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Creating Your Backyard Oasis

Many of our readers have recently moved into a new home and have begun putting their touches of personality inside the home, and now is the season for customizing the yard to fit your family’s needs and desires. Like many homeowners in the Calgary area, we have a smaller suburb backyard space, which requires a different take on landscaping and design to make the most of the space. We would like to share our experience with revamping our yard with hopes to help you make the most of your outdoor area and to enjoy the space!

Step One – MAKE A WISHLIST: Consider your space and the needs for your family’s yard. We divided ours into a ‘must have list’ and a ‘would be nice’ list. We considered those who use the yard (largely our young kids and our dog) and realized we needed to make it more kid-friendly and maintenance free.

Example, for our backyard we had this wishlist:
‘Must Have’: trees, garden boxes, playhouse, deck, BBQ space, space for dog & grass area for playing.

‘Would be nice’: privacy, ease of maintenance, fire pit, sandbox & second sitting area.

Step Two – TAKE INVENTORY: Measure spaces, size of current structures, furniture, BBQ, etc… Determine which items you love and want to keep, and which areas/items you would like to replace.

Step Three – GET INSPIRED: We searched for inspiration on Pintrest, and shopped the local hardware stores to see the different materials available. We took about a month to plan out the backyard, often I (Veronica) have a hard time visualizing how new elements would look and chew on it for awhile. After we figured out the general design we did measurements and wrote down a shopping list for the wood, plants, and materials needed.

Step Four – THE WORK BEGINS: Remove unwanted elements. We had to remove old planter boxes, rhubarb, rocks, grass turf and a play structure. It was tricky to work in the space we had as we were reusing the rocks and dirt, so we ended up moving a lot of rocks and dirt out of the way temporarily storing it creatively to avoid killing the grass.

Step Five – BUILD: For us, this is the fun part -where you can start to visually see it all come together. It is always the most rewarding part, in my opinion.

Step Six – ENJOY: Celebrate by catching some sun rays and taking in the new view!

Here is our after picture, we now enjoy having the garden boxes raised (the dog no longer goes in them!) and artificial turf under the kids play house. We will continue to do tweaks over time, though we were able to create a more enjoyable space for our family, and hope you can too!

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