What’s Trending in Outdoor Spaces with Dave Maciulis

Now is the time to start tidying up the garden and pruning your flowers in wake of the autumn season, which can spark a few ideas and the urge to seek some inspiration for outdoor living.

If there’s one aspect of home improvement that everyone’s honing in on right now, it’s outdoor spaces. Whether you’re looking to spruce up your backyard, revamp your patio or update your landscaping.

It makes total sense that Dave Maciulis (publisher of Outdoor Lifestyle Magazine and Certified Landscape Designer) has been in the industry for more than 25 years. Dave and Natural Landscape Group has designed and built award winning outdoor spaces in Ontario since 1990 – the outdoor spaces look so inviting and are a true extension of the home itself. After drooling over their portfolio of stylish landscape designs, I knew we had to find a way to pick his brain on what makes a great outdoor space and what can we expect in 2018.

TH: What are the latest trends you’re seeing in outdoor landscaping?

DM: I’m seeing very clean, linear, minimalistic design. Clients are looking at very contemporary outdoor living rooms as opposed to just a patio or deck.

TH: In your opinion, what will be the top trends in landscape design for 2018?

DM: On top of sleek design, I think you’ll see a lot of interest in fire features, full-on outdoor kitchens for entertaining and really just having your indoor living space flow right out into your outside space. There is also a big push for making the most efficient use of smaller spaces. Condo balconies, small lots in the cities and tiny yards in some of the newer subdivisions… these situations all call for effective use of space when the clients want it all.

TH: What is the most common question you receive?

DM: I am asked often about low maintenance plant selections. People love to have lush gardens around their homes, but they haven’t got the time to invest in their maintenance.

TH: What advice have you got for aspiring new homeowners?

DM: Just like when you meet someone in person, you get a “first impression”. The same is true for a home. The landscaping is important and is never money wasted. You’ll definitely increase the value of any home by having great outdoor space.

TH: Where do you go for garden and landscaping inspiration!

DM: I’ve travelled to Asia several times and take a lot of inspiration from there. I also keep a close eye on what is going on in Europe. I integrate these locations into my designs but with a Canadian twist. Our weather and seasons are very unique. So we must do what works for us.

TH: Are there any simple ideas homeowners can incorporate into their outdoor space that won’t break the bank, yet look stylish?

DM: A few self-watering planters, a fire table, and some sleek outdoor furniture can create a nice, inexpensive “outdoor room” in any space.

TH: In an age where homes are smaller and lives are busier, the city retreat becomes more important than ever. What is your advice on good alternatives to grass and low maintenance?

DM: Artificial turf has come a long way. To the bare foot, it’s hard to tell the difference between real and fake. PVC decking and porcelain tile all make for an extremely low maintenance space.

TH: As an extension of the living area, people are looking beyond the stock standard backyard BBQ and designing outdoor spaces that are virtually an extension of the kitchen. What is your advice for adding entertainment elements into the landscape or outdoor kitchen?

DM: Anyone who’s been to a house party knows that the kitchen is always the heart of the party. Adding an “island” to your outdoor space provides the nucleus for connection to your family and friends.

TH: How would you describe your landscape design style? How varied are your designs? Do you have a signature touch with your designs?

DM: It’s hard to say. I love variety. I am drawn to both contemporary and rustic design concepts. It always boils down to what the client loves…what suits their lifestyle.

TH: What are some suggestions for making the most out of small spaces?

DM: I see a lot of new homes designed with extraordinarily small back yards these days. I think that the trick is to decide what features are non-negotiable for you personally, and find a designer that can strategically place all these elements into your space comfortably. It can be done. You just need to find the right designer with the right vision.

TH: What’s your personal mantra?

DM: Do what you love and the money will follow.

TH: What’s your favourite app on your phone?

DM: Clash Royal….it’s what I play to de-stress!


Share this Post


Tina Holmes

Home decor + reno enthusiast, lover of wine, food, a good laugh. Producer of Toronto Home Shows, cottage dweller & cycling addict

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *