Now You See Me…..

Now you don’t!

It is hard to find some kind of privacy in the city. Especially when you live in a downtown condominium. If you are on a higher floor, you are looking into the next building (remember ugly naked man from Friends) or if you are on the ground floor like me, everyone is looking down on you.

We were very lucky to get an outside space in a condo, they are a rare commodity, and even luckier to get a ground floor. The condo board planted a tree on our terrace as well as our neighbours, but as they only give you a tiny bit of privacy.  Not that we are doing anything on the terrace that requires privacy, lol, but it is still nice to have.

When we came back from England in 2005, I went to Canada Blooms. That year one of the hot items at the show were sailcloths. They are a triangular (sail shaped) cloth that you attach to poles above your head .” Hmmm” I thought, “How could I use these?”

Well time went on, and on, we bought Kilbourne Grove, and nothing happened. But then my sister-in-law gave me one that she had bought and never used, and we started thinking about it again.

The problem with a terrace at a condominium is no permanent structures, so we were not able to build anything to attach it to, at least so we thought.

Obviously, this is the before.

Till I had a brainwave. Why could we not use deck feet, to put up the poles. They are not permanent, sit on the existing cement slabs, and will hold up a pole.  So we toddled off to a home supply store and this is what we did….

After clearing the furniture off, we started with a clean slate,

A lovely outdoor area rug was placed on our cement patio first.

Then, the cement deck feet (I do not think that is the technical term for them, but that is what I call them) were placed in each of the four corners.

These are the deck feet, and look, they make a lovely pedestal as well!

A 4 x 4 pressure treated post (that Ian had already attached a copper post cap to) was placed in each deck foot. 

Then a 2 x 4 (8 feet long) was attached to each 4 x 4. This gave us a cross beam to tie the sail cloth to.

All the furniture and plants were put back in place.

Looking in the other direction on the terrace.

Once all the furniture was in place, the sail cloth could be tied on.

It looked great and gave us a lot of overhead privacy, but the sail cloth was a bit wider than our terrace. We solved the problem by wrapping it around the crosspieces before tying it, but a 2 x 4 running down the middle, (in maybe one or two spots) would help keep it a bit tighter. 

No, that is not me in the mirror, it is my sister in law.

 Back to the home supply store we go….

44 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Lynne said,

    I love this idea. You have totally transformed that area with the sail and the outdoor rug. I have a very hot, sunny outdoor area with ugly concrete underfoot, which I would love to soften with greenery but container plants can’t thrive due to no shade. Even diligent watering doesn’t help. I have thought of sail cloths before but didn’t have anywhere to attach one to.

    Or so I thought.

    Dun dun dunnnnnn

    • 2

      Thanks Lynne, the outdoor rug is made of plastic (although it doesn’t look like it), so water goes right through it. Try putting up a structure like mine on your patio.

  2. 3

    Lesley said,

    That is fabulous and such a great idea.
    A complete extra room i feel and so smartly styled.
    I can see it in my garden except that my cats would regard it as a rather wonderful large hammock!

  3. 5

    VP said,

    A great idea & adds a shady retreat for those hot days too

  4. 7

    gardeningasylum said,

    Oh Deborah, What a great result! Very creative use of the deck feet and I love the way you’ve styled the space!

  5. 9

    Edith Hope said,

    Dear D, Outdoor space is indeed at a premium in the heart of the city, but how cleverly and stylishly you have made use of the space. Areas to sit, eat and entertain have all been found a place for and I can readily imagine your enjoying the company of friends and family in such wonderful surroundings.

    The sail adds a great nautical touch, echoed I feel by the porthole – like mirrors attached to the dividing wall. This theme is carried through, for me at least, by the use of seaside shades of blue in the containers, ceramics and paintwork. Altogether a triumph. I should love it and never be out of it if it were my own!!

    • 10

      You are so clever, Edith. I actually never noticed the round mirrors looking like portholes, until you pointed it out. Wait till I mention it to my sailor husband, he will be impressed.

  6. 11

    Joy said,

    OMG Deborah !
    I love before and after pictures .. let alone this fantastic make over using the sail cloth !
    I love your space and what you have done with it .. I had just been “talking” about my little project with the bench area coming together in my garden .. great minds think alike even if down different paths ? LOL .. Truly a wonderful idea and make over girl !

  7. 13

    Valerie said,

    The patio looks so cosy and inviting. You did an amazing job.

  8. 15

    PatioPatch said,

    I am overawed at the transformation! You’ve dones such a great job of showing us how to transform a small space into a private classy seated area. Brilliant ideas


  9. 17

    What a riveting post, and an amazing transformation!! Until you mentioned the mirrors, I thought they were round cutouts in the divider lol.

    • 18

      Every time I put a picture on the computer to look at, I saw myself (usually with bedhead) in one of those mirrors. I had to really contort myself to get ones without me.

  10. 19

    Wow! What a great spot & transformation! I bet you just love sitting out there now.

  11. 21

    Jean said,

    What a very clever use of those cement deck footings! What a beautiful and pleasant outdoor room you have created. If I had half (no, make that one quarter) of your creativity, imagination, and ability to think outside the box, just think what I could accomplish!

  12. 23

    Laurrie said,

    Nice! The end result is so stylish and modern (love the mirrors too). And I enjoyed seeing the creative process unfold. You’ll have to let us know how your sail holds up to rain and wind…. it looks pretty protected in your spot. You have now created a whole new room for your condo, and it’s lovely! (And much more private)

    • 24

      We actually one put the sail up when we go outside. The straight side is tied to the back two posts, and the pointy side, is folded and tied back as well. When we are home, just pull the point out and tie it on in seconds. I think that I would have a big water balloon if it was up in the rain.

  13. 25

    You’ve created a beautiful and inviting outdoor room. Very nicely done, I love the sailcloth across the seating area.

  14. 27

    The space turned out great. I had seen these sailclothes being used once before on an HGTV program but didn’t know what they were called. Thanks for the answer. Enjoy your space!

  15. 29

    Linda said,

    What a wonderful outdoor space! It looks so inviting and tranquil. Hard to believe you’re in the middle of a city. Very creative; hope you find plenty of time to enjoy it!

  16. 31

    Your new terrace looks very elegant. And the sailcloth, what a great way to get privacy and shade too.

  17. 33

    Catharine said,

    Hello and visiting your blog for the first tim. Love the make-over. It works and the floor is wonderful.

    • 34

      Isn’t that a great rug Catharine. It is made of plastic, with quite a loose weave, so water goes through it, and it is very easy to sweep clean as it is so flat, nothing to catch the dirt.

  18. 35

    I love it love it love it! You are so talented and the patio is amazing. I need to borrow Ian when you are done! 🙂 Lovely D, its really lovely, M

  19. 37

    Tidy work! Mrs IG would love that, but sadly our patio has become a sea of containers. As I explained to her, she can sit anywhere, but the tin baths filled with leeks must be on the patio.

  20. 41

    Racquel said,

    How clever of you & hubby to come up with a solution to the privacy issue that is not permanent. That outside space gives you another living space to enjoy. 🙂

  21. 43

    Hi Deborah, I am still catching up with blog posts and don’t normally comment on older posts – something about joining the party just as everyone’s gone home – but I did have to say how impressive your patio makeover is! Privacy is important; I think it really contributes to serenity in the garden. You have the perfect place to relax with a glass of wine and a good (gardening!) book after a day of work in the city. Enjoy your lovely new space!

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