Note: this post contains sponsored items from Dufresne Furniture & Appliance.
As teachers, you would think that Jeff and I would take the summers to truly rest and relax. The trouble is, neither of us “rest” well, and we are always looking for a project to tackle. The fact that we have summers off together provides us with the perfect opportunity to start crossing things off the “to-do” list. This summer, we decided to tackle the backyard – with the help of Dufresne Furniture and Appliance.
When we moved into our house four years ago, we were a bit overwhelmed by the large yard. Our backyard is basically a soccer field, with no trees, flowerbeds, or anything but grass. We have a great fence, and the perimeter of our yard is lined with trees as well, so it does feel private, but the vast emptiness of the yard itself left me feeling unsure about what to do with it. To be honest, I was glad I hadn’t inherited a gorgeous garden or multiple flowerbeds I would need to tend, because I really REALLY don’t have a green thumb, and gardening is not a creative outlet that gives me joy.
The trouble for me was that I just didn’t have any vision for what the backyard could be, and how I could make that happen. So – we just left it – for four years. The kids enjoyed the big open space, and we made do as well, with a little makeshift fire-pit and some lawn chairs, but it really wasn’t anything special.
I’ve often said to people – give me an empty room to decorate and I’m in my element! But, give me an empty yard, and I am totally useless about how to bring it all together. I think the problem for me is really the permanence of the decision. You can decide to rearrange your living room furniture, get a new rug, change out the mantel display – anytime! But you don’t just “move the patio over” year after year. So instead of making the wrong decision, we just didn’t make any decisions about the yard. The only thing we did prior to this year was a small area of raised garden beds for the kids to practice growing vegetables. We aren’t great gardeners so our little space never yields much, but it’s a fun learning experience for the kids.
However, this year, we decided it was finally time to tackle the space, and make it a little more inviting for our family and friends. We really wanted it to become liveable space – not just a play space for our kids and pup. I also finally felt confident in a direction for the space, having spent literally four years pinning ideas on Pinterest, lol.
Because the yard is so large, and so open, we knew that we needed to create some spaces intentionally, and we decided to incorporate the following:
1.) A small garden of raised beds (completed in Summer 2017)
2.) An outdoor fire pit area
3.) An outdoor living space – sitting and eating
4.) An area for the kids
The most impactful part of the yard that we tackled this summer was our deck/outdoor living space. When we bought the house, there was a narrow deck right off our dining room. The deck was built using composite boards, which are durable and really attractive – but also quite expensive. So, one of the reasons it took us so long to decide what to do with our deck space was because we knew that committing to a deck addition – in composite board – was going to be a large, and expensive project. We even debated removing the composite board that was already there, and rebuilding the entire deck with cedar planks so that we could build the exact style and design we wanted – for a similar price.
At the end of the day, we decided that going with composite was probably our best option in terms of longterm durability, and the fact that it requires no maintenance was a huge selling point for us. However, choosing composite also meant that we would have to go with a simpler design in order to keep the project within our budget.
We opted for a simple, platform deck that sits just above the ground. Luckily for us, the deck-building project went relatively smoothly, thanks to some good friends who came out to help us with the build.
Additionally, because the yard is so open, we don’t get a lot of shade, so we did some research and decided that we wanted to add a shade sail and some string lighting to help enclose the space somewhat, and provide some shade during the heat of the day. As a result, we also had to install large metal posts, deep into the ground, to anchor the shade sail and lights. I won’t go into the details of that project because my husband took that job on himself, but we are so pleased with how the structure came together.
Once all of the structural elements were in place, I was finally able to really see how the space was going to come together and I was able to do my thing in terms of decorating and bringing the space to life. I have always wanted a comfortable and stylish outdoor living space that’s an extension of our indoor spaces in style, design, and comfort.
Thankfully, I was lucky enough to be able to partner with Dufresne Furniture and Appliance and they provided us with the most gorgeous outdoor sectional and coffee table, both from their Beachcroft Collection. They had so many gorgeous designs to choose from on their website and in-store, but when I saw the Beachcroft Collection, I knew it was exactly the style and design I was looking for. I love how Dufresne has so many options for so many different spaces, and it was easy to see exactly how things were going to come together. I’m also extremely impressed with the quality and design of our new sectional and outdoor coffee table. The sectional is spacious, comfortable, and very well-made. I’m someone who really pays attention to the little details, and even the weave of the outdoor fabric is so pretty!
We decided that one half of the platform portion of the deck would be a dedicated sitting area, and the other half would be an eating space. Once we had decided on the Beachcroft Sectional from Dufresne, I wanted to find something that would really pull my love for modern farmhouse decor together for our eating area. I was inspired by many Pinterest images of rustic picnic tables, and knew that that was what I wanted for our space as well. I was lucky enough to find someone local on Kijiji who custom made our picnic table – and even delivered it – for a steal of a deal! So if you are in the Saskatoon area and want the contact, please let me know! I’m happy to pass it along!
This ended up being such a fun project for me as we set aside a budget specifically for “decorating” the outdoor space. I found many special outdoor decor items at Dufresne, such as candle holders, faux outdoor plants, and the metal table trays shown above. The throw pillows on the couch were purchased on clearance at Pier 1 in Saskatoon, along with the umbrella that we can move around the yard for additional shade. Some of my favourite items are the two outdoor rugs we found at Home Hardware. I literally searched EVERYWHERE for the perfect outdoor rugs, and the best selection by far in style and design were found at Home Hardware – I am truly so happy with how they bring together my vision and really help to anchor the space. Finally, I love the outdoor string lights we purchased from Costco; not only were they such a good deal, but they are durable and make the space look oh-so-magical in the evening.
Overall, we are so so happy with how our outdoor patio space came together! It’s hard to believe that summer is nearly over and we will have to pack these items up for the coming winter months. However, I know I’m going to feel like a kid at Christmas next spring when it’s time to set it all up again.
Despite the fact that I was so nervous about committing to a plan for our yard, I truly am so glad we took the plunge, and I plan to spend as much time enjoying this outdoor living space as possible this season!
I would love to hear your thoughts on outdoor spaces and how you’ve made your yard an extension of your own home in the comments below!