I love it when hubby has a long weekend and is agreeable to a new project. Our back deck was in serious need of some TLC. The yard side of it is lined with some beautiful Azalea bushes. In one area they were about 6 feet deep and difficult to maintain. It also made any deck maintenance a hassle. We also discovered that a black racer snake had made it his home and he was becoming a nuisance. It sucked all the joy I had taking care of our backyard-every movement was the snake sneaking up on me. My husband wanted to just get rid of the Azaleas…I don’t think so! We made a compromise and decided to take out part of the Azaleas to make it easier to maintain, and hey while we are at it why not add some steps and a trellis to make the deck more interesting.
I had to get low to cut out the Azaleas and make a curved path into the deck. It took us a full day to clear out the weeds, stumps and dead limbs in the area. I think we managed to fill 12 large bags minus the azaleas. I don’t have many before pictures. As usual I was thinking more about getting the job done and not about a before photo. This photograph is from May of 2009 from the deck side. It shows how dense the bushes were even back then.
The Azaleas in full bloom in 2011:
From the deck side in 2011:
Here is the path I cut in and before we cleared all the debris:
We needed to clear out more than I had intended so my husband could move the sprinkler head. That was a bonus because we had been having trouble with a circuit of them and when we discovered a break in the line that we otherwise would have never found had it not been for this project-hurray!
My husband got the sprinkler moved and fixed and proceeded to cut out the railings so he could build the steps.
Getting the steps in place-he used three risers and not just the two shown:
He put in two more beams and a handrail-I guess he thinks I’m clumsy.
He created a notch on the lower beam so the trellis frame could be fit inside of it. I had pulled some different pictures up on Pinterest and showed him the different design ideas that I liked. One of them was a window feature cut out of the trellis material. He framed it out with leftover trellis pieces.
After he got the trellis sides built it was time to pull it together with the top pieces. I used a Frisbee to get the curve and he cut it out with a jigsaw. We assembled it by laying it down on the deck and lifted it in place to attach it to the stairs.
While he was busy with that I got the job of refinishing the deck. I wanted to try one of the products designed to fill the cracks and resurface it. I chose the Rustoleum brand. It did not work for me. It was like trying to paint with concrete. I simply do not have the aptitude to use this stuff. I had big blobs of sand everywhere. I used it farther than I should have thinking I would get the hang of it. It just didn’t work out for me. Home Depot refused to take it back because it was tinted. Thankfully Rustoleum stood behind their product and issued Home Depot a credit so I could get my money back. This is a close up picture of it AFTER I had tried to scrub and scrape it off. It does have great sticking power.
Since I had already prepped the deck to use this stuff with paintable caulk I was stuck with using porch paint to refinish it with. So far it is holding up pretty good and doesn’t feel as nasty as deck oil. I used Olympic dark grey porch paint and my husband found a flat automotive primer in a spray can that is a perfect match-it sure came in handy getting all the fiddly bits in on the lattice work done.
I’m very happy with the transformation and can hardly wait for hubby to build me some planter boxes so I can plant my climbing roses and Carolina Jasmine…and maybe put in a fountain before we lay down a foot path. Oh, and fix the sprinkler I may have stepped on a few times trying to get this thing painted. I feel blessed and happy that he agrees to these projects of mine and for two great kids who helped pound nails and paint cracks in the deck.