The old, inverted slabs acquire an exotic look. The recovered wood expresses the charm of the terroir. The pavers allow water to seep into the ground. If, in addition, the terrace is built for a long time and with local materials, if you grow tomatoes in a tub and the atmosphere is given by solar lanterns, eh! well, it is ecological!
France Cliche and her companion wanted a terrace to receive their many friends and relatives, on their property in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. “I wanted a large table, says France, solid and comfortable, which can spend the winter outside, but which is more chic than a picnic table. Since I hadn’t found it after searching everywhere, I decided to do it myself. ”
Antiquarian-stylist, devoted by vocation to the spirit of countryside, France chooses and arranges elements of the past which express the charm and the cachet of our soil. In her search for the aesthetic and touching object, she accomplishes one of the most ecological gestures that is: giving a second life to objects and materials.
Thus, the spacious table – 13 feet long – is made up of old barn beams, as is the open structure which shelters it, made of materials from three sources: two barns, one from Napierville, a neighboring village, the other from Beauce, as well as an old house in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle. The roof of the shelter is topped with shingles of natural cedar (local wood), already graying after one year.
“I was inspired by the boat cabins that we see in New England,” says France Cliche. I call it my boat house. We installed it near the swimming pool, since we have no other waterfront! ”
The corner planks were installed using the screw pile technique: giant screws driven into the ground, which provide a bearing capacity. The floor is in square pavers of recycled concrete, imitating wood.
Some oil and glass light fixtures can also accommodate lemongrass candles (Aux Mirabelles boutique).
A pavement permeable to water has a major ecological quality. The rainwater which infiltrates into the ground, and which will join the water table, saves at the same time the municipal sewer and the treatment plant.
For this reason, materials such as brick, concrete pavers, stone or aggregate (crushed stone, gravel or pebbles) are preferable to asphalt or poured concrete, recalls the guide La maison verte from the Black & Decker collection ( Man’s Edition). Joints can be planted with ground cover.
But we can also use a technology whose performance has been proven in the laboratory. At Techo-Bloc, technical representative Éric Dion says that permeable pavers can allow more water to infiltrate than a simple lawn.
“The foundation under the pavement must also be permeable,” he explains. It is made in crushed net [no dust], of different successive calibers. Such a system can retain water for some time before letting it run off. It can also route water into a tank, from where it can be collected for an irrigation system or to wash the car. ”
Wood and stone from local sources immediately have an ecological quality.
For wood, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification guarantees that it has been harvested in a sustainable manner. Even more ecological are the materials recovered – wood, brick, stone -, provided they are not contaminated by mold or insects.
Composite wood is ecological if it contains a good percentage of recycled materials (at least 50%, up to 90%, specifies the Practical Guide for outdoor design by Éditions Protégez-vous). We choose, as much as possible, a VOC-free paint, or a material that does not have to be painted.
Finally, for the ambiance, solar-powered outdoor luminaires are now available in a wide choice, in supermarkets.
There are propane, natural gas, electricity, but … an ecological terrace does without devices that emit greenhouse gases or are too energy-consuming, argue the authors of various publications. A question of dosage and judgment, as always.
“But we already have gigantic energy needs for useful things,” says Pascal Morel, director of Archibio. So why add more for trivial things? ”