Hidden at the back of a classic Glebe red-brick house floats a lofty urban cottage. The clever three-season room and deck, designed and constructed by Amsted Design Build, was built atop an existing one-storey extension, replacing a large cedar deck that the owners enjoyed but found difficult to maintain (it was also oppressively hot on sunny summer days).
To create a cottage vibe, Amsted owner Steve Barkhouse envisaged a room that was reminiscent of a rustic sunroom, with a folding glass door opening fully to the deck. Surrounded by white railings with glass panels, that deck seems to hover in the trees, offering views from on high. Taking into account the owners’ request for a maintenance-free existence, Barkhouse replaced the cedar with a composite deck.
Top Tip Really talk things through with your design-builder before you begin. Try to think long-term. How do you plan to use the space, and how maintenance-free do you want it to be?
This cozy, modern gathering spot garnered a national award of excellence for Welwyn Wong Landscape Design. No surprise that the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association recognized the beauty of this small space with a big impact. The fireside seating area appears sunken but is actually set at ground level, with four stone steps connecting it to an adjacent dining and barbecue area. Easy-to-maintain plantings add a touch of green, while soft lighting allows the area to be used day or night.
Top Tip If you’re building an infill house, plan the backyard landscaping before the foundation is poured. It is often impossible to move big equipment into the small space after the fact.
The beauty of living in a 1960s neighbourhood is the generous backyard. Here, the decision to add a 500-square-foot covered deck incorporating two seating areas and a barbecue and cooking station still leaves ample room for the swimming pool and garden. Herb Lagois, president of Lagois Design Build Renovate, explains that the cedar-lined canopy ensures the west-facing main deck doesn’t get too hot in the afternoon, while north- and south-facing skylights allow light to filter in throughout the day. Large patio doors connect the family’s kitchen to the deck, integrating the indoors and outdoors.
Top Tip Before you commit to building a deck, think about how you plan to use it. If you want a table and seating, you need to make sure there’s enough room to walk around — that there’s good flow and people don’t have to squeeze by the furniture.