Why invest in a cottage when you can transform your backyard into a cottage-like retreat instead? With less commuting time and everything at your fingertips, it seems like the perfect solution for any city-dweller looking for an outdoorsy escape. Realtors Steve and Tanya agreed, which is why they recruited contractor Brian McCourt and designer Sarah Keenleyside to bring in the Backyard Builds team and turn their city home’s backyard into the cottage retreat of their dreams.
Before: Wide and Open
This doesn’t exactly look like the dream backyard, now does it? Given all of the wasted space (not to mention a ton of grass to mow) and no real overall structure, it’s no wonder these homeowners weren’t so keen on using their yard.
Before: A Forest of Possibility
It wasn’t just open grass that Brian and Sarah had to work with here: they had a nice forested area to convert as well. Given that it wasn’t exactly high-heel friendly, there was lots of work to be done.
After: An Under Deck Patio
Below the deck Brian and Sarah created a cozy and sheltered space for the homeowners to escape to whenever they need a quiet moment away. With plush cushions, an outdoor rug and a coffee table, this outdoor living space feels like a natural extension of the home.
After: An Outdoor Kitchen
When you’re trying to retreat in your backyard you don’t necessarily want to run back inside when you’re cooking or entertaining. So Brian and Sarah created an outdoor kitchen, one with a barbecue area and a fridge to store all of those drinks and salads.
After: A Serving Station
Speaking of having everything at your fingertips, Brian and Sarah made sure to create a serving area as well. Here the homeowners can keep all of their extra dishes or bowls so that the rest of the space is left wide open for entertaining.
After: A Gorgeous Fire Pit
One of the best features of any cottage is the fire pit, so it became a natural feature in this design, too. There’s plenty of seating here thanks to the circular design. Meanwhile the large bricks are pretty and functional since they’ll help keep the area warm. Another great feature? No grass! That means all footwear is welcome around these flames.
After: Child’s Play
What kid wouldn’t love his or her own secret bunkie in the woods? Brian and Sarah crafted this fun addition to look whimsical but to be completely weather proof and safe, giving one little boy the coolest backyard on the block.
After: A Space to Grow Into
Inside the look is pretty neutral so that this little boy can grow with the space. But it does have some fun elements like this bright table and the customized paddles on the wall, which Sarah made (naturally).
After: Bunk in a Bunkie
Of course there’s a space for the kid to climb and hang out in too. Here he can read, have a nap or just hang out with his friends and talk about how lucky he is to have his own spot away from the house. When he’s a bit older, of course.
After: A Play Structure
Obviously kids don’t want to just hole up in a bunkie, which is why Brian and Sarah also made sure to give this tyke an outdoor space to play on too. It’s like having your very own park in your backyard — we’d wager il won’t be long before all of the kids hang out here.