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Wanna See My Big Deck?

April 20, 2009

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Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm Homegirl welcome to my brand-new deck! I never thought it would happen, I thought we would always be stuck with that awful tiny deck and standing-water problem in the lower part of the yard. But last Friday, after my builder worked for about a day-and-a-half, I came home to a big, beautiful platform of backyard goodness!

Last year we had considered pouring concrete to extend the space from the original deck, but the cost was astronomical, not to mention all of the fence destruction and yard upheaval that would have had to transpire to make it happen. That, and the fact that about three different guys gave us three incredibly different quotes, and we just got fed up with the whole thing. So we spent last year with the same awful lake that forms, wearing galoshes to take the dogs out, sulking at not being able to enjoy the yard.

As spring rolled around again once more and we were faced with Lake Jones once more, the conversation about a deck began in earnest. A little less than a month ago, however, I discovered a great builder on Angie’s List, and had him come out and give us a quote on the deck and a couple of other things. What I liked most about him was that he was an idea guy, not just, “What do you want, ok, I’ll do it.” We were able to have a good back and forth on the design, and when the original plan was way above our price range, we reworked it into something we could afford.

The end result more than doubled the original, which you can see from the red frame at the bottom. img_0056In a month or so we’ll put up some sort of woodwork something (I don’t want to say “lattice”) around the bottom to prevent any critters from moving in underneath, and then put down a clear finish. While the original design included building up to the retaining wall, I’m delighted to now have that space back for landscaping. It’s a great five-foot space, which should allow for beds about three-feet deep, and plenty of room to create a pathway down either side of the deck. Our first DIY project will be to pour a roughly six-square-foot slab of concrete to connect the bottom step up to the main yard with the edge of the deck. No, there will be no goofy ass bridges over troubled water here. Look elsewhere.

Although we’ve got a ways to go to perfect our new lease on outdoor living, I’m beyond thrilled to have room for chairs and a table (which I found at a local vintage shop the day after the deck was finished. Don’t you love?), and can’t way to really start planning the space. In no particular order, here are the top things my husband and I want to get done this year:

  • Redo the doors. That single door to the backyard you see? That’s in our bedroom. Which ain’t big. At all. And we have two labs. It rains. I could go on. The set of windows to the right are in my office, and just happen to be positioned perfectly to be replaced with a sliding door. I had initially wanted to keep the bedroom door, but my builder pointed out that we should have almost enough brick from the demo of the windows to close that up, which would completely reconfigure our bedroom for the much, much better. He’s got a great brick guy. It’s genius.
  • Get a fabulous grill. (See below)
  • Build a concrete pad off the end of the deck. If our concrete skills prove decent after doing the small step extension, this is probably the first major thing we’ll actually do. Moving down the back of the house, past the skinny bathroom window and to the sliver of window with the orange walls is the kitchen. This spot will be for the fabulous grill we’ll get to replace the haggard hand-me-down from my dad that I couldn’t even give away at a yard sale, and the location would make it easy to pass things through the window and into the kitchen. And yeah, that was my idea.
  • Landscape. The entire area needs to be re-seeded, and I’m really hoping to get that done in the next couple of weeks. We still have one spot that gets really wet and muddy, and I want to get the whole lower area back in good health so we can start work on the beds. And my ultimate goal is to plant a garden off the end by the bedroom. It’s a good corner that’s just the right size for a small garden, assuming I can actually get something to grow.

But for the moment, while we wait for the weather to clear up and the yard to dry a little more, I’m just focusing on creating a great little seating area. And now that I’ve got a table and some chairs, we all know what that means: accessorizing.

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