...because home doesn't happen overnight.
03.18.13 / On Deck

Still no sign of spring. But that’s not stopping us from turning our attention outdoors. Last fall we had two plain Jane concrete patios poured just outside the two sets of french doors {one in the mudroom & one in the kitchen} at the back of the house. We have plans to build a platform deck spanning the gap between the two patios.


These are HH’s hand drawn plans. We’ll be implementing Trex materials to build the deck. Looking for inspiration online, we came across some pretty elaborate deck designs that were amazing but a little over the top for us. Our house is a single level ranch on a modest flat lot and we don’t want our deck to look like we pulled it off the back of a large home with sweeping lake views. So, we’re going with a simple 15′ x 17′ design.

If you can’t read HH’s notes, here are the details:

*The deck will adjoin two concrete patios that are flush with the ground.

*The deck itself will sit ~6″ higher than the patios.

*The deck floor will be split into two equal sections.

*Each section will have a picture frame detail at the borders and the deck boards will run parallel to the house.

HH put together a more detailed 3D design using Trex’s deck designer tool. You can view the pdf here – Platform Deck Plans – if you’re a visual person. It’s a better representation of what the deck will actually look like although the decking material will be more of a gray color. As you can see, the deck is low enough that no railing is required. Our backyard isn’t that large so we like the idea of a low deck sans railing to avoid obstructing views and chopping up the yard. The window looking out onto the deck is the window above our kitchen sink. We’re hoping to use the deck as a casual outdoor seating space and the patios as dining and grilling areas.

With the way the weather has NOT been cooperating, it’s likely we won’t start on the deck until mid April after a little spring break action. To give you a better feel for what we’re working with {not much!}, I’ll be sharing some real time photos of our backyard soon. I’m also working on converting one of the patios into a dining space. Stay tuned. Have I mentioned I am so ready for spring? You?

We have partnered with Trex to build our deck. They will provide us with some of the materials for the build but all other materials, designs, labor, injuries, flubs, four-letter exclamations, opinions and reaping of the benefits {i.e. chillaxing with a beverage on our new deck} will be our responsibility. If you’re considering an outdoor space, see what a few pros have to say about designing, entertaining and living outside.

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



Love the feel of low decks with no railings. And grey colors sounds nice. Look forward to seeing it!


That looks amazing. Outdoor living spaces are the best! This makes me think of a cute picture I saw (on pinterest of course) of a bar counter with stools built on the outside of a kitchen window. Looked super cute on that house, but perhaps less of a fit on your little brick gem?


My parents did a low deck with no railing Trex deck and it is AMAZING! Love it!

Lovely deck ideas! I just posted about our outdoor renovation ideas too! We’re tackling our existing deck that was never treated…yuck! Trex is wonderful, my parent’s have had it on their last two homes. If we didn’t already have a deck I’d get Trex for sure!


The deck sounds awesome, and I am ready for Spring too – but what I really want to know is – what did you end up getting at Ikea??!!! ; ) Hope you enjoyed some time alone..I could use an “Ikea run” myself.
Leah: )


I am so glad you are tackling this as your next big project as we are hoping to do a similar deck project as well this spring and I am in need of some blog inspiration and guidance when it comes to materials! Look forward to seeing the progress!


Ooo it’s going to look awesome! I love that it will be low profile–kind of reminds me Chezerbey’s!


I’m so jealous! Trex is some amazing stuff!! This is going to make such a difference in your yard! I mean, with just a little patio, ours has come a longgg way since we started.
Here is where we began:
And here we are now {although with more grass in the yard since this all took place late last summer :)}:


I love Trex decks, and they last forever with little maintenance. Spring just arrived here, and we are busy accessing our decks and gardens too. Good luck with your project. I have complete faith in it!


Looks great Gabbi! Love the stepping stones.


I’m going to go a little “old school” and suggest looking at “The Backyard Landscaper” (it’s an older book, copyright ’92…but don’t let that stop you!) They have some beautiful plans, not only for decking, but also in walkways and gardens. Have fun with your project!

Oh my gosh, I’m in the Cincinnati area too and Spring needs to get here stat! I’m tired of my toes being cold! I can’t wait to see more. We practically live on our back patio or our neighbors when it’s warmer…hurry up Spring!!!!


We had a similar styled wood deck when I was in middle school, and we had so much use out of it! It was one of the best of many projects my mom dreamed up in that house. I always love seeing HH’s drawings, they are so much the way you describe him here- orderly and precise, but relaxed and fun at the same time!

I know you mentioned that HH is an Engineer but that is a great drawing! I’m excited to see your plans come to life!


Thanks for the recommendation Lisa! I’ll try finding it at the library this week.


HH is actually a very talented artist. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a lot of time to delve into drawing nowadays. The kids and I keep him busy!!


Is there a reason you don’t want to do one big patio that spans the whole way across? Why put a raised deck in the middle of two patios?

Just wondering. I’ve never lived anywhere with a proper yard, so I’ve never even considered patio vs. decking issues. Maybe there’s something obvious that I just don’t know about because of my ignorance.

Thanks so much!!


One long patio was our original idea! But when we got to looking at inspiration images, we were drawn to low/platform decks + patios in combination. Definitely nothing wrong a single patio!

This weather is so crummy! I live near Chicago and we’re stuck in this perpetual winter too. Hope it breaks soon so you can get your deck!