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Now Trending: Backyard Extras You Can’t Do Without

Water features

Soothe away stress with the sound of cascading water.

The therapeutic benefits of water don’t just end with buoyancy. Water has a soothing effect, both in terms of sound and appearance. Cascading water over a rock feature, a sheer descent, and/or the sound of a waterfall can mask distracting noise and provide a sense of calm. Seeing a pool or hot tub lit up at night creates a peaceful ambiance. Taking a dip to cool off on a hot summer night or soaking in a hot tub can be a nice way to shift gears and fall asleep easily.

Water features like a water wall or pond can also provide a soothing effect. The elemental nature of water lends itself to a sense of harmony. Fitness and physiotherapy goals can be set and achieved in the water, offering a safe place to stay fit or recover from sports injuries.

Get all fired up

Fire features extend the outdoor season from spring well into fall. And while memories of singsongs and s’mores around the bonfire are fun, in some cities they are not safe or approved. Featuring a controlled flame that runs on propane or natural gas, an appliance such as a fire bowl or linear patio flame is one way to meet the city bylaw safety criteria, while adding ambiance and warmth to your outdoor space.

Fire features create ambiance, extend the outdoor season into fall, and add an interesting focal point.

There are many different types of fire features to enhance your backyard and best suit your space, including:

  • fire bowls and tables that come in linear designs, as well as round and tapered styles;
  • concrete, granite, untreated metal, or powder-coated aluminum models; and
  • surrounding accents comprising lava rock, river rock, and crystal glass.


Softscaping is an important part of creating a backyard ambience that reflects your design taste. For a southern resort esthetic, using tropical plants such as bamboo, ferns, or grasses will create a modern, lush effect. For a structured or formal garden, hedges grown from cedar or boxwood can be sculpted for a more defined space. For a low-maintenance option, artificial grass is a clever solution that saves on water costs and looks attractive year-round.

Softscaping can also be used to add privacy. Planters and urns create an intimate space and help keep noise levels down. Outdoor curtains can also increase privacy and shade, and with fabrics available in a wide range of colours, they can add a touch of romance to the space.

Outdoor furniture is another softscaping option, adding comfort with couches, daybeds, deep seating, chaises, and loungers. A simple update of the colour scheme with new throw pillows is an easy way to keep décor on trend. Don’t forget lighting is another aspect that softens a space. To create an evening outdoor living area, try uplighting larger trees and casting light on walkways and paths.

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