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What You Need To Know About Backyard Renovations

23 May 2018

While renovating your backyard may sound like a fantastic idea, getting a project started can be more difficult than you think. For example, as stated by the City of Orillia website, a city-issued building permit is always required when you build the following:

  • Any deck or shed attached to a house
  • Any deck or shed over 10 square metres 
  • Any fence around a swimming pool 

A backyard patio with green furniture surrounded by a garden

In this article, we explore these items, and more – to ensure you are prepared to tackle your backyard renovations legally and with strategy:

1. Planning & Architecture 

Before you get started on your deck, be sure set aside time to draw and plan out your backyard renovation layout. To ensure you’re envisioning your yard to size, measure the length and width of the property line as well as the deck, shed, pool, etc.

IMPORTANT: As part of this planning, be sure to Call Before You Dig! Always contact Ontario One Call - to locate any underground cables or lines that may exist below the surface of your yard.

A young couple working in front of a laptop

2. Budgeting 

When it comes to budgeting for your backyard renovation, research is key. Be sure to compare costs and to locate the materials and products you’ll need for your project. Our suggestion is to write everything out clearly and to also save at least 10% for unexpected costs. 

Here’s a sample budget:

  • Concrete Patio- $10 per square foot
  • Portable Outdoor Fireplace - $300
  • Pressure Treated Lumber Deck - $18 per square foot 
  • Vinyl Pool - $3000
  • Wooden Fence - $15 per linear foot 

Check out the Landscaping Network for more examples. 

3. Landscaping & Décor 

Are you ready to pick and choose your flowers and interlock? Designing the aesthetic of your yard is one of the most fun parts of backyard renovations. From sun and waterproof throw pillows to patio sets, you can get as creative as you want. 

However, be sure to only leave your furniture out when the weather is warm, the sky is clear, and the wind is calm. While most patio furniture and decor can weather the storm, harsh rainfalls can induce wear and tear or blow items away!

We suggest purchasing a bin (where you can store your cushions) or to keep them in the garage when poor weather is upon us.

Lounge furniture outside on a deck

4. Deck Building

Attempting to design and build a deck is guaranteed to be challenging. But with the right amount of skill, help, dedication, and research, DIY deck building is possible. 

However, it is critical that you read up on the by-laws and regulations that are mandatory for building decks in your town. 

Also, you will need to be cautious to ensure the deck is equipped to handle the right amount of weight and changing weather. 

“First and foremost, the structure of the deck needs to be stable and built to the proper building codes to ensure your safety and to provide a solid foundation for whatever waterproofing finish that you decide to use.”
- duradeck

It’s also important to note that according to HGTV, a professional deck built with pressure-treated wood starts at about $15 per square foot, including materials. However, more costly composite or hardwood materials can cost upwards of $35 per square foot. 

For more information, please visit the following compliance links for Barrie and Orillia:

5. Pool & Hot Tub Permits

Did you know that most people adding a pool or hot tub to their yard must follow specific rules set forward by their city or township? 

For example, in Barrie, a pool, hot tub, or spa capable of holding water with a depth greater than 0.45m (18") is required to be enclosed by a fence or, in the case of a hot tub or spa, protected by a lockable cover. There are also zoning by-laws and other regulations you must follow. 

For more information, please visit the following compliance links for Barrie and Orillia:

6. Fencing Your Yard

There are many considerations to take when installing a fence in your yard. For example, it’s important to note that in new subdivisions, fences cannot be installed until the grading and sodding has been completed. 

It is also important to decide if you will install the fence yourself or hire a company to set it up for you. If you do decide to DIY, don’t forget to:

  • Let your deck set before you seal the wood
  • “Step” the fence (if it will be installed on a hill)
  • Not over-span each panel, etc. 

In other words, do your research and don’t start cutting boards without a plan. 

Also, be sure that your neighbours are OK with your decision to put up a fence. In some cases, they may even chip in or split the investment!

For more information, please visit the following links for Barrie and Orillia:

7. Enjoy Your Happy Place

When the permits are approved, your deck is built, your pool has gone in, and your bills have been paid, be sure to sit back, relax, and take in your incredible renovation accomplishments. It may be a difficult and lengthy process, but we’re sure it will be absolutely worth it! 

Cheers!

Disclaimer: The information on this page is meant for guiding purposes only. Individual home renovation projects vary in scope and may require additional steps to ensure proper completion.