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5 steps to building the perfect backyard oasis

5 steps to building the perfect backyard oasis

Spending more time at home during the pandemic has caused many Canadians to start dreaming about backyard renovations. In 2021, Canadians are projected to spend a collective $76 billion on renovations, up from $60 billion in pre-pandemic years.1

Whether you’re adding or renovating a fence, patio, swimming pool, deck or landscaping, crafting your own personal backyard oasis can be an exciting project. Before you start, here are a few tips to keep in mind to make your project run smoothly.

  1. Imagine how you will use your backyard

Do you want a sunny patio where you can sit and read a book or a shaded deck to entertain guests? Do you need a tall wooden fence for privacy, or a chain link fence to keep kids or pets safe? Do you need any storage space for cushions or other features that you don’t want to leave out in rain or snow? Defining what is most important to you in a backyard space can also help you prioritize where and how to spend your budget.

  1. Research your local bylaws

Before you get started, it’s important to make sure that your plans adhere to the local laws.

  1. Light up your space

Lighting in your backyard not only creates a cozy ambiance, but it can help keep you and your guests safe at night! Make sure any steps or walkways are well-lit — remember that if a guest slips and falls on your property, you can be held liable. Solar lights are a great option for backyards as they are easy to install and don’t require underground wiring. Consider mounting lights on your fence or hanging string lights to create a look you love!

  1. Consider the long-term maintenance costs

The sticker price of renovating your backyard does not include long term maintenance costs.  Make sure to include those costs in your budgeting. For example, a wooden deck or fence can rot overtime and will need staining and sealing periodically. A living wall made of a line of trees or bushes will need pruning and care. If you’re looking for a low maintenance option, consider vinyl fencing or decking for your project.

  1. Tell your insurer about your renovations

If your renovations impact the value of your home and property, you should always inform your insurer so that they can update your coverage to include the renovations. Although some renovations may increase your premium, such as adding a swimming pool, others such as adding security systems can help you save!

You’ll also want to make sure you have coverage that factors in the fluctuating cost of lumber. During the pandemic, lumber costs reached an 400% increase from 2019.2 This leads many homeowners to wonder if they’re covered for the inflated rebuilding or repair costs if something should happen. Typically, when you take out your home insurance policy, the replacement value is calculated and mechanisms such as a guaranteed replacement cost endorsement protect you from inflation and other price increases that impact the replacement cost of your home. However, if you are adding improvements that use lumber, such as a new wooden deck or fence, you’ll want to make sure that your home insurance policy will cover the replacement cost of your renovations, especially if the renovations were done prior to July.

If you’d like to get a quote for home insurance or update or discuss your existing TW home insurance policy, call a TW Insurance broker today at 1-888-338-2685.

  1. Globe and Mail – How the pandemic renovation boom will raise your home insurance

  2. Canadian Underwriter - Aviva Canada Exec predicts how long supply chain pressures will last