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September 2010: Front Yard Deck
Updated 16 June 2011

Work started about 3 months ago when I cut down the tree near the front door and dug out the stump.  Then, in late August, after getting tired of looking at the hole where the tree was, I rented a jackhammer from Home Depot and broke up the existing, ugly, cracked concrete walkway.

 

Here's the demolished concrete stacked in the backyard.

 

To keep the deck at the correct elevation relative to the door, I had to do a lot of digging with a mattock.  Over 3 days I took many, many loads of soil to my neighbours house and dumped it in an area he was building up to create an additional parking space.  To minimize the amount of digging, I opted for 4x4's, instead of 2x6 and 2x8 lumber.  The disadvantage of the 4x4's is that they required shorter spans, and therefore more support points.  An advantage of the 4x4's is that they are rated for ground contact, so they will last a long time.

 

Transporting lumber on top of the Volkswagon Passat station wagon.  On one trip I had so much lumber up there I thought I might cave in the roof.

 

The foundation work is almost done and the posts for the new columns have been set in concrete.  Digging the holes for the posts was done with a hammer and nail puller for the first 18 inches, since the ground was so hard.  After that I was able to use a post hole digger.

 

Over 1 1/2 days, my neighbour Steven helped me install all the decking.  On the second day, shown here, he took the lead and showed me how to "picture frame" the upper deck.  The "picture frame" detail looks nice, but is a lot of extra work.  I couldn't have been able to do it without Steven, Thank You!

 

Here's the completed deck. 

 

Another view of the completed deck along with the trellis, which has acrylic panels between the 4x4's that pitch rain onto the roof.  No, I'm not going to move the door so it's centered between the columns.

 

Updated 16 June 2011: The trellis at the front door, along with the plexi-glass panels, was supposed to keep the area outside the front door dry.  The winter of 2010 had other ideas, so I took down the panels, 4x4's and 4x6's, cut the posts down, then installed everything again 11 inches lower.  I hope it works, since I can't lower it anymore without the 4x4's hitting the shingles.

Click here for a link to a document with the costs.

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