We had an old cedar deck that was kind of falling apart. The railings had rotted out and the deck boards were starting to disintegrate. It was time for a DIY deck project!
DIY Deck Project – BEFORE
We decided to rip out the old rotted cedar and replace it with new boards. We also decided not to replace the railings. We edged the deck with stairs and planter boxes instead of railings since the deck platform only needed one extra step.
Before we could do much, we had to take out an existing tree. Although we didn’t change the deck footprint, there was a linden tree that made a mess of the old deck. It dropped leaves and berries throughout the year. It also attracted aphids and was generally a pain to clean up after. We decided to take it down before replacing the deck. We still have another linden in the front yard to keep the bees busy!
The linden tree came down in the winter while the leaves were gone. There’s a photo below from the day it came down. Once the tree was down and the snow was melted we finalized our plans for the deck. Here’s the before photos of the deck area:
DIY Cedar Decking
The old deck had 4″ wide custom milled decking boards. We chose to use 1″x6″ lumber for the cedar decking rather than the 4″ boards that were on the existing deck. The new boards are pictured below against the old deck.
The new cedar decking was absolutely beautiful. We didn’t go for the cheapest grade of lumber because it was already badly cupped in the lumber yard. The lumber we got was well worth it and will stand up well in our climate. The one thing I didn’t love about it was the bright orange cedar colour (but luckily we had a solution for that!).
The DIY Deck Project
My husband and his best friend took off the old deck boards. Some of the joists had some rot and had to be replaced. Once the structural lumber was ready, the new cedar decking went on. Here’s some photos during construction (there’s even one of a deer that snuck in! That certainly taught us not to leave the back gate open).
Eco-Friendly Cedar DIY Deck Wood Treatment
We used a non-toxic wood treatment to address the bright orange colour of the cedar. My parents used it last year on their cedar decking and we really liked the look of it. It just gives the wood a grey colour which makes the cedar look a little more worn in. If you can’t find the wood treatment locally, order it online at Amazon or at Home Depot Canada. See the picture below for what the cedar looks like after one coat of the wood treatment.
DIY Deck Garden Boxes
Probably my favourite thing about the deck is that we added raised bed garden boxes. I don’t know yet what I want to plant in them next year, but I’m thinking mostly flowers with a few leafy greens if possible. I had some containers of cannas and dahlias that we transplanted to test out the look. I liked the height of them as it makes the deck feel more cozy.
We framed the planters with 2″x4″ and cladded the exterior with 1″x8″ fascia cedar. The inside of the boxes was lined with old unfinished plywood. We did decide to add an inner lining of plastic to extend the life of the plywood liner. I’m interested to observe how that stands up over the next few years.
We also put in DIY drip irrigation. I had planned to do a loop of emitter line around each bed, but it didn’t end up working out because the line kinked (the corners were too tight). I’ll have to switch it to a single line of emitters down the centre of each bed (or add in some 90 degree pieces in the corners of the loop). Lesson learned!
We kept things simple for our patio furniture. I may decorate the deck with a bit more outdoor patio decor next year, but for now it’s pretty simple.
I had an old black plastic conversation set from my first condo in Alberta. It still looks ok so I’ve kept it for our new deck project. We also bought a new table and chairs, which my dad helped me to assemble. Lastly, I bought a play teepee for Bea and an outdoor play mat (which I LOVE!).
Putting it All Together – Our DIY Deck Project
Here it is! I’m so happy with how it turned out. It took way longer than I’d hoped (mostly because nothing happens fast with a new baby), but now that it’s done I can barely remember the old deck. I can’t wait to spend next summer lounging on our DIY deck!
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