• Bre Bardenwerper

Hickory Nut Project- Back Deck

A few weeks ago, at the beginning of this chaotic quarantine, my husband mentioned that we really needed to do something about our back yard.  We live in the middle of nowhere with a gorgeous view of the mountains, but if you walked to the back of our house it looks…well…not gorgeous.  Not gorgeous at all.

We had steps off the back door in the kitchen that were basically rotten from water damage, and a checkered-painted cement patio that looked like a scene out of Alice in Wonderland, but a tattered and outdated version.

I remember when my aunt and uncle lived here everything was kept pristine and perfect.  I called it “the secret garden” because it was whimsical and covered in flowers.  But after years of nobody living in the house, and with changing styles, it definitely needed updating when we moved in.  

See what I mean?

We have been really focused on getting the interior renovated, and knew we wanted to update the back yard at some point, but we didn’t have a set plan.  Then cue the quarantine, and us being home 24/7 staring at this disastrous back yard.   We used it every now and then when our son wanted to roast marshmallows. So we would pull out camp chairs, and light the old fire pit. Other than that we avoided it like the plague (Or in 2020 terms, avoided it like COVID-19). I hated looking out of our dining room window at it, and hated that our guests could see it if they looked.  

I kept thinking about how perfect it used to be, and how I wish it was still that way, so when Mitch mentioned wanting to fix it I was all for it.

All. For. It.

We decided that instead of keeping it a simple staircase off the back door, we would make it a larger porch that we could use for grilling or hanging out.  Our front porch actually wraps around the house to that area also, so it was perfect for combining the two spaces.

But then being my natural self I started thinking about the purpose of the space, the reason for having it, the aesthetics, functions, and all that good stuff.

The plan was a porch, but that would require railing, and railing presented 2 problems.

1: When you sit down it would be right at eye level and block the view.

2: When we eventually change the exterior of our house we might change the railing. I didn’t want to add a ton of railing that didn’t match the current, or make it match and eventually have to change the entire porch railing again.

And having no railing was not an option, because

1: It wouldn’t be up to code.

2: I have two young kids and that is a huge safety concern.

So I started (very roughly) sketching and came up with this idea instead.  

A multi-level deck that only requires two small sides of railing, and will actually function better for what we want.  

The top area is large enough to keep the grill and a small sitting space right off the kitchen. We chose to put a small pavilion over half of it for storage when it rains, and to have some shade if we want it. (I am a true red-head and burn within 30 seconds of being in the sun.)

Then you take two steps down to the main deck. Which is low enough to the ground that it does not require rails, and I’m not concerned for the kid’s safety.  The deck is large enough that we can have patio furniture, a rug for the kids to play on, all while still having room to walk around.

Another two steps down and you are on the ground.  This version of the deck fixed all of our problems and added so much more detail than we originally planned.

So we got to work, well actually Mitch and his family members got to work. They had it built in 3 days.  All I did was plan it, make sandwiches, and order the décor.

Here it is now!

We decided to use a couple chairs we already had for now until we find some patio furniture that we really like.  I want to get a really nice set, so we may wait until next year.  I ordered two rugs, some outdoor lanterns and pillows, and bought some planters and flowers.

Obviously, we still have some work to do.  We have to wait about 6 months for the pressure treated wood to dry out, and then we will stain/paint it.  

We also still have to do my favorite part of the deck- the fireplace! But we found out that the insert we ordered is backordered for two weeks. So we are having to wait another week or so to finish it.  If you are wondering why we picked a fireplace over a fire pit, or for more information on how we are doing the fireplace check it out HERE.

And as always, if you want to follow our journey be sure to subscribe to the email newsletter!

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