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Upgrading your Deck and Patio

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The joy of lounging on decks and kicking back on patios knows no bounds. Building an outdoor living space is perhaps the most affordable way to expand one's home. In keeping with this latest trend of expanding outdoor space, more people are building decks and patios within limited budgets.


Upgrading decks

Decks can capture a view, create comfortable outdoor living space, lend a feeling of spaciousness, and also help to blur the internal and external boundaries. Before anything is added to the deck, first it must be created with a solid foundation. A clean and stain free deck flooring should be ensured to enable it to withstand the elements.

One of the first decisions to be made while remodeling or upgrading decks is to decide what type of material to use. Traditionally, decks were made of wood but composite materials made from recycled plastics can be considered, depending upon the relative cost and upkeep time that you can allot. A wooden pergola with a custom-made roof frame fitted with polycarbonate panels can withstand even rough weather or heavy rainfall. It is better to use standard sizes as any customization can raise the price of the materials you need to build a deck. Sticking to lumber and other materials that are standard may be boring, but can help save money.

To upgrade and redesign the existing deck, there are plenty of online resources available where you can use free tools to design your own deck. You can plan it with separate areas for grilling, lounging around and reading.


Having a vegetable garden on your deck provides plenty of opportunities to have homegrown veggies for a salad. You can bring nature a little closer with plants of your choice. Consider planters, lighting and bench seating!

Enhance the safety of your deck with a railing. Choose an embellished railing or low cost specialty one to add to the design element too. Play around with the color to add a fresh lease of life. You can go in for a fitted planter or bird feeder on the railing. Add a ledge to your railing and it can serve as a drinks spot.

Built-in benches on the deck serve to create ample storage below and décor at an economic cost. The top of the benches can be covered with cushions upholstered in fabrics that can stand up to the elements. When colorful pillows are added to existing furniture, it breathes new life to your space.

You can order an outdoor rug and fire pit to add a cozy feel. Low voltage top lights or solar power can create ambience and yet cost less. This would be ideal atmosphere for dinner guests lingering around on a summer evening. For multiple level decks, small light on each step is helpful. Lighting also makes evenings enjoyable and sets the mood for a peaceful, relaxing time.

Thus, a deck remodel is a lot less expensive than remodeling your kitchen, living room or basement. Building a cheap deck is possible without compromising on quality. For sourcing reused building materials, refer to the free Craigslist and other similar web sites where people are most likely to find surplus material. Reused materials are available at cheap prices at lumber yards; it would be good to check free publications where builders and residents place classified ads.

As the trend for housing market slopes downward, with economy and recession around the place, building a deck is perhaps a smarter option for property owners to maintain or even improve their home value - and a cost-effective way, at that.


Upgrading patio

Patios vary - and so do their costs - with combination of new building materials and accessories and architectural salvage and garage sales. You could go in for an eclectic patio that is tree covered outside the walkout basement, or use crushed limestone to fill and level the steeply sloped space … perhaps go for a distinctive décor with freestanding rocks gathered from homeowner's travels, use old galvanized tubs and stainless steel food service containers as pots. Opt for old chairs for a traditional touch. The choices are wide!

A low cost patio can be yours - made of recycled wood and cinder blocks - with spacious counters for cooking and entertaining. Go ahead with inexpensive building materials such as gravel, cinder blocks and pressure-treated wood to form the backbone of the design. A salvaged plywood and custom frame with tile backboard can lend you some privacy. Concrete steppers can create an interesting pathway and connect the outdoor room to the back of the house. Home maintenance should be very little as the yard is covered with gravel.


A clever concrete budget-friendly (should cost only $30) bench and scrap fabric covers for pillows for a simple seating area is another possibility in your patio. Low maintenance cost plants and drought-tolerant succulents can be chosen.

The patio can afford inexpensive splash of color with beaded candle lanterns in spicy hues. Similarly, blue glazed containers filled with fragrant flowers can make a lovely centerpiece and complement blue and white table settings, all without breaking the bank. Consider putting up a simple wind-chime that blows delicately in the breeze.


Outdoor lighting is a must for your patio and deck. Combination of lighting is ideal - install dimmers to reduce the intensity and create a cozy space. Path lights can lead the way. Spread lighting helps light up a path and also illuminate a bit of shrubbery. A few brick lights in the soil can beam diffused light upward. Play around with the lighting so that it doesn't shine into the eyes but provides sufficient illumination. Place lights behind barriers or fixtures. Choose solar products or low-voltage, energy-efficient bulbs to conserve resources and protect the environment.

To find furniture for patio and decks, flea market is a good option as choice vintage pieces could be available at budget prices. Early birds at such markets get the first pick at the good stuff. However, it would be easier to negotiate at the end of the day as dealers may be more anxious to sell their wares.

To keep the weeds off your patio, you need not spend money on chemical weed killers but go for cheap and more environment friendly solutions - for instance, straight white vinegar is an effective, nontoxic alternative that can be used regularly. Patios can be maintained at low cost, and installations usually cost $ 7.50 to $ 9 per square foot.

Before looking at cost options and planning to build a deck and a patio, be aware that building these may require permit if constructed within city limits. Allotting specific time of the year to carry out seasonal maintenance will help it stand up better to the elements.

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Upgrading your Deck and Patio
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Upgrading your Deck and Patio