We’re halfway through summer… is your backyard begging to be used? Whether you have a compact yard or an expansive space, you can make your backyard your own personal oasis. Outdoor spaces can be as inviting, comfortable, and stylish as interiors, with the added benefit of fresh air and nature.
Before taking on a backyard renovation, it’s important to focus on what you want and to determine your priorities. Do you want a large area for BBQing or would you rather incorporate a relaxing sauna or hot tub? Will you use your space for entertaining large groups, or will it mostly be used as your own personal sanctuary? Once you decide your plan, it will be much easier to create your perfect space. Check out this tool for helping you prioritize and pull together inspiration.
Here are four unique design features to take your backyard to the next level!
Bring the kitchen outdoors to spend more time with family and friends! Don’t be stuck inside preparing food when you can join the party outside. Outdoor kitchens can flex to be as big or as compact as your space allows. More than just a place to put the BBQ, most outdoor kitchens also feature countertop for food prep, as well as some storage space. Some have sinks as well. If you have the room and want a larger kitchen, think about incorporating more elements to make hosting easy, like a bar fridge or seating. Much like open concept home layouts, you can centre your whole outdoor space around the kitchen. Consider including a dining space, conversation sets for people to relax and sit together, patio heaters, and other elements to create a comfortable outdoor paradise. It’s all up to you and your entertaining and cooking preferences.
If you think outdoor kitchens are only for warm weather countries, think again! The homeowners of this stunning outdoor kitchen wanted an oasis to cook and relax in with friends and family that would also extend the limited warm months of summer in Alberta. Diamond Valley Custom Homes designed a pie-shaped oasis featuring a smoker, barbeque, artesian style pizza oven, cooktop, fridge/freezer drawers, icemaker, dishwasher, and outdoor theatre. Designed to accommodate three-season comfort, the space hosts in-floor heating as well as a snow-melt system with drainage beneath the Batu floor deck and six radiant heaters.
Working with a smaller space? Not a problem!
Ultimate Homes & Renovations created an outdoor space that can be used as an extension of the home, allowing for entertaining, cooking, and relaxation. The homeowners wanted a three-season entertaining space. By integrating a wood-burning fireplace as well as natural gas heaters, this outdoor extension of the home can be used well into fall. The design features a built-in BBQ and cooktop, a dining area, and a spot for watching TV or cozying up by the fire.
Water features –hot tubs, pools, saunas, and fountains – are some of the most popular outdoor amenities. Water is soothing visually and physically, and can make for a great design focal point in your yard.
If you’re considering adding a pool to your space, be sure you and your contractor have the most up-to-date zoning and building restrictions for swimming pools and spas, and ask your contractor how the permit process is handled. For more information on building permits, check out this blog post Do I need a building permit for my home renovation?
Dependable Renovations made the most of the homeowner’s amazing location that allowed room for a heated pool, concrete patio, basketball court, outdoor kitchen and upper/lower decks with wood burning fireplace. They even integrated in-ground lighting and speakers into the pool! The result is a perfect space for entertaining.
If you want to enjoy your yard, good seating is essential. There are many weather-resistant options out there, from traditional garden benches to larger dining sets. If relaxation is a priority, consider adding a hammock or lounger. If you have a covered space, consider upholstered furniture to reach peak comfort. If you don’t, outdoor cushions and furniture sets can still feature in your design. To keep them looking new, just make sure you have somewhere to store them out of the elements when rain threatens, or invest in quality furniture covers.
When these homeowners reached out to Alloy Homes, they requested a tranquil, Asian-inspired outdoor retreat, with separate activity zones for dining, relaxing, contemplation, and circulation. They made the outdoor spaces feel like a natural extension of the indoor living areas!
These homeowners opted for swivel seats that do double duty: the chairs are used for dining and as part of a conversation set. Their renovator, Ultimate Homes & Renovations, integrated a wood-burning fireplace as well as a natural gas heater to ensure the space is usable throughout the majority of the year.
Embrace Your Passions
For a lot of homeowners their backyard is their personal sanctuary, so what better place to embrace your passions and hobbies? Get creative with your backyard! More of a winter person? Build a permanent ice rink. Love to entertain? Incorporate “hang-out” areas with comfortable seating to host guests.
These homeowners were looking to bring urban farming into their backyard – a pastime that brings them enjoyment and fresh produce to their table. My House Design/Build Team created an outstanding intersection between nature and modern design. In the “grow zone,” each planter box is individually piped for drip irrigation, with adjustable wireless control. It also includes crushed gravel flooring for irrigation, a small seedling greenhouse with a heat-controlled roof vent, and a central water tub feature.