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  • Neyir Urminsky

Saving our backyard!

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

I love to eat outside, I love to sit on a deck, or a patio, drink in hand & just be. I adore mornings spent with a hot cup of coffee or tea in the fresh air contemplating life. And my morning yoga outside? Well there isn’t a better way to start the day in my opinion. So for this year's One Room Challenge, ORC, I am finally tackling this monstrosity pictured below!

The ORC is a wonderful event that anyone can participate in, the challenge lies in completing a space within 8 weeks. Please be sure to check out the other guest participants. This is my third time jumping in and I am super excited. See my previous projects here; A boys room for 3, Family friendly beautiful vestibule.

The very before shot!

Growing up I have so many fond memories of being outside with my family for dinner, my Dad BBQing, me setting the table and making sides, my mom sorting out the drinks and all of us, often joined by others, just enjoying time together. Years later as we added one, then two, then four boys to our family I cherished the opportunities to socialise outside where my active, bouncy children could move at will, flit off & play, then come back for a bite or two of nourishment. Or let’s be honest, see who could hold off on eating entirely until the requisite dessert arrived!


My childhood backyard

Enter our present house, our wonderful, bright, high-ceilinged city house with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, enough space for our family of 6 & dedicated space for my mom to live with us full time. I knew that first snowy, cold morning, (the power had been turned off in the then unoccupied house) that this house had everything we needed but that the ‘deck’ was going to be an issue. It runs about ⅔ the length of the house at 26 feet but is only 5 ½ feet deep. It was never going to fit a table that would accommodate all 7 of us, not to mention make it impossible to invite anyone to eat with us. My visions of sharing our backyard with lots of kids and families as we had done in our last home were seriously challenged. The backyard was also severely overgrown, home to a defunct trampoline (now thankfully gone) and a large stump from a large fallen tree that had taken out the previously mentioned trampoline. But at that point the backyard was simply relegated to the house list of ‘tomorrow problems’. Spoiler, the kitchen is also on that list! But in any case, the backyard was an issue I was sure I could solve!


Long & narrow at 26x5.5 feet. Shoes for scale ;-)

So we moved in, discovering along the way both that the deck needed a lot of work (spy that missing board, it's off-limits to kids at the mo, safety first!) & that the stairs were too steep & not at all in a convenient spot! Now that may have something to do with the fact that I blocked the door from the kitchen to the deck with a buffet but that is a different post and frankly different project all together. Also soon after we moved in, less than a year in fact we were all in lockdown together. So the spring of 2020 I threw all my visions and plans out the window, bought what was the largest and likely last trampoline in Canada, put up some raised garden boxes for us to grow vegetables and called it temporarily done/fixed/good/enough….entertainment for the kids!


Spring 2022

But as the snow started to thaw this spring I realised that I could NOT go another summer looking through the kitchen & playroom windows (both of which are visually blocked - but we will get to that) at that yard! It was time to start instituting the plans. David and I had had lengthy conversations, we looked at building a new and frankly very large deck, we looked at laying a large interlocking brick patio, we looked at many, many options and considered what was right for us. All of these options, pros and cons, I’ll be covering in a later post. In the end we landed on the idea of a patio and determined that it would be about 20 feet square. And in words that I may have repeated back to him on many occasions, David said to me ‘we can do this ourselves!’. And so we will and have...

The truth is that this, as a DIY is doable, but not a fast project, and I got going on it back in the spring. David was at the time working and studying full time so wasn’t able to help out much until the end of July (see why I’ve repeated the ‘we can do it ourselves’ sentiment back to him!). So the first few weeks of posts will be work that happened this past spring & summer. Having said that the project is ongoing and I am determined that it will be 100% done before the snow falls!


So here’s the pretty stuff. This is my mood board for where we will end up. There are a lot of elements to tackle, not to mention digging 7 inches down over 20ft square! Follow along to see all the details and how it all turns out. We’ll be heading to France for much of the inspo and by the end we’ll all be relaxing on a provincial inspired patio. A la semaine prochaine mes amis!






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