So, three years after we move in, and at least 2 years after we started this project, we finally got it done. And this is the one year when we actually have mosquitos out there. Figures right?
We’re still pretty excited about this most recent project and addition to the usable living space in our house. The frog population will recover next year and we’ll be amazingly mosquitoless again. I think it has something to do with the crops we have around us this year and the stuff they use on those crops that really affects the ecosystem in the creek behind our house.
So here’s how the deck out back used to look:
This was actually just after we started the project. Our house was fully wheelchair accessible once upon a time, so there was this biiiiiiig ramp that stretched across the whole back of the house leading up to this deck and into the master bedroom back hall. Also, there were no stairs. So imagine this photo, but with a non-death-trap ramp and no stairs.
And here’s another shot of what it looked like part-way through the project.
To be fair, we’re still really part-way through the project. But it’s a lot better.
So, when we got to the house, although the deck was nice and big, it just wasn’t working for us. We wanted to create a more welcoming feel in the backyard and we wanted the traffic to flow a little better on the deck and give us more usable space.
Here it is now!
It’s at least a little better now, isn’t?
Just kidding! I’d easily say that it’s an improvement of at least 7112.5%
Time for the Chuckers check!
Yup, the deck looks good with the dog on it. OK, it can stay.
So here’s what we did:
-Took down the old ramp and set aside the wood for future use.
-Built the stairs and all the new railings out of the old ramp.
-Realized that the deck still felt too small because there was no way to fit a table and BBQ on it.
-Solved that problem!
-Spent like $3 on everything. (Major exaggeration for effect. But we mostly just had to buy deck screws, stain, and pretty decorations for fun. So not thousands like we would have spent otherwise to get this deck in working order.)
The most time consuming thing was cutting down all the old boards to make the spindles. We really thought the wood was in horrible shape and that we’d need to buy new wood, but once we got started we realized we had more than enough good wood to do what we wanted, and then some! Changing out the railings from that tired-looking old lattice really made a big difference.
You could easily do the same thing with any deck by taking it apart and re-shaping it, or even just moving and re-sizing some stairs and railings. It’s amazing what a difference you can make with a few basic DIY skills and a little creativity!
We really wanted a comfortable to spot to sit out on the deck, but we also wanted to be able to walk without interruption from the back door to the stairs. There was really no good place to put the BBQ, so we came up with a pretty fun solution.
We made this little BBQ nook off the side of the eating area so it’s like the cooking station is kind of built in to the “wall” of the deck and we can easily cook and put food right on the table without having to travel far at all.
Just that tiny little deck extension really opened up the whole deck and made it feel so much bigger! By the way, Chris insisted that I at least pull that giant weed under the deck for this picture. Clearly, I did not. Keeping it real, people. No smoke and mirrors around here!
What a difference!
Just so you can see, here’s an idea of how the wood on our deck used to look, from about 2 years ago.
That wood was weath. ered.
And now it’s fresh as a daisy!
Except better because it has that whole “distressed on purpose” look to it. 🙂
We (all of us) just love it out here now!
The back yard definitely needs a few improvements in terms of the landscaping and a bit of clean up, but it’s coming along nicely!
Just pretend all those plants and shrubs are in non-cartoon form, K?
If you look closely at that last picture (which still has the old green fake shutters) and some of the others, you can see that we also built some new, chunkier grey shutters to go around the windows too. Details on that project coming soon!
All it took to finish this project off was a trip to a few July clearance sections and we were all set! We’ve been loving all of these lovely Summer evenings we’ve been having!
If your house has an old deck that’s making the idea of getting outside less than exciting, consider recycling the wood and reworking it into something new that you love! You may just have a new favorite “room”!
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.