How to turn your backyard into the ultimate outdoor living space

Make the most out of summer! This stunning backyard oasis rivals any interior living space.

Our summers are so short in Canada that it is important to get comfortable outdoors and really make the most of our limited sunny days – so we created an outdoor oasis. The same design principles and lessons that we use when designing indoors shouldn't be discarded when designing outdoors. Here is an outdoor living space that rivals any indoor living and it's really quite simple! Here's how we got the look.

Outdoor shower

This looks very impressive but is actually very easy to do – and inexpensive. Unlike installing a shower in your home where you'd have to move or install new plumbing, this outdoor installation is simple. Plumbing is often accessible from your basement window and you can run hot and cold water as you would do for a garden hose.

We used red cedar fence boards as our base and elevated the floors to avoid pooling. We installed a hook for towels and a piece of leftover cedar as a shelf for soap. Be sure to use biodegradable soap so that your plants don't die!

Zoning

Just like when choosing furniture layout for an open floor plan home, zoning is important when designing for outdoor spaces – especially if you have a large backyard.

Pergola

Here we zoned our conversation area with this Pergola from Home Depot. This makes the space feel more intimate and adds some architectural detail.

Accent walls

We layered Cedars in front of our exterior wall for a the perfect backdrop to our space.

Use greenery for separation

Greenery like the yews we got from Sheridan Nurseries are chic but also separate the area from the rest of the backyard. Structured greenery works well with traditional and modern outdoor spaces.

Flooring

Astro turf makes for perfect outdoor flooring. It stays green all year round, it's low maintenance and it saves water. It's very versatile and you can install this in large lawns or even on your condo-sized balcony.

Outdoor furniture

Lawn and patio furniture design has come a long way! We are seeing indoor and outdoor furniture design converge.

Materials

Instead of plastic or wrought-iron we opted for Teak wood accents to add warmth to the space. We selected a coffee table with aluminum and of course, water-repellent cushions.

Multi functional furniture

We love this sofa with incorporated storage and shelving from Jardin de Ville for the ultimate practical outdoor seating. We paired it with this convertible coffee table to make entertaining easy. Director's chairs also make excellent outdoor furniture because they fold up easily, so they can be brought into your living space but can also double as dining room furniture. And finally, we love the multi-use side table turned ice bucket from Fresh.

Every piece of furniture has a partner

Repetition is key to continuity! The grey in the sofa is repeated in the director's chairs. The teak wood from the sofa is always repeated in the shelving. The black in the shelving in repeated in the coffee table. This creates cohesion when mixing design styles.

Mixing furniture styles

Your outdoor furniture should never be matchy-matchy. Just like when designing indoors, it's important to curate what you put in your space. Matching patio sets are a thing of the past – all furniture should be cohesive and relate to one another without being exactly the same. This allows for added visual interest and character.

So, the straight lines of director's chairs in our outdoor space juxtapose the high back wing back chair. The industrial/masculine coffee table is juxtaposed with the feminine round wicker ottomans. And to top it all off, we added this hanging chair from Fresh.

Layered lighting

It's nice to have different sources of lighting in your outdoor space. It creates an intimate feel in your space. String lights hung from the pergola and flameless candles helped us to achieve this.

Storage

We added shelving from Jardin de Ville. It's a new concept in outdoor furniture and makes a great place to store items.

Accessorize

We accessorized with marbled pillows, lanterns from Andrew Richards and concrete planters. Just like when designing inside, these finishing touches are really what makes the space pop!

Resource guide:

Home Depot

Sheridan Nurseries

  • Yews

Jardin de Ville

Fresh

Andrew Richards

  • Lanterns

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