Yard of the Week: Room for Swimming, Lounging and Entertaining

Photos by Effie Edits

Yard at a Glance
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Size: 3,700 square feet (344 square meters)
Who lives here: A family with children
Designer and builder: Pro-Land Landscape Construction

The design team incorporated a lot of the existing backyard features into the new design. “Because they didn’t really have a lot of usable space around the pool — the interlock paving was really tight and was more of a walking path — they didn’t really have a usable lounge space at all,” says landscape designer Nicole Porco. “We wanted to square things off and modernize it for them.”

They added a hot tub to the back corner of the property adjacent to the existing pool to fill what used to be wasted space. “It was going to be a daybed space, but when they talked about wanting a water feature, we brought up the idea of having a spill-over hot tub,” Porco says. “The water sounds are really nice.”

The revamped outdoor space also includes laser-cut privacy fences from Ikonik around the pool and on the deck for consistency. “The homeowners are higher up than everyone around them, with a lot of properties backing onto theirs, so these added some filtered privacy,” Porco says.

With their pattern on top and solid base, the screens prevent the space from having a boxed-in feel. “At the bottom, they’re full privacy, and at the top, there’s a filtered pattern,” Porco says.

Adding to the homeowners’ existing trees, Porco’s team planted some ‘Fastigata’ European hornbeam trees (Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’), and lilac shrubs that will eventually grow tall enough to cover the whole fence line. ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’) provides soft texture between each privacy screen.

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Porco’s team installed interlocking pavers around the pool deck and throughout the space, breaking things up with a transitional border to add interest.

The homeowners wanted a dedicated spot for a gas fire pit they had already purchased, so Porco tucked the seating area into the natural corner of the pie-shaped lot. “It worked perfectly there,” she says. “I like how cozy the fire pit feels.”

This corner of the yard is shady, so the team planted hydrangeas, rhododendrons and hostas to fill in around the mature pine trees. “They like mostly white and green, and these plants will give them pops of white at different times,” Porco says.

For the new upper deck, Porco chose Trex composite decking in Island Mist, so the homeowners would have zero maintenance to do. “We did framed glass railings so we’re not cutting the view off as much; it makes things feel lighter,” she says.

They reused the homeowners’ existing steel staircase, relocating it so the pool isn’t blocked off for guests entering the yard.

The team closed part of the area under the deck to provide storage space for pool toys and other outdoor gear. To make sure the deck didn’t feel too overwhelming, they left some space underneath open and created a bonus clubhouse area for the homeowners’ children to hang out in.

The original deck had stopped at the edge of the house. The crew extended the deck past the house by about 10 feet to give the homeowners extra seating plus a lounging area under a covered pergola. “That let them do a longer, thinner dining table and still have room for the outdoor kitchen and the couch,” Porco says. The team worked with the existing deck frame. “We just expanded it,” she says.

The hand-cranked SunLouvre pergola can stay open on nice days or be closed when it rains. “The top louvers close, and then it becomes waterproof; it allows in as much or as little light as they want,” the designer says.

The pergola also features its own lighting and heating elements, extending its use into fall or on colder evenings.

The homeowners didn’t want a huge outdoor kitchen, and Porco wanted to be sure there was still plenty of access down to the stairs. To make the space work, they nestled the clients’ existing stand-alone barbecue into a corner of the deck and added some prep and serving space, plus a built-in fridge.

They added the same privacy screens used near the pool and along one edge of the covered lounge space. “When you’re standing at the barbecue or sitting at the dining table, it doesn’t feel like you’re staring at all the houses around you,” Porco says.

A new pathway of armor stone leads from the driveway down to the yard, bridging the grade differences between the front and backyard.

“We planted some hakone grasses [Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’], hostas and hydrangeas so that they’ll eventually get some height and color along the fence line,” Porco says. “And there’s a wood privacy screen at the back so that they can tuck their recycling and garbage bins away.”

To create better flow throughout their pie-shaped lot, which included an irregular-shaped pool, a family in Mississauga, Ontario, turned to Pro-Land Landscape Construction for help. The existing yard felt cramped and didn’t suit the family’s style. As part of the redesign, the family wanted a low-maintenance garden and a larger upper deck for dining and entertaining.

This content was originally published here.

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