Outdoor Spaces

When the snow finally melts, homeowners across the province will celebrate springtime by kicking it into high gear and creating beautiful, functional outdoor spaces.

Maurice Meagher, the owner of Archadeck, says most outdoor living spaces can deliver a solid return on investment that’s consistent with that of kitchens and bathrooms.

“A well-built project can add a lot of value, if it’s done right,” says Meagher. “You could expect anywhere from 85 per cent to 120 per cent return.”

At the Real Home Show, Archadeck will be showing homeowners examples of new stonework, low-maintenance decking and railing, as well as outdoor lighting.

“We find we’re doing a lot of combination projects, where people are incorporating new decks with patios and fire pits,” says Meagher.

Fire pits continue to be extremely popular in backyards around Atlantic Canada, and Meagher says homeowners are also still focused on creating different “zones.”

“They want to have different functional spaces, like an area to grill, an area for entertainment,” explains Meagher.

Meagher says Real Home Show attendees are usually interested in the different materials that are available for deck products, and what might be best for their space.

“There’s a pretty wide range of materials available – different types of wood, manufactured and low-maintenance decking products, as well as aluminum railings,” says Meagher.

Before tackling an outdoor makeover, Meagher says homeowners should sit down and think about how they plan to use the space – and how much they want to spend on the project.

“Once you decide on a budget, you can bring in someone with experience to come out and show you what could be done to complement your home.”

One of the best ways to boost the value of your home is by adding a sunroom that can be enjoyed most days of the day – flooding the indoors with light and a feel of openness.

Andrew Delorey, owner of Patio Screen Room, says this year Sunspace Sunrooms is introducing a new hybrid roof to the market – and he expects it will be a top-seller. It’s half solid and half acrylic, so there’s no more need for skylights.

Patio Screen Room’s best-selling sunroom continues to be Sunspace’s 200 Series – a three-season room using Weather Master window and door systems – that gives homeowners the open feeling of a screen home and the comfort of an enclosed porch. Most importantly, it’s up to the task of keeping out the ice, snow, and driving rain that we can’t avoid in Nova Scotia.

“These doors are Canadian-designed and Canadian-made, and they were originally designed for the Florida market to withstand their hurricane seasons,” says Delorey. “My mom always loved the Cabot Trail, and I can still hear her say ‘That’s where the trees grow sideways.’”

Despite our vicious winter, Delorey says they’re selling more and more of Sunspace’s 400 Series – which allows homeowners to enjoy the beauty of their properties for all four seasons. However, because the room is 90 per cent glass, it requires a significant amount of heat to keep it cozy during the winter months.

Kevin McGinnis, Manager of Innovation and Product Selection at Shaw Brick, says year after year, more homeowners are realizing that creating outdoor spaces can improve their property values – as well as boost their own enjoyment of their yard.

“It’s all about expanding inside to outside, and creating bar areas, BBQ areas, fire pit areas – all of which are getting more and more elaborate,” says McGinnis. “A BBQ station might have a sit-down table area, with a pergola covering and even a TV.”

McGinnis says weather-resistant televisions – which are enclosed in an exterior that repels rain, snow, and dirt – are growing in popularity as homeowners continue to increase their outdoor comfort.

“We’re seeing a lot more interest in outdoor kitchen stations near the BBQ,” says McGinnis, who says they also use fibreglass boxes surrounded by stone to create beautiful fireplaces for roasting hot dogs and making S’mores.

At the Real Home Show, they’ll be showcasing their best-selling masonry products like clay brick and lightweight veneers.

“Homeowners often have a lot of questions about the different styles of pavers and what’s required to put underneath a walkway, compared to a driveway,” says McGinnis. “We’re here to show them their options, and explain what’s involved.”

“It’s been a hard winter and we’ve had so much snow, so people are very anxious to get past it,” says McGinnis. “The earlier spring comes, the better.”

Heather Laura Clarke

Heather Laura Clarke

Heather Laura Clarke is a freelance journalist whose work regularly appears in many Atlantic Canadian newspapers and magazines, including The Chronicle Herald, Metro, Hub Now, Business Voice, Dugger's, Progress, East Coast Living, Bedford Magazine, and Southender Magazine. She also has several corporate clients.