Our Back Deck Renovation

We moved into our house almost a year ago, and we’ve done some pretty extensive renovations since then. By far my favorite has been our back deck, which is off the great room of our house. It’s roughly 12′ by 28′ so it adds a decent amount of square footage and livable space to our house in the summertime. We love it!

Here’s what we started with:


It was a nice deck, but pretty plain and boring. We loved the large space and the double sliding doors off the great room. We didn’t love the long staircase to the backyard, or the fact that it was in direct sunlight all afternoon and evening. So, this spring, we started brainstorming what it would cost to make the deck more usable and desirable, and discovered that it was mostly elbow grease and not a lot of money. So we got to work! And by “we”, I mostly mean “Bob.” Bob got to work and I cheered enthusiastically.

We moved the steps

See how that staircase in the top picture is exactly parallel to the railroad ties staircase? One of them is redundant! We almost never wanted to get from the deck to that portion of the yard. Also, replacing the railroad ties with a permanent set of stairs and a landscaped retaining wall is on our list of improvements to make.

Our plan: by chopping the deck set of stairs in half and moving some of the deck railing around, we created two sets of stairs with materials we already had. The most terrifying part was chopping the stairs in half and moving them without someone getting squished.


Now, one half goes to the front yard, and one half to the back.  It flows so much better and makes much more sense!


We added a sun sail

The other big change was installing a sun sail. The deck faces West, so as the afternoons progressed, the deck had less and less shade and became a pretty miserable place to be. Also, the sun streaming through the triangular windows and the sliding doors made our great room really hot in the evenings–right as we’re trying to cook and eat dinner!


After seeing one at a local restaurant and doing some research, we bought a sun sail, and we love it. We love how it looks and how it functions. Some pro tips: if you’re in the market for a sun sail, buying early or late in the season seems to yield the best prices. Also, they come in a variety of sizes. Even if your deck is a strange size, I’m sure they’ll have the exact measurements you need.

We bought some furniture

After many an internet search for porch furniture, we picked up some Adirondack chairs (similar) and folding chairs from a Craigslist post. Now we have plenty of seating for fun gatherings and parties! Plus, Bob built gates from the extra boards and spindles so Julia can roam freely while we relax.


We’ve gotten so much use out of our deck this summer, and are so grateful for it.  It’s such a fun bonus space, and we’re going to miss it as the temps get colder this fall.

Have you changed anything around your house this summer?

In case you’re interested…. books I’ve loved this year and a killer zucchini bread recipe.

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