Thursday, March 3, 2011

What's The Plan, Stan?

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is 'What's next on our house list', or more specifically, what big project are we going to tackle next?  Well, after a very busy summer building our garage, we've actually been enjoying the cold weather by relaxing inside, not to mention, giving our wallets a little breather as well. 

Of course, we do have a plan in mind, and the next big project is to work on a space I've barely mentioned on this blog.  But, it's something that we use every day, numerous times a day.  A project that will be relatively easy, (compared to the other big projects we have to do, i.e. the kitchen, the bathrooms, and the basement), but when completed, will create a completely new space and add square footage for entertaining.  Anyone who's been over knows that I'm referring to a deck.

As I mentioned in only my second post, our backyard is in desperate need of a deck.  Mike and I can't wait to add some entertaining space to our backyard, and not only that, but we can't wait to fix the structurally unsound stairs and landing and the accident-waiting-to-happen railing.        


This picture was taken during our first walk-thru with the realtor and, especially now that things are again covered in snow, looks almost exactly the same.

Obviously, we have some things that we have to work with.  Such as the door placement and the overhang and posts.  And most importantly, we have to accommodate the fact that the back door is the main entrance and exit into the house.  To be honest, we actually never use the front door, expect to get the mail.  This definitely needs to be thought of in the design for the deck.  

Designing the deck was actually pretty easy.  We knew we had to have two sets of stairs, one for the everyday use from the back door to the garage (no one wants to shovel a whole deck just to get to the door), and one for the movement from the deck to the back yard.  Something both Mike and I liked was full length stairs, meaning, that instead of having only a standard 3 ft. staircase, the entire side would be stairs.  This would allow for easy access to the yard, and also additional seating in a pinch.

We also decided to have two specific "zones", one for the movement in and out of the house, and one for entertaining.  This was achieved by dropping the deck down a foot or two from the door height.  Meaning, the deck would have one platform that was at the height that you would exit the door, then it would go down to a lower platform a couple steps down.  This would also balance the look of the posts that would other wise stick into the middle of the deck, and generally look weird.

In case your completely lost right now, here's a picture of a basic rendering we did using a website after googling "free deck design":       


Surprisingly, there wasn't an option to add a random overhang, so you'll have to pretend.  The overhang and posts, (like in the first picture), are over the door and will be right next to the stairs to the left. 

Something else not pictured, is the plan to extend the upper layer at an angle in the top right of the deck.  This will be done to accommodate a grill.  That way Mike, (yes, Mike will be the one grilling.  Unfortunately, I only know how to cook meat one way - really well done) can have his own area to man the grill and still be a part of the action.

From those of you who have been over, or read about our driveway, you know that our driveway starts as a single drive and fans out to fit our 2 1/2 garage.  The deck design fits this design pretty nicely.  The stairs on the right will flow right into the new angled side of the driveway, with only minimal landscaping needed, probably some step stones and some gravel or grass. 

Hopefully this gives you an idea of what we have in mind.  As the weather begins to warm up, we'll be able to get more actual dimensions and really finalize the plan.