Lifestyle and Living

Extend the Seasons with Totally Livable Outdoor Spaces

May 2023 | By Catherine Daley

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

Charles Dickens

It’s that time of year, when the odd double-digit day teases us with a warming sense of spring and summer, and we yearn to be outside.

As Canadians we tend to pride ourselves on a tougher constitution, but with outside heaters, fireplaces and bonfires we can extend patio season year-round.

Breathe Deep and Start Planning Now

After months of being stuck inside, and relying on streamed television programs for entertainment, you can finally spread your wings and plan for social occasions in the comfort of your own extended living space. 

Step outside, and then step aside from your outdated vision of what your yard currently looks like, and imagine what it might become. How about an outdoor kitchen with all of the bells and whistles, including a pizza oven, a professional grill and a cocktail station? Now glance over your shoulder. Beyond a large patio table, friends are sitting in front of a warming fire-pit on padded chairs that just might be more comfortable than your indoor living room furniture. The kids are running around and getting some long-overdue exercise, and the pallor of everyone’s skin seems to have a healthier glow.

An image of an outdoor table, set up with glasses and plates.Tablescaping for Maximum Effect

It’s a popular holiday-inspired image – a long table set to perfection with colourful pottery, woven placemats, patterned runners and cloth napkins. In your imagination you might be overlooking the Amalfi Coast and surrounded by olive trees. The oil from those olives and fresh balsamic vinegar are available in hand-made decanters to drizzle on your plate before you rip off a piece of fresh baguette.

No Need to Worry About Inclement Weather

While we all prefer sunny skies, a light breeze and comfortable temperatures, you don’t need to be a fair-weather friend to enjoy your outside space. Similar to designing an interior layout, consider different zones for different activities. You may want a shaded area for those extra-hot days, and a sheltered area for when the wind is too blustery. 

Have you ever sat on a covered porch during a thunderstorm? Or inhaled the earthy scent of rain as it hits a freshly tilled garden or splashes on parched grass at the end of summer? Not only is the sound of rain a much-needed tonic, but when you can witness nature’s whims in an outdoor shelter, it enhances the overall experience.

An image of a patio surrounded by plants and a garden.A connection to nature is crucial for your well-being, and those trees and green spaces have a positive effect on your mental health. As a natural extension of your living space, your own backyard offers up so many possibilities. When you live in a climate with a variety of seasons, that space should also be adaptable so that you can enjoy it all year long. 

Over the past couple of years, we haven’t been travelling or eating out as much. That entertainment budget could be redirected to updating your property for a significant return on your investment. Treat yourself to a more-extensive home environment that addresses all of your retreat-like dreams. When you have time off, you shouldn’t want to leave home for maximum enjoyment. You can capture that vacation-like feeling with a bit of imagination and a commitment to living your best life.

10 No-Nonsense Reasons for Getting Outside

  1. Fresh air
  2. An alfresco environment that is welcoming to others
  3. A changing palette of colours from the renewed greens of spring, to the reds and yellows of autumn
  4. The ability to interact with others while maintaining social distancing
  5. Space to do what you want to do
  6. Breaking free of routine and finding the smallest reason to celebrate
  7. Creating spaces that are naturally restorative
  8. Where kids can be kids, and you don’t have to worry about spilt drinks and messy projects
  9. An enhanced perspective of the world around you
  10.  A healthier alternative to being stuck inside