2. Imagine your ideal yard


  • Size - Would you prefer to maximize your space or minimize your maintenance? A large, fenced plot could give you enough space to play with children, let your dogs run off-leash, or install a toolshed or swimming pool in the future. A smaller plot, however, is less expensive and easier to manage.
  • Grade - A flat yard can make a great playing field, or swing set pad. You might even install a pool. Others would rather embrace a stellar view or a shorter commute and don’t mind a shrunken or hilly yard.
  • Shade - You want a yard that’s forested and shady, or would you prefer more sun? If you plan on gardening or landscaping, make sure the yard’s light conditions are compatible with your plans. Some plants, like tomatoes, require abundant sunlight, while others, like mint, thrive in shade and part-sun conditions, so your decision could depend on what you hope to grow.
  • Features - Would you like a deck, patio, swimming pool, jacuzzi, built-in cooktop or grill, or other outdoor features? These features can make home life more enjoyable, but they also require significant upkeep. Pools and hot tubs need regular cleaning and maintenance. Decks and patios need to be re-sealed. Are you going to use these features often enough to justify the additional expense and commitment?
  • Setback - How much privacy and space from the road would you like? You may enjoy the privacy of a deeper setback, but being close to the street means you’ll be closer to your neighbours, your children may be able to play on the sidewalk, and you won’t need to worry about shovelling or ploughing a long private driveway in winter. But then, you may be closer to your neighbours.