By Kristine Archer
With so many options to choose from, selecting the right type of backyard building can be overwhelming. Here are a few of the more common choices available.
Designed specifically to provide shelter to pools and spas, enclosures have gained popularity in recent years. These structures are typically constructed of glass and aluminum, allowing for year-round use of a pool or spa, regardless of the elements; retractable models allow you to pull back the enclosure on sunny days.
Gazebos, often seen in public parks, are pavilion-like structures that can be as ornate or plain as you like. Gazebos are typically freestanding structures that are covered on top and open on all sides. They usually have a smaller footprint than a traditional pool house, but come in a wide range of sizes. They can also be customized with accents such as cupolas (dome-like structures on the roof ), windows, screens, mouldings or specific materials and finishes. Gazebos can also serve as hot tub shelters.
Also commonly referred to as tiki huts, these open-sided structures typically have a thatched roof, bringing an air of the tropics to Canadian backyards. These structures are commonly used for seating or bar areas.
An alternative to the covered gazebo, pergolas comprise a canopy of overhead beams that let in air and light. These structures can add great visual interest to your yard, connecting one area to another. For those still seeking protection from the elements, retractable shade covers can be added to shield users from rain or rays.
These smaller structures, designed primarily for children, provide safe, enclosed spaces in which kids can stand, move and play. As with other backyard structures, playhouses can be easily matched to any given backyard décor. They are typically not permanent structures, making them easy to move, disassemble or transport.
Pool houses are typically designed to accommodate changing and storage areas. They are usually enclosed, with windows that allow for added use in the spring and fall. Many pool houses also include a serving area; larger models can include everything from kitchen and dining areas to bathroom and bedroom amenities.
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