When we were building our home, the backyard wasn't exactly a priority. I knew that I wanted a dreamy outdoor space, but that was about it. We planned the placement of the pool, we knew what the back porch would look like (which we ended up changing once we moved in), and I knew I wanted a pool house of some sort, but that was it. If I were to build all over again, I would definitely put more thought into the outdoor space pre-construction. Although there are a few regrets and things I would have done differently (I'll speak to this below), I'm still so in love with our backyard and how everything came together.
Our outdoor space is essentially divided into two areas, the back porch and the pool area. Let's start with the back porch.
The Back Porch
When we first built our home, our back porch had steps spanning the entire width of the porch. It looked beautiful but after living in the house a few weeks we realized that it wasn't functional. It made furniture placement a challenge, and it was also a hazard with our then 1 and 3 year olds. Our builder quickly came to the rescue and we built over a portion of the steps - it's the best thing we did! During this rebuild, we also added a gas fireplace and a built-in bbq.
The Fireplace & BBQ
The fireplace here is a dream come true. We can use it year-round, however it's typically in use from the Spring, well into the Fall season. The gas insert is the Heat & Glo Courtyard Outdoor Fireplace and it was purchased from The Fireplace Shop. I love that it has a slim frame, it looks like a real fireplace, and it also has tons of features, which allow you to customize the look. The fireplace surround is Indiana Buff limestone.
The BBQ itself is a Built-in 700 series Napoleon and the cabinets below the BBQ can be customized - we opted for a paper towel drawer, garbage and recycling as well as a cabinet for storage. The surround is finished in the same brick as our home, Wyndham Modular.
The Furniture & Decor
The furniture here is the Kopelin Sofa and Lounge Chair from Article (unfortunately my coupon code has expired). We've had it for two years now and we're very happy with it's quality. I will say that in early Spring, the pollen from the trees would build up on the slatted wood sides, however it was nothing a simple wipe with a wet cloth couldn't fix.
The coffee table (similar) isn't an outdoor table, but because it's a covered area it works well. Since it's a bit small for the space, I used poufs (similar 1 | 2) next to it and I love the way it looks! The poufs also serve as extra seating when needed. The rug we're also very happy with - durable, water resistant and easy to clean.
Most of the decor on our back porch is from The TKL Shop. I love using the Woven Tray on the coffee table! I accessorized it with the ruffle tea towel and added the infamous Aqua Pitcher and drinking glasses, which are a must when we're entertaining. The pillows are from The Bay, however they are no longer available.
We do have some space on the porch for a small dining table, however currently we're using it as a play area for the kids. For the current stage of life that we're in, this set up is ideal! We purchased outdoor storage baskets from HomeSense, which contain bubbles, and outdoor games, and keep the kids busy! The kids table and chairs is also from HomeSense.
The Pool Area
This section of our backyard it truly my happy place. We spend so much time here during the hot summer days and I couldn't be more grateful. As I mentioned earlier, the pool placement and the pool house/ cabana were something we knew we wanted before we began building. A girlfriend of mine had just built a similar cabana in her backyard, and I fell in LOVE, so naturally I used it as my inspiration.
There are two things I wish I did differently in this space - the landscaping by the back fence, and a bathroom in the cabana. The landscaping is something that I knew I wanted, but I thought we could do after the fact. Lesson learned - ask questions, because doing what we wanted to do here is now triple the cost! We opted for black planters, which I do like, however it's simply not the same. We're also having a difficult time with things growing in the planters, as they don't receive great sunlight. Our next step will be to plant ivy to cover the fence.
As for the bathroom, this was something that many people told me to include and I didn't think it was necessary. Although it's definitely a "nice-to-have" and not a "must-have"... it would be really nice to have LOL. Every time the kids jump into the pool, and come out seconds later to go pee, I give myself a nice little kick in the bum.
We are so fortunate to have handy friends, especially one's that can build cabanas LOL. Our friend built the structure using exterior MDF and we painted it Oxford White by Benjamin Moore. The cabana includes a covered area created for lounging, which includes a sectional, a TV and a mini fridge. The door leads to a small change room with shelving for storage. This is also where we store some of our outdoor furniture and accessories come the winter. At the side of the cabana you'll find an access door to all of our pool equipment. The countertop tile and the change room floor tile are leftover tile from our mudroom and it's from SS Tile & Stone.
Lastly, my favourite part of this space, the "Cabana Di Serpe" sign by Urban Playground Designs - how friggin cool is that? I love adding a personalized touch to every space and this sign specifically makes such an impact.
The most used part of our backyard! We always knew we wanted a pool in our backyard, but nothing too big, as we didn't want it to overpower the space. We opted for a 28' x 15' salt water pool, that is 3.5'- 5.5' deep. The size has worked perfectly for us, and we don't miss having a true "deep end" one bit. One of my favourite things about our pool, is the extra wide steps that span the width of the pool. The second step is also a bit deeper, which is perfect for young children to play, or for anyone to simply lounge on. We also have a foam installed underneath the liner on each step, which gives the steps a cushioned feel that feels amazing under your feet (highly recommend it!). Another feature that I love is the 3 deck jets that we installed on the side of the pool! They're such a fun feature, which is always a hit when we have company over.
The pool itself is powered by Omnilogic, which is so cool! Everything, from the heater to the deck jets, is controlled on our phones, which makes it super easy to operate.
The Furniture & Decor
I was particular when it came to selecting furniture for our pool area. I wanted something that was durable, affordable, and water resistant. For our loungers specifically, I didn't want anything with cushions, because I didn't want to be bothered with removing them anytime it rained. I'm very happy with the pool loungers we selected. We've had them for 2 years now, and they're good as new. They also don't get extremely hot in the sun, which was a concern of mine when purchasing black outdoor furniture. The umbrellas and bases are a new addition this year and they are SO pretty! I absolutely fell in love with the detail. They are chic, yet sturdy and they add a wow factor to the backyard.
The cabana sectional and coffee table are from the Tofino Collection at Canadian Tire, which is sadly being discontinued. I love that it could be customized to any size and configuration. The cushions are also double sided with different patterns, which is nice if you want to switch things up. The outdoor rocking chair is typically the first spot that everyone tries to steal, but I don't blame them because it's quite comfy! The rug beneath the cabana furniture and the side table are both a HomeSense find.
That wraps up our backyard tour! Although lengthy, I hope this post helps answer some of your frequently asked questions about our outdoor space. If I missed anything at all, let me know in the comments below.
Now back to lounging by the pool!