Outdoor Living Big Ideas for Small Backyards

  broil king built in backyard shot Low res

 With expanding urban areas creating less accessible green space, the booming housing markets producing the reality of more condos and smaller property lot sizes with little to no backyards, and more people trending towards “stay-cations” instead of travelling looking for interesting and cost effective things to do closer to home.  This is where the need for a natural environment like our backyards has become an invaluable addition to our homes. 

The key to making the most of your space, no matter the size, is customizing it to your needs and comforts. Think about what you take pleasure in doing outside and even inside, as you try to bring all those comforts to the outdoor space. Think of it as an extension of your home, a new functional room that is going to serve its purpose of entertaining, cooking and relaxing. The key is using quality products to ensure low maintenance and planning your needs in making the space enjoyable.

When looking into creating my own backyard space, for example, I decided what my priorities were. I wanted to have a low maintenance area where I can dine comfortably with family and friends; a walk out deck from my patio door, a cozy lounge area to relax, a place to cook and an abundance of reminders of the fundamental beauty of nature.

Permacon patio stone pool area

After laying out your space, start with the foundation which is your patio pavers and decking. Again when in doubt go with high quality and low maintenance. Use thick stone with a good drainage base and polymeric sand to fill in the gaps which will prevent shifting and unsightly weed growth. When it comes to decking I love the polymer decking materials that will last for decades with resistance to fading, mold, scratches and no sealing required.

azek backyard deck layout

I believe in having a functional outdoor cooking area because that means we get to spent more time together with family and friends instead of prepping meals inside. The configured outdoor island kitchens are so versatile, you can choose the size and pieces you want like BBQ, sinks, fridges, storage, side grills, smokers, etc to customize your kitchen. Just like indoors, choose a suitable counter surface, one that can handle the outdoors with protection from UV, scratches, stain, fire, ice and that is nonporous.

 Hauser Daybed

Next is seating, calculate how much you need and its purpose. You may need dining areas, lounging areas and/or a quite space for yourself, as well as having seating that can be easily moved around the space as needed. An important item to consider is shade for the sun whether it is an awning, umbrella, pergola...there are many options but looking into adaptable products like rotating cantilever umbrellas, retractable awnings, pavilion tenting and movable screens would be best.

Finally, incorporate those that bring you peace, serenity and calm while heightening your senses like the sound of flowing water with an outdoor water feature, a great sound system to set any mood, a crackling fire pit, artwork, accessories and of course flowers and plants whether real, artificial, potted or planted. Make your outdoor area a reflection of you and what you love, creating your own personal ultimate backyard living space.

outdoor oasis

Come check out some of the latest products in backyard living products in Jackie’s latest project, the “Ultimate Backyard Space” in the TA Appliances Dream Pavillion at the 2018 National Home / Canada Blooms show at the Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto. March 9-16th, 2018. See you there!



Give Kids Room to Dream

Most of us grew up in a monochromatic home; the walls were painted neutral shades because that is what may have been trendy or acceptable and I’m sure it was great for resale value. Girl’s rooms may have been the traditional pink and the boys perhaps a blue hue which in the past may have been deemed “acceptable”. Today as we look to nurture a child’s imagination and empower them to be inspired individuals with their own unique personality, we have to let them have creative autonomy of the space they use the most.



 Now of course the control of the room’s look is within reason, it should be age appropriate, meet their needs and still be clean to certain extent, but though the young tenants don’t pay a dime, they should have the biggest sway in the area that ultimately influences them most.

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How Spring Can Be a Season of Change for your Home

spring decor ideas  spring decor color


With the arrival of spring comes the renewed sense revitalization, a fresh start to a new season in life and a chance for us to make those changes that can help us grow physically, mentally and spiritually. This can apply to all we put our minds to, doing things with a purpose and with positive intentions.

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How to Update a Master Bathroom tips 101

The master bathroom is one of the main hubs of the home and adds value to any home if updated to included a large shower, corner tub, double sink vanity with garnite countertop and closet space adjacent to the bathroom.  Here are some before and after shots of this master bathroom renovation to show you how to make some valuable changes to this area whetere you are staying or selling.   


master bathroom double sink design  master bath new tub layout


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How to Design Star Wars Themed Rooms

Star Wars is the most popular movie franchise of all time and loved by fans of all ages. We always enjoy creating interesting, themed spaces that bring out someone's passion for what they love so we channelled the force and brought out our inner Jedi master to design an out of this world space that even a Sith would appreciate. 

The first step is painting the walls for that galaxy far, far, away....look complete with a nebula, constelations and twinkling stars; a detailed how-to video is located on this page. Next we added awesome lisenced, Star Wars removable decals to create epic space battles and life-sized characters. Check out the Death Star battle, and Hoth scene below as well as the imposing Kylo Ren. We also used the decals to re-create a cool (literally frozen) Han Solo in carbonite and a space mural to create a cosmic window into a deep horizon.

The finishing touches are what bring the room together with lighting, books, collectibles, toys, linens and cushions. You're never too old to design a space around something you love and let your imagine have no boundries! "Truly wonderful the mind of a child is."- Yoda


ultimate star wars bedroom decor ideas

star wars space themed kids bedroom decor ideas

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