You guys, we have gone back and forth so many times on whether to participate this season. Originally, we decided to sit it out and just keep slowly (painfully slowly) working on finishing the trim work in the kitchen and dining room. Then we decided to join and redo our family room. We were all in on this plan…until we weren’t. So then we decided again to not join. And then we started spending a butt load of time outside trying not to go completely bonkers from staying home 24/7 for the last 9 weeks and decided it would be nice to finish out deck/patio and give ourselves a nice outdoor retreat. And since the ORC just happens to be going on right now, we may as well just go for it, right? Right?! So here we are joining in Week 2 and we’ve got half a plan and no work done. Sounds about right.
We attempted to do our patio a couple of years ago for the Fall ORC and it was a massive fail. We still have a pile of gravel in our driveway from it that we never finished spreading; it’s only a slight hazard with a two year old running amok. It was the rainiest fall I could remember at that time and I swore off ever trying to do an outdoor project for the ORC ever again. And yet here we are. Attempting to finish an outdoor project in 8 weeks (LOL more like 6 because we’re starting 2 weeks late). In the Spring. In the South where it’s sunny one minute and hailing the next. Should be fun!
There’s a lot going on back here. Our grass is always way overgrown, we need to extend our fence another 20ft back, and there’s ivy taking over everything. I’d love to one day replace our murder shed with a garden house and add a plunge pool. But none of that is going to get done right now so let’s just talk about the patio/deck area.
First up, the deck. A few years ago we took down our original deck and built a new one. The old one was in very poor shape: the paint was peeling, the joists were undersized, some of the frame was rotten, it wasn’t attached to the house, and none of the posts were actually in the ground; they were either sitting on pavers or random pieces of wood. It took me literally ONE swing of the sledgehammer to take the entire thing down and I almost knocked the spigot off the house in the process. We are going to extend the deck about 5ft into the patio area, basically replacing the brick walkway, plus a step or two down to the patio. Eventually, we’re going to replace this window with sliding doors and a couple of box steps down onto the deck.
We won’t be able to stain the deck during the ORC since the boards will need to dry out first but eventually it will get the same stain as the rest of the deck which could use a new coat, too.
As for the patio, we are planning on doing a mixture of large concrete pavers and gravel. The gravel we have here now was supposed to be temporary and is usually used for drainage so it’s pretty sharp and doesn’t feel great if you step on it the wrong way without shoes. We are going to keep/reuse this gravel though because we already have it and most of the surface area of the patio will be large concrete pavers that we pour ourselves. We are also going to pour two narrow concrete pads along the tall section of our fence to eventually build an outdoor kitchen area. For now, we’ll be moving our grill and smoker down there. I’m not sure that we’ll have time to do a kitchen build during the ORC and we’re not 100% sure on what we want it to look like or exactly how we want it to function yet. The arbor was trashed by a storm before we got to finish it and we don’t need/want it anymore so we’re going to repurpose the posts from it to be used for the new section of our deck. We’re also going to put in a more permanent set up for our café lights. The patio area is sloped but instead of filling it and leveling it, we’re going to level the pavers and then fill in with gravel where we need to.
The other thing that I’d love to do back here is to limewash the brick wall (eventually we want to paint our whole house white). TBD on whether we can do this during the ORC because I’m still waiting on HOA approval and then we have to test a sample to see how we feel before committing since it’s not the cheapest product. So let’s see if I can break this down into a nice handy to-do list that will probably change 12,000 times over the next 6 weeks:
- Remove bricks
- Extend deck (this is a big to-do list on its own)
- Install ledger board
- Set posts
- Build frame
- Install joists
- Add blocking
- Cut/install deck boards
- Build stairs
- Pull weeds from patio and try to blow out pine straw and broken acorn bits
- Remove ivy that’s growing through the fence
- Remove railroad ties in patio area (to be replaced with retaining wall at some point)
- Build frames for pavers (ripping down existing plywood to use materials we already have)
- Place/level/stake frames and rake out gravel where needed
- Cut and cap sprinkler feed line (we don’t use our sprinklers but they run under the patio area and don’t want any issues for future homeowners)
- Pour pavers (we’ll be renting a concrete mixer this time instead of mixing by shovel in a plastic baby pool)
- Remove frames from pavers (once cured)
- Fill in with gravel where necessary
- Hang wire for lights
- Hang lights
- Limewash brick?
- Paint door to garage?
That somehow doesn’t seem like that much and also seems like a whole heck of a lot all at once. Thankfully we’re going to have some help building the deck and the concrete mixer should speed up the concrete work so maybe it won’t be so bad? Now let’s just hope our weekends stay dry.
Let’s do this!