After: Redwood deck ready for summer

When I bought my house a few years ago, it had a huge front yard, no backyard and two rather large side yards. While this might be a problem for some, I saw potential. What was once a bland, boring and useless concrete patch got decked out, literally, for summer.

What: Redwood pergola and deck, French door, outlets and lighting
Time/Cost: 4 days with 4 carpenters, $2000 materials/labor
What I Learned: Always use hardy redwood–termites don’t like it. Requires maintenance (we re-stain every 3 years). Use existing framing to cut costs for doors. Have the deck do double duty by using the area beneath to store outdoor furniture, etc.
Result: Gorgeous outdoor space connected to the dining room with hanging lights and bouganvilla growing on the pergola

Step 1: Redwood pergola on a side yard that was otherwise useless

Step 2: Deck goes up. View of the window that will become a door

Step 3: Door uses existing window framing

Step 4: Deck ready for staining

Step 5: Stained door and decked out deck

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