Adding outdoor living space not only makes sense for small homes, it’s a project you can do yourself. A couple of years ago, my friend and Del Ray resident Chris built a floating deck in his family’s backyard as a birthday present for his wife Mary. Their duplex already had a small deck off the kitchen, but it wasn’t big enough for a table and chairs.
A floating deck just sits above ground, supported by concrete footers. This means you don’t have to dig deep holes or worry about mixing concrete. However, that does mean the ground has to be level. The footers actually rest in shallow holes, and getting those holes even is not an easy task. In fact, Chris says this was the hardest and longest part of the project.
After the footers were level, the joists went into place.
And then it all started to come together.
Chris works full-time and has two kids, so all the construction had to be done on the weekends. In all, he says it took about a month, with a good chunk of the time spent on planning and preparation. And of course, he had the “assistance” of those two little kids as well.
Chris and Mary opted for a floating deck for a couple of reasons. One, they already had a rectangular garden bed in the yard and a small deck off their back door. Their plan was to eventually replace the higher deck and have it seamlessly flow into the floating deck and then to the garden. They also wanted something more pronounced and higher than a paved patio.
As an unplanned bonus, when their son had his birthday party a year later, the edge of the deck also doubled as seating for a rowdy group of young party-goers.
Mary recently did some landscaping to more fully incorporate the deck into the yard. With flagstone pavers, she created a walkway from the high deck, to the low deck, and then to the far end of the yard.
Mary also mulched and removed several large hostas, which are known to attract mosquitos. A few hostas remain on the opposite side of the yard. After trimming the hostas and adding mosquito-repelling plants to the deck (mint and citrosa geranium), she’s noticed a decrease in the mosquito population.
Chris’s carpentry skills shine — and what a great gift for Mary (and the family) too! From this viewpoint, you can see how the deck looks like it’s floating on air.
Keep walking along the flagstone pathway and you’ll find a nice shady spot next to the hydrangea to relax.
Or if you are a little more adventurous, continue to the back of the yard to the neighborhood kid hangout, the trampoline.
The deck not only created an outdoor living and dining space for family and friends to gather, it helped to completely transform a simple rectangular lot into a visually stunning family friendly retreat. Bravo!