Tips for planning your outdoor space: pool, fence and barbecue

July 27, 2015

When you begin to plan an outdoor space, you may not be sure what form it should finally take and what it should include. Here are some things to consider when planning your outdoor space.

Tips for planning your outdoor space: pool, fence and barbecue

1. Swimming pool requirements you should know

If you are thinking about installing a swimming pool, the first place to visit is the building permit office.

  • Pools are usually subject to extensive codes. Find out about the permits you will need, property setback and fencing requirements, and inspections.
  • Talk with your homeowner's insurance agent to see if you are covered for potential mishaps.
  • Above-ground pools are a popular choice because they are relatively less expensive.
  • They are sold in kits and can be easily disassembled if you move.

2. Buy pre-made fencing and save!

If you would like a fence around your yard, design it to take advantage of standard lumber sizes. For example, two pickets for a 1.2 metre (four foot) tall fence can be made by cutting one 2.4-metre (eight-foot) board in half.

  • Pre-made fencing usually comes in 1.8- to 2.4-metre (six- or eight-foot) sections, so plan your fence's length in those multiples.
  • And if you are shopping for fencing materials, consider polyvinyl. It looks almost like wood but doesn't fade, rot, crack or peel. Installed with posts, just like wooden fencing, it costs a little more but carries a 20-year guarantee.
  • Before you tackle any single fence repair, inspect the entire fence. If one post has a severe lean to it, give the others a firm shake to see if they are wobbly too. If one picket is rotten, probe others with an old screwdriver to see if they are spongy as well.
  • If most of the framework seems solid, go ahead and perform the repairs. But if the framework is falling apart or if half the posts are rotten, consider building a new fence.

3. Finding the perfect barbecue spot

  • When deciding where to situate your barbecue, consider the direction of the prevailing wind. Set the barbecue in a spot where the wind will not carry heat and smoke into the house.
  • Make it far enough away from buildings, tables and chairs so that your family and guests will not get overheated or smoked out.
  • If you have an overhang you might be able to place your barbecue underneath, enabling you to cook in rainy weather.
  • Ensure first that there is ample space for good air flow and heat, and that flames from the barbecue do not risk "cooking" the overhang.

Before committing to a pool, fence, or barbecue, make sure you understand exactly what you're getting into. These tips should help you understand your options and create an outdoor space you can be proud of!

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