Brian McCourt is a contractor, design expert and co-host of HGTV Canada’s Backyard Builds. Here, he reveals seven valuable backyard renovations that homeowners too often give the cold shoulder.
Fences are quite possibly the most overlooked component of a backyard renovation. When fencing in a property, opt for a non-standard design like something horizontal or one featuring multiple colours for a stripe effect. You can even integrate solar or LED lighting to extend your enjoyment hours. You’ll get a high-end look by straying from the norm. It’s all in the design!
See here for New and Beautiful Backyard Trends for 2018.
We all love a beautiful outdoor retreat, but the last thing we want is more house work. When you’re planning your backyard makeover, think about the future maintenance of the materials you’re choosing. In many cases, cheaper materials require less upkeep, such as slate-look concrete pavers or cedar shake vinyl siding. Educate yourself on what’s available and choose wisely.
Elevated Garden Beds
A few years ago, my dad had trouble reaching the vegetable garden in his backyard. He’s had a history of back problems, and crouching over to maintain his homegrown veggies proved challenging. His solution? Raised garden boxes that allow him to stand straight while he plants and picks produce for lunch. It’s basically a garden on stilts.
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Exterior bench seating is a great addition for smaller yards. Not only does it save space around a table (aka a backyard banquette), but it enables homeowners to build in extra storage. Some of us live in a wild climate, where the importance of packing away outdoor items during winter is often overlooked. Plus, no one ever complains about having too much storage.
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Remember the drive-in movie theatre? There was something so fun about watching the sun go down just in time to catch the latest flick – outside! Creating your own outdoor cinema is pretty simple: craft a screen out of white “blackout” material (so no light can pass through) and pair it with a mini projector, which typically costs around $300. Throw a few cushions on the ground and make a cuddle puddle with family while you enjoy the show.
Shade and Shield
Canopies and pergolas are the perfect refuge during the scorch of summer. They also add dimension and visual interest to a backyard. If you build a pergola, weave in some fabric sails above – it’s functional and undeniably eye-catching.
Don’t Forget the Toys
I’m a sucker for hammocks and rope swings. So much so, in fact, that I like to use them inside as well as outside. When I was four years old, my older sister would tuck me into a cocoon before bed. Laying in a hammock brings me back to a time before bills, deadlines and rush-hour traffic. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that are the most effective.