The last project of the summer and the most important one was replacing the upper deck. This was a “must complete” project since the deck joists were rotting and the deck has been slowly collapsing for two years now.
Here is a photo from May showing the upper and lower deck. At this point the upper deck has been ripped up. When this deck and screened porch were built before I moved in over 30 years ago, no treated lumber was used. Because the deck joists had rotted, there was concern that the wood supporting the porch might also eventually collapse. For that reason, before I could start my reconstruction, a carpenter was hired to place treated supports under the porch. You can see the new treated wood along the underside of the porch. Because the dog and I use this back yard exit every day, a walkway was added so we could safely get on and off the deck.
The lower deck was attached to the upper deck, so it had to be dealt with first. So while I worked on replacing the lower deck, this was the condition of the upper deck from May until September. I must admit, I fell into that pit more than once, and was very anxious to get it completed before winter.
There were lots of steps in this process, and they had to be done in order. It was one ugly mess all summer, and there were times when I thought it would never come to completion.
Once the lower deck was gone and replaced by a pea gravel patio, steps were built for easy access from two sides of the upper deck.
New composite decking was attached as soon as the new steps were built. It was immensely encouraging to see signs of hope and progress. Already, it was a vast improvement.
I originally had planned to build wraparound steps, but building the corner was daunting to my limited carpentry skills. My neighbor suggested building a planter to fill the corner and hide the ugly ends of the steps. I’m so glad I took his advice.
By late August, I had deck fatigue. I was tired of thinking about it constantly, and working on it when I wasn’t mulling it over in my mind. I lost all confidence and was convinced I couldn’t put the decking on myself. I was afraid of cutting the mitered corners and ruining the expensive decking. And there was a trap door I also had to make in order to gain access to the crawl space.
In desperation, I begged my brother-in-law to help me finish the top. He was more than willing to help, but wasn’t available for a few weeks. In that time of waiting for him, I was able to take a much needed rest both mentally and physically. One morning, I woke up and found I was ready and willing to give it a try myself. I made the decision to take a week off of work, and allow myself the time to take it slow. No rushing or fretting, just putting on a few courses of decking every day.
And to my surprise, it started going together, easier than I expected.
Such a relief to have a safe and secure top on the deck again. No more falling into the pit. And I could finally place everything back in it’s place. It is now looking like the deck I had envisioned.
It is a small deck, only 10 x 7 feet, but it serves as a nice exit, and a great place to decorate with potted plants. I love walking out and being greeted by all my favorite summer flowers.
The window box is potted with up with mums for fall. But interesting are the small white begonias that reseeded from last summer and are growing out the sides through the moss. A late summer sweet surprise.
If you’ve never grown ornamental kale, it is a “must try”. It is exquisitely beautiful in a way that no other flower or plant can compete with. In a few weeks, once the annuals in the black planter are killed off by frost, I’m going to add the kale in their place. It will fill out the planter with a variety of plants that will last through the winter. And the beauty of ornamental kale is, the further into the winter you get, the more beautiful it becomes. Adorned with frost or ice, it is the unrivaled flower of winter.