This is the house. It needs a deck.
So, we add a deck. It doesn’t keep the area around the back door dry. It doesn’t create any usable area under the deck at all. The whole area is as much a mud hole as it was before the deck. I start wondering how to add cover to THE UNDERSIDE of the deck. The solution I came up with is ONDURA. I didn’t want clear because I figured it would soon be gross and muddy as it somewhat filled up with pine needles and leaves; besides, the white would reflect light to the area under the deck. The deck has no slope so I use graduated thicknesses of wood to make the Ondura slope towards the far end where the steps are located. I also run wiring out to the middle and install an outdoor ceiling fan.
Now that we can keep the area dry (And the Ondura worked REALLY well for this.) I wanted to somehow pave the area but I didn’t want to put down a concrete pad since all the utilities come in to the house right by the back door. So I went to a local concrete lawn ornament guy and he made me these 18″ X 18″ concrete pavers (8 every other day until I was done. ) I bricked around the entire area, laid down a few layers of landscaping cloth and started the pavers up against the house and directly across from the landing for the deck stairs. I stained these (YEAH, that’s a 4 step process of cleaning, etching, staining and sealing!) and dumped gravel completely around the exterior of the pavers so that any water that did drip off deck wasn’t dripping on pavers or areas where I was trying to grow grass.
I also added a gutter and downspout to the far end of the corrugated sheets so there wouldn’t be sheets of water pouring onto the far end of the patio right where you would descend from the steps.
For the tiny little fire pit you see sitting out in the yard all by its lonesome…I repurposed some bricks I got from my in-laws and made this REALLY cool fire circle, which I then also filled with gravel.
I was a little surprised how many people asked me how I got such a perfect circle. Believe me, this IS a “try it at home” trick. I pounded a pencil (for lack of any other pointy smooth-sided item) into the ground and tied a long string to it. Then I tied the string to a can of spray paint. (They now actually make cans of spray paint that spray UPSIDE DOWN! … For marking or something but who cares what for when all that matters is that they spray upside down!) Then I pulled the string taut and walk around in a circle spraying the ground until I got back to where I started (smooth-sided pencil doesn’t allow string to wind up on pencil). Don’t stand up fast after this because it can actually make you slightly dizzy. Then I levered up sheets of grass with a flat landscaping shovel, sprayed the circle again and started laying bricks. BTW- it has to be kind of a large circle for rectangular straight-sided bricks to run in a circle. This circle was probably 14 feet across and it worked. I just kept going until I ran out of bricks. You do have to break a few bricks along the way to fill in when a full brick is too much but I found that the remnant usually fits in on another row.