By Wanda Searle
With leisure time at a premium these days, a growing number of Canadian families are forfeiting the annual vacation to enjoy the convenience of a ‘staycation’ in their own backyard. To enhance the experience, homeowners are investing in backyard gazebos, pergolas, palapas and elaborate pool houses for a place to relax, entertain and have fun.
Whether you have selected a spacious pool house or a permanent architectural feature, backyard buildings are highly customizable and allow for maximum use of your backyard.
Pool houses and garden buildings constructed of fir or cedar with attractive wood grains are low maintenance and offer a variety of window treatments including ‘cottage style’ to large cedar sliders and cupolas in an unlimited range of colours. A popular trend with today’s pool houses and gazebos are sliding windows, which allow for three-season use.
Pool houses are large enough to contain a change room and a serving area open to the outside, while larger units may also have small kitchens with room for a separate dining area. The largest pool rooms offer enough space for a washroom and kitchen, seating and dining area and a bedroom—room enough for overnight guests.
A gazebo is another option for making the most of the outdoor living experience. Traditionally, gazebos are built out of clear western red cedar with popular styles ranging from casual to formal. Although smaller than a pool house, they can be designed to suit any backyard décor through the use of cupolas, weathervanes, French doors, varnished cedar floors, oval or palladium windows, elaborate mouldings and ornately-finished façades.
In addition to providing a quiet place to relax or a cozy place to read, a gazebo can also provide shelter for hot tub owners. Available in a variety of sizes, a gazebo provides bathers with a private retreat, protected from insects and the elements.
Similar to pool houses, some gazebos also feature a cedar countertop and stools around the perimeter for spa-side dining and entertaining. Some spa gazebos can also be wired for interior lighting and appliances and can be used year-round.