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The Design Challenge

This small Ontario backyard needed a makeover.

The husband has great DIY skills and built a deck where they enjoy sitting, dining, and birdwatching, but the wife said that the overall space lacked cohesion and didn’t “spark joy.” There were two essential storage sheds, a handsome raised planting bed for veggies and herbs on the deck, and a generator that would also need to be incorporated. The neighbors’ yards were clearly visible through the deer-eaten trees and shrubs at the property’s edges. As an added challenge, the property sits atop the granite Canadian Shield, which makes it difficult for plants to thrive in the thin topsoil.

The homeowners’ chief goals were to create privacy and to tie all the pieces together with a contemporary, serene, and uncluttered aesthetic.

The backyard base plan, created with the Home Outside app, shows the existing deck, trees, and sheds.

The Home Outside Solution

Home Outside dramatically changed the feeling of the space by extending the line of the deck across the entire length of the yard. The creation of two outdoor rooms—one on the deck (expanded) and the other finished with stone—gives the owners defined spaces for different types of enjoyment. The deck has its own privacy fence lined with elegant planters of ornamental grasses.  The stone terrace includes a water feature backed by evergreen plantings, and two more raised planters were added to tie both spaces together and offer more space for edible plants. At the property edge, a small retaining wall was added to provide greater depth for plants’ roots, and layers of plants and a fence provide privacy and exclude deer. A simple, repeating plant palette throughout the landscape keeps the look clean and contemporary.

You can see the Home Outside image board used to illustrate the design concepts here.

“We are really pleased with your design,” the client said. “It was a challenge, and you were up to it!”


After: Strong, clean lines transform the asymmetrical space into a striking, modern private retreat.

Get some design help from the Home Outside experts and start your own backyard makeover today!