space

by Madisyn McKee

Check out our tips that help you design the small outdoor space of your dreams

Whether you live in a beautiful new condo or find yourself in a semi-detached home in Toronto, you may be finding yourself wondering how to make the most your small outdoor space. Despite summers being shorter than we’d like in Canada, it’s still important to create a space where you can relax and enjoy the outdoors.

With small spaces you should make sure you are using every last inch to its full potential. Keep in mind, though, you don’t want the space to feel cramped.

Before getting started, it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself what you plan on using the space for. Will you be using it to entertain the kids, host small get-togethers or use it as your tranquil space away from the bustle of the city?

Out with the old

The first thing you should be do is declutter and clean the space. Be ruthless, get rid of everything you no longer need or want. If you are the type of person that hates throwing old mementos out, consider putting some of your knick-knacks on shelves.

Try revitalizing old candle holders and place them outside to make the space look intimate and romantic. Old Christmas lights will also work in the same way if you can hang them around the walls.

Utilize the space

A popular trend for smaller outdoor spaces is installing hanging gardens. Hang terracotta pots along the wall so they are off of the floor and make great centerpieces for the area. Just remember to plant the right greenery for the area, take note if the space gets lots of sun or very little.

If you find the space in need of a little colour or livening up, get an outdoor rug. Make sure to purchase a rug that can remain outside in all types of weather.

Placing mirrors around the walls is a great way to give the illusion that the area is larger than it really is.

Finally, collapsible furniture will help you make the most out of your outdoor space, especially if the area is going to be used for dining and entertaining.

Create storage

Buying furniture that doubles as a storage is the perfect way maximize small space. This is a great way to put away pillows or throws. Try finding a bench for a dining table that can fit household items inside. If your space is too small for a bench, look for side tables that work with the space.

Always remember it doesn’t take a lot of work to make a small space beautiful. Start brainstorming now so that you can be ready to use your outdoor retreat when the weather gets warmer!

Madisyn is a freelance writer and social media obsessed traveler based out of Toronto. Always looking for her next adventure but glued to her phone you can contact her at madi@therestlessworker.com or visit her at therestlessworker.com.


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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.

OUTDOOR PASTIMES

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.

SIZE MATTERS

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.)


JIM’s PICK

 

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


COOL SHELTER

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.

SEASON EXTENDER

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: Take It Outside

Reno Expert: Take It Outside

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Reno Expert: Take It Outside

by Jim Caruk

Photography: Bigstock.com

Elder aids that facilitate outdoor living

When planning or renovating a home to make it senior-friendly, most people tend to focus on the kitchen and bathrooms. But there are a few exterior projects that need to be considered as well.

First and foremost is to have a sturdy railing along the front stairs. The building code requires a railing, but if you walk through any neighbourhood you’ll see a number of homes that don’t have one.

If someone in the house is using a wheelchair or walker, you may need to install a ramp so they can enter and exit. There are very specific requirements in the building code regarding the width, slope, and dimensions of a ramp. If the pitch is too steep, you’ll have to build in switchbacks, including landings big enough for a chair to spin around on. Unfortunately, many homes just don’t have enough space at the front to accommodate the size of the footprint required. In that case, you might have to consider an exterior elevator, or a platform lift as they’re formally called (see Jim’s pick).

As I’m writing this, the snow is still on the ground. If you (or your elderly parents) aren’t able to clear the sidewalk and walkway safely, you really should consider hiring someone to do it for you. The expense of paying for snow removal is definitely worth avoiding breaking your hip—or your neck! Of course, if you have a limitless budget, I’ve worked on high-end homes where the owners have installed heating cables below the driveway that automatically melt all the snow.

In summer, in-ground irrigation systems to water the lawn and gardens eliminate the chore —and potential trip hazard—of hauling around a hose.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION

As on the inside, lighting is one of the most important considerations for senior-friendly design. I recommend exterior lights with motion-sensors on the building. I also recommend lining walkways with guide lights.

It’s a good idea to have a roof or some sort of canopy over the entranceway so people don’t have fiddle for their keys while standing in the rain or snow.

That said, even turning the key to lock or unlock the door may prove difficult for some people. A number of companies now have programmable keypads to unlock the door. There are even so-called “smart” locks that link to your cellphone. Your phone communicates with the lock so all you have to do is touch it to open or close it.

For safety and peace of mind, you should also consider having a video-monitoring system. I particularly like the Ring doorbell (Ring.com) that has a motion-activated camera that streams a live video to your smartphone so you can see who’s there before you even get to the door. It’s also a handy way to avoid missing deliveries even if you’re not home: “I can’t come to the door right now, please leave it on the porch.”

Finally, install an automatic garage door opener so elderly drivers don’t need to risk slipping on snow and ice to open it.

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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