Summer is certainly upon us here in the great state of Georgia. The bugs are out, it’s hotter then the inside of an oven, and the humidity is making my curls go crazy!
I love the outdoors even in summer, but since we purchased our home about a year and a half ago we haven’t given much thought to making our existing outdoor space workable for us in the summer heat. All that though has recently changed however, as we gave our deck an amazing makeover! Keep reading and I will show you how to do it yourself step by step.
So before we go any further, let me show you what the deck looked like before.
The previous owners had a lovely fascination with wicker and a “secret garden” sort of design feel which I can totally vibe with. Not my taste but I understand the aesthetic. After we purchased the home in the winter of 2016 however, suddenly we realized we had this blank slate to work with that was so much bigger then what we initially thought once the furniture was removed.
The deck space is a combination of a 20 x 20 ft. square screened in porch + a 20 x 20 uncovered deck space. While we weren’t lacking in space department there definitely were some other design challenges including:
- Multi Use Functionality
- Dog Approved Space
Our deck is about 15 feet off the ground, which is plenty high enough to cause injury to both people and puppers. Because of this, we knew we needed to come up with a way to ensure our dogs and loved ones were safe when using our deck. At the start of the project, only a flimsy screen and a few cross braces blocked the edges of the deck, leaving large gaps where a child or dog could easily fall through. Another important thing to mention though is that the deck overlooks our awesome backyard, and we didn’t want the barrier we put up for safety to block the view outside.
We corrected this issue by placing decorative cross braces around the bottom of the deck, creating a “fence” about a third of the way up the side of the screened porch. This can be seen in the picture below as well as the image at the top of this post.
On the non-screened side, we utilized the same method for the lower half of the deck, up to the point where built in seating in the deck created a natural barrier. This was incredibly simple to do, and the decorative lay out of the boards incorporates the modern yet bohemian vibe we were going for in our design.
I have a sensitivity to mosquitoes and really all bug bites in general, so for added natural protection to bugs I lined the sides of the screened in porch with breezy Ikea curtains and used a piece of plumber’s pipe as a massive curtain rod on each side. If you would like to see a tutorial on this process, please let me know in the comments!
It may sound wasteful to add another mosquito net when the porch is already screened, but anyone who lives in the Southern United States can attest, the bugs can and do find their way into your sacred screened in haven upon occasion. It also doesn’t help that I have a 50 pound terrier mix that likes to pop out the screen in my screen door at least once a day.
Pumpkin is a pro at using her puppy dog eyes to get out of trouble , can’t you tell?
Seating was another important thing for us. While the outdoor deck section had a built in bench running around two sides of it, the screen in porch had nothing but a ceiling fan in the way of furniture. Being the DIY Diva that I am, I scoured thrift shops and flea markets to find comfortable furniture that wouldn’t break the bank nor break my heart if bad weather destroyed them over time.
I found an amazing blacker wicker love seat for only $45 dollars at a thrift store, complete with matching cushions! I paired this with two wrought iron chairs I already had, plus a few metal bar stools from Walmart in a gun metal gray. Above the bar stools I built in a wooden counter top that spans the full length of the screened in porch. I think the bar top is honestly my favorite part of the project as it gives my husband and I as well as guests a great place to eat in the evenings or drink a cup of coffee and watch the deer in our back woods.
Above the bar I also installed a row of Edison bulb outdoor lights. These lights are super cheap at your local garden store and are safe for outdoor use. The set we purchased create an amazing ambiance in the evening and never get hot to the touch. It was simple to install and literally only took me about half an hour to complete.
Multi Use Functionality:
We needed this space to work for us in multiple ways. Firstly, we wanted to use the porch and deck space as outdoor living room, a place we could enjoy most of the year and relax in. Secondly, as a place to entertain and have guests. Hubs and I have quite a large family who come to visit regularly, and family BBQ’s are now the talk of the town after this renovation.
We also needed this space to work as a temporary gardening area while we draw up designs for our vegetable garden that will be installed next season. I planted a container garden on the uncovered portion of the deck this year and I am happy to report it has worked fabulously. We have been able to grow completely organic from the deck, as many predators (but not all) can’t reach the plants since they are not at ground level.
Dog Approved Space:
While we don’t have any children yet, my husband and I are proud parents to two fur children, Pumpkin and Little Man. One is a wire haired terrier pound puppy mix while the other is a chihuahua pomeranian mix. They are our babies, who tend to also be our shadows and follow us everywhere. Because of this it was important to us that the deck space be as dog friendly as it was people friendly.
Pumpkin is fond of digging, and due to this I made sure all plants that were incorporated into the design scheme on the porch were planted in tall sided pots that were too high for her to reach over and in to. I also selected plants that were tall and leafy only at their highest points so she would not attempt to eat or chew them.
Ultimately I went with a Japanese Maple and a Palm plant, both of which have actually thrived fabulously in their new environment. I want to add some hanging plants soon, possibly some ferns to give the area a lush feel.
Outside on the deck is the container garden, which I protected from the dogs somewhat by utilizing tomato cages over the plants. They are functional as many of my plants are trellising anyway, but it serves a dual purpose by fitting over the pots themselves to keep the puppers from tipping the pots over.
All in all, I will say that the deck renovation was a great success! If you have any questions or would like more information about anything you have seen on this post, please let me know in the comments. Also, be sure to subscribe the blog and check out Arasie Bee on Pinterest. I am always posting new ideas or things I’ve seen in the areas of event planning, design, and DIY.
Thank you for reading and let me know how your deck renovation turns out!