Outdoor living/ the backyard and beyond #1: The backyard deck

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Blog entry by JustChet posted 12-29-2013 07:36 PM 1632 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I bought my current home back in 1999, and I longed to spend a relaxing afternoon “out back”, staring at the city lights and pondering the meaning of life while drinking a frosty beverage. The best place to do that? Why, on a backyard deck! There was a rather large Sugar Maple tree in the yard, but it was in very poor health, and needed removal. Following it’s cut down, and cleanup, along came my dog, and my now ex-wife wanted the cheapest possible fence. Green vinyl and snow fence stakes. Not the best, but it works.

Fast forward to 2004. My church had bought a former farm property to build on, and the house on said property had a quite large deck, with lots of reusable 2 by 12s, 14’ long, or longer. I knew how to give myself that backyard deck, and for cheap! A deal was struck, and those deck planks came home with me. They had a lot of “character”, to say the least. At the same time, the Wausau area was experiencing a growth spurt, and the local Menards store was moving further West to make way for a new highway interchange. I scored 16 of those concrete castle “piers” for $5.00 during their moving sale. I also bought the treated 2 by 6’s I would need at that same time. With plans in my mind for a 10’ by 12’ deck, my other half had figured she’d throw me a curve, and tell me she’d want it enclosed later, so that called for some screening to be put down to keep the bugs out.

I played telephone tag with the city over getting a permit for most of the summer, until finally, the receptionist (who I got to know on a “by the ringtone” basis!) told me I didn’t really need a permit to do the building, as my deck was going to be smaller than 144 sq. ft., wasn’t going to be attached to the house or garage, and wasn’t going to be higher than 16” off the ground at any point. I loved that call!

I started off by building the basic box frame, with a pair of 12’ 2 by 6’s running East/West, and a pair of 10’s going North/South. I measured in 8” on center from both ends, and ran the next set of ten footers in. They each, in turn got 3 of those concrete castles placed under them, and the soil leveled around them. From there, the deck moved right on along. Every other 2 by 6 got 2 of those piers, and the alternates got 3, with spacing between being 16” on center. When I was about 1/3 of the way done, my Father-in-Law stopped over, and told me that he thought it would move, or be unstable with nothing more solid under it. It has been almost ten years, and he still says he’s amazed that it has only settled 1/4” off of dead level! I should note, I still get along decent with my former in laws, and even with my ex…

I even enlisted the help of my dog, Teddy, for part of the build. He served as the inspector!

I have long since done trimmed the ends, and applied several coats of outdoor stain to it. It’s really become a pleasant hideaway for me. It seems like I can refresh my sanity in only a half hour or less. Until, that is, I start thinking of building wood furniture for it!

Thanks for looking!

-- Proudly creating designer firewood since 2010!

3 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


22349 posts in 4915 days

#1 posted 12-30-2013 01:23 AM

Good job. Did you find the meaning of life?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View JustChet's profile


52 posts in 2951 days

#2 posted 12-30-2013 02:38 AM

Nope, and I have yet to discover how to make a decent dovetail, too…...

-- Proudly creating designer firewood since 2010!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


22349 posts in 4915 days

#3 posted 12-30-2013 02:43 AM

My first dovetails were probably my best. I took great care! Then, I discovered they weren’t all that easy on a consistent basis ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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