Outdoor Spaces

There’s no time like the present, especially when you are planning your home’s new or improved outdoor spaces. The Real Home Show is a great time to talk to various outdoor contractors, designers and product manufacturers/suppliers and make concrete decisions.

“We get booked up pretty quick and we’re booking already for the spring,” shares Brian Johnston, co-owner of the NSHBA Peak Award-winning company, All-Craft Decks & Sunrooms. “The summer have here in Nova Scotia is short, so you want to take advantage of it as much as possible. You should have a conversation with a builder, such as myself, in February or March, not April or May, because if you wait until late Spring, you’re not going to get it built until July. Then we’d be occupying your space and cutting into your time building your project that you could otherwise be enjoying while outdoors.”

Maurice Meagher, owner of Archadeck Nova Scotia, says planning ahead is ideal as many outdoor space projects involve preliminary work, like creating designs or applying for permits. This is especially the case with combination projects or the ‘outdoor living room’ that has become ever more popular in the last six to eight years, he says.

“Our services have become more robust where we’re designing decks, patios, retaining walls, sunrooms, outdoor kitchens, lighting, fire features… so the projects have more of a design component and require multiple trades and different skills. They’re just getting more and more interesting,”

says Meagher, whose company does work around HRM and various places throughout the province. “Regardless of the size of the project, people seem to be taking a lot more care and looking at it from a different perspective. Rather than asking for just a deck or a patio, they’re looking at all the elements, whereas I don’t think the mindset was that way a few years ago.”

At the Real Home Show, Meagher says Archadeck will be showcasing information on the various projects they’ve created as well as advice for those looking to building various kinds of spaces, from firepits to sunrooms. They will also have visual displays and materials on hand, such as decking and railings.

“In the last year-and-a-half, I would say there are a lot more contemporary styles being used in railing,” notes Meagher. “Even designs in decking and layout are getting a lot more sleeker and modern looking.”

Kevin McGinnis from Shaw Brick will also be at the Real Home Show. McGinnis travels to various major shows outside Atlantic Canada as well, like Hardscape North America in Louisville Kentucky and the Landscape Ontario Congress in Toronto, so he gains a real sense of what’s hot in the masonry and landscape product worlds.

“One masonry trend I’ve also observed is bringing the outside inside, meaning exterior light weight veneers – natural or manufactured stones – that are on the house facade, being brought inside to accent around fireplaces, bar areas, wine cellars, or kitchen backsplashes,” McGinnis shares. “Another is the use of natural stone tiles that give the look and feel of a garden path or outside sitting area inside. I think it’s about the calming feeling that natural stone brings.”

Every year Shaw Bricks introduces new materials while continuing to produce the same clay bricks characteristic of the company’s 150-year-old heritage. At the Real Home Show, Shaw will focus
on showcasing their masonry products, although representatives will be able to answer questions you may have about their outdoor landscaping products as well.

“Some of the things we’ll have at the Real Home Show are installed clay brick, installed manufactured products that mimic natural stone…” says McGinnis. “We’ll also have on display panel systems that are thin veneers where people who are looking at renovating their homes can use a thin veneer versus a full-bed masonry.”

Johnston adds that All-Craft, which has built some projects for Paul Lafrance, host of HGTV’s Decked Out, will be showcasing a vast portfolio at the Real Home Show of their very own creations they’ve designed and built, and can discuss various outdoor space options with visitors to their booth. “Take advantage of getting into the

Home Show because it’s an early event,” says Johnston. “If you have ideas or you have something you want to talk to a professional about, you have the perfect opportunity to speak with experienced builders, contractors and designers, who will all be at the show.”

Michelle Brunet

Michelle Brunet

Michelle Brunet is a freelance writer based in her hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has had the pleasure of contributing to various publications and websites, including Celtic Life International, Halifax Magazine, The Coast, Bedford Magazine, Resources Quarterly, Atlantic Books Today, up! magazine and My Destination Nova Scotia