Time: 1 to 4 weeks
Cost: $4000 to $10,000
Renovating your deck isn’t just about adding value to your home, it can also be a great way to ensure the safety of your entertaining area, especially if your deck is a quite old. When building or renovating your deck, there are a few things you should consider to ensure you get the most out of your backyard transformation.
First things first; dream a little! What purpose do you want your deck to serve now or in the future? Do you want to have all the extended family over for a barbecue every odd weekend, or maybe entertain friends with some drinks by the pool? Maybe even both? If you build your deck using best practices, you can expect the structure to last around 20 years. By accommodating your future needs as well as your current needs, your maintenance work will be limited to a coat of varnish once every 1-2 years!
While you’re thinking about the general purpose of the deck, start to think about the little details as well. Depending on where your deck is, you might want to consider utilizing stairs or erecting a wall to keep away prying eyes. If you are concerned about the elements - wind ruining your relaxing Sundays or cold weather making it difficult to sit outside – consider some café blinds or a gas heater (NOT a fire pit). Café blinds will effectively block any wind without spoiling the view, while a gas heater will provide you with ample warmth.
Once you have a general idea of how your deck is going to look, it’s time to start looking at materials. Different materials have different advantages and disadvantages. This can include the lifespan (wood vs. composite materials) and the amount of upkeep needed. Some will even have different lifespans in different climates. For example, treated wood usually lasts 15-20 years in an Australian climate. You’ll also want to consider how certain materials blend in with the rest of your home and garden. Whilst you want your deck to look amazing, you don’t want it to look out of place, so do some research into the materials to ensure you get the most value and harmony with your garden.
Pioneer Tip: You can save yourself a considerable amount of money by making the dimensions of your deck to fit the standard sizes of wood cuts as this will reduce the amount of wasted material.
Time: 1 weekend (for a few new plants) to 1 month (for a full backyard makeover)
Cost: From $150 (for a few new plants) to $5,000+ (for a full backyard makeover)
While we’re standing on your new deck, how else can you add a personal touch to your home? Well, landscaping is an no-brainer way to tailor your garden to your liking. It’s relatively cheap (although you can really go all-out if you wish) but best of all it can be super easy. So easy in fact, that you could probably enlist the help of your young children and get the whole job done in a weekend! Some of these landscaping ideas could even save you a buck or two.
One of these ideas is the humble veggie garden. Veggie gardens are a good addition to any home for a multitude of reasons, sometimes even for apartments. It doesn’t take much to create a veggie garden - if you already have a garden bed, all you have to do is plant them! And you can make them as big or as small as you like. Most vegetables require very little maintenance and will of course yield you fresh, pesticide-free vegetables and fruit, saving you from buying them at the shops. Veggie gardens can be good for kids too, as they tend to be more interested in eating vegetables when they have grown them themselves, a difficult task to do as most parents would know.
Some low-maintenance, cost-saving landscaping ideas include introducing succulents or maybe even “no mow” grass into your garden or backyard. Succulents are very hearty plants and are typically native to dry areas (like Australia). They can survive these sorts of environments because they can actually store water, meaning you don’t have to water them yourself! “No mow” grass, as its name suggests, doesn’t require mowing. Not only does this save you money on lawn mower maintenance and petrol, you’ll save some of your valuable time. "No- mow” grass does take on more of a rugged look than your typical backyard grass, though has the added benefit of being consistently short, and soft on your feet.
Whilst this will all look spick and span during the day, what if you want to enjoy your new garden through the night? If that’s the case, consider some cost effective lighting options. Solar lights will illuminate your garden without the power bill and create a nice ambience after the sun sets. Solar lights are also really easy to move around, so you can experiment with them in different positions to see how the light plays off your garden. You could even get a fire pit for when you have guests over (staying well clear of your deck!). A fire will not only add far more light and ambience, but will also add some warmth for those cooler nights.
Hopefully you’re feeling inspired to undertake some renovating for summer. If you want to explore some other renovation ideas, check out our similar blog for inside your home. Otherwise, if you’re keen to get started on your own project, find out how to fund your renovation before you run down to your local hardware store.