Seasons of Change
When it comes to creating the perfect outdoor cooking and entertaining space, a renovation renaissance is happening in Toronto’s backyards. Outdoor spaces are increasingly mirroring the indoors, and instead of a backyard being usable for a mere four months of the year, backyard grilling is happening through to the colder winter months.
Today, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to spend more than $40,000 to create their dream outdoor living spaces. From DCS Grills to fire pits and the perfect perennials to plant, here are Maciulis’ key 2018 trends to extend your outdoor living.
A Grill to Last
In the past, homeowners were often reluctant to invest in a grill that
would endure, opting instead for cheaper models that ultimately couldn’t outlast the seasons and definitely weren’t an entertainer’s showpiece.
This year, however, DCS released a game changer with its Series 9 model. The designers have thought of everything when it comes to functionality and performance; it’s effortless to use, beautiful to look at–and durable. From the range of foods it can cook, through to lighting and racking for easy use, this Series 9 grill will take your outdoor cooking to the next level.
“When I got my DCS Grill I was excited about the Hybrid Infrared Burner that is great for searing meat. There’s currently a trend for grilling bite-sized tapas and the DCS Series 9 is perfect for that,” says Maciulis.
While developing the Series 9 Grill, the designers delved into what people cooked mid-week compared to the weekend. Armed with this information, they
made sure that lighting was integrated in the right places. They also created a secondary cooking surface to ensure the cook has all the right tools to create the perfect meal.
A room outdoors
Often landscape designers in Toronto found clients were keen to turn their outdoor spaces into typical English country gardens, building on Canada’s heritage and linking back to Victorian gardens with their beautiful blooms and high maintenance.
However, there’s been an evolution that has seen these spaces move away from these traditional garden and more to a functional outdoor living area. In 100 outdoor area jobs, 75 percent of them opted for a quality alfresco kitchen.
“I find myself being more of an interior designer – what we are coming up with are more like rooms and at its nucleus is the kitchen space,” says Maciulis.
Clients’ needs are changing to ensure their outdoor spaces have a top grill, stainless steel sink, a side burner and a trash center, and they’re willing to spend the money needed to transform these areas.
A garden to eat
What you plant comes down to one question, according to Maciulis. How much time do you have during the week to maintain your outdoor spaces?
Many people want to spend less time gardening and more time enjoying the space, but they also want to get the most out of what they grow. There is a trend to incorporate a lot of edible greenery like herbs, strawberries, eggplants and tomatoes in outdoor spaces.
This means more container planting and fewer lush and abundant flowers dominating the outdoor area.
Of course, as the need to keep your outdoor space looking good all year around has started to increase, you’ll consider what to plant. Maciulis suggests perennials, ornamental grasses and evergreens.
Light it up
There’s an art to getting the right lighting outdoors. It’s not just illuminating space - when used effectively it can enhance and add features you wouldn’t think possible.
First, there is functional lighting, as living outdoors grows, midweek cooking is likely to be at twilight or in the dark, so you need to see what you are cooking. The DCS Series 9 Grill has an integrated hood light that beautifully illuminates the food and bezel dials. These turn orange when the grill is on.
Next, light can be used to showcase what is planted in your outdoor space.
Illuminating your outdoor areas by strategically placing lights to enhance colours, shapes and shadows at night brings a whole new dimension to a garden area.
Maciulis likes to give homeowners the chance to experience all the senses when they are enjoying an outdoor space from the scent of flowers through to tree pods gently rattling in a light breeze.
Your standard lumber deck is slowly being phased out in favour of the more expensive Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) varieties that look like wood but don’t rot and require minimum maintenance.
With many homes being built more narrow and taller, PVC decks on the first floor are often becoming the overhang shelter for the outdoor area downstairs. Incorporated into this are heaters, stereo systems and lighting.
Maciulis calls it the “firetainment center” – outdoor fireplaces and fire pits have become increasingly popular, providing the essential warmth for outdoor spaces so you can spend more time outdoors in the cooler months.
Fire pits are a natural gathering point in your outdoor oasis and can run on wood, propane or natural gas. Homeowners are also replicating their indoor heating systems by using more affordable electric fireplaces outside. ~