I am so excited to have teamed up with a fantastic group of bloggers to take part in a summer outdoor living blog hop – what better opportunity to share our newly renovated backyard (and give you a peak at our Canadiana-themed front yard as well)! For those of you who are new to Red House Style, we moved into our home a year ago and have been working away at making it our own one project at a time (you can read about our adventures in removing popcorn ceiling on our main floor, renovating our living room, and designing a hockey bedroom for our son if you have some time)!
However, for the last three months, we have been tackling some of the major exterior projects. This started with a new roof in the Spring (no photos required – so expensive, yet so boring) and the complete overhaul of our backyard.
With busy jobs and an active, hockey loving son, summer represents heavily guarded downtime for us so despite the hot mess we were facing when stepping out our back door, we opted to leave this project to the following Spring when we moved in and made our five year renovation plan.
We love to entertain and with every project, strive to create livable, yet stylish spaces. With that in mind, we set to work on designing our ideal backyard over the Fall, which you can read about here, and given the timeline we were working with (we knew the earliest we could begin would be May and were determined to finish by the last day of school at the end of June), sought a contractor to take on some of the more time consuming (and physically taxing) elements of the project.
Things officially kicked off mid May (thanks for nothing Mother Nature – not only were we behind schedule starting this project, but just to make sure I hadn’t forgotten who was in charge, my “after photos” below include the aftermath of a sudden downpour mid-shoot!).
As a reminder, here’s a look at the backyard when we moved in:
Disaster, am I right? Would you believe that we bought this house from a landscaper? I can only assume he came home exhausted each day and had no time or energy left to tend to his own yard…
First things first, we tore down the existing deck, leaving the frame and joists as they were still in good condition and we were happy with the current size of the deck. We then added larger posts, allowing for a tin roof that not only provides shelter from the sun, but amazing acoustics when it rains (which, as noted above, is every day)!
The finishing touch was a new set of stairs the full width of the deck (providing additional seating for larger get togethers) and gorgeous railing (perfect for hang-drying smelly hockey gear)!
Once all that was complete, we could bring back our patio table (which I had hoped to replace this year but as with all renovations, ours went a bit over budget, causing me to really prioritize the accessories wish list)!
With the deck taken care of, our contractor took on the task of removing all the overgrown shrubs, tearing out the mountain of weeds, adding window wells for our basement windows, and regrading and sodding the yard.
After that, we installed patio stone at the base of our stairs, allowing for a space to lounge and entertain. I had so much fun shopping for the perfect furniture and plan to continue accessorizing over the summer months!
In our initial plan, we intended to add a cedar hedge across the back of the property however once everything was removed, we discovered just how large the space was (well, large for suburbia) and we really didn’t want to do anything that would take away from that. We took a few days to give it some thought and instead decided to create an area along the back with some river rock (which tied in with the river rock we were adding on either side of the house and in the window wells).
We are so thrilled with how the space has turned out! While we didn’t quite finish by our self-imposed deadline (we still need to finish the underside of the roof, install the lighting that I haven’t been able to decide on yet, and plant some trees and shrubs in the river rock along the back), we are really happy with how everything has come together. The best part is that we are able to have both a dining and a lounging space with loads of open grass leftover (which my son tells me will soon have some soccer nets). We can’t wait to spend some time together enjoying the result of our hard work over the last few weeks!
But don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about our peak at the front! While this doesn’t even begin to compare to the backyard overhaul, we did a quick facelift on the front of the house to help with the curb appeal when we moved in (which you can read about here). While I am not really a red and white girl when it comes to décor (or clothing for that matter – I haven’t lived down recently purchasing a gray t-shirt with a gray maple leaf to mark our country’s big day!), I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add a little Canadian flair to help ring in our country’s 150th this year! With some red and white flowers, some strategically placed flags and a cute throw pillow, the front of our house shows that we are ready to party on July 1st!
And that brings me to the end of our tour – I hope you’ve enjoyed what we’ve done so far and will stay tuned to see what we add over the summer and what we’ve got in store for next year (hello new fence!). We also will be moving back inside over the Fall and Winter for our next few projects.
In the meantime, there are eight more fantastic spaces for you to look at on our tour!