If you’re anything like us, one day of 70* weather makes you want to build a deck! A fence! Plant a garden! Mow the grass! Rake the leaves! Clean the porch! Basically, do anything to create a beautiful outdoor space to further enjoy your domain. While you might have all these Pinterest-y dreams of twinkle lights and herb gardens, the harsh reality could be more like this:Which just so happens to be our back patio. *ahem*
We’ve been planning (read: saving) for a deck for the past year or so, knowing that once the majority of the kitchen construction was complete, this would be the next major project to complete. So how do we go from that first picture to something Pinterest-worthy? And when I say Pinterest-worthy, I mean a space that is functional, usable, comfortable, and exactly right for our family.
First up, dream. This means magazines & books (Home Depot and Lowes have tons of project-specific books near the front of the store), the interwebs, tv shows (DIY channel, HGTV, etc.), and yes… Pinterest. (Our deck board is here.). Everything you could possibly think of… This is your time to dream big and large. Realize (and record) which design elements you keep coming back to. (Size/ shape/ layout/ color, etc.)
- For us, we have a small-ish dining room, with a table that seats 6 comfortably. (We valiantly attempt to squeeze at least 8, though… and frequently just toss in two extra seats for good measure.) So we’d love a LARGE table, able to seat 10.
- We also have a Big Green Egg, with a Big Green Egg table. (Husband is very serious about his grilling.) He’s going to need an area in which to make the magic happen.
- We’d love a place for just the two of us to have dinner and/or coffee and/or happy hour. A cozy little spot with cozy little chairs.
- I want the deck to have some kind of flower/ herb garden bits with it.
- It’d be pretty sweet to have a drink station area—like a rolling cart of sorts that can house some adult beverages and non-adult beverages alike.
- For one, we took measurements of the entire yard. This could get a little cray-cray for some people, but I decided to draw out the deck in Sketchup, one of my favorite visualization tools. (This gives us an idea of scale in relation to the yard, the shed, and trees.) There are a few other deck-planning sites that you can google, although they don’t allow you to fully customize your size and shape.
- You could spray paint the ground where you want the deck to go. (Like what J did for the trash screen.) Or, if that seems too odd for you, use some stakes and some string.
- We’d love for the deck to extend past the dining room window, so we could eventually replace that window with some French doors onto said deck. (This gave us a good idea of where the deck would end.)
- We want to be able to walk around on the deck, after the table and the Egg Table are sitting on it. So we could easily move those elements around and check pathways to see how much room we’d need.
Third, price this sucker out. You could (obviously) decide to build this thing yourself, but you may also want to hire a pro to do it. Why would I suggest hiring a pro, when we obviously enjoy the torture that is DIY?
- TIME. Building a deck is realllly time consuming. Like, weeks spanning into months kind of time consuming, if you only have nights and/or weekends to get this done.
- It’s hard work. No joke. Really labor-intensive. Aka, you’d get really sweaty when you do this… gross.
- There’s structural elements involved. You may be an excellent builder/ DIY-er, but if you’re not a structural engineer, getting loads/ spans/ footings correct could get tricky.
So. All that to say, we’re hiring a deck man (that’s a nod to Ms. Becky right there) to build the platform, and J will finish the stairs and the railing himself. Fingers crossed that this bad boy will be (partially) complete by mid-May! And then the planting! And the growing! And the sitting!