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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Backyard Deck + Patio Design

We came home from our Seminyak holiday to some great news in the mail .... Our backyard deck and patio design has been signed off by our Local Council and we have a permit to build!

So I thought I'd better show you the final design plan!

Now you may recall, initially the deck design was going from fence to fence across the whole backyard - all deck and one level was the easiest and less expensive design. But then we thought about our beloved furbaby Lexi (I mean who can resist that cute lil face!) and needed to come up with some ideas for a pet friendly deck and decided we had to provide some lawn for her so it wasn't all hard surfaces.

Once Mr P and I had a good idea of the deck design we wanted we arranged for a Draftsman to come out and have a look and draw up a plan for us. We were pretty happy with the design he came up with other than he included two lots of steps one going down from the end of the deck and the other going down from the garage door to a sunken lawn area.

Building two lots of steps would be expensive and we weren't really sure we would like the look of a sunken lawn area as it was a little small and may feel closed in. We started to think about how we raised the level of the ground in our front courtyard (you can see the before and afters on my house tour page) so that it was all one level and it made such a difference leveling out the ground and it makes the space a lot more usable as well.

So we decided to amend the design to remove the steps and instead raise the ground level - to do this we will need to build a retaining wall on each side and then fill it in with sand to raise the ground level and then lay lawn on top. As it will be the same level as the deck we won't need steps on that side which is a bonus. We still need one lot of steps near the garage door as this is a lower level than the laundry door and the french doors.

The final design will have a deck that is 12 meters x 4 meters which is a great size and goes from the very corner of the house up to the laundry door. The deck will stop in line with the laundry door and the retaining walls will be built in a rectangle with the deck sitting over the retaining so you can't really see it.

Then there will be a grass courtyard 4 meters x 4 meters which is a great size for our rescue dog Lexi to laze around on and do her business. It will also be a good spot for a wall hung clothes line to be installed.

Next to the grass courtyard will be a paved area 4 meters x 4 meters leading into the garage. The plan shows this as deck as well but we have since decided to pave this area using our leftover limestone pavers from the front courtyard.

The only thing we wish we had done differently with our renovations was to have all the doors at the same level.

Unfortunately this is not always possible and when we built our garage it had to be lower than the rest of the house (see garage door on left hand side of plan) and so the garage door is slightly lower than the laundry door and french doors which means we have to have a step down to reach it.

The deck will mostly be accessed from the french doors in the dining room and the laundry door so it won't be too bad. The garage door access will only be used when we're using things in the garage.

I am really happy with the final design plan we have come up with as it's practical, it's dog friendly and it's going to give us an amazing entertaining area.

We are also building a patio over most of the deck so that everything is undercover and protected and can be used all year round like an outdoor room.

The patio will end at the laundry door so the grass courtyard is exposed to the elements otherwise the grass will never grow if it doesn't get any sun and is in shade all the time.

Once we signed off on the design with the Draftsman we had a Structural Engineer do the drawings for the deck, patio, retaining wall and fence which needed to be drawn to specifications.

Previously we've had to get Council approval on a few renovating projects - our garage extension (which took almost a year to approve after countless knock backs) and our courtyard (which took us 3 attempts to get approved) and so this time around we have become smarter about the process. We realized we will have a much better chance of getting plans approved by our Local Council if it has first been signed off by a Structural Engineer.

So we submitted the plans and structural engineer drawings to our Local Council for approval.

The Council made us change a few things with the design and we also had to get our 3 neighours on both sides and the back of us to sign off on the plans - if we didn't we would have to go through Council Planning which would cost more money and take more time. It took a few weeks, phone calls, letters and visits to the neighbors and eventually we got them them all to sign and we submitted them to the Council.

It took about 3 months from start to finish but the  plans have now been stamped and signed as approved and we've been issued with a Building Permit so we can now go ahead.

We have started organizing the trades to do this project which we're leaving to the professionals it's not a DIY job we want to attempt ourselves.

We already have our retaining wall builder who built our courtyard retaining walls and fence and retaining walls for our side fence so he will do all the retaining work for us using beautiful limestone blocks.

Next we need to find a new fence company to install the Colourbond fence on top of the retaining wall, unfortunately the company we used for our side fence earlier this year is no longer in business. We are also having our side fence done at the same time as our neighbor has agreed to go halves in this so we thought it was best to have it all done together - this is a limestone retaining wall and colorbond fence along the boundary line between our two properties. We have already removed the old asbestos fence a few weeks ago in preparation for this.

We had a carpenter out to give us a quote to build both the deck and patio. We have seen his work before and he is a really good carpenter so if the quote comes back reasonable then we will go ahead with him.

With some good organising and project management skills Mr P and I are hoping to book in all the trades over the next few weeks so that we can have it all built this year in time for Christmas (which is only 5 weeks away!) and the Summer holidays.

After living with a backyard sandpit for over a year it's so exciting to think we will have an outdoor space we can use again soon! 

What do you think of the final deck design?

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  1. That is a lot of work that you went through to come to a final plan, but I just love how you thought of your dear Lexi! I can't believe it's going to be all done by Christmas? I hope you share lots of photos!


    1. We have dreamed about our deck since we moved in 7 years ago Carrie so we wanted to make sure we designed it exactly how we wanted it to be! Yes we are hoping it will be finished by Xmas!! There will be lots of before and afters don't you worry :)


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