When you live in a place where winter consumes half of the year, Summer is a sacred time! Those longer days and nights of June, July & August should be spent with family and friends enjoying the outdoors (or at least enjoying indoor spaces that connect to the outdoors). Depending on your stage of life or your passion for comfort vs. roughing it, summer living has its own unique flavour.
I thought it would be fun to look at various options for summer living spaces from basic to luxurious through the lens of my personal and professional experiences.
If you’re new to outdoor living and you’re not sure what you’ll enjoy, it’s always good to start with the basics.
Tenting or Tent Trailering: If you’re venturing out from your own back yard, but want to keep it simple and low cost, then tenting or tent trailering are both great options. Some of the beautiful aspects of camping include:
- Saving money. A basic site in a Manitoba campground is under $25/night.
- Low carbon footprint.
- Moving around. With the portability of a tent or tent trailer, it’s easy to explore a new spot every weekend.
- Simplify. Living with only the basics can be truly freeing.
Simple Backyard: If you’re not a fan of living in the wilderness and prefer your own bed at night, then simple upgrades to your back yard might be the perfect solution. Here’s one place to start:
- Build or buy a firepit. Sitting around the fire with family and friends enjoying conversation and some marshmallows is a great way to enjoy a summer evening (or a winter evening…firepit season can happen any time of year.)
Moving On Up
Once you’ve decided you that you’re enjoying this summer outdoor living, it may be time to upgrade from the basics. So where do you go from here?
Trabin: Is that a typo? No, it’s a term coined by our Office Administrator, Lynda. (And possibly by others, but Lynda introduced it to me.) Here is our ‘official’ definition:
A trailer parked on a permanent site for people who like the idea of a cabin but don’t want the upkeep of a second house and still want to feel like they’re camping (or glamping).
My family upgraded from our tent trailer to a trabin last summer. The benefits of a trabin include:
- Having your summer space set up and ready for you each weekend rather than having to pack it and pull it… yet it still feels like camping.
- Not having to spend hours trying to reserve a camping spot on Manitoba’s fantastic reservation system (there is sarcasm in my voice… you campers out there know what I mean.)
- A much lower purchase price than buying a cabin, and minimal maintenance.
Upgraded Back Yard: For you homebodies, there’s more you can add to your back yard space. Here’s how you take your yard to the next level:
- Incorporate an intimate sitting area with comfy furniture and colourful cushions.
- Design pathways with various soft and hard landscaping to creates ‘zones’.
Going All Out
Now you’re all in, so go all out! There are no limits on your summer space. Let’s look at the fancy options.
Cabin, Cottage, Summer Home: Whatever term you chose, owning a summer dwelling is a dream for many. Cabins and Cottages can be simple and rustic, but they can also be luxurious. Here are a few features that our clients can’t live without:
- A large kitchen with a large island. Summer homes are the hub for entertaining, so you need a space to feed the masses.
- Lots of beds. The masses like to stay the night also, so extra bedrooms, bunkrooms and flexible living spaces with pull out beds are a must.
- A view to the water. If your cottage is on the lake, you will want to see your water feature from all the key vantage points. Many cottage owners opt for sprawling decks directly off their cottage plus additional decks by the water and on top of their boathouses.
Backyard Extravaganza: If owning a second home isn’t your dream, you can bring all the design elements to your backyard. In addition to the features mentioned above, here’s how you take your backyard to the next level:
- Water features: pools, hot tubs, fountains, waterfalls. Water features look beautiful, sound beautiful, moderate the hot temperatures, and elevate your space.
- Add lighting, either strung from above or integrated into a patio or walkway.
- Architectural features such as pergolas, privacy fences and gazebos. Architecture in coordination with landscape transforms a yard into an oasis.
No matter what stage of life you’re in, or the type of outdoor space you prefer, enjoy the next few months and have a wonderful Summer!