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The Deck Project Begins!

June 15, 2015

One thing I've learned about myself is that it takes me a while to really figure out how I want a space to function and how I want it to feel.  If I get too easily caught up in how it looks I don't always like the results for very long.  The way a room makes me feel is so much more important to me.  I want a space that breathes and makes me feel calm.  Our new deck project is no exception.

When we bought our house two years ago there was a deck built across the entire back of the house.  The only problem was that it was in need of repair in several places.  A lot of the wood was in bad shape and it wasn't structurally sound.  We priced out re-building it exactly as it was but quickly realized that for the same cost we could do something different if we wanted.  Our lot is sloped so we could keep the elevated deck off the family room and re-route the stairs to the side and create a ground level patio that opens up into the backyard.  Ultimately we decided that two different elevations would look better and function well.  Now we just have to get started!


My husband and my father-in-law did phase one over Easter, repairing and rebuilding the deck off the family room.  It created the perfect spot for our new table from Trex Outdoor Furniture.  I'm so excited to be working with them!  The table is made from a POLYWOOD®  brand recycled plastic lumber that does not absorb moisture so it will not rot, splinter, or crack.  These products require no water proofing, painting or staining and will last forever.  AMAZING!

We're still trying to decide how to proceed with the patio below; cement pavers or crushed rock.  But for now I'm focusing on prettying up the eating space we've now been enjoying for several weeks.  I'm imagining several more planters overflowing with greens and some new cushions on the chairs so help it feel softer.  


Right now it's a lot of grey, I know.  The plan is to stain/paint the deck to help seal it as well as add some contrast with the furniture.  At first I was thinking it would be pretty to go white on the rails and a dark grey or black on the floor. But part of me loves the tree house feel with all the gray.  And maybe once I add in lots of potted plants and flowers I'll appreciate the wood fading into the background.


I know I want it to look super comfortable and well-styled with lots of layers and pretty textiles.  There are so many pretty inspiration pictures floating around right now.  I am in love with all the pretty rugs and pillows and layers of towels and bar carts!  But I also know that we live in Virginia and not Southern California and this is an open-air deck and not a covered or screened-in porch.  Our back yard is really shaded (which is awesome for actually using it in the summer) but it retains a lot of moisture (not so awesome).  It's a hotbed for mold and pollen which isn't exactly easy on textiles.  And it takes forever for the snow to melt back here in the winter so it stays frozen a good bit.  I need to be realistic about that.

Of course if I do add in color, it will be soft blues and tans and greens like this image below.  Wish I could add in the pool and palm tree somehow!


I also found and loved the deck pictured above that totally embraces the natural and weathered look but still feels pretty.  I need to keep this in mind as I work on our deck.  I want to spend my time hanging out on the deck and not cleaning or decorating it.  Maybe one day we'll have a screened in porch and then I can make more of the pretty things work!

Also, do any of y'all have white or cream cushions on your outdoor furniture?  Or just lots of outdoor cushions and pillows in genera?  Do you store them when not in use?  Like put them away daily?  I'm so very drawn to that look and haven't figured out how to make it work and stay clean outside.

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15 comments:

  1. We have mini slate gravel in our backyard by our deck and I LOVE the look of it, but should give you a heads up-its an expensive look that you have to periodically update by buying more. As you walk on gravel/crushed rocks, they will sink into the ground and you'll have sparse areas you'll need to refill. Fortunately, we have a landscape supply company that sells our rocks at wholesale so we save a bunch. LOVE all the grey on your deck, by the way! I always love what you do with your house!

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    1. good to know! Did you do a sand filler level first? My husband mentioned something about that to me but I'm letting him take the lead.

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    2. I'm not sure if the previous owners used sand filler or not. Maybe that helps cut down on the amount of bald areas. We always get compliments on the yard when people see it and you definitely can't beat the low maintenance (now mowing needed!).

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  2. I live in Virginia, too, and my deck is shady in the afternoon. Moisture is a problem, and sometimes we need a breeze. I find adding a fan is a big help. I just use a box fan, but there are other options. I don't worry about it being an outdoor fan, I just bring it in.

    I think your table is fabulous! Can't wait to see it all styled.

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  3. AnonymousJune 15, 2015

    Gray would look natural and be a lot less maintenance in the long run. Dark floor board will show every speck of dirt and debris. We learned the hard way and had to strip our deck and start over. Can't wait to see what you do :)

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    1. oh man I think you just tipped me over the edge. I want as little maintenance out here as possible! I think I'm going to like the way the gray just fades into the background too. We have black counter tops and I know exactly what you mean about showing every spec of dust. Thanks for your input!

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    2. AnonymousJune 16, 2015

      You can always put a clear stain or a diluted semi solid if you want a little color. Natural gray always reminds me of the beach too. We have a 40x12 deck on the back of our house and it took three tries before we had to pay to have it stripped after an unsuccessful DIY attempt on our own. Never want to do that again! Now we stain it with clear every two or three years and clean it every year in the spring. Super easy!! One last thing we learned (we're in the Pacific NW) that solid stain is great for rails, pergolas etc. it saturates into the wood, which helps protect it and lasts much longer than paint with the same effect. But once you go solid, it's almost impossible to go back. Best of luck!!

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  4. I wish someone had told me this when I spent a bunch on pretty outdoor cushions. I bought a variety of colors but could only find the cobalt blue I wanted in Sunbrella fabric through Ballard. I bought my other cushions locally at a variety of stores. The non-Sunbrella started fading immediately and got gross within a few weeks. I have since thrown them away. I still have the ones from Ballard as vibrant as the day I bought them (3 years ago) and when they get covered in pollen they hose off no problem. Also, have the umbrella from Ballard and love it!

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    1. oh man that is really good to know! I bought some pretties from HomeGoods last year and left them out all year like an idiot. I'm going to try to clean them but the blue is pretty faded. Boo. Love hearing your good review of Ballard. There's are so pretty!

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  5. I love the all gray look. I didn't have time to read the post until this morning and just skimming the pictures, I absolutely loved that you were going with a more natural look even if you painted or stained the handrail the same weathered gray.

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  6. The regular outdoor pillows from pottery barn I leave outside all the time but noticed they are fading. It's deff better to invest in the money with the ones that have the sunbrella fabric. I have a grey patio and love how it looks with the ferns I have and the blue accents. Looks great so far !

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  7. We have a grey Rubbermaid deck box for storing chair cushions and kid toys. I also use it during parties to sit out tubs of ice and drinks.

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  8. Oh my goodness, what a fun project! I can't wait to see the transformation take place, it will be gorgeous! Xo, Stephanie

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  9. How's your deck project going, Julia? I hope that you’ve made a lot of progress by now. The photo inspirations you shared are all wonderful, and it'll be great if you’ll be able to actualize them all in your own deck. It sure is nice to have a place at home where you can chill with your family during weekends and free time. I wish you good luck on that project! Have a nice day! :-)

    Max Hall @ Schafer Construction Inc.

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