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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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Outdoor decor

Love your time outdoors with these simple decor tips

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Love your time outdoors with these simple decor tips

With our harsh long winters, it’s no surprise that Canadians are dying to get into the back yard come spring. Which is why we’re spending more and more on making that small patch of real estate into a heavenly oasis. Long gone are the white plastic chairs circling like wagons around a plexiglass table, and in their place are fire pits and heaters, deep-seated sectional sofas, teak dining tables and chairs, and lights, lots of lights.

All of this exponentially increases the time you spend outdoors listening to the birds, or the burble of a water feature, watching the sun set, and connecting with friends and family.

Even if you don’t really have a back yard, you can create the same experience on that deck or balcony. And furniture manufacturers are eager to provide all your needs for making that possible.

The outdoor furnishings of today are higher quality for better looks and durability. The frames last longer, the fabrics retain their shape and water resistance, and the cushion foam stays comfortable. And if you mix high and low within a good quality line you’ll get more bang for your buck.

There’s also greater choice in materials and styles. In the wood family, there’s teak, ipe or treated pine, but you can also get metal mixed with wood, or solid aluminum, stainless or iron for a clean contemporary look. Of these, teak and aluminum last the longest. Teak needs a little more babying, but wipes clean in a jiffy.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to change things up from time to time, consider modular furniture – pieces that fit together as a sectional or stand alone as chairs which allows you to change the seating arrangement however and whenever you like.

Loose flooring tiles in teak alternative wood is easy to install, and creates an immediate room setting, especially on the concrete of a condo balcony. Add a rug to pull the look together – there are plenty of outdoor carpets to choose from.

And when it comes time to place the furniture, think about where your eye will rest when you sit in a particular spot. If the view isn’t great, reorient the sightlines by moving the furniture around.

Outdoor living room

Comfort is king when it comes to furniture and that includes being waterproof – nothing worse than sitting down in a chair that oozes moisture from the most recent thunderstorm.

A hammock is a worthwhile investment for the afternoon naps or evenings spent gazing at the stars. Add bright colourful pillows and surround the area with container plants and you have a vacation destination right on your deck.

Anything that adds the sound of water is welcome in the back yard – like a fountain that’s powered by a recirculating pump.

Dining alfresco

You’re short on space, and while there’s usually just two for dinner, you still like to entertain friends and family for dinner occasionally. So when shopping for a table, look at the expandable ones. Materials range from classic wrought iron to teak (both pretty pricey) to wood and metal – all great looking but distinctly different in style. Chairs should complement the table, though they don’t have to match exactly, and if your deck is on the small side, get the stackable kind.

Storing your outdoor dining essentials – bright coloured table mats and napkins, covered lanterns or candle holders (so they don’t get rain damaged) and cushions – is important if you don’t want guests sitting down to a wet bottom. Either stow in a cubbie by the back door, or keep in one of those waterproof deck chests that doubles as a bench. Don’t forget to keep extra throws on hand for guests on chilly evenings.

An umbrella will shade the table from sun and rain but if there’s enough space, check out a pergola. It works as a nice architectural feature, shade for a living area – especially fitted with a retractable canopy system – and can be screened in against bugs.

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 as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and 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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