The DIY Deck Build

It’s been three years since we moved into our current house, and this particular project (actually a collection of projects) consumed two of those three years. So be forewarned that unlike many of the posts in this blog, this one is not a weekender.

It all started with my Mister.

My Mr

Yeah, that cutie. He’s a visionary with outdoor spaces … a trait I lack but so appreciate in our DIY collaborations. He set the vision for a complete backyard renovation that began with adding on a deck.

Here’s where we started two years ago when the backyard was nothing but ivy and dirt.

DIY Backyard Before 2

I never got a good “before” shot of the entire back of the house but at least you can see the screened porch in this one.

DIY Backyard Before

So remember I said this was more like a collection of projects than just one project? It started with taking out the window in our master bedroom and replacing it with French doors. This first step of the process took about 6 months because the first door we ordered and installed ended up being a total piece of crap and we had to send it back. It was nowhere close to air tight and we had some very cold drafty nights before it was finally returned and the Hubs sealed the opening with plastic and giant tarps until the new custom door arrived months later. Months.

Here he is with my father-in-law installing the new door. There is no deck yet so they’re standing on scaffolding to reach.

DIY Window 2

DIY Window 3

DIY Window

Once the door was in, Hubs had finished drawing up the plans for the new deck and we could begin work. (And by “we” I mean “not me.” I had my hands full with a new baby around this time and it’s already been said that I’m the INterior designer, not the OUTerior one.) Big thanks to a father-in-law who’s a builder hobbyist and willing to jump in. Here they are framing it.

DIY Deck in Progress 5png


DIY Deck In Progress 6

This is the best shot of what the back of the house looked like pre-deck.

DIY Deck in Progress 8

I really like the angled corner which gives more interest than a typical squared off one.

DIY Deck in Progress 11

DIY Deck in progress 10

The baby enjoyed all the window time entertainment.

DIY Window 5

Once it was all framed, Hubs took on the rest of the project himself (plus one eager apprentice) cutting and securing every plank, board and railing piece.

DIY Deck in Progress 5

DIY Deck in Progress

Lots of practice with the measuring tape.

DIY Deck in Progress 4

And here’s the moment all the boards were finally in!

DIY Deck In Progress 2

DIY Deck in Progress 3

Then after a few months of letting the wood dry came the task of staining the floor boards and the very tedious task of painting the railing and spindles. In all this took about a month of weekends, squeezing in a few hours here and there as we could. Hubs went the extra step of sanding down the screened porch floor boards to the bare wood so that when we stained the new deck we could stain the porch at the same time and both would match. It’s good this was his project because that’s a detail step I would have sailed past with no quality-control conscience whatsoever. :0)

DIY Deck 3

I actually use the term “stain” loosely because we used a toner and not an actual stain.  The toner had more transparency and less red tones … which we wanted to avoid. Once it was all done I was really diggin the white-on-wood combination.

DIY Deck 1

DIY Deck 2

By now the baby was walking and thrilled for his new outdoor playpen.

DIY Backyard 11

Next up was installing the lattice and then painting it to integrate the old part (screened porch) with the new deck and giving it an authentic always-been-there kind of look.

DIY Deck 7

DIY Deck 5

DIY Deck 4

I decided to paint the lattice the same gray as the house so that it would look seamless. THAT is a job I don’t wish on anyone. (Side note: We learned not to use composite lattice but to stick to the real wood stuff. The composite bowed this way and that even when we screwed it in completely level. It’s just warp-y  material with too much flexibility in it and it also looked fake and a bit cheap once it was installed. We ended up returning it after wasting a half day’s time unsuccessfully trying to make it work.)

And remember all that ivy in the backyard? Well another many months of work later my Hubs had pulled out all the Ivy (by hand) and then installed a low stone wall with landscaping shrubs and flowering plants. Here are a few shots, but that’s another few months of work and another day’s post…

DIY Backyard 2

DIY Backyard 3

DIY Backyard 4

Here’s the before and after on this monster of a project…


DIY Deck in Progress 8


DIY Deck 4


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