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Create an Eclectic Deck

Vintage treasures from yard sales personalize a small deck space.

Homeowner Adrienne Biggs has a new house with an 8 x 10-foot space and concrete slab next to the carport (figure A). She challenges Landscape Smart to transform the small, unused area into something special.

The First Meeting

Adrienne shows the space to landscape designer Dave Clemovitz, who assures her that with some creativity and materials already on hand, they can create a private oasis. He designs a small deck and two paths using hand-me-down flagstone, one to the house and one to the carport. Some salvaged doors will create a privacy screen, and a mirror on the carport shed wall will add depth. Furniture and flower pots will complete the garden retreat.

One of Adrienne's passions is to hunt at yard sales for funky vintage treasures. She will arrange these finds in the new space to make it a fun place.

Day One

Contractors Fred Norgaard and Mike Meehan build the deck on concrete piers, so that they won't have to pour a foundation. They frame the deck with pressure-treated 2 x 6s and horizontal floor joists (figure B). For the deck Dave uses an Indonesian hardwood that is plantation grown, to avoid using rainforest-grown wood. It's stronger than redwood and less expensive.

Adrienne paints some large clay pots, using an acrylic sealer on the inside and casual, fun designs on the outside. She also paints the shed wall a reddish-orange, giving it an old, rustic charm. When it's time to mount the three salvaged doors to the back fence, she decides that the concept is not as she had pictured it. So they change the design and mount one of the doors against the mirror on the shed wall (figure C). To create visual balance on the deck, the other two doors are mounted in the corner of the deck against the fence to block the view into the neighbor's yard.

For the paths, they pour playground sand as the base, rake it level and lay out the flagstones. They add cedar mulch around the flagstones and on the rest of the concrete slab for a more welcoming look.

Adrienne's yard sale finds are arranged on the deck for a unique, shabby chic look. These old treasures, which add height and interest, include a vintage chair used as a planter (figure D) and a rusty toy tractor (figure E).

Day Two

The second day starts with flowers (figure F) planted in a variety of pots to add color and texture. Two flowering vines climb up the shed wall around the old door, and azaleas and tulips go in the pots. Adrienne also found several terra-cotta pots already containing mature plants at a yard sale, for only $5 to $10 each.

The completed deck (figure G) has truly transformed the drab, unused space into a charming retreat. Dave's clever design makes the most of the small space, and Adrienne's shabby chic furniture and fixtures reflect her personal style.

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