Our Backyard Oasis & Suburban Retreat
by Sarah Yanchyk-Lamoureux
(Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
Our Backyard Oasis & Suburban Retreat
My young family of four moved into a new home and our backyard consisted of weedy and unattractive grass.
We worked day and night from the spring right up to the beginning of August last year pulling weeds and preparing our grass for our Backyard Oasis and Suburban Retreat.
I had always dreamed of having a beautiful deck but never thought about using a Brazilian Hardwood called Ipe.
Ipe is a breathtaking and unique wood that has given us the deck of our dreams that I enjoy on hot summer days with family and entertain with on warm summer nights with friends.
Let the fun begin we we started the deck by having a gas fitter run the gas line to where we were going to placing our gas BBQ and gas fire pit on the deck.
We originally had the BBQ up against the side of the house but realized that this was not the ideal place for it as our house is made of siding and the heat would melt it.
We also had to move our gas line to the deck as we changed our minds and decided to have the fire pit on the deck rather then in the back corner of our backyard next to the waterfall.
Let's just say that my husband was not pleased that we or should I say I changed my mind after he had dug a 50 foot trench which was 3 feet deep from the house to the back of the yard to lay the gas and electrical.
The initial step of actually lying out and planning deck and backyard was a lot of fun. We measured out the deck and laid down weed control fabric and then 10 tons of crushed limestone for drainage.
From there we placed Dek blocks which secured the treated wood frame/structure. The Ipe wood which is a Brazilian Hardwood is definitely more expensive then our original choice but we decided that the result would be worth it!
We loved the fact that we would be using biscuit joiners to hold the pieces of wood together and to the frame which were almost invisible when looking at the deck.
We also knew that we didn’t want the usual square or rectangular deck. We decided to go with different angles in order to define 3 distinct areas within our deck and to give the deck a more unique and esthetically pleasing look.
Within our deck we have our dining area with large table which seats 6 to 8 people which is shaded by our beautiful cedar pergola and coolaroo sunshades.
We also have a small lawn chair with side table for days when we want to lounge around and read on the deck. The second area is the BBQ/ cooking area which is right outside of our kitchen sliding door and is roomy in order to give space to people whom like to congregate around the BBQ to chat etc.
We then move to the irregular shaped sitting area which surrounds our beautiful gas fire pit.
We decided to drop the deck to a different level to really have this area stand out from the rest.
The three separate groups of steps leading down to the fire pit as well as to our side yard and backyard are lit in the evenings by deck lights that are on a timer to conserve energy and add a classy look to the deck at night.
We then applied a product called Superdeck Exotic Hardwood Stain & Sealer which has been specially formulated to give a durable and protective coating that shields hardwood decks, railings from weathering, UV rays, fading and water damage.
We also installed a custom made aluminum railing to define the space and make the deck safe for our two small children.
This railing has a 5 ¼” wide piece of IPE secured to the top so the railing can be utilized as a place to rest a drink or dinner plate when standing or leaning against it.
We skirted the deck with left over pieces of Ipe and with Cedar lattice to tie in the Cedar Pergola to the deck.
We then surrounded the skirting with lush perennials, landscaping and dark cedar mulch for a finished and polished look.
The final touch was floral baskets hanging from the pergola and strategically placed flower planters to give it a welcome, warm and fresh feel to our Backyard Oasis & Suburban Retreat.