Stick a fork in it (or a patio umbrella) it’s DONE. The deck is done. Well done, I’d say.
Especially if you recall where we started this adventure. If you weren’t hanging around us back then, here’s a little refresher.
This was our old wood deck. It is big, and it in pretty bad disrepair. And before we get into any “revealing”, we wanted to send out a big “thank you” to a couple sponsors/collaborators. We were fortunate enough to collaborate with several sponsors on this post, including HomeRight, Cabot, UltimatePatio.com who supplied product and/or compensation in exchange for this content. Additionally, the folks at Cutting Edge Stencils, and the wonderful Etsy.com shops Finch & Cotter and Chic Creations by T. But as always, all opinions, cheesy song references and the lot are 100% mine. This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.
We started this project off with some major clean up and prep work that included replacing a few rotten boards, a bit of sanding here and there, and then a thorough cleaning with an outdoor bleach product and HomeRight’s deck washer. If you didn’t see all the mildew and grime on this deck initially, go check out that post. That deck washer was super useful since it kept us from having to scrub the deck on hands and knees…plus, we used it to clean the siding…bonus!
After removing the old railings and posts, the deck already looked way more open and inviting. For all those safety captains out there…fear not. This deck, even without the rails is to code (it is less than 2′ off the ground), and once we save some more money we plan to install a perimeter step. But for now, it’s open, and even my three-year old can step right off the side without problem.
Re-staining the deck though was what really brought it back to life. We researched a lot of options for deck stain, and landed on Cabot‘s solid acrylic deck stain. I cannot tell you how helpful Cabot was. If you have any questions about your deck and what you should/should not use on it for care/upkeep, GIVE CABOT A CALL. They have very knowledgable people there who ANSWER PHONE CALLS! I know! What a concept!! I’m serious, try it. Here’s the Cabot customer service number: 1-800-US-STAIN
We chose to go with Cabot’s Seacoast Gray for the decking, and white for the trim. The last time we took on a deck staining project, it took F.O.R.E.V.E.R. because we used brushes and rollers. This time, we were smart, and got a sprayer. We used the Titanium Series Heavy Duty Airless Paint Sprayer from HomeRight. I can’t say enough good things about this sprayer. It cut the time needed for this project down by probably 75-80%.
What a difference, right?! And the coverage on that stain is amazing. As you could see, the deck was a very strong red color before. We honestly didn’t need more than one coat of stain. I couldn’t believe it, because we’ve painted over red on interior walls before, and it typically takes 3 coats…even with the best brands of paint. So one coat was amazing.
One more look at that before…
To be completely honest with you, I was very overwhelmed when I started this project. I LOVE to decorate interiors. But I had NEVER tackled an exterior project before. It was daunting for me. But luckily the backyard deck ideas started flowing.
What made it more daunting was that we didn’t have a big budget. So I treated it kind of the same way I’ve always worked on my interior spaces. I thrifted, and I DIY’d my way through it.
I tried to break the larger deck down into smaller, workable spaces that I could design around, rather than tackling the space as a whole.
Over by the grill, that we have situated right off of the kitchen door, we have a little seating area. We used patio furniture I’ve been lugging around since college, a chiminea my brother brought back from his days living in Texas, and I spruced it up with some fun accents like this ADORABLE personalized pillow from the Etsy shop Chic Creations by T. Isn’t it perfect for a Maryland deck?! And the super heavy duty fabric on this pillow is wonderful for outdoor use.
The dining area is my favorite part of the deck. It’s in the middle of the deck, where we built the pergola (which we’ll post about at some point. It was much easier to build than you may think).
We DIY’d an outdoor chandelier using some outdoor pendant kits and vintage oyster cans, which you can find on eBay!! I also threw in a couple of old coffee cans that I was able to save from my grandfather’s garage. My Dad thought I was nuts for pulling these out of there, but I’m so in love with this light fixture now. Not only because I think it’s super unique, but mostly because there is some special meaning behind it.
We did a tutorial on our tin can chandelier, affectionately called our “candelier”. Check it out HERE.
The hubs and I both come from rather large families, so when figuring out a plan for our outdoor table, we had two requirements:
1. It had to be LARGE
2. It had to be INEXPENSIVE
Our solution? This was another one of my fave, unique backyard deck ideas. A tad unconventional, perhaps…
We bought an inexpensive ping pong table topper from eBay and tried to polyurethane it to make it safe for outdoor use. It didn’t work. That thing bubbled up and took in water like a drinking straw. At some point when we’re financially able, we’ll sink some money into a real outdoor grade table tennis table, but for now, despite the blemishes, and slightly uneven surface, this one will suit us just fine. We cover it at night with a tarp to try and keep it from getting too much worse. Sometimes you have to just try something and fall on your tush, you know?
I really love the concept of having this ping pong table out here. Not only is it functional as an outdoor table (the net removes when we want to eat at the table), but it’s SO quirky and FUN! And we take table tennis, AND fun seriously around here. Just ask this guy…
Over on the other side of the deck is where we have our outdoor living area.
We used our patio furniture that we’ve had for years, and just added a few key touches to the mix.
Most importantly, our SUPER FUN outdoor firepit table from UltimatePatio.com. I looked at a lot of firepits before I settled on this bad boy. I love it for a couple reasons. One being the seating underneath…
There are four pie-slice shaped stools that conveniently tuck under the table that can be pulled out for extra seating or a little more table space. PLUS, this one has room to sit a plate, or a wine glass around the perimeter of the firepit. Clutch.
I’m not the “lounging” type, but if I were, I know this would be the perfect spot.
Here’s a close-up shot of the Maryland Finch and Cotter pillow…
Need more backyard deck ideas? Did you notice our stenciled outdoor “rugs”??
I’m not gonna lie, it took some time to do this, but I love the results. I’ve always liked the look of outdoor rugs, but the reality for me, at least, is that they end up a mildewy, disgusting mess unless you take them inside and haul them back outside when you want to use them. I didn’t want that kind of commitment to a rug, so a stenciled-faux-outdoor rug was our solution.
They add some color, and pattern, and help break up the larger spaces into more manageable and cozy areas.
That patio umbrella? It’s from Overstock.com and was on sale for UNDER $100!! That’s a phenomenal price for a 10′ offset, tilting umbrella based on all the pricing I did, so we were pretty excited about that.
My favorite time in this space is definitely the evening.
We’ve strung a bunch of outdoor patio lights, and they give off such a warm glow.
I can’t even get over the difference now on our wood deck. Before, I really didn’t even want to come out here. Every time I walked past my kitchen window, I wanted to duck and cover. But now,
We’ve got a functional, beautiful deck with cover!
Shop our Outdoor Living Area
Links below to items purchased, or similar products if an exact match is no longer available.
Sources for our Backyard Deck Ideas:
Porch/Patio Paint (for “rug”, Clark & Kensington “Heirloom China”)