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Canadian Woodworking

Planning backyard projects

Blog by Rob Brown
robs backyard

Spring is just around the corner and with it will be Canadians coming out of their cocoons and heading outside. We may stay inside for most of the winter, but once warmer weather returns we make up for our lack of time outdoors quickly.

Before you know it, you’ll see folks sitting on a sunny patio with friends while wearing shorts, even though it’s only 10° outside.

It’s about time I took a stab at improving our backyard. On the positive side, it’s a blank canvas. On the downside, there’s a whole lot of work to be done before it’s finished. Either way, the sooner I start, the sooner we’ll have a backyard to be proud of.

My main focus is to create a seating area, about 12′ x 12′, equipped with a roof to shed rain and provide some shade. There’s always the approach of using 4×4 posts to support a 2×6 slanted roof, but that seems a little too easy. I think putting in a bit more time into the planning and construction stages will go a long way to creating a beautiful and functional outdoor space for my partner, my two kids and our friends to enjoy. A large, sweeping curve or a slightly unusual technique of sorts would go a long way in ensuring this is an interesting shelter for us to enjoy for years to come.

Let’s put our minds together

On top of all the tools needed and a blank canvas in the backyard, I have another thing going for me; I have all of you to ask advice of. I’m sure many of you are in the same boat as I am when it comes to your future backyard projects, so I thought it might be fun to share some ideas here. Rather than opening this up to include any sort of backyard improvement, let’s stick with just rain / shade structures that would be appropriate in a standard yard and see where it takes us.

Here’s the plan

I’m anticipating some of you will have advice and want to share photos of your backyard if you went through this process in the past. Because you can’t share images in the comments section, email me a few photos and a bit of info about what you like about your approach, what you might do differently if you were to do it again, along with any other tips you’d like to share. In a few weeks I’ll gather everything together and see what we’ve got, then share it in another weekly column.

Don’t be shy

One thing I’ve learned since becoming the editor of Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement is that Canadians are a shy bunch. They generally don’t like to brag about their accomplishments. They often don’t even like to post anything in the comments section. If it helps, don’t think of this as bragging. Think of it as helping your fellow Canadian backyard DIYers when we’re in a time of need. And some of you might just want to share a warning story of a similar project that didn’t turn out as you had hoped. Learning from mistakes is an extremely important part of the designing and building process, so please feel free to share both your stories of success and failure.

In My Future?

A simple, yet beautiful, structure is on my to-do list. Now is the time to design it.

nice patio

The Current Situation

Some may call it ugly, but I prefer to call it a blank canvas. Either way, something has to be done about it.

Rob's backyard



Published:
Last modified: March 3, 2023

Rob Brown - [email protected]

Rob is a studio furniture maker and the editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement. Instagram at @RobBrownTeaches

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