We recently completed a redesign of the backyard in our home and I discovered how much fun it was to take my design skills outdoors.

Over the next few days, I will be posting more photos and sharing what we learned during the process. Please use the comment section if you have any questions or need further information!


The backyard has great southern exposure, some water views and privacy provided by surrounding trees and hedges.  It is bordered on the east side by a creek.  The goals were to increase the deck space for dining and lounge furniture; remove the old trampoline and hot tub (which as it turned out had been home to a family of rats for quite some time – ugh!); level the lower garden area and create a suitable space for bocce; incorporate a vegetable garden with raised planters; and install irrigation and lighting.


We had felt it important both from a budgeting and environmental perspective to reuse existing materials where possible, particularly the concrete pavers and planters, to use low water/drought resistant plants, and select low maintenance, durable materials.  We also needed a cohesive colour and texture palette that would connect with the rest of the property and the materials that we were not going to change.

Our challenges were that the grade was steeper than initially thought so more concrete walls were required, adding to cost.  We also discovered that the footings supporting the old deck were not actually sunk below grade and the existing deck was slowly slipping into the neighbouring creek!  Deck framing now needed to be completely rebuilt and new footings dug and poured.  That also meant that the existing built-in bbq sitting on the deck would have to be removed and rebuilt, adding even more cost.


In order to recoup some of the extra expenditure, I was able to come up with a design that incorporated the existing deck pavers – and the extra pieces we needed were reasonably priced.  I worked with the landscapers to reduce the more costly concrete walls and use instead wood retaining walls in the vegetable area.  Rather than removing existing steps and re-installing, so that they met the new lower grade, we decided to slope up the vegetable garden area to the existing steps.  This was more economical and the sloped planters had better drainage.

Part two: Colour palette” will be posted soon!