Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

New Deck Features

Saturday, November 18, 2017


Plan to make a new deck special 

Replacing an old worn out deck gives every house a facelift. Adding small special features gives joie de vivre (joy of living)! With just a little planning on your part and a LOT of discussion with the deck builder, your basic new deck can have special SMALL design features that do not cost much. 

The keys are planning, discussion, and sketches for your ideas. 

Here's the story of rejuvenating the area out my back door and of building a new deck for the area. 

Maybe you will find a few ideas to spark design features for a new deck at your house. 


Above is the AFTER Photo 

The space is not very big, but critical for 
  1. accessing the back yard 
  2. connecting the back area of the house to the larger decks off the living room 
  3. providing a surface since it is not feasible to grow grass there 

The BEFORE Photos 

We built our house over thirty years ago, and this area out the back door had a beautiful redwood deck where the new one is now. A few years ago the old deck was in such poor state that we removed it thinking we would replace it. 

Life has a way of changing priorities and plans. Replacing the old deck became a low priority. Over time the back area fell into greater disrepair. 

The mortar between the limestone steps leading up from the back door to the back yard cracked, crumbled, and even had a small tree sprouting. 

After several other more pressing projects were completed over the years, rejuvenating the back door space finally became Item #1 on the To-Do-List. 

First to do was to correct some drainage issues. 
  1. replace the rain gutters and downspouts 
  2. grade the space around the house and add stone 
  3. install drain pipes on the ground for the new downspouts to direct water away from the house  

Then, repair the stone walls and steps. 
  1. re-mortar the walls 
  2. remove old stone steps 
  3. build new stone steps 
  4. add concrete beneath the stone walls to prevent soil erosion

The new stone steps have a very short rise, five inches, which makes them very easy to navigate. 

Stone masons repaired the stone wall, and new mortar was added to the stone wall to stabilize the wall beneath the air conditioning units. 

The deck builder carefully cut each deck board to fit the irregular shapes of the stones. 

The blue wooden back door remained locked and unused while the deck was missing. Pretty sad and forlorn, it, too, needed replacing. 

A new blue door, new door handle, new door trim, and new deck make the back door beautiful and usable once again. 

The new deck at the same level as the door threshold is a feature that makes it easy for people with leg mobility issues to access the new deck. A lever-style door handle makes it easy to use for people with hand mobility issues. 

A little planning and discussions with the carpenters allowed these two mobility features that cost nothing extra. Even if no one in your family has problems now, they may have problems as they grow older. Incorporating designs for mobility is easy to do while making needed repairs. 

The deck makes washing outside windows easier since the deck is about two feet higher than ground level. 


Sunburst Corner 

A sunburst design following the curve of the stone wall is my favorite part of the new deck! This section of the deck took the most discussion, planning, and several sketches to convey my ideas to the carpenter. 

The sunburst cost a little extra in both material and labor. Since each board was cut down, more boards more needed for the surface than would have been needed for rectangular boards. Extra time was needed to cut all those special cuts and for calculating the cuts which translated into more labor cost. 

The carpenter did a fantastic job. The small quarter circle board at the corner of the house is key to the sunburst design and to establishing the ninety degree angle for "squaring" the sunburst sides. 

This walkway connects the new back deck to the larger decks off the living room. 

Since the back door threshold is a couple of inches lower than the large decks, this walkway had to slope slightly so the new back deck would come to the right place at the back door. 

More planning and discussions were required between the carpenter and myself. He suggested a short step up between the back deck and the large existing deck. By sloping the walkway from the large deck to the corner of the sunburst instead, the decks would be accessible for people with mobility issues. The slope is so gradual most people do not even notice it, and the slope allows a wheelchair to roll between the large deck and the small back door deck. Something a step would not allow. 

The final special feature for the new deck area is the wooden box built around the exterior water faucet. The faucet pipe is outside the house wall, not inside the wall, which makes it susceptible to freezing in cold weather, especially since this faucet is on the north side of the house. The water pipe is wrapped in two layers of insulation, and the wooden box adds more insulation in addition to hiding the ugly black insulation. 

The sloping top of the box will help drain away rain, snow, and ice beyond the water faucet handle. 

A quick small sketch showed the carpenter the design I wanted for the box with a sloping roof. He made it just as I envisioned it.   

Notches in the box's side boards fit the box snugly against the lapped cedar siding. The old trim removed from around the back door was more than enough wood to build the box. 

Plenty of room was left above the faucet to allow ample access to turn the faucet on and off. 

A fresh live rosemary tree is the beginning of Christmas decorations for the new back deck. 

The third and final deck has been replaced! 

Soon there will be a Christmas wreath hanging on the new back door. 

Speaking of Christmas decorations, mark your calendars for an upcoming Christmas home tour, 

Cozy at Christmas 
Dec. 4-8, 2017 

More than twenty bloggers will share Christmas all week long, and I will share my home decorated for Christmas on Friday, December 8. Plans are to show some areas never seen before on the blog. Let's hope I get all the areas cleaned and decorated in time. 😉  

You may also enjoy... 

7 Steps New Redwood Deck Design --- First Deck Replaced 

Treehouse Deck With Adirondack Chairs --- Second Deck Replaced 

Pinterest Board: Creatively Made Home