If you build it…

This summer we have undertaken a very large project in our back yard. We added a pergola to our deck!  I mentioned before that we put in a pool.  While we had someone come and install the pool & fence (much beyond our capabilities), we have been landscaping ourselves.

Making numerous trips to home improvement stores for plants, researching what will grow best in our area, what will give us privacy but still look nice, and what we can afford on what little budget we have left after building the pool.

This GIANT creative project as I call it has taken over most of our summer. For the most part I have loved it. Picking out plants is like picking out fabric, you want to think about texture, contrast, color & scale.  It has taken our back yard from a place we never went out to, to a place we spend all our time in. Even when it’s 90 degrees and above 75% humidity…

The backyard “redo” really started last fall.  There was a deck attached to the house when we moved in.   It didn’t have stairs to the back yard and it took me 2 years to decide if I wanted them or not (security issues).
The deck faces west and was impossibly sunny and hot in the afternoons, when we moved in we threw some chairs out there and that was it. It was waaay to HOT to do anything else.
Then last fall we had a pergola built over the deck.  My husband had built decks and pergolas before and I begged and begged him to build this one, but it was much higher off the ground than our previous decks and he just wasn’t’ comfortable doing it.
Our friends got us in touch with an Amish family that do amazing carpentry work.  They came and built this!! While they were here building I just kept watching them out the windows and giggling… I don’t know why, but me and the kids all just sat and spied on them out the window while they were here.  They did a FABULOUS job.
I can not tell you the difference it has made on our deck. We actually go out there now!  Plus I decided to add the stairs which turned out to be a good decision (another post you’ll see why).
Here are a few of the after shots. I still have SO much work to do out there, it needs flowers, a outdoor rug, (and to be stained and sealed), but I am happy with the progress we have made so far.  We just keep chipping away at the project a little bit at a time.
In the photo above you can see we added outdoor blinds ($15 at Lowes, a steal!!), we can roll them down and block out the sun in the afternoon.
There is a bench on one side which I love, but every time a little kid would go out there, they would stand on the bench and peer over the side… just a bit nerve racking!! So we added this planter to help the little ones avoid that temptation.  My plan is to fill it with all different sizes and colors of pots and put flowers in them. (probably next year).
I found a mosaic coffee table on clearance & got a few pillows for that corner, I need to make cushions for the benches.
our welcome/go away sign.
Clock & candle holders above the grill.
You can’t see it because it’s daytime, but we hung big fat christmas lights around the perimeter, so they pergola just “glows” at night it’s so pretty. My favorite thing we have done so far is hang these paper lanterns for the top, like we did for the Alice in Wonderland party this year.
So that is just ONE TINY part of what has kept me busy this summer. When and IF I ever get SOD in my back yard again I will take some photos and post about the landscaping that my husband and I have done in the back yard this summer…. Plus I re did the patio under the deck & have a few fun outdoor creative projects to share!!
add a pergola to a deck

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  1. Wow. Wow. Wow! What a gorgeous deck and it looks like you have an incredible view as well. Can’t wait to see the cushions and everything…

  2. Oh your deck is amazing!!! I only wish I had a deck oh and a family room while I’m at it!

    Ps. Those paper lanterns are FABULOUS!!!! Where ever did you find them? 🙂

  3. This is so beautiful! I love the pergola. Our new back door/deck face full west as well. Pretty much the only thing I miss from our old (weird) house is that the patio was on the east side of the house and shady in the evening. I guess I need to find some amish workers here in Utah County. They did a gorgeous job!

  4. A-MAZING! I’m so jealous of the view from your backyard, simply beautiful. You guys did such a great job! ~Sam

  5. This is my first visit to your blog but I just had to say… WOW what a beautiful deck!! Awesome job!

  6. It looks like a totally different back yard! I love it. I especially love the gorgeous pergola and the potted plant area above the bench. It will look amazing with flowers on the side. I think I’d be enjoying every meal outside if I had that to use, even if it was crazy hot (which it has been lately!) Great work!!

  7. It looks amazing and I’m so glad you are enjoying it…still love that AIW Party! One of my favorites…

  8. That’s gorgeous Melissa!!! I love the Amish craftsmanship- there is just something about the traditional American detailing and simplicity about it that is so beautiful!

  9. Thank you so much for sharing. I wondered if you could elaborate just a bit on the dimensions of the lumber used in the pergola?

    Thank you,

  10. Wow, the deck looks amazing. I am new to your blog. If you build it…they will come. I thought you were going to reference the movie with that line in it, “Field of Dreams” with Kevin Costner, haha. Love that movie 😉

  11. Oh my goodness, what an amazing deck! I would be spending ALL of my time out there, that’s for sure! And I love the paper lanterns too, they look so whimsical and fun.

  12. Hi. I dropped in from sewcanshe to see your tie project and found your pergola! Where did you find the pot shelves. Love them. Now, to look around a bit more. Thanks for your site.

    1. Hi!
      I can’t remember where I got those shelves!! It’s been so long, I know it was a catalog but I can’t remember the name, sorry

  13. My husband and I plan to build a pergola on our upper deck- how will you maintain the pergola-it will have to be stained every 3-5 years. I am worried that it will be labor intensive -and can you imagine paying someone to do it
    for you. Let me know your thoughts on this because I have to make s decision . Thanks M. King

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