Mummy & I have been working out together, and I like that!
Well… we’ve been in quarantine long enough that we’ve decided to go ahead with a relatively big upgrade to the house! For the past year, the deck at the back of the house has really been showing it’s age. Hell, when we moved in we knew it was something even then we’d have to address eventually but a lot of more important upgrades happened in the ensuing almost twenty years. The biggest of which was completely finishing the basement but there also hasn’t been another part of the house we haven’t put our thumbprint on. But, with deck boards heaving and becoming a tripping hazard, it is finally something we can’t put off any more.
Initially, I had envisioned some sort of tiered, wood deck system that would replace both the beck deck and the interlocking brick patio. But that became complicated and expensive fast. Add to the fact that I one day would love to be able to add a hot tub in our back yard, there was the added need of a concrete pad in the mix. Vince, the guy we had do the fence and porch steps a few years back came by to look at it on earlier Friday and quickly we were thinking in the realm of either patio stone pavers or a concrete pad. As much as I couldn’t really see loving a concrete patio, we trusted Vince’s opinion—especially since he was basically talking himself out of a deck job to pass along the concrete work to a guy he often uses.
Johnny came by Friday afternoon and had a look at it and came up very quickly with some ideas that both Danielle and I were very happy with. But, what we did not expect is for a price that would come in less than what we anticipated if we were doing the deck. And that it would include doing the driveway in the mix!! Our interlock driveway has been the bane of my driveway shovelling existence. It also has been showing it’s age as it is settling and some wells are forming where the vehicles park. It’s been on our long list of things that need doing, but never did we imagine being able to tackle it so soon. But it makes sense because with the truck being here already the extra concrete isn’t really that much more.
So with a price that totally blew us away and after doing the math, we decided to go ahead with it all! So in two to three weeks we have one of the biggest eyesores of our house gone and a beautiful tinted and stamped concrete driveway, walkway and patio pad for our house. Sure, it is a strange time to be tackling all this work but with some of the quarantine restrictions being lifted such that this work can be done, it makes sense. Especially considering so much more of our time is being spent in this space, because of the quarantine. And, because the hot tub in the backyard is that much closer to a reality!
We finally have something to talk about that isn’t pandemic related! So the back deck, well the whole yard has been an embarrassing mess for most of the time we have lived here. Our yard is tiny, it is a challenge to work around and it is a hot mess. We have done some bandaid solutions over the years but for the most part we have had to put it far on the back burner. Much of it came down to finances, we always seemed to have a bigger more pressing project on this 100 year old house. But now that we have addressed much of what we needed to do inside we finally know we have to deal with the outside.
Our outside of the house was getting to the point of embarrassing, it was looking tired and downright falling apart. So we started talking about once again tackling the deck. It is not safe but with little ones here daily it has been all but impossible to deal with it. Plus like with most renovation projects its the snowball effect of taking on one project means dealing with another one. This has been the issue with the deck. If we got the deck done we had to replaced the falling apart shed, if we took out the deck we had to deal with the patio. See snowball effect.
So with the daycare closed for the foreseeable future we decided we had to take on the safety hazard of the back deck. There were some debates on how to design it, lots of chatting back and forth on what we wanted to eventually see in the backyard down the road. So with those plans in effect we started looking for recommendations. We started out with a deck designer coming over, he was recommended by a friend. He came over and was great to deal with, he basically said I hate to tell you this because am talking myself out of a job but for what we want and the longterm use we don’t want a deck we want stone. He said he would still quote on it but would pass our name on to a friend who does stone.
While this was going on Vince the contractor we used for our fence and front steps contacted me. We chatted and he said he would come over an quote for what we now decided would be stone as the better choice. So he comes over and said he would quote but I really should be doing stamped concrete, our yard being so small and parts of our deck was so close to not only our home but the neighbours it would be better. Now this was also anchored because one of our longer term goals is to eventually put in a hot-tub. John has been wanting one for years and we figured if we are going to spend the money we really needed to plan for the eventual future. Vince highly recommended the person who just did a lot of concrete work at his place and we were on to the next quote.
In comes Johnny. He gave us a lot of options and in the end it was the best choice, it worked for what we wanted to do down the road and strangely enough was the most cost effective choice. So we have plans.
What does this mean? With the government’s announcement on Friday that landscapers are part of this very first stage of re-opening businesses we are good to go to hire Johnny and get things moving. There will be a lot of purging soon and planning. This job has quickly snowballed into a whole exterior makeover. One ties into the other. Since the price worked for our budget we are getting the deck, patio and driveway done. But this does force us to deal with the front garden bed retaining wall, something we have hated for years but now have to replace because we have to take out the old one to get the driveway done.
The change will be amazing, we are going to take this downtime to finally get the overdue project done. Timing isn’t ideal but we are beyond excited to have a much better outdoor space to use.