We wrapped up our flagstone patio installation over the weekend, and I’m really excited to share it with you on Thursday via DIY Network. It’s a serious backyard game-changer, and now I want everyone to have a flagstone patio.
The act of changing our backyard again so dramatically really brought back a lot of memories from 2010 when I spent months demolishing the old octagonal deck that had been on the back of the house, and then spent a few more weeks with Pete building the new one we enjoy today.
Structurally, the old deck wasn’t in good condition. It was also an unattractive shape (intended to match the once in-ground swimming pool). It had definitely been made to look like it had well-anchored posts into the ground, but whoever had built it or repaired it over the years certainly took shortcuts. The railings weren’t to code, it bounced like a trampoline, and was no longer a good fit for the pool-less yard.
I was working at the office full time then, and because only my weekends were consumed with demo, but it took a long time. I remember that for about two weeks it looked like a deck skeleton, and I imagine my neighbors thought I was that neighbor. Are you seeing what I’m seeing? Joists 16-ish” on center? No hurricane ties or anything galvanized to speak of? And none of the 4 posts in the center of the structure are sunken into the earth or in the vicinity of a cement base. You’ll be able to tell this in the upcoming video.
One of my biggest goals had been to recycle the wood. The wood itself was pressure-treated and therefore still in good shape, even after having weathered many seasons. No sense in throwing that out, and since it was pressure-treated, we couldn’t burn it in the campfire, so it sat in the garage for months as I slowly sold it on Craigslist (there, in the middle picture, yes, that’s a buttcrack, and no, I wasn’t happy about it but he did buy $50 of lumber from me, and sometimes you have to roll with those punches). Much of it was delivered it to Pete’s parents for Julia’s treehouse that we built together that first spring that we dated.
Also, building this deck was the experience that taught me the most about power tools. And even though I had done plenty of DIY projects inside the house before tackling the deck, construction of this scale is what made me become more comfortable with trying other intimidating projects. It also taught me that I look dopey with bangs.
I sketched out every last plan on brown craft paper and bar napkins, and Pete and I recall how we had every last dimension down to the 1/4″ measurement memorized and rationalized. There never ended up being a trellis persay, but there are pergolas now.
Construction itself was hard, but the results were rewarding. In the time since we’ve built the deck, I’ve had an opportunity to ask real contractors and deck builders how much a deck our size would have been quoted. They’ve cited $5,000-$8,000, and it makes me feel really good/relieved/proud to have saved so much money by doing it ourselves; 275 sq. ft. of deck only cost me about $1,800 all-in (and the money came from my first-time homeowner tax credit, otherwise I’m not sure I ever would have had enough of a construction budget to get this done the way I wanted). That’s extreme
Completing our secondary outdoor living space on a small budget also feels good too; the full budget breakdown will be shared later in the week on DIY Network. We already know from asking others that we’ve saved ourselves $1,500 at least, and also, we’ve really customized it to our liking. Can’t wait to show you the special finishing touches.
P.S. Today’s Pete’s birthday. Go send him some love at Dadand’s facebook page.
P.P.S. To celebrate his birthday and his daughter’s birthday (which is later this month), we’re skipping town for the rest of the week to explore Hershey, PA. Bring on the chocolate, bring on the fun. I’ll stop back in on Thursday to show you the finished flagstone patio, but otherwise will be out enjoying a little bit of summer vacation. If you have any tips for vacationing in Hershey, please do share :)