The 4 Questions You Must Ask Yourself When Designing Your Backyard

The 4 Questions You Must Ask Yourself When Designing Your Backyard

Spring has sprung! The time has come to get planning if you don’t want to end up spending the entire summer digging and building in the backyard instead of using it to relax and enjoy the warm sunny weather.

 But how does one develop a landscaping design plan? To get started, ask yourself the four following questions. 

1.   Do You Need a Permit?

Depending on what you have in mind for your outdoor space, it is very likely that you will have to obtain a permit from your municipality before the work begins. Consult your municipal government’s website to determine your community’s specific guidelines.

On the one hand, for example, a permit is probably necessary to:

  • Install an inground pool or a large capacity spa (greater than 2000 litres)
  • Replace a balcony or patio
  • Carry out excavation work or anything foundation related
  • Install a large shed
  • Replace outdoor surfaces when more than 50% of the original surface area is removed


On the other hand, a permit is probably not necessary for the following improvements:

  • Adding a fence
  • Repairing the balcony or patio
  • Carrying out maintenance work on the exterior cladding (if less than 50% of the original surface area is removed)
  • Installing an above ground pool or small spa
  • Building a small shed (confirm dimensions beforehand)
  • Resurfacing the driveway when there is no plumbing work involved 
  • Carrying out digging work that is not foundation related, such as adding a vegetable garden or planting trees, vegetation, flower beds.

2.   How Do You Wan to Use this Space?

The backyard and balcony become an additional living space when the weather warms up. How do you dream of using yours?

If you enjoy cooking, maybe you are most interested in installing an outdoor kitchen with a barbecue, smoker, pizza oven, fridge, and sink. Plant lovers will doubt wish to maximize the amount of garden bed space for flowers and shrubs. Want a place to unwind at the end of the day? Then a Japanese-style garden or a fountain around which you can design lounging areas with the appropriate furniture might be something to consider. Have a more active lifestyle? A sports court, for tennis or basketball, or an extensive grassy surface for ball sports should be your priority. Do you enjoy hosting family and friends? Make sure you include enough seating on the patio with built-in benches and outdoor furniture.

And don’t forget the lighting for an enchanting evening ambiance, nor an outdoor heater to extend your patio season. You may be charmed by the idea of a cozy seating area around a fire pit. Place a large basket nearby in which you can store blankets and throws to keep your guests warm as the party goes on into the night. 

3.   What Is Your Decor Style?

Since the backyard is an extension of your indoor living space, you should coordinate both zones’ decor styles:

  • A traditional garden style is more colourful and combines a wider range of flowers. It likewise utilizes rough iron furniture and decorative objects.
  • The modern garden is minimalist and streamlined, with few to no flowers and a focus on simple shrubbery and rocks.   
  • For a more dynamic look, include a few more colours than what is already present in your home’s decor. Brightly hued cushions, decorative items in bold tones or tropical flowers—that will require lots of pampering—will transform your yard into a tropical paradise.

4.   What’s Your Budget?

How much you should expect to spend on this kind of project varies according to the backyard’s size, the materials used, the number of desired zones, and any additional features. You will find that backyard accessories come in a wide range of prices: a gazebo could cost you anywhere between $500 to $20,000!

Which is why you must establish a budget before you start the planning phase for your backyard landscaping. This will help guide your choices and determine where to compromise, as needed. For example, you could decide to invest in what you consider indispensable for your yard but forgo a few nonessential luxuries. You could also stagger the work over several summers, spreading the cost over a longer period.

After all, the important thing is to make the most of your backyard during the glorious days of summer—of which there never seems to be enough!

RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

A leader in the real estate industry since 1982, the RE/MAX network brings together the most efficient brokers.