Keep it natural
Though it’s not a renovation by definition, upgrading your outdoor furniture is an easy way to spruce up your space and make it more comfortable. Wrought iron and plastic furniture are out of date. Instead, natural materials are now preferred over the modern look of concrete — think rattan and teak wood. As an added bonus, solid teak tables and chairs age beautifully outdoors, developing a weathered, rustic gray finish over time
Canada has four distinct seasons. That means what might work in the August heat may be far from ideal in the dead of winter. However, there are a number of improvements you can make to ensure use of your outdoor space all year round — not only during the summer. Consider improvements like hot tubs, fire pits (one of the most common outdoor projects I undertake) and even Zen sunrooms — all of which can be enjoyed 12 months of the year.
The recent proliferation of farmers’ markets is a sign of the current popularity of locally sourced produce. Well, it doesn’t get more local than your own property, so it should come as no surprise that farm-to-table additions are a blossoming new trend. Whether in containers on a high-rise terrace or amongst flowers in a backyard (colourful plants and prairie-type gardens with rock formations are common choices nowadays), budding green thumbs are formatting their outdoor space to let them grow greens.
The Toronto Maple Leafs were sent packing early this post season and the Blue Jays didn’t get out of the gates on the best footing, but nonetheless, outdoor sports courts are a popular choice for those of us who have yet to join the ranks of the pros. Basketball, hockey, or badminton courts are a hit with parents looking to enjoy their weekends at home with the kids. They’re a popular alternative to having a second home or a cottage to get away to.
Pergolas and privacy
Want to get the best bang for your buck? There are a number of outdoor projects that won’t break the bank and will provide the best value for the cost-conscious homeowner. A pergola, for instance, is an inexpensive solution to beautifying a backyard. So are arbours and dividers, both of which give an outdoor space a feel of privacy and separation. All of these structures can be adorned with climbing plants. Holistic settings are also gaining momentum as an outdoor style choice. Some common ways to express this aesthetic are hammocks, yoga spaces, unconventional bird feeders, and wind mobiles.
The days of prepping your food on top of a cooler are over. A number of modern advances have greatly improved the outdoor culinary experience for gourmands and casual foodies alike. Pizza ovens and proper prep stations can be added to your outdoor area to create a space ideal for entertaining — you won’t have to leave your guests. Also consider LED lighting and Sonos surround-sound systems.
After cold days spent sheltered in the comfort of your own home, outdoor spaces begin to look a lot more appealing as summer approaches. We’ve also been “staying inside” with the recent topics covered in this column: rad versus central heating, different types of wood flooring, and kitchen renovations. This month, it’s time to take a look outside! To help you get the most out of your yards, patios, decks, and balconies we’re going to see what’s big in outdoor upgrades for 2017.