With our harsh long winters, it’s no surprise that Canadians are dying to get into the backyard 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, deepseated sectional sofas, teak dining tables and chairs, and lights, lots of lights.
Even if you don’t really have a backyard, you can create the same experience on a deck or balcony.
Before you buy anything, figure out how you will use the space. If you don’t like to eat outside but like to sit out and read or lie in the sun, invest more heavily in living room-type of furnishings.
The outdoor furnishings of today are higher quality for better looks and durability. The frames last longer, the fabrics retain their shape and are water resistance, and the cushion foam stays comfortable.
THE OUTDOOR LIVING ROOM
Comfort is king when it comes to furniture and that includes being waterproof and privacy is an issue in a condo or a townhome. But a row of boxwoods or ornamental grasses in matching containers along the edges of your deck will fix that. If you already have privacy lattice or bamboo screening up, create an instant retreat by adding some wall-mounted terra cotta planters.
Anything that adds the sound of water is welcome, like a fountain that’s powered by a recirculating pump.
INSTALL MOOD LIGHTING
Add strategically placed lights around your deck to set the mood with illumination as the sun sets. 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, they can be moved around.
DINING AL FRESCO
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 choose an expandable table. 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.
THE OUTDOOR KITCHEN
Ever since the dawn of time, people have loved cooking their food over an open fire. Living in a condo or townhome doesn’t need to restrict your culinary dreams – the choices are endless, from a simple gas BBQ with side tables to hold bowls and platters to a full-on kitchen with sink, mini-fridge, gas BBQ and stove.
The deck is a perfect place to let your inner container gardener go wild. They come in all shapes and sizes and you can grow anything out there as long as you have the right light and soil, including tomatoes, herbs and colourful flowers.
Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes (DunparHomes.com). 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.