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Deck and Cover!

Sometimes, on rare occasions, I have been known to ask Andy if we can do a new project just because I think it’ll look good, though it will likely serve no real purpose in our lives.

I don’t usually mention that last part.

For example.
Me: I think we need a new chandelier in the foyer.
Andy: Why? That one works great!
Me: No, it’s too… darkish… and… probably a fire hazard… also… it might… fall? On our heads?… We need a CRYSTAL ONE FOR SAFETY. Don’t you love our children?!
(Still working on the new chandelier.)

Along those lines, I thought it might make our ugly ol’ patio look prettier to build a new deck on it.

I didn’t expect it to serve any purpose except look good, but as soon as I mentioned the idea to Andy, he jumped right on board because he thought it would make our backyard much more functional.

When he started talking about how much more he thought we might use our backyard if it had a deck, I was kind of taken aback, but I acted like I completely agreed, though secretly I didn’t think having a deck right on top of our patio would really change much about the way we used our backyard.

We recruited my dad to help us build it, because he used to build decks as his job, and even HE was all: “Oh YES. That would be SO nice.” Bewildered, I just agreed, quietly thankful I’d get my pretty new deck and afraid to rock the boat by asking Andy or my dad exactly why a deck is better than a patio.

Could I have used ANY OTHER PHOTO of my dad? Nope I couldn’t.

First, the three of us planned out the patio. Here’s the ONLY photo I can find of the back of my house – taken before we bought it. It’s been repainted, had new windows installed and gotten a general degrunge-ification since then.

See that little nook in the back of the house? Our long-term plan is to make that space into an outdoor kitchen, because there’s a window there that opens into the kitchen area inside so we could easily pass food back and forth. If we don’t use it for an outdoor kitchen, we’d love to nestle a little hot tub right into that spot. Either way, we wanted to take those long-term plans into account.

Option one was to build the patio to go across the back and into that little nook, like this incredibly accurately photoshopped version.
Deck options - full patio
We liked this option, because it made that little nook space feel more like a usable part of the backyard, but in reality, this size deck felt GIANT to us, and it would not be cheap. On to option 2:
Deck option 2
We could stop the deck just past the two windows, which would make the deck almost double the size of the current patio. We didn’t love this option, because we felt like it made that little nook become worthless, and I also didn’t know what we’d do with the portion of deck that would be in front of those two windows. Those are the same two windows you see here in my breakfast nook…

…so if we plopped some furniture out there, we’d always be staring at furniture out those windows. No thanks, homie.

On to option 3. We could build the deck right on top of the current patio, pretty much the same size as the patio, which is 18 feet by 12 feet.
The only problem with this option was that it didn’t connect our little nook to the rest of the “finished” space, so we decided to add a phase 2 to this project: a stone patio that would look like this:
The patio/deck combo seemed like a nice solution that makes the nook area feel finished and usable, but still kept the deck at a manageable size. Eventually we’d like to add some kind of firepit to that stone area, and it could be a pretty sweet outdoor chillin’ spot. The patio/phase 2 part of the project will happen Sometime In The Future, probably not this summer.

With the deck plan in place, we were ready for materials, which cost right around $500. The plan was for my dad and Andy to work together over one weekend to build the deck, but one weekday while Andy was at work, my dad showed up with a trailer full of lumber and got started on his own. (THANKS DAD!)

The first board – the one that gets attached directly to the house – was the hardest, because the patio is not level, so he had to cut the board level with the house on top and at a slope on the bottom. This picture might help:
As soon as he explained that to me, I was all: “YIKES. I think the kids need my attention. Goodluckwiththat.”

In my defense, he knew what he was doing and had this board up and attached the house in no time.
building a wooden deck
Then, it was smooth sailing from there. Because we were building right on top of concrete, there was no need to mix and add cement footings under the wood, and this was a pretty straightforward project. He started laying the joists, which are the like the foundation of the deck.
laying deck joists
Around this time, Andy joined in and they laid the rest of them:
deck joists in progress
With those in place, it was time to nail the decking boards on top. This is an instant-gratification home improvement project, for sure. Especially if you’re just watching.
installing decking on top of deck joists
Did I mention it was cooooold that day? I did most of my photo-taking from right inside the door.
IMG_0392 (Custom)
It ended up taking them about ten total hours to get to THIS! Yay! (THANK YOU DAD!)
New wooden deck at View Along the Way

And you know how I said I thought the deck would just be a pretty thing, not a functional thing? I was SO SO WRONG. The deck has completely changed how we use our backyard. With the few warm days we’ve had so far, we’ve already spent SO much more time on the deck than we would’ve spent on the patio.

One of the biggest changes now is that when you step out of the back door, instead of stepping down onto the patio…
IMG_0377 (Custom)
…you step straight onto the deck, which is even with the back door. It makes a surprisingly huge difference. I never woulda thunk.
IMG_1365 (Custom)
Right now the deck wood is pretty yellow. We have to let the pressure-treated wood weather a bit before it’ll be ready to accept stain, but we’re planning to stain it a little darker in a few months.

By the way, did you notice the other big difference between the before and after?
IMG_0367 (Custom)
New wooden deck at View Along the Way

I painted the back door!

It was totally on a whim one afternoon right when I should’ve been making dinner, and I had to do it RIGHT THAT SECOND. If I’d planned it better, I probably would’ve used a fun, crazy color because no one sees that door but us, but at that very moment, the only exterior paint I could get to immediately was the leftover front door paint. So red it is!

We’re getting closer to finishing this little patio area just in time for the Home Depot Patio Challenge. I’m so thankful to HD for the kick-in-the-pants to make this deck happen! We keep walking by the back door and stopping to stare at our new deck. You wouldn’t think a hunk-a-lumber could make such a difference to the look of our backyard and how often we use it, but I am S-O-L-D on the idea of a deck vs. a patio!

Just goes to show: sometimes, when I want to do a project just because I think it’ll look pretty, we should probably just do the project. (Yes, that’s totally the moral here.)

Have you started work outside or are you still snowed in where you are?

Don’t forget to pin this idea for later!

P.S. Don’t forget to see the fully decorated patio reveal right here, and swing by to check out or other complete room reveals!

Let's connect


  1. I’m so jealous! I have an awful hunk o’ concrete I’d love to turn into a deck…. andddd also our yard’s still covered in snow. One day maybe it’ll hit 50* and on that day I’ll go outside in a tshirt, pretend it’s warm, and at least de-tarp-ify the patio set. haha

  2. Love how this came out! Can’t wait to see it all come together for the Challenge. We still have snow. Blech!

  3. the deck looks awesome!! way to go! and i think you are lucky to have cement under it so it won’t sink or anything… not that it would, but to me that just seems sturdier! 🙂 and love the door color!

  4. Looks great!
    The rule should always be that a project has to get done a.s.a.p. when a woman says it would look pretty. I’ve been telling my husband that for years 😉

  5. Looks great Kelly! I bet you will spend all your warm weather months out there!

  6. LOL, I have the same problem with Dave. He just doesn’t get that pretty matters…xo Kristin

  7. It looks great! We have a really ugly patio area, so this is helpful! I’d love to get it straightened around some day!

  8. Outside stuff? No, no–definitely still blanketed with snow here. Oh, wait–I guess I’m not going to be able to get you to believe that.

    Looking great out there! Can’t wait to see what you do next! It’s projects like that that really drive home the advantages of not having a basement….I think we’d spend lots more time outside if we didn’t have to walk down all those STEPS to our backyard. Or maybe if we were less lazy.

  9. Wow! Looks great so far!

  10. The deck looks great! And I completely agree, I don’t know what it is, but something about upgrading your deck/patio space makes all the difference. We did a huge patio makeover last year, putting in new pavers and raising it up, and we ended up spending he whol Summer out there!
    Good luck withthe rest of the make over. I hope you end up getting your outdoor kitche, it sounds divine!

  11. Wow, looks great! And I totally get why you are using it more now. It’s the small psychological things…not that I know much about psychology (hah!), but I get it. What a good time of the year to get that done so you can use it all summer!

  12. Ooo the deck looks awesome! I’m excited to see when you guys finish everything! Of course it will look awesome with your design style 🙂

  13. Oh it looks a thousand times better! Did you nail the boards in? I see your husband with a nailer, but it also looks like there are some screws in the boards?

    It looks soooo good. I can’t wait to see it all dressed up!

    Our deck gets painted next week I hope and then It’s on to decorating for us too. Can’t wait!

  14. Looks great!!!

  15. Thanks for stopping by my blog!!! I love this post. Super cool on how you share the images and break it all down!

  16. Wowza! What a transformation and it is not even finished yet! I love the new deck and the red door too. I know what you mean about HAVING to do a project the very minute you think (or thunk) of it. It is nice that your idea to paint came conveniently during dinner cooking time! 🙂

  17. This looks so great! What a difference it made! And you knowwww you can always repaint that door. 😉

  18. Whoa… the problem is that this makes it look SO easy!! I could never pull this off. And the stone patio adjacent is a great call. Those two textures will be lovely back there! Congrats and enjoy!

  19. Hahaha, that picture of your dad is going to make me smile all day!! And we are HUGE proponents of a deck vs a patio. Yay for pretty changes that actually turn out to be functional. Who knew?!?! 🙂

  20. It looks great! I love the idea of the stone patio and fire pit, too. I never thought I was a “deck person” until we bought our house and it came with a big deck. The owners ended up leaving their patio furniture for us to use and we’ve found ourselves throwing bbqs allll the time when it’s nice out. I love hosting people and my husband loves cooking meat on fire – match made in heaven.

  21. It’s wonderful! I can just imagine how good a grilled burger would taste out there…or a hunk of watermelon! The back door is a wonderful pop of color too. Congrats on all of the fun that you are going to have. 🙂 ~k.

  22. Looks fantastic! Of course, I love the red door too. 🙂


  23. It turned out great! You will find you spend so much time out there!!! It will be so fun to decorate!!! Great job!!~~Angela

  24. Looks amazing! I love your phase 2 stone idea too. You’re going to have a blast accessorizing your new deck!

  25. It looks wonderful and I think the idea for a deck/patio combination will be beautiful and so usable! I know you will get so much enjoyment from your new deck!

  26. I love your blog! Your writing style and informative pictures absolutely crack me up. I just read this whole post out loud to my hubbs, who politely nodded and went back to his own computer. Don’t take that personally, I’m sure he’s just as entertained as I am, he’s just afraid to show it and reveal a crack in his armor by which I can persuade him to do something similar at our house! Keep up the good work!!

  27. That photo of your dad is hilarious!

    I love the new deck- so pretty!! And I really love the red door. Well done!

  28. Well that’ll teach ‘ya to thunk!

    By the way, I like your dad, but your mom needs a shave.


  29. Pam Devine says:

    What a difference. One question though – didn’t you have to raise the joists up slightly to allow for drainage? We’re looking to do something somewhat similar, but worried about the joists rotting from lack of drainage. Just looking for some thoughts on it.

    • Because the patio wasn’t level, the boards rest directly on the cement on the left side (the side by the back door), but on the shrub side, we had to prop the patio up so it’s a little bit higher than the cement. Because of the slope of the patio, we have natural drainage. I just called my dad to ask him this question for you since he used to build decks professionally but he didn’t answer. My husband thinks you probably won’t have to worry about that. Good luck with your deck!

  30. Wowzahs!!! That is quite the transformation!! It is looking awesome! I believe the men in your life deserve a pat on the back! I love the red door too….don’t you love the “on-a-whim” projects that totally take something from blah to ‘oh snap look at that!’

  31. The kids DID need your attention what with that errant light fixture just WAITING to fall on their heads. 😉 The deck looks great!

  32. We have a new-ish patio out back that is raised several inches like your deck and it is sooo wonderful, especially because it is on the warm and sheltered back of the house. I like to sit on the edge and read a book and eat breakfast in my pj’s.

  33. Woah! I’m so impressed by this. We had a tiny slab of concrete as our back “patio” when we lived in Columbus. I think if we had seen this post then, we would have been all over this method. It looks fantastic…and I know that it will only continue to improve once you get some stain and patio furniture on that bad boy. (And that photo of your dad is amazing; no wonder you’re so funny – – it runs in the family!)

    Can’t wait to see the next installment of your patio / deck re-do!

  34. Awesome! I can’t believe they did it so quickly. You guys will definitely get a lot of use out of it this summer!

  35. It looks so good! Did you ever think of adding a pergola to hang some string lights from? I mean add shade to the deck… 😉

    • OMG. Are you totally reading my mind?! That is precisely my thought process/discussion point with Andy. 🙂 We actually really do want to add some kind of string light posts (I mean shade), but we’re still trying to decide which option to go with. We were THISCLOSE to buying a pre-made pergola from Home Depot but ultimately decided it was a little too small for what we want long-term. I bet we will end up building something!

  36. You are so blessed to have such an amazing work crew :). Wonderful, wonderful job! I can’t wait to see it with your new rug 🙂

    Have a great day rock star!

  37. your new deck is pretty impressive and a major improvement from what used to be there. Cant wait to see what you do with the space. Pls send your dad to my house this weekend. lol. Hubby and I are currently working on our sun-room, so we have a nice relaxing place to relax, we hardly used it last year but I have major plans for it this summer.

  38. It looks amazing! How nice of your dad to help! One question though…..Is that your dog? I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now and never would have guessed you had a dog! He looks like a sweetheart!

  39. You are hilarious! I love reading your blog… I was literally nodding my head like “yes… mmm hmm…” as I scrolled through the lovely brush stroke renderings. I love the stone walk/deck idea! Excited to see the rest of your project come together.

  40. Awesome progress girl! When they are done send them to TN~

  41. The deck looks great! And so much nicer!

    We have a messy, broken concrete slab of a patio that I’m DYING to re-do! Maybe next summer!

  42. Susan Brown says:

    This is AMAZING. And that RED DOOR – yeah for whims at dinner time! My creative juices are flowing just thinking about decorating the new deck and I bet yours are too – hurry up and post pics of Decorating-Along-The-Way. Back to the door- I just LOVE red. My kitchen curtains are cafe style and cover a very small window. I decided to make them myself so went to IKEA and bought red and white striped medium weight cotton for the job. Now, measuring is NOT my strong point…..I measured that window to death and calculated and recalculated the final metreage I would need. Who woulda thunk I needed 7 metres? Well, I did. Needless to say I had about 6 metres left over. Point is, I can donate this for decorating the deck purposes and it would go so well with your red door!!!! Postage from Australia might put a dampener on the exercise though.
    Great job – and your dad has a nice face. Do you want to sell him? Could use a good handy man around here.

  43. My outdoor to-do list is growing fangs… I just need spring break to get here so I’ll actually have some time to tackle it!
    The deck looks awesome, Kelly! Think I’ll pop over and hang out on your deck… 🙂
    xo Heidi

  44. looks great! also I love your photoshopping skills!

  45. Thoughts: Aaron is always way more willing to do a project if I can convince him it is much more functional. What’s up with that? I love the red door!! You guys did an amazing job. I was wondering if you can give me photoshop lessons… 🙂 I didn’t know you had a dog!! YEAH for a fast “instant” gratification project!!!!

  46. Cool-e-o! Dad’s are sure great! Now to the fun part….decorating it!

  47. Kelly, your deck looks amazing! And I’m so right there with you on the convincing the husband, LOL. Can’t wait to see what you guys do out here!

  48. What a fantastic deck! I can’t wait to start enjoying some beautiful warm weather! Life to the full, Melissa

  49. We still have snow and I am in an apartment so a deck just can’t happen 3 stories high! LOL
    But I have a balcony, so I will be able to have plants, herbs and flowers out there.

  50. Awesome to the nth power, girl! It looks amazeballs and so much more functional… now get that hot tub and let’s party!!! hehehe

  51. Your deck looks AMAZING! It really spruces up the backyard. Time for a cookout!

  52. Looks awesome. It looks so much better. I’ve mentioned this to hubby before so who knows if it’ll really get done. Love the red door too!

  53. WOW Girl– loving this new deck! Get yourself some hot chairs…flowers- and BAM!

  54. Wow, how fun! It’s going to be gorgeous once you stain it! Last time I was home my dad and brother were building an upper deck for the top story of our house; mostly the same idea, except they did it all from ladders and standing on just joists suspended in midair! Glad they were doing it and not me. 🙂

  55. We did this exact same thing several years ago. We went right over an existing nasty patio with a deck. You will love it when it finally gets warm enough for you to hang out there! Looking forward to seeing your HD fix up too. 🙂

  56. I was laughing so hard as you explained why you need certain things for the house to your husband. Sounds exactly like what I do too!!! ;). The transformation is so great! I can’t wait to see the rest!!

  57. That deck makes a huge difference and I can’t wait to see what you do for the patio challenge!

  58. What an improvement! I’ve been dying to add a deck over our concrete patio, and now I have some picture evidence to try and convince the hubby with 😉

  59. Kelly,

    When I saw your deck project (deck and cover), I was happy to see how simplistic the details were. As a newbee to deck construction, I built one this past week, using 12’x16′ as the final size. Since we followed your progession on this project, it was ever so easy to accomplish. The next phase involves staining the deck after the wood dries out, and then getting the railings done. Many thanks.

  60. Just found your blog linked from a iReport. I love your writing style, and this is a great project. I’m in the process of doing something very similar.

    Not to be a Debby-downer, and it seems your dad knows what he’s doing, but as I understand, you’re not supposed to tie a ground level, floating deck like that to the house with a ledger board. Specifically, you built on sleepers (the 2x lumber that went directly over the concrete patio), and the patio is probably 4 inches thick or so. Not anywhere close to the frost line. So the patio can rise and fall, sometimes inches in a season, when the ground freezes (which is why when the patio cracked, the right side sunk so much, which your father had to account for in the ledger board).

    The ledger board doesn’t allow for that, and transfers all that stress to the house. Ledger boards are meant to be used with proper footings, dug down to the frost line, to avoid frost heave.

    May not be an issue, but if you ever have a problem with the deck sagging, I would consider detaching the ledger board from the house, and letting the deck truly “float”. There are also tax and inspection reasons not to use a ledger board in many areas (attaching to the house can mean a reassessment of your property tax bill, and requires permits. You can get around that by building a low-to-the-ground, freestanding deck).

  61. Hi there, we have a concrete patio around the WHOLE front and side of our house and I want to bring up putting a deck over it because it does look so much better. Was there any problem with rainwater pooling underneath the deck or does it drain away along the joists?

    • There’s enough of a gap around ours that drainage isn’t an issue. I think it’s pretty easy for the water to run out of the deck, but I’m not an expert!

  62. Marlene Swearingen says:

    I have a similar deck,but rabbits get underneath and our dog has dug around the perimeter. I want some idea of how to block area with pavers or stone so she she isn’t constantly trying to go underneath. There is about 5 to 6 inches of opening and simple plastic edging isn’t doing the trick plus the grass is ruined . Thanks


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