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The Front of Marty's House
The Front of Marty's House, Pre-Deck

Dead plants = Deck

So a few years ago I loaded up the planting bed in the front of my house with all kinds of awesome tropical plants.

Bird of paradise, some pineapples, and an alien-looking thing with a huge yellow flower right out of little shop of horrors.

Well, this winter we had some hard freezes, and it all died. (Even though I did the ‘ol cover with a blanket—it’ll be fine.)

New plants were gonna be like $300 or more.

And since the weather has been great here in sunny Florida, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to have another deck. A couple of deck chairs, and then I’d have a place to sit, drink a beer and watch the kids run in the front yard so they’ll tire out for bedtime.

So my plan is to build a small 8’ x 8’ deck that sits just above grade so the top of the deck is flush with the retaining wall block. I thought it was a little weird to have a deck out front, but we spend a lot of time outside in both the front and back yards, and I could plant a small line of shrubs around it so it’s hidden until you walk right up on it.

Future Home of Deck #2

Future Home of Deck #2

So, it’s kind of like the front porch we never had.

Since I don’t have to worry about frost heave here, and I can practically hit water when digging a post hole, I decided to set some treated 4”x4” posts in a gravel bed and be done with it.  I also like having wider boards for decking so I’ll use 2×10 PT for that.

Here’s a sketch of the deck “foundation” (which I didn’t really need, but did so for illustration purposes here):

Sketch for the deck foundation

Sophisticated Deck Plans

Since the planting bed is radiused, the front of the deck will match the curve, and set back about 16” to allow for a line of shrubs to be planted. Hence the chopped-up 4”x4” in my sketch above.

I dug the trenches, careful to keep them level, tamped them down and added the cheapest rock I could find at the home center. (They use to have gray septic rock, but now only decorative white marble). I tamped the rock, set the post and checked for level again.

One post set, 2-3" gravel base being laid.

Considering I get some water off the roof in this area, I also made sure to make the deck will drain, so I allowed for about 1/4” per foot drop back to front, which follows the grade of the planting bed.

Well, with four kids ready for anything on a Saturday, this is about as far as I’ll get for now. I’ll finish up this weekend by attaching the decking, cutting the radius and staining it.

1 Comment

  • Theolyn

    Love it! Gordon also did a little area in front of his new house with pavers and it works. So good to see this new venture, Bud. I’m so glad we are still friends. T


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