Dave

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Finally, You Can See My Small Deck...

It took a full week to build, what with not being able to avoid my regular day job, but the yard project is finally complete. I can't seem to do anything without stopping to take a picture or two, so without further adieu, this is how it went. You may recall that my wife and I started a little project to convert a small part of our yard on one side of the house to a little area with plants and ground cover. With that finished off - well, all but the actual growing of the ground cover and plants we planted, we decided to add a small deck off of the larger deck.

I started off with an idea of what I wanted and bought just enough materials to layout a frame. Our yard is built on a slope so building a deck here isn't like the easy stuff they show on HGTV where everyone seems to have a perfectly flat yard with plush green grass and not a single rock under the surface.
Because of the slope, I had to dig in some deck blocks on one side just so the deck wouldn't be too high off the ground. I'm not afraid of heights or anything, but I'm pretty sure my neighbors wouldn't care to have us hovering over their backyard like we were in a deer blind or watchtower.Setting the clocks back an hour is cool if you don't want to send your kids to school in the dark, but it really takes a toll on the amount of daylight after work. So adding in daily trips to Home Depot after work, I could just feel the daylight burning away, taking away the precious time I needed to work on this deck. Maybe I should have done this a few weeks ago.So we decided on a 12 x 10 deck so I wouldn't have to cut the boards to fit. It only took an hour or so to get the thing set in place where we wanted it, but then I used the next two evenings going really overboard on making the frame sturdy. I probably could have put more into it like pouring some cement footings or something, but by the time I was done with it, I had 4 x 4's holding up just about every board. Let's just say, it doesn't creak at all.Next came the fairly easy part, actually putting on the deck. I decided to go with treated 2 x 6's even though there are newer decking products available - either the new plastic decorative systems or even the 5/8"s deck boards. Our original deck is made of 2 x 6, so I went with that.

About two years ago, my wife and I were at those outlet stores in San Marcos, and I bought this cool little attachment for the drill. It allows you to load in a bunch of screws and drill them in from the standing position. It really is a cool, back saving attachment. I have been waiting two long years to finally open the box and try it out. Yea, that lasted about 10 minutes. Oh, it worked, but when you are doing the work by yourself, you have to lay out each new deck board where you want it, then start to drill. I realized that it was just quicker and easier for me to move the boards into place, drill in the screws and move on.By Thursday, all I needed to do was to finish putting in the last two 2 x 6's so the deck part would be complete. Unfortunately, you need to have the right tools for the job. As the frame was going up, we decided we would have a small bench on the far end of the deck to serve as a railing (we wouldn't want anyone to get liquored up and fall a full 16 inches to their death) and also as a place to set drinks or plants and such. Well, I needed to notch out the deck boards so as to fit comfortably around the 4x4 risers. I went to grab my jig saw, and sure enough - no blade.I'm sure Bob Vila would be horrified to know that instead of running out to Home Depot to buy new blades, I grabbed my trusty saws-all and commenced in he-man Tim the Toolman Taylor fashion to screw it up. I gave up after a few minutes and decided the project could wait until I had some new jigsaw blades. In the end, I made the cuts using my circular saw and cleaned them up with the freshly bladed jig saw. Norm Abram would be proud.As the deck was starting to come together, we also decided to extend the walkway of decayed granite we made around the garden project. So on Thursday, my wife went back to Fertile Gardens and bought another yard of the stuff and on Friday, I went and picked up the second half of it. So basically, I decided to get up Saturday and just knock it out.With the deck top complete, I needed to clean things up a bit by replacing a board that was all jacked-up and adding some trim.Because our area is home to lots of wild skunks, possums, raccoons and feral cats, I wanted to cover the sides of the deck right away so nobody would get the idea that they could get under there and have a littler of babies. And I think it makes the whole thing look a little nicer. I just used fence boards to make the siding. I can honestly tell you, this was probably the hardest part of the project - the constant bending over to measure then getting up to make the cut, then back over to nail it in. Make no mistake, my knees and back are feeling it.We finished adding in the decayed granite to make a small walkway from the bigger deck down to the new one, and we still have a lot of tamping to do, but that can wait.In the end, we added one of those little fire pit deals so my wife could roast wienies and marshmallows. I think we are going to put in some sautillio tile in the center of the deck to place the fire pit on, though on our inaugural use, we didn't burn anything down.And there you have it: pictures of my little deck. I know, I giggled too. It's okay.
Update: Now you can see the Deck Movie, too!

7 comments:

Maureen said...

It looks great! Y'all did a really nice job. We did ours last year--I think it was December, because any other month was too hot!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Nice job. It really does look nice. Great Job!!

Take Care..
Tony

Lynne said...

Great job Dave!

Are you available for hire?? :)

Anonymous said...

Are you available for hire?? :)



ummm No I don't share sorry ladies :)


Evamarie

Sid said...

So anyway... you guys made me feel so inadequate and inactive ( more like inert!) that today I got off my duff, went to Home Depot to buy some lirope (blue lily turf plants), and potted six large ones in some faux terra cotta pots. I have placed three on each of the steps leading down to my back flagstone patio. They look pretty good if I may say so myself.

My small landscape project pales in comparison to the Dave and Eva backyard venture, but I'm just a beginner at this. You guys are the experienced ones!

Thanks for inspiring me!

Sid

Anonymous said...

Nice deck!
Lydia

Rox said...

wow can't wait to get home and have a wennie roast!

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