When we bought our house 3 years ago, the backyard aesthetic was somewhat… Not. At all. Below is what our backyard looked like on the day we signed the papers to buy our current casa.
That, on the right, is Keith’s infamous ‘Love Shack’ where he gets to construct and use tools to his heart’s content, provided it’s warm enough (there’s a long extension cord, but DEFFO no heating). It has only come back into use in the past few weeks as it Mother Nature was still having a hard time letting go of Jack Frost (there’s a whole bunch of shared property and possessions, so that’s always hard) this year.
This was all there was. No deck, no nothing. SO much room for activities (movie trivia in there for you Will Farrell lovers out there).
That little landing area was our ‘deck’ for the first year in our house. It was surrounded on 3 sides with a charming playing card motif (jack, spade, heart, club) that was cut into the wood. This is what the old owners considered a ‘decorative touch’. Cough.
This was literally all the space we had to work with.
In the spring of 2014, Keith and co (very patient friends) who helped us out because Keith is a very nice person who has a significant stock of favours/goodwill saved up for occasions like this. He planned out the original designed himself with lots of paper and a measuring tape. He then went to the ‘desksperts’ at our local Home Depot, where they have a design program that can render your deck plan for you, and provide a shopping list for all of the nuts, bolts and wood that you will need to get. The planning service is free, but make sure you call ahead to confirm someone who can use the program is available and has time: it’s a pretty popular service (obvs). All the lumber used for the frame (that’s not visible) was traditional pressure treated wood, and the stuff on top was cedar, which smells SO good when it rains.
That’s Keith and Jer. Again… Eleanor takes pictures.
The bulk of the work was done after a weekend, and then the railings and final touches were added. There will be a phase two with horizontal slats being out in instead of vertical, but with construction code in the city what it is, you can’t get a permit to put in any deck with slats that kids can climb. so vertical it is… We bought pressure treated wood for the railing and slats and painted it black so we could save some $ but still have the modern look we wanted.
Our first night on the finished product with all of our furniture put together was obviously celebrated with the finest of Canadian cuisine. A helpful hint: Whenever trying to match 2 different kinds of wood in a project and it’s either a) not possible to get the original wood you want to match to or b) not financially feasible to use the expensive stuff everywhere, don’t make yourself crazy with the staining and the matching. It’s not going to match, so make it really not match, and then it become a design feature instead!
Every year, in late spring, Ikea gets rid of all of its outdoor furniture for 30-50% off. I think the sale started on a Friday evening, and I made Keith go with me.
You needed 2 people to amass everything we wanted, and to stand guard over your furniture treasure (it’s bloody cut thraot and I do NOT mess around). We were literally taking the floor models and walking over to the ‘as is’ section to get pricing put on it. So if you see what you want for your deck at Ikea, their super sale is a great way to go, but be prepared to patiently do battle for cushions, footrests and sides tables.
Not including the stairs, the deck is 12’x14′ and cost us approx $5,000 CAD. Add in the boxwoods, (bought from a local, organic nursery, so we could help save our bee friends and avoid plants with neonics used for pesticides; for more info on what you can do please visit davidsuzuki.org), planters and Ikea seating area and eating area deck furniture (at a MAJOR discount) and the total project came in under $6,000 CAD.
Beyond the deck we did 100% NO landscaping last summer… so that will be a project for this summer. Stay tuned!
PS Got any questions? Drop us a note ANYTIME at firstname.lastname@example.org