Our Outdoor Oasis: Creating an backyard living space

outdoor living space

Our Outdoor Oasis: Creating an backyard living space

This summer we recently created an outdoor oasis. We did not have a backyard living space on our radar at all! When all of our travel plans came to a screeching halt, we decided to invest in our backyard to make it an outdoor oasis.

Backyard Living Space

Even though this is my own project, I treated this like any interior space. I evaluated what we had, what we felt was missing, how we used our current space, and what our wishes were. I came up with the following:

  • A nice sized tiered deck. Even though it was nice, I hated the fact that it was always myself who needed to stain and re-stain the wood.
  • We have a great pie-shape backyard.
  • I felt we were lacking landscaping/flowers/bushes/trees, etc.
  • We were not utilizing the full potential of where the sun hits our backyard.

As Is

As with any interior space, I always start with the ‘As Is’. What the situation currently looks like. This is what our yard used to look like:

Our backyard with our old deck prior to removal.

The side entry of our home where my grandma’s peonies were growing.

Our tiny, tiny back corner flower bed. See….you can barely see it!

Our other little tiny flower garden with my grandmother’s ferns along with our coveted apple tree. Yes…just 1 tree in our old yard.

I wrote about the plans for our backyard living space in May when we were planning it all out, which you can read.

The Process

We hired a landscaping company to tackle on this project for us. The Mister kept on saying,

We can do this. We’re handy.

And I kept responding (after many years of staining the deck by myself), that we were far too busy with our own careers to take on a project this size AND get it done to enjoy it this summer. In the end, he caved and we hired CityScape Landscaping.

CityScape Landscaping came to me via a referral. I find that since my business is 90% referrals, I wanted to go with a company who came highly regarded by people who have actually used them.

When we first met Ramo, he came with many ideas as well. While he didn’t know me yet, he was about to find out that I don’t do anything unplanned or thought through.

I showed him my conceptual design and our wishes for particular zones.

outdoor living space

In our new space there was going to be:

  • A seating area just off the kitchen sliding patio door.
  • A lounge space for our sectional and outdoor fire table.
  • Lounging area
  • Dining area

While You’re At It

I may have said this phrase at least a thousand times to clients. It is so true. During a renovation, the most expensive words in a renovation are,

While you’re at it…

This held true to our project. Some of the areas were:

  1. Our cement sidewalk was starting to slope into our house instead of away from our home. As such, we decided to get that work done as well.
  2. Since we were going to do a nice, new sidewalk, we decided that a good ‘starting point’ for that would be closer to the front of our home. So…we added on the front porch area as well.
  3. There was some extra labour work needed to prepare for our new pavers that were to be installed for our sidewalk.
  4. In our original quote, we had 10 exterior lights however, while we were at it, we decided to go full bore on the lights and add on 18 more.
  5. We chose a composite deck material that was a bit more money than what was originally quoted (which was DuraDeck).

backyard living space
Our old sidewalk being removed to get ready for the new pavers.

The Reveal

After almost a full month in June, our backyard oasis is almost complete. I have some new cushions being made for our chairs, we have some work to do with our irrigation system, but for the most part, we.are.done!

The view, at dusk, looking into our front corner (the gate leading to the front yard) | Sheri Bruneau, Designer

The view from the back corner, looking at our new living space. | Sheri Bruneau, Designer

Lounge chair close up | Sheri Bruneau, Designer

Hanging flower baskets from our backyard oasis. | Sheri Bruneau, Designer

backyard living space
Although our TV table just arrived, we made sure to include a space for our outdoor TV to watch the various summer sporting events as well as the occasional movie at night. | Sheri Bruneau, Designer

I put together this little video to give you a better feel as to what our outdoor living looks like.

While there is still room for a pool that the Mister so badly wishes for, that will have to wait for another time.

I have a few more things to complete our backyard oasis, such as some area rugs and some more decor items, but for the most part, it is all done!

Since our project has been complete, my family has enjoyed using the space, eating outdoors, and gaining a new space that we will use for many years to come.


As I mentioned above, I need to finish off our space with a few more items. I’ve pulled together some things that I have my eye on that I know would be great for our space.

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