Tag Archives: garden

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Is Landscaping Worth the Cost?

Homeowners once believed that having a pool in their backyard meant selling their homes faster and at the price they asked for. They were wrong. Others counted on their flower beds, patio and garden. Another disappointment. So, the landscape won’t make a difference either? Definitely not!

The landscape increases the value of a property, but very little compared with a kitchen or bathroom that is renovated pragmatically with modern materials and configured in a way to increase practicality. A roof and foundations in good condition, a basement designed with taste, and even multiple and efficient storage spaces will increase a property’s value more than the landscape.

You are selling your home. You are waiting for those first emails to come in or those first buyers to visit your home. If you were in their shoes, what would your first inquiries relate to? The landscape or the condition of the windows? The flower beds or the radon levels in the soil? The patio or the structure of the home? Continue reading

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Outdoor Renovations

May is certainly the best time to undertake outdoor renovations in the hopes of taking better advantage of the long summer evenings ahead. Here is general advice to create or renovate a recreational space, such as a patio, deck or garden.

Before building a deck, consider all the relevant factors. There are quite a few. Are you looking for more sunlight or more shade? What scenery would you like to see every day? Would it bother you if the neighbours could see in your backyard? Do you want the garden or the kid’s play area to connect with the deck? Would you rather have a deck close to the home or farther away?

Bricks, concrete blocks and terracotta tiles are the best materials for building a patio: they will give you the possibility to leave space to plant vegetation. That is what we call a green patio. Designing green spaces between hard material not only looks stylish, it also creates a cool oasis, however small it may be, for your recreational space during hot summer days.

Wood is a material that is accessible to everyone, or almost. Building a wooden pathway is relatively easy. As for a wooden deck, a handyman can eventually extend it every year by installing joists, if need be. Continue reading

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Peace on a patio

Patio is a Spanish word that means inner courtyard. Anyone who travels in the Caribbean, Spain or South America has already encountered these outdoor spaces, often covered, which run the length of house or direct people to the centre of the property.

In Quebec, patio means most outdoor structures: large gallery, big balcony, deck. In general, a patio is on the ground while a deck is raised above the ground.

To get a taste of the great outdoors, the patio is a great choice if you have a small budget or if the space is too narrow. Sometimes it’s just a simple set of steps or a staircase leading to the yard. You can place plants, flowers and decorative pots there.

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The great thing about patios is that you can set them up any way you want, thus the importance of determining its use before you start the work. Do you extend it to the bedroom so you can have your morning coffee or a candlelit breakfast? Do you extend it to the living room for the pleasure of a cocktail in the fresh air? Do you extend it to the kitchen to benefit from outdoor meals or to organize receptions?   Continue reading

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Why fight nature?

Nature has the frustrating habit of always wanting to spread on our land. It is invasive. Until recently, we fought it with lawnmowers, cutters and pesticides. But times have changed. More and more owners are letting nature spread. We are in the era of eco-friendly housing.

All owners can contribute to the fight for survival of the planet, not only by carefully choosing the materials for their home, but by taking their fight outdoors: greenery, garden, back yard, driveway and relaxation and reception area.

If you build a deck, a patio or other outdoor structure, whenever possible choose a material that doesn’t need any toxic agents for finishing or preservation purposes: solvent, stain, sealing product, etc. If not, make sure there’s very little.

Wood, stone, brick and even concrete are materials that co-exist very well with eco-friendly housing. Composite wood made of recycled plastic and wood fibres are not bad either. Because they are smaller structures, you have the ideal opportunity to opt for recycled materials. Continue reading

An efficient workspace

You’re sick of your home office. You’re often being bothered or your space is poorly structured. You decided to dedicate part of your vacation to renovating your workspace, or possibly even creating it if you have just joined the ranks of the self-employed.

The door to your office isn’t insulated enough? There is a draconian solution: take the office out of the house, which is something many people have done. Some have even renovated a room near the family home, even if it involved paying rent.

Why not convert the shed into a workspace? That was the solution for author Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory played by Johnny Depp in the movie) and Russian writer Anton Tchekhov, who set up a pavilion behind his property.

You could also use the garage. Some self-employed workers have also set up their offices there.

A less radical solution: build an outside door and cover the one that connects to the inside of the house.

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You have to expand the space between you and your family, your friends and your neighbours, who will not hesitate to travel the short distance to go and bother you.

If none of these ideas work for you, try the attic. It’s a space worth considering. Self-employed workers often take refuge in the basement. However, it’s harder to go upstairs than it is to go down. Your entourage will be less inclined to bother you.

If you want to keep your current office. Add a separation between you and your entourage. It could be a screen, a glass partition wall or even a bookshelf that covers the wall. The more massive it is, the more efficient it will be. Continue reading