The pictures here are not done by my photographer daughter, so I will see if I can have her snap a few 'nicer' ones.
As you saw in earlier blogs, we started with a pile of rocks, a bunch of helping hands and a vision. Once the initial base was done, the fun and tweaking began.
To bring new breath to the old deck, I decided to stain all the railings and posts a dark grey/blue colour. This gave the 'peachy' deck a bit of new life without have to replace boards and spending a lot of money on that.
Even with the stain, it was still obvious that there was an 'old' deck and a 'new' deck. So to tie them together, I stained various pieces on the new deck the same grey/blue and we continued the cedar colour that we lined the base of the old deck by using it for slats on the pergola and the fence that blocks off the air conditioner and hoses. (By they way - does ANYONE have a hose that they love? A hose that isn't so kinky that it's banned from children's playgrounds? One of our hoses has a ban on it and I am very hesitant to lift in for fear I will strangle it to death! The other hose isn't quite as provocative but it still gets kinks and, I know this is silly, but it looks an awful lot like a snake. I would love a hose that is long, doesn't kink up and doesn't look like a slithering thing from Narcisse!)
So we tied the two decks together and I am really pleased with the results. We then wanted to soften it all up by adding lights - globe lights - but my goodness are those not cheap! So I opted for the LED twinkle light version and was pleasantly suprised by how bright they are - other than the half strand that won't light up!!! (another aside... why have we, in this day and age, created ALL lights to stay on if one bulb is burned out. AND, if it is about a fuse - who knew that twinkle lights had fuses - then make it possible for human hands to open and pull out and change! Gosh, are they thinking babies fingers are doing this?)
So we hung lights and we love the glowing romanticism it exudes. (Sounds like we spend our evenings sitting out back with glasses of wine, oysters and those little black balls... ummm - you know, those fish eggs.) As we push into the latter part of summer and the sun sets a little faster, we will add some lights to the upper deck as well. I already purchased a few strings of solar lights for that area (clearing out at SuperStore!!).
We broke down and bought four red adironack chairs for a splash of colour. I had stain left so I restained one of our wooden adironack chairs and might just attack the brown coffee table we 'bought' from Lynda's warehouse located conveniently on the Friesen Farm! It's good to have 'places' to snoop through and pillage.
Off to the side of the deck is my pondless pond feature - I will get a pic of that. It is still in the trial stages, but how I love the sound of trickling water. After over 10+ years, I finally got to use the pond liner that Bernie bought for me as a gift to create a fountain on the farm, then in Gretna, now, finally, in Winnipeg.
What kinds of tips can I give you to keep your deck costs down but allow you to be creative and enjoy the final outcome? Get your kids to help!!!! Seriously, if we had to pay someone to build this - well, we wouldn't have built it. And yes, we have the knowledge - the great carpenter who created my dad blessed him with skills that he in turn passed on to his son-in-law who is now passing on to his kids. Not everyone has that knowledge. However, Home Depot has great seminars on learning to build a deck and there is ALWAYS GOOGLE!! I love GOOGLE! But if you can't build it yourself - you can stain it yourself and if you invite your friends Tom Sawyer style - you can sit back with your lemonade and watch them work!
Wait for end of season sales. It is usually worth the wait. Don't try and do it all at once - a deck over a couple summers is still a deck. Phone around for the lowest price on wood - Bernie actually found his lumber at William Dyck's in Niverville - even with delivery cost it was the best price. So make your phone your friend. If you can't see beyond the pile of stones, or shtruuk, or weeds, in your back yard, then find someone who can see beyond that and elicit their advice for what would look good in your yard. You probably know someone who has an eye for that sort of thing.
The only downside to our new deck? My dad can't sit on that deck with me and drink a beer/coffee together. He would have loved the deck. He would have loved the kids working on the deck. He would have loved the celebrations that have and will happen on that deck. It was all about community and connecting. Someday, I will show him pictures of the deck and we will sit on the floor of heaven and visit.