We are so fortunate that in our profession we have the chance to visit some beautiful homes here in the Okanagan. One of the trends we have noticed in the last couple of years is how far decks have come in terms of decoration and use! Gone are the days of grabbing your fold up lawn chair and opening a can of beer to watch the sunset; if you were lucky you might have a hot tub. Today, homeowners are installing wonderful deckscapes (is that a word? it is now!) that include kitchens, entertaining centres, gas fire pits, misters & more. So let’s take a look at how you can make your outdoor entertaining space into your own private oasis. After all, we do live in the best part of Canada, don’t we and Summer is what’s it’s all about on the deck.
- Level With Me!
Let’s talk levels. If you have a couple of different levels on your deck then it gives the illusion of separate rooms. You can have one area for dining and another for lounging. Adding wide stairs down to the backyard is also inviting people to your garden in a seamless transition. As well, having storage under a higher deck keeps all those items out of view that you want to hide while you are entertaining. Everyone loves more storage space, don’t they?
Okay, so the days on pulling out those old metal, webbing chairs are over. You know, the kind that collapse while your Uncle, who’s had a few too many, tries to sit down or get up! Today there are so many options to choose from it can be difficult. First, decide on your style or the look you are going for. Next, consider comfort and finally you should be thinking of your budget. Shop around, be sure to look in the big box stores at this time of year as they have some great specials on. Visit the high end outdoor furniture stores for ideas and inspiration and they also may have some great deals with last seasons pieces. The displays are there for you to sit down and test drive the furniture, so make yourself at home and see what’s right for you. Often sets come with many different seating styles but don’t be afraid to mix and match for that eclectic look. Try incorporating what you already have with some new purchases. Buying neutral colours seems to be the trend and then adding pops of colour with accent cushions which you can change out from year to year. Most importantly, look for durability and waterproof fabric as well as comfort if your furniture is to withstand heavy use and weather.
Nothing sets the tone of a room more than lighting – that’s true indoors but let’s not forget about our outdoor living areas. You will want to create a relaxing, fun space especially if you do a lot of entertaining and if those parties continue after sundown! Best thing to remember is subtlety. You don’t want blaring floodlights shining in your guests eyes nor do you want your neighbours kept awake all night from fluorescent bulbs beaming into their houses. Subtle task lighting is great for around the barbecue and pool steps. Indirect lighting looks beautiful on trees or along structural features in the yard. Most of the home improvement stores have a wide range of lighting options to choose from. Durability is important as these lights will have to withstand the elements. You might also consider timers or daylight sensors to take the work out of having this great space look good in the dark.
4. Greenery Provides Privacy
We see these cedar trees everywhere for sale every Spring! What do people use them for? Most will buy several to create a green fence or border that they plant directly into the ground. But, if your deck needs some help with privacy, this can be a great way to incorporate some lushness as well as a feeling of not being on public display. Grab a couple of large pots & plant the arbor vitae into them, then line them up to create a privacy screen. – DONE! Don’t forget to keep them watered though. Also, you can use potted plants to create displays around the deck area or on the side of steps as in the photo above. Plant a herb container garden next to the barbecue to snip off herbs while grilling! Oh and a pot of mint for the Mojitos – see below!
5. Water & Sound
The sound of trickling water can transform your deck into a relaxing oasis that people love. Adding a water feature or fountain will punch your outdoor space up a notch! Again, outdoor stores, home improvement stores and most big box stores now carry an assortment of fountains powered by a recirculating pump. These are easy to install and bring instant wow factor to any outdoor area. Or you can create a soothing water garden in a nearby pond in the backyard. The important thing to remember is that you want to keep the sound of the water soothing not go for the roar of Niagara Falls on the deck; you will drown out any conversation – no pun intended, lol. Don’t forget your background music either! There are so many portable speakers around today that getting good tunes on the deck has never been easier.
A bright pop of colour on the deck is a great way to bring life to your setting! Rugs, pillows, lanterns, umbrellas all help to show off your style and creativity. Throw in a fire bowl and you have a place that you will not want to leave all summer long, night or day
Lastly, you will want to have good food and drinks for a lazy summer’s day or for that once a season big get together! Whatever the occasion make it special with something different to your everyday meals. Try our “Mojitos For a Crowd” recipe below so you can relax and enjoy yourself not be mixing cocktails all night!
We hope you found some of these tips helpful, thanks for reading, feel free to share with one and all and stay tuned to our blog page as we continue to explore what we love about living in the wonderful Okanagan! See you back here,
Shannon & Tamara
Mojitos For A Crowd!
- 1 bunch fresh mint, cleaned
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 lemons, juiced
- 4 limes, juiced
- Ice cubes
- 1 (750 ml bottle) light rum
- 1 liter club soda
In a large pitcher, muddle mint sprigs with sugar and lemon and lime juices until well combined. Add ice, rum and club soda and stir together. Pour into glasses, straining out mint. Enjoy!