DIY : A Beginner’s Guide to Refreshing Your Summer Deck – Belinda Baugniet – Medium

With the warm weather still in the air, it’s not too late to magically transform your unexciting deck into something worth bragging about. Whether you want to embrace summer vibes or give a touch of earth colours to welcome fall, we have some beginner’s tips on how to beautify your deck without totally breaking the bank.

Here’s a cheat sheet and list of cool hacks you can steal. Some activities are kid-friendly, so it could be a perfect moment to start a project together with your family.

Know What You Want (and Need)

This is the most crucial piece of advice. Use Pinterest or Instagram to find patio ideas and decide what you really want to do with your deck. Decide what theme and colours you want, then make an assessment to identify what’s not working with your current deck setup. At this point you will know whether or not you need to hire a contractor to repair and alter your deck. If you do, be sure they understand the vision for the space.

The most fun part at this stage: listing your must-haves! Make a list of features and elements that must be included in your newly renovated deck. Whether buying things online, through the stores or doing it yourself, list everything, even the little details to avoid any unexpected expenses in the future.

One more important thing to consider from the start: safety requirements. Some provinces in Canada require railings for decks, but some others don’t, as long as it doesn’t surpass certain heights.

DIY or Buy?

With a large-scale (and expensive) project like a deck renovation, find ways you can save! Any home renovation job has the possibility to include some exciting DIY, especially the kid-friendly one. Lively décor and twinkly lights are great ways to add a personal and crafty touch. Below are some items you can create yourself:

· Vertical garden. Every deck will look good with a plant wall, either just low-maintenance greens or flowers to bring some vibrancy. The best things about vertical gardens: they’re affordable and not space-consuming. All you need to do is put hooks or nails into a wall (or a used crib frame), connect with wire and get them attached to your planters.

· Outdoor cinema. Do you have two trees standing next to each other in your backyard? Just spread a white flat sheet between them, tie each corner with ropes and, voila, you can have an outdoor movie screening using a projector! No trees? Two simple wooden sticks would work just fine! More DIY: sew together some pillows to make a giant quilt for the ground so everyone can sit comfortably.

· Bug-repelling herbs. Chop some bug-repelling herbs (rosemary, thyme, mint, lavender and lemongrass), mix them in a jar with olive or coconut oil, put the jar into a slow cooker filled with water (half way points of the jar), then heat on low for a few hours. Mix your homemade herbal essential oil with witch hazel and distilled water, pour it into a spray bottle. Screw on top, shake well!

Besides things you can create on your own, we recommend two essential investments so you can enjoy your deck in full measure: a misting fan for your hot Canadian summer and a portable fire pit to gather around during chilly autumn nights. Everything’s more fun with a cozy and warm fire on the deck — just make sure you follow the local safety rules.

Some other important items to keep in mind… Lighting can transform a deck! Take your time to pick your style carefully to set the right mood for your space. Make the most of your new space and accent your outdoor space with chic furniture & fun bursts of décor!

And don’t forget, make sure you also take your time when it comes to choosing products — shop around and compare prices. If you really want to make your budget go a long way, explore different ways to find savings. Are any retailers offering sales? Can you get a discount code for signing up for a newsletter? Is there a certain credit card you could be using to make extra points or cash back? Take a look at retailers who are offering cash back whether online or in-store. Ebates.ca recently launched in-store cash back so you’re covered whether you want to shop online or in-store for your deck reno needs. The extra cash back you make on your purchase can be used towards other items for the deck of your dreams!

Deck for Life

Renovating decks can be fun, but you probably only want to do it once or twice in your life. That being said, consider the future when planning a deck renovation. Not only does it have to suit your current needs, it also has to fit the needs of tomorrow. Think about your outdoor activity habits and how your family’s lifestyle may change over the years. Only include features that you will love forever.

If you decide to hire a contractor, there are some important aspects you need to take into account. As mentioned above, make sure they understand the vision for the space to make the most of your investment. Set a timeline with them and get it in writing. This will help ensure they finish the job on time without making a big stretch on your time and money.

Find your contractor through a non-biased and informed third party. Take a trip down to your local hardware store and ask about contractors who build decks, pay their bill on time, buy quality products and most importantly, employ happy people.

Happy renovating!

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