Take back your back­yard

TV handy­man Chris Palmer shares an in­dus­try se­cret or two on how to en­hance your out­door space

Thornhill Post - - Homes - CHRIS PALMER Chris Palmer is a reg­u­lar guest ex­pert on the Global Morn­ing Show and is the owner of Hand­crafted by Chris Palmer.

With ur­ban neigh­bour­hoods get­ting denser, back­yard pri­vacy is be­com­ing more im­por­tant and harder to achieve for home­own­ers. The good news is there are easy so­lu­tions to en­hance back­yard pri­vacy.

Plants: Re­gard­less of whether you’re work­ing with a large ur­ban back­yard or a smaller down­town plot, adding some low­main­te­nance green­ery can op­ti­mize pri­vacy, while adding some vis­ual ap­peal. Al­ter­na­tively, you can plant tall grass in raised planters, which cre­ate a nice blind while al­low­ing the wind to pass through eas­ily.

If green­ery isn’t enough, buy fast-grow­ing trees that work with your back­yard lo­ca­tion, which can of­fer pri­vacy and shade. You can also use shade canopies for ex­tra cov­er­age as they can mount to three sta­tion­ary points to cre­ate a great UV blocker.

Per­go­las: Over­head pri­vacy struc­tures and per­go­las pro­vide end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties to add style, pri­vacy and shade to your back­yard. It’s a great out­door in­vest­ment that also in­creases the value of your prop­erty much like a deck would. It also cre­ates the sense of an out­door room, fram­ing the space and mak­ing it more invit­ing since it gives you a lit­tle more pri­vacy.

To add per­son­al­ity, plant climb­ing vines to grad­u­ally col­o­nize the struc­ture for a nat­u­ral, sooth­ing canopy. And try trail­ing fash­ion­able vin­tage lights or lanterns to bring a touch of the in­doors out­side.

Hor­i­zon­tal pri­vacy: Hor­i­zon­tal or wo­ven pri­vacy screens are also a great es­thetic ad­di­tion that can help cre­ate that sepa­ra­tion in your back­yard from neigh­bours. They also pro­vide seclu­sion and a cool lounge feel to any out­door space.

Many of my clients are look­ing to build more sus­tain­ably and are more aware of the eco­log­i­cal im­pact of cer­tain ma­te­ri­als.

An in­dus­try se­cret is Mi­croPro Si­enna, which is an eco-friendly pres­sure-treated wood that’s af­ford­able and only about half the price of cedar. I al­ways re­mind my clients to pro­tect their out­door in­vest­ments: once your Si­enna project is com­plete, ap­ply a wa­ter re­pel­lent fin­ish to pro­tect the wood.

Up­cy­cling: I’m a big fan of trans­form­ing un­wanted old fur­ni­ture or doors into unique out­door ac­cents. You can eas­ily make over a vin­tage door into a pri­vacy wall to add a per­sonal and vin­tage touch. A fun and af­ford­able project that also re­duces our car­bon foot­print!

Fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories: Brighten up shady cor­ners with vivid jewel tones, shades and vi­brant pat­terns. If your back­yard feels like you’re on va­ca­tion, then ev­ery time you step out­side will be as in­vig­o­rat­ing as a hol­i­day. Feel re­freshed with sun­shine yel­low bistro chairs, bright blue ac­ces­sories and mod­ern white ta­bles to en­ter­tain your fam­ily and friends be­hind colour­ful, multi-task­ing pri­vacy cur­tains. With sum­mer heat­ing up, pri­vacy cur­tains add some much-needed shade to your beau­ti­ful back­yard space, mak­ing it the ideal place to cool down and re­lax this sum­mer.

L-R: A back­yard porch with hor­i­zon­tal pri­vacy; Chris Palmer

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