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DIY Outdoor Edition: How To Elevate Your Backyard Space 

Elevating your property is a trend that took off with the pandemic. If we had to spend all of our time at home, away from people, why not make the best of it? Many people transformed their living spaces, created offices away from the family, renovated kitchens, bathrooms, and basements, or applied fresh paint to give the home a more modern look. Now that the interior of your home is looking fabulous, it's time to move outdoors while the weather is right. Your backyard should be more than just some patchy grass or concrete, it should be a place to escape and enjoy. It is an extension of your home, and this summer is the time to make it feel just like that. Whether you want to add in some of your favourite art or decor or truly transform the space into a mini retreat for you and your family, improving your backyard will have you enjoying your home fully, both indoors and out in no time at all. Here are some ideas to turn your backyard into the best possible space for you this summer. 


The Illusion of Privacy

Over the past year, many people have altered their expectations when it comes to what they are looking for in a house. When you ask people today, one of the top concerns is space, and privacy. While you likely can't make your backyard any bigger in square footage, you can certainly create a more private retreat. Look into building tall privacy fences or lining your backyard with trees, bushes, a pergola or a gazebo. Even if your neighbours can still hear you (and if you are living in the city, they likely can) you can still create the illusion that privacy exists in your own backyard. 


A Place To Escape

Elevating your backyard in 2021 means creating a space where you can escape for a little while to enjoy the fresh air, without ever leaving your home. With many people now working from home, and an uncertain future about online or remote schooling, it seems there are always more bodies in the house than there were before. In order to get away from the mayhem indoors, you will need a retreat to which you can duck out to right in your own backyard. Add in some comfortable patio furniture, a hammock, a cozy egg chair, or something else you can lay down on so that you can enjoy relaxing outside for longer periods of time. Incorporate things that make you feel calm, like some string lights, or nice artwork and decor hanging from your fence of trees. Making this space unique and conducive to relaxation will be a benefit not only for you, but also to prospective home buyers who may be looking for the same thing down the road. 


Painting and Staining

Over the Ottawa winter, our decks and fencing can begin looking dingy and dated. Enhance your backyard aesthetic by improving the appearance with a fresh coat of paint or exterior wood stain. There are pros and cons about both paint and stain, and whatever you choose will be based on your own personal preferences: Are you looking for a pop of colour, or a natural wood finish? Both will refresh the appearance of your deck, but paint will last longer and is easier to maintain, while stain provides a natural look and is more budget friendly. 


Create an Outdoor Living Space

Make your patio over the top and prize worthy this summer, instead of keeping it as the boring slab of concrete you know it to be. Create an outdoor living space with weatherproof furniture, different textures of pillows and rugs, with beautiful multi-layered flower beds surrounding, With some imagination, you can transform this space into a seasonal living quarters that you and your family will fall in love with, and one that your guests will admire. 


Outdoor Kitchen or Bar

Really elevate your space this summer by creating an outdoor kitchen or bar where you can store drinks, and wash your dishes without ever having to go back inside. Build yourself some countertops and cabinets and incorporate a sink if you can. Add in a bar with some bar stools, and a mini fridge or drink cooler so that you can keep drinks cold at all times. With the right space and enough planning, your outdoor kitchen will help you feel like you're entering a resort everytime you walk out back. 

Sellers Resources

Tiny Homes Provide Great Options for Homeowners 

Tiny Homes provide great options for homeowners      Tiny Homes can be a great addition for homeowners, especially those looking for an extra means of income. A tiny home, also known as a coach house, is a small free-standing apartment, detached from the principal dwelling but located on the same lot. Coach houses are intended to bring more density to established neighbourhoods without negatively impacting community spaces. This increase in neighbourhood density would naturally  increase the number of affordable homes.       The regulations concerning Tiny Homes vary from one municipality to another. Note: the following information is specifically regarding Tiny Homes in Ottawa. The Advantages of a Coach Home Building a Coach Home on your pre-existing lot can have countless advantages. The initial advantage is the extra means of income. The additional dwelling is connected to both city water and sewer lines through the primary residence. This means no new connections are required. Note, Tiny Homes don’t necessarily need to be a newly built structure. Accessory structures such as garages or sheds can also be converted into coach homes, as long as all building requirements are met. If having an extra income doesn’t lure you in, perhaps your in-laws are looking to downsize but your home just isn’t big enough to accommodate them. Tiny homes allow family members to reside close, while ensuring everyone has their own space and independence.  Eligibility The rules and regulations concerning Tiny Homes vary from municipality to municipality. In Ottawa, not all lots meet the requirements for the addition of a coach home. In general, lots can accommodate a Tiny Home if the following requirements are met: The lot is serviced by municipal water and sewer lines, or if the lot is in a rural area, it is 0.4 hectares or larger and is serviced by a private well and septic system. The lot contains a detached, semi-detached, duplex or townhouse dwelling. Note, the requirements for a Tiny Home located on a lot where the primary dwelling is a rowhouse, the coach house must have direct pedestrian access to a public road. The pathway provided must be 1.2 metres wide. The primary dwelling unit does not already contain a secondary dwelling unit such as a basement apartment, garden suite or any rooming units.  Other Important factors  Other requirements, such as preserving mature trees and integrating with the urban context of the homes located in proximity must also be respected while building your Tiny Home.  It’s important to note, coach homes must meet both size requirements and height restrictions. These regulations vary from one lot to another. Overall, coach homes must be smaller than the principal residence and not accede 40% of the main dwelling. As for height restrictions, urban areas must not exceed 3.6 metres in height, while certain rural lots allow for the possibility of a two story coach home. To ensure your lot meets the requirements implemented by the city of Ottawa, contact a Development Information Officer (DIO) to further evaluate your lot. Development Information Officers can be reached by simply dialling 3-1-1.  Coach Homes can be a great asset to any lot, especially in cities like Ottawa where the need for affordable housing is always in high demand.

Summer Festivals 

Summer Festivals Summer festivals are a great way to ensure you take full advantage of everything the season has to offer. The great thing about summer festivals, especially the ones in the west end of Ottawa, is that there is a large variety of events. This means, everyone is sure to find a festival that suits their interests. Here are 5 of the most popular festivals that take place in the west end of the city. Note the list also includes a rural festival, the Almonte fair. Escaping the city’s hustle and bustle can be fun all on its own.  West End Food Truck Rally - August 10th 2019 - Christ Church Bells Corners What’s better than a fun event that supports a great cause? We agree, nothing’s better! This event has more than 10 food trucks that serve both sweet and savoury foods in support of The FAMSAC Food Cupboard. Enjoy great music, family friendly activities and entertainment while munching on some great food.  Westboro Fuse- August 17th and 18th 2019 - Westboro Neighbourhood This festival is essentially a weekend long block party that showcases live music, family friendly-activities and great food. It’s sure to have you enjoying the modern vibe Westboro has to offer all while spending time in the sun. Folk Festival Birthday Picnic at Britannia Park - August 25th 2019 Britannia Park is a beautiful family activity all on its own but the Birthday picnic means you don’t have to plan lunches, or snacks or even activities. Join your community for this family friendly Birthday Picnic to celebrate the exact 25th anniversary of the first Ottawa Folk Festival. This will be a family favourite, with beautiful views for the adults and lots of activities for the kids. Bridge Street Summer Festival -August 3rd - Carleton Place This year’s theme is everything Motown! Seven bands will be performing various songs all in line with the overall theme. The festival doesn’t stop at live music, family friendly fun takes place all day long. Local shops also set up booths along the street while food vendors offer tons a yummy options to snack on.  Almonte Fair- July 19th, 20th and 21st 2019 - Almonte Summer festivals like the Almonte fair add variety by offering events that tend to take place in the fall months. The Almonte fair has demo derbies to wrestling competition. Enjoy local food vendors and other more rural family activities.  Whatever your interests may be, summer festivals are always a good choice when planning your time off, especially seeing the kids aren’t in school and the weather is beautiful. Just be sure to remember all the summer essentials like sunblock, water bottles and your favourite ball-cap to ensure you can enjoy all the festival has to offer.  

How To Boost Your Curb Appeal This Fall 

How To Boost Your Curb Appeal This Fall The cooler air is here and before we know it, the leaves will begin to change. Fall is a season of transition as we (and the world around us) prepare for the winter months ahead but this is no reason to assume that curb appeal doesn’t matter. If you have your home listed this fall, it’s important to remember the importance of first impressions. Ensure that your home looks its best inside and out. Keep Lawns Clean and Maintained Although you may not need to get the mower out every week, depending on the weather, the grass does still grow throughout the fall. Make sure that your lawn remains well kept and that you mow it when necessary. It’s also important to clean up any debris including leaves and garbage to ensure that everything is in top shape for buyers. Sweep the Front Step This may seem like a little detail but it can make all the difference as someone is walking up to your home. A front step that is neatly swept gives off the impression of a pride of ownership that is likely carried through the entire home. Bring in Fall Decor Adding some fall decor and plants to your front step can brighten up the space and provide a pop of colour. Consider including pumpkins and gourds in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Mums also look great in front of any home and do very well in the colder weather of fall. Paint the Front Door Even if you don’t have time to take on the whole front of your house, painting the front door can really freshen things up. Consider adding some colour to your home by painting the door a contrasting colour to the rest of your home. Red, yellow, and blue are all popular colours for front doors right now. Trim the Trees Fall is a great time of year to trim your trees. If your trees are growing too close to your home or driveway, it’s important to get them cut back. It’s also important to look for dead and broken branches and to get them taken care of as soon as possible as they may pose a safety risk. If you are not comfortable with heights or a chainsaw, it is always best to hire a professional. Clean the Windows Summer can be a very season. Dry weather can mean lots of dust and this ultimately finds its way to the windows. Make sure that all your windows are cleaned inside and out to ensure the best views of your now ready to list property!

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