Top 5 spring trends from designer Jo Alcorn

I love spring! It’s a time to switch things up, refresh and renew your home and, more importantly, your backyard. I’ll be at the Backyard Living Expo on April 6 for an on-stage presentation at 1:15 pm and would love for you to join me, as I talk about all things backyard decor and design. As a sneak preview, here are my top five tips and trends for this season.

1. High-performance outdoor sound

I love the high-performance outdoor sound that Paradigm ( has to offer. Gone are the days of the boom box or the huge speaker systems. This company offers discrete luxury speakers that can be wall mounted and deck mounted, faux rocks that can mix right into your garden and even garden oasis systems with an underground subwoofer for large areas.

2. Shading style

This year, I am obsessed with pergolas. They have retractable systems that allow the light to shine in when you want a few rays, but you can also crank the roof closed when you need some shade. The great thing about these systems is that they can be built to spec for odd shapes, attached to an existing structure or as standalone units.

3. Grilling galore

There is nothing Canadians love more than firing up the grill! As a designer, I like when the grill matches your decor. I love the new Weber Spirit ll ( series that comes in four bold colours, so you can add the perfect barbecue to match your outdoor space. My choice this year for an addition to my small space patio would be the gorgeous ivory colour.

4. Burn, baby, burn

Adding a fire element to an outdoor space helps extend the season, creating a cosy warm atmosphere with a touch of sophistication. You can choose a stand-alone unit that can be purchased at most big box stores. If you are creating your space from scratch, it’s great to incorporate a built-in unit that fits right into your design.

5. The final touches

Adding accessories to an outdoor space can really tie everything together. HomeSense ( has amazing seasonal accessories that bring your space to life at affordable prices. I love to incorporate trays, lanterns and faux plants (yes, even in an outdoor space!) to my backyard designs. Pillows are also a great way to infuse colour and comfort to your space. I have an entire line of outdoor pillows that are fully washable and are available on my site in a variety or colours and patterns ( Use these ideas to create your very own backyard oasis. Discover the secrets behind the perfect barbecue and learn how to make the most of your backyard, no matter the size or the budget, from industry and celebrity experts at the Backyard Living Expo. It is the only consumer show in the GTA dedicated exclusively to backyards.

The Backyard Living Expo runs from April 6 to 8 at The International Centre (6900 Airport Rd.). For more information, visit


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