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.
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):
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.
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.