Outdoor Living Space Essentials

1.Design When making a financial investment into your backyard, one must first consider the design of the outdoor living spaces that will comprise the backyard. Many lovely couples build a patio or deck only to discover three or four years later that the patio location, shape or size does not work with their desired landscaping or the dream swimming pool or hot tub they always wanted to add to their backyard. Another common problem occurs when beautiful trees are planted in the backyard to only need to be moved or even cut down a few years later when installing a playstructure or shed. Many municipalities now require a permit with valid justification in order to remove a tree. A playstructure or a shed may not be considered to be valid justification to move a tree. A good design build company will sit down with you and take into consideration all of your short term and long term backyard projects. Working with you and following your ideas, the design build company will create a landscape plan for your yard that will provide long-term enjoyment.

IndoorOutdoorGuy.ca Digital image. Indoor Outdoor Guy Landscaping Blueprint, 09 December 2020,

IndoorOutdoorGuy.ca Digital image. Indoor Outdoor Guy Backyard Landscaping, 09 December 2020,

2.Fire Pit When you look out into your backyard, are visions of Muskoka chairs dancing through your head? A fire pit with chairs seated around it is the perfect gathering place for family after a day of hard work and busy school. Unwind in front of the fire and leave your troubles behind. The below fire pit is powered via natural gas. Though many fire pits, also known as fire rings, can be run on propane, natural gas never runs out and is therefore the better option. Propane tanks do run out and a quick trip to get the tank refilled is all it takes to get your fire pit up and burning again. Another benefit of having a natural gas powered fire pit is that you may power your BBQ with natural gas as well. All you need is a 2-connection BBQ box and you are set. Alternatively, you could use one connection for a natural gas patio heater. The choice is yours.

IndoorOutdoorGuy.ca Digital image. Outdoor Gas Fire Pit, 09 December 2020,

3.Outdoor Sofa Set. You know what pairs nicely with a fire pit? An inviting and comfortable outdoor sofa set. The popularity of outdoor sofa sets has grown exponentially in the past several years to the point where there are countless sofa set options available. We like the 4 piece motion fire seating set, pictured below, because it would look fantastic in almost any backyard. Your kids would love the chairs that spin…maybe a little too much. You would love the durable upholstery that’s designed to withstand adverse weather. Your guests would love the cushiony comfort of the seating. If only the sofa set came with the ocean view background…

Wayfair.ca Digital image. 4 Piece Sunbrella Sofa Seating Group with Cushions, 09 December 2020,

4.Plants and Landscaping This expands on the design of your outdoor living spaces. The landscaping brings all of the elements together to create a cohesive area to enjoy and soften the effect of harder landscaping components in the yard such as fences and sheds. Plants can have an enormous impact on the look and feel of an outdoor living space. Trees and hedges may provide privacy. Shrubs and flower beds provide character and beauty to the yard. You may want to build a vegetable garden into your landscaping plan if you enjoy fresh produce. A good design build company will help you choose plants that are well-suited to your climate and lifestyle. If you want, for example, Canada Day colors in your yard, a good design build company will recommend the best ones to achieve that look. Some looks are more popular than others, but we’re not judging!

IndoorOutdoorGuy.ca Digital image. Backyard Living Space by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc, 09 December 2020,

5.Pergola or Cabana A pergola or cabana will be the focal point of your yard and essentially turn an outdoor living space into a retreat. They can be built with a variety of materials and in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can be constructed with curtains, screening and windows or just open air. Pergolas and cabanas may house dining tables, lounge areas, outdoor kitchens or even hot tubs. The one below we custom built for a client in the Vancouver area. The client wanted their cabana to contain an outdoor kitchen and bbq area as well as a dining area. The cedar posts are striking against the grey stone. The patio heaters attached to the ceiling of the cabana means our clients can extend their outdoor dining and entertaining season. Pendant and pot lights illuminate all areas under the cabana for optimal cooking and dining conditions.

IndoorOutdoorGuy.ca Digital image. Indoor Outdoor Guy Custom Built Cabana, 09 December 2020,

6.Water Feature A water feature may very well be the focal point of your backyard. Pondless waterfalls and pondless basalt pillar features are all the rage right now and add to a backyard by providing ambient sound that helps drown out neighbourhood noise. An added benefit is that the sounds from a good, pondless waterfall interfere with the noisy neighbor who tries to overhear your private, backyard conversations. Without a pond, one does not have the high maintenance of bugs and algae that typically accompany a pond water feature. Water features are high tech now and allow the home owner the ability to control the amount of water that is being pumped and to turn on special water feature lighting at night time. Sitting in your backyard and listening to a babbling brook is bound to relax you. Perhaps the sound of rippling water will drown out the sound of your neighbour’s kid playing the drums.

IndoorOutdoorGuy.ca Digital image. Pondless Cascading Waterfall by The Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc, 09 December 2020,

7.Outdoor Lighting It’s difficult to cook what you cannot see and tricky to eat in the dark. Fortunately, your choices of outdoor lighting are as varied as the foods you cook on your grill. From pot lights to pendant lights to string lights – your atmosphere is whatever you make it. String lights are very popular right now, and for a good reason. They not only illuminate your outdoor entertaining and cooking area, but they decorate it as well. A small amount of string lights can personalize your patio, but double or triple the amount of string lights can dress up the area so it is fit for a cocktail party. String lights are generally inexpensive and come in different shades for brighter or dimmer illumination. The Willem Outdoor string lights have a waterproof rating and are made with heavy-duty wire. Connect up to 10 sets of these string lights together to dress up your pergola, cabana or deck area.

Wayfair.ca Digital image. Willem Outdoor 24-Bulb Standard String Light, 09 December 2020,

8. Outdoor Heater Unless the cold never bothered you anyway, a patio heater may be just the thing for chilly evenings. Outdoor heaters come in electric, natural gas, and propane powered options. Electric outdoor heaters are great for covered areas such as cabanas and gazebos where wiring can be both hidden and kept safe from the elements. If you power a patio heater with propane, you will have to continually refill a propane tank that you lug to and from the filling station. However, a natural gas heater can be connected directly to your natural gas line. It will never need refilling and will take the nip out of the air on those chilly days. Outdoor heaters come in two main styles: the pedestal style that sits on top of the ground or on a table, or the style of heater that is mounted above your head on the wall or ceiling. Although a natural gas heater will likely initially cost more to install, it will be cheaper to operate in the long run than both the electric and propane heaters.Natural gas generally produces more heat than electric heaters produce. Elsa wouldn’t need a heater, but Ana would adore one!

  • IndoorOutdoorGuy.ca Digital image. Ceiling Mounted Natural Gas Heater, 09 December 2020,

  • Amazon.ca. Digital image. AZ Patio Heater with Table, 09 December 2020,

9.Swim Spa or Infinity Pool Would you like to be able to exercise at home all year long, but need a very low-impact activity? A swim spa may be just the thing you’re looking for. Modern swim spas have many advantages when compared to pools and hot tubs. Swim spas have an area for swimming that can be heated to your temperature of choice, as well as hot tub area that can be heated to 104 degrees for heat therapy purposes. They are also available as individual units, just like a hot tub, with only one area with an adjustable temperature for either swimming or soaking. They can be used year round and come with a hydraulically powered resistance current so you can swim laps in place as long as your heart desires. You may even purchase a swim spa that comes with a multi-speed, underwater treadmill! Walking against a current is fantastic resistance training. Not to mention what the swim spa rowing add-on offers in resistance training. If you prefer to bike ride, there’s an aquabike for the swim spa as well. Whichever type of aqua-cise you choose, reward yourself with some rejuvenating hydrotherapy from the hydro-massage seats on the spa-side of your pool at the end of your workout. Or skip the workout and enjoy the hot water of the spa.

Coast Spas.ca. Digital image. Coast Spas Wellness 1302L Spa, 09 December 2020,

10.Sauna You don’t have to be Finnish to appreciate a well-built sauna. Saunas have long been praised for their health benefits and relaxation effect. Saunas clean your pores, help you sweat out toxins and soothe sore muscles. The heat from a sauna causes the body to release endorphins, which reduces stress. The quiet you find in a sauna you have to yourself may reduce stress as well. Saunas also help fight viruses as the heat and steam causes the body to produce more white blood cells, which fight viruses. Lastly, saunas burn calories. Sweating burns a good amount of calories, and one session in a sauna can burn nearly 300 calories. If you are not convinced to get a sauna due to all of the health benefits mentioned, get one because they just feel good! A sauna may be added to a spare room inside your home or let us build you a sauna shed in your backyard.

Vancouver Sauna. Digital image. Built In Sauna, 09 December 2020,

11.Hot Tub The heat is on! Few things feel more luxurious than being enveloped in hot, bubbly water. Many couples are split on whether or not to get a hot tub. One loves hot tubs, the other does not. To us it seems there’s a 50/50 split when it comes to hot tubs. There are advantages and disadvantages to Jacuzzis, so we’ll examine them here. Expensive to heat and maintain are the most common potential disadvantages. The size of the tub and the climate you live in will affect the heating cost. However, if you have a good, insulated cover this is will reduce the heating cost significantly. A high quality filtration system will save money as well as you’ll need less chemicals to keep your hot tub sparkling clean. Premium chemicals will save money as you will need a smaller amount of premium chemicals than cheap chemicals. Your monthly cost of running a hot tub should fall somewhere between $50 and $100, but likely close to $75. Now let’s consider the advantages. They relieve stress. Ending a hard day of work or play with a soak in your hot tub will allow you to unwind and regenerate. They have physical health advantages, too. Hydrotherapy helps with arthritis, fibromyalgia and many other ailments. They bring people together. You may have trouble getting your teenagers to the dinner table, but they will most likely need no encouragement to take a soak in the hot tub. While in the hot tub, families can reconnect and laugh together. After all, there are no phones allowed in the tub!

Coast Spas. Digital image. Built-in Hot Tub, 09 December 2020,

12. Pool Treadmills are not the only way to get in shape and stay in shape. A swimming pool is a great workout and weight loss tool. Swimming is known to be one of the best exercises out there, and for good reason; it is low impact, uses all of the muscle groups, and burns a lot of calories. It improves flexibility as well. While you swim, you stretch, and while you stretch, you tone. Swimming reduces anxiety and depression and helps you wind down. Most importantly, it’s FUN! Pool parties are the epitome of summer fun. People gravitate towards swimming pools – young and old alike. Having a backyard bbq and visiting with friends while the kids play in the pool is as quintessentially perfect as it comes.

Pool Supplies Canada. Digital image. In-ground Pool, 09 December 2020,

13.Deck A deck has so many different uses that it is no wonder it is one of the most requested backyard features in Canada. A deck will provide another living space for your family where you can cook, eat, play and spend time together. Having extra square footage is something almost every family can benefit from. One thing many people don’t realize is that where there is a deck, there is no grass to cut. That’s right – your first step to a low maintenance backyard may be reducing the amount of grass that needs to be cut and a deck would help you in that area. A composite deck is incredibly low maintenance and does not need to be re-stained every few years. Lighting can be installed in decks and pergolas can be installed on top of decks to create a stylish space. Set up an outdoor sofa or two on your deck and you have just created a fantastic lounge area for teenagers. Install a bbq and you can cook outside when the weather’s nice and watch your food cook while you relax on the sofa. Isn’t life grand?

Indooroutdoorguy.ca. Digital image. Timbertech Composite Deck by The Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc, 09 December 2020,

14. Dining Furniture Rattan style furniture is the most popular and most commonly sold at big box stores. It comes in varying levels of quality. Another option which is just starting to gain steam out west is Recycled plastics have come a long way in recent years. Now, there are many different types of furniture manufactured using HDPE plastics that would otherwise end up in a landfill. This dining set from CR Plastic Products is made with 100% recycled plastic materials, comes with a 25 year warranty, and is created to withstand the nastiest Canadian weather conditions. The furniture is heavy so it won’t blow off your deck in a windstorm. It is incredibly durable so it will not break. It comes in many different colors to match your backyard décor. For every chair in your dining set you have saved approximately 579 plastic milk jugs from ending up in a dump. That’s 579+ reasons to buy a recycled plastic dining set. The one below is available at CR Plastics in Ontario.

Crpproducts.com. Digital image. CR Plastics Dining Set, 09 December 2020,