Backyards & Gardens

A Decked-Out Yard with a Modern Neutral Palette

Modern Neutral Palette for Your Decked-out Yard

Photography: Janis Nicolay

Backyards & Gardens

A Decked-Out Yard with a Modern Neutral Palette

A decked-out yard makes room for one family to grow food, flowers and memories in their great outdoors.

"Beach Grove is a special little area,” says Caitlin Black of Aloe Designs, a landscape design company in Vancouver. The neighbourhood of mostly ranch bungalows in Tswassen, B.C., is true to its name. “In fact, a public beach path runs along the property line of this house,” says Caitlin. That’s dreamy to be sure, but it sure isn’t private. “When Nicole and Geoff, the homeowners, contacted us, the yard had very little privacy, and while it already had a deck, it was seriously dilapidated.”

Caitlin, a landscape designer, and her team set out to create an expansive low-profile deck complete with terraced steps, and thoughtfully zoned for lounging, dining and kid-friendly crafting. Also key was to seamlessly connect indoors and out, dramatically increasing the living space of the house, especially during the temperate months from April to October. Clean-lined furniture in soft neutrals echoes the inside decor and keeps the space soothing all year long. Says Caitlin: “The look is a bit California, and a bit Nordic.”

Also on Nicole and Geoff’s wish list were dedicated spaces for vegetable and flower gardening that would give the couple and their young daughters, Gray and Royal, an opportunity to dig in and get growing. Caitlin and her team responded with areas on and beyond the deck, including containers for veggie gardening, beds for perennials and medicinal plants, and planters for a few Mediterranean plant varieties. “Now we use the deck year-round,” says Nicole. “And in the summer months, we leave the doors wide open all day long. Changing the outdoor space has given our family so much freedom.”

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Photography: Janis Nicolay

Landscape designer Caitlin Black and her team created dedicated areas for lounging and dining on the expansive deck, but left lots of room for the kids to leap and play barefoot on the lawn. Like the home’s interior, the deck features a modern neutral palette.

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Photography: Janis Nicolay

Daughter Royal lets imagination lead the way outside a playhouse built from scrap materials by her creative dad. Corrugated metal feed troughs that Aloe Designs up-styled into raised veggie gardens yield tomatoes, greens, even radishes and beets.

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Photography: Janis Nicolay

A modern wood table provides ample room for dining, laptops and crafting. The stylish metal chairs are weather-resistant. The umbrella’s pale hue pops against nearby mature trees, including regal
conifers and a tropical-looking Windmill Palm.

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Photography: Janis Nicolay

A backdrop of small, moveable plantings keeps the deck looking fresh. Twin miniature Cyprus trees and an agave in containers, and an olive plant lend texture to the seating area. The flouncy lace pillow plays to the laid-back boho mood.

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Photography: Janis Nicolay

Daughters Royal and Gray check-in on kale that’s growing in one of the raised garden beds. To the left is a fig tree. “We knew it would appeal to Nicole, who loves to cook. And its leaves clean up easily, which is important since this area has a perimeter of crushed gravel,” says Caitlin. The handsome new fence provides privacy.

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Photography: Janis Nicolay | DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION, Aloe Designs. HOUSE EXTERIOR PAINT, Snowbound, Sherwin-Williams. Fibercrete PLANTERS, Art’s Nursery. POOFS, IKEA. TABLE, UMBRELLA, West Elm. DINING CHAIRS, CB2. SOFA, RH. Canvas BUTTERFLY CHAIRS, Amazon. VASES (on coffee table), EQ3. FEED TROUGHS, West- way Feed and Seed. Fig, olive, agave and mini cypress PLANTINGS, Art’s Nursery.

In keeping with the curvy canvas butterfly chairs near the French doors, this duo of egg-shaped planters imparts organic curves to the linear space. The planters have the look of concrete, but weigh less due to their partly fiberglass construction.

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Photography: Janis Nicolay

Daughter Gray relaxes on the deck’s easy-care sofa, which hosts pillows from inside the house. Nearby, a stack of poufs is ready should her sister care to join her. “The kids love to use the deck to tackle outdoor art projects,” says Nicole. “They can go wild with painting, gluing and nature projects.”

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Photography: Janis Nicolay

“It’s a beachy place, and very relaxed,” says Caitlin. “In the warm months, you’ll often find the back door open and everyone in their bare feet.” Here, Nicole walks past the trio of outdoor tables she designed and husband Geoff built. The tables are ideal for holding drinks, books and displays, including vases and the olive plant shown here.

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Backyards & Gardens

A Decked-Out Yard with a Modern Neutral Palette