Mar 10, 2015

Spring is so close we can almost smell the fresh-cut grass, the backyard barbecues, and the fabulous flowers! And with the snow slowly melting away, it's time to start thinking about that deck renovation you've been stewing over all winter long.

Getting started on a backyard redesign can seem a little daunting at first. That's why Paul Lafrance host of HGTV's Decked Out and Deck Wars, has shared a few Do's and Don'ts of deck design to help you prepare for your project.

Paul says that, when starting a backyard renovation, the first item on a homeowner's To Do list is to bring in a professional to help point your design in the right direction.

"Get a design done. Having a customized design from a reputable firm will not only ensure you have a space that represents you, but with a good design, you can gain more of a wow factor for less money."

Another definite Do is to watch your budget! Paul says that aside from hiring an expert, there are plenty of ways to make the most out of your design without breaking the bank. You may even be able to re-vamp your existing deck!

"Often the structure of the deck may still be intact, and by adding upgraded deck boards you can improve the overall look on a smaller budget. Think quality of square footage over quantity - it's better to have a smaller, more inviting and functional space than a huge, sprawling space that has no creativity or defined use."

Patio buffs rejoice! Once you've settled on a layout, Paul says to do your homework when it comes to outdoor furnishings. Say goodbye to cheap-looking chairs.

"The outdoor living space world has changed. No longer do we have to tolerate plastic furniture and rusty charcoal barbecues. There are revolutionary products on the market today that are not only cost-effective, but when incorporated into a design, can make your outdoor space just as inviting as the interior of your home."

To bring together a great deck design, Paul tells homeowners to pick a unique focal point that will compliment their personal themes. He says that each of his clients have specific tastes that he will bring out in their decks' focal points.

"Everyone's focal point will be different; be it a decorative screens, water feature, fire feature, gazebo, pergola, vibrant garden, etc. The most important this is for that focal point to be just as dynamic from inside the house as it is outside the house."

Something to consider, which Paul says is often where homeowners go wrong when them=y attempt a DIY deck renovation, is that the view of the backyard is important from every angle.

"The most common mistake is that [homeowners] do not take the view of their backyard from inside the house into account. It is so important to align focal points of your design with the most dominant views of the outdoor spaces to draw you outside."

Now that you know where to start and what to avoid, it's your turn to put Paul's tips and tricks to use and make the magic happen in your own backyard!

For more expert advice, visit Paul at the Edmonton Home + Garden Show, March 19-22 at the Edmonton Expo Centre. He's taking the stage on Saturday, March 21 at 1pm and 6pm. Don't have tickets yet? Get 2-for-1 on Facebook and treat a friend or family member to the show - we can't wait to see you there!