Each fall, as our busiest season winds down, I try to bring some of my crew members up to my family’s cabin in Canada for a little well-earned break. You can’t beat the scenery there in October. Our place sits on the banks of the Ottawa River in Ontario and looks across to a provincial park in Quebec. We all have a great time fishing, relaxing, and enjoying Molson Canadian.
At heart though, we are all builders and our conversations inevitably turn to what projects we could do that would make the place a little nicer for our next trip up. We have a nice space inside for watching the river go by, but it’s a little short on seating. There is plenty of room outside, but the property slopes away from the house down to the water. We wanted to build something that would give us plenty of space and stability to enjoy our time outside looking at the blaze of autumn color across the river or counting the stars.
The first question was whether it should be a deck or patio. We wanted something low profile and natural to the setting. The winters are extremely harsh up there and I didn’t want to add one more thing that required maintenance. These factors made the choice pretty simple: paver patio.
Taking our show on the road presented a few challenges. We had to source our materials locally and we were ordering them at the end of the building season when stock is a little scarce. Chuck at Reiche & Sons took great care of us. We were able to order Oaks pavers, a product I’ve used to build Columbus patios. We designed and built the whole project in less than a week with time to spare for happy hours and fishing breaks. Thanks also to Pat Stewart who was kind enough to loan us his loader and Kubota tractor: that really made the job easier!
The finished patio is roughly 14’x20’ with room for 12 chairs. There is a drop off on one side of about 28” which I imagine will end up being a seating wall for the kids. We used graystone and buff for the pavers and Oaks Gardenia greystone for the retaining wall. We worked most of the day Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. On Sunday we put in polymeric sand and we were done. It won’t require any maintenance. Period.
While we were lucky with the weather and have never had a better view at a job site, I’m thrilled to have the work done. It was really cool to have the chance to add a new amenity to the cabin that my grandfather built with his guys back in the early 1940s. Having seen how much joy the place has given four generations of family (so far), I know how meaningful a building project like this can be. I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing the reactions and pictures from my extended family during their trips to “Harry’s Haven” next year. They are gonna love it! Special thanks to Rob Mitchell, Phil Sluss, Seth Mitchell, and his dad Rahe. Outstanding work, guys!
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