Ideas and product information on deck, patio areas

Jem

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We are almost done building our deck...yipee! However, some changes were/have to be made due to unforeseen circumstances...some good, some just unexpected, some I'm trying to figure out how to make work for future add-on's.

We were originally only going to have a 16x20 floating platform deck, extended off the already existing step off the patio doors. It was "supposed to be under the 18 inches, meaning we would not have needed railings. Just an area with a step to get onto the grass...
My father in law decided he wanted to pay for us to finally have a deck, and I don't feel comfortable with spending all his money so the simple platform was all I was expecting. And let me just add that HE's the one who keeps insisting on the extras!!! :rolleyes2: I guess I'll have to make him some banana bread and cookies.

Well, the grading of the back yard is much steeper than we thought, and only noticed how much of a slope we had to the back yard after the deck was built. That's great for flooding and for water not getting in the house, but now, that means we need railings as the high points exceed the 18 inch maximum. Another reason the deck sits a little higher is that we had to remove the existing step. The guy said it wasn't built very good (we didn't do it, it was there when we bought the house) and also, because we are currently dealing with carpenter ants and under the step was one of their access points to the house, we wanted to see under it so we could seal anything that needed to be sealed. The deck was going to sit lower then the step but now the deck is all one level.
We also added a small extension off the side of the deck so that it connects with the side door stairs. It sorta wraps around so we can access the back deck from the front yard and have a gate dividing the two. This way people don't have to walk thru the house to get to the back yard.
The stairs off the deck are also now in a different place because it needed to be a 2 step rather than just a one step, so it sticks out further and would interfere with other things we can't do anything about.
So now that I have to work around railings, the new add on and now that the stairs off the deck are in a different place than originally planned, I'm trying to figure out how to finish things off while still considering our future plans.

Here is a quick (and not to scale) layout of part of our back yard.
back yard.png


So I'm planning on putting a screen gazebo type thing on the Right side of the deck at the end. That's what makes the most sense and won't interfere withe the stairs on the end or on the right side where the BBQ is. I think it's 10x10. And want to put a few planters around for tomatoes and other veggies.

So what I'm trying to figure out and price out is how to make the area off the end and Right side of the deck (where the trees and flower bed are, more user friendly.
The trees are Pine and they shed a LOT of needles, so I want to make all that area an easy to maintain patio but also have a fire pit off the end.
I also want to make the BBQ area gravel with a few patio slabs for the BBQ to sit on.

Does anyone know if it's easy to clean up pine needles off gravel?
What other INEXPENSIVE ground cover, that is not grass, would be good to keep clean and hopefully avoid too many weeds.

stone patio,deck 3.jpg
stone patio,deck 8.jpg
stone patio,deck 15.jpg
stone patio,deck 18.jpg

These are a few pics I like when it comes to inspiration. But I REALLY like the Idea of the last 2 photos as I could really fill in all the gaps between the trees and flower bed and the deck, while keeping it kinda rustic and natural looking.
The ground is pretty uneven, so filling in gaps with gravel/sand mulch???? and playing with the placement of irregular stones appeals to me.

IDK
What does everyone think? What products are good to use for easy maintenance? What products are cheap/inexpensive?
 
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Jem

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It's not bad with the right kind of rake.
What kind is good? Is it the wide toothed plastic fan looking one?, Or a thin toothed adjustable metal one?
Perhaps a natural fiber bristle broom (witch's broom) would work well, as it would sweep the needles but be flexible enough that it wouldn't disturb the rocks...
 

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This is “the cat site”, right? Aren’t we going to get off track of dealings with our cat families if we start chatting about completely different subjects. I’m sorry, I didn’t read the whole post about the backyard deck but I don’t think I saw anything about cats
 

susanm9006

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I can tell you it is NOT easy to clean pine needles off of gravel. If you try to rake you get gravel too and if you try to use a blower it blows the rocks out of the bed.. I have been in the process this summer of removing the small gravel edging my retaining walls and replacing it with larger rock for exactly that reason. A larger size rock will not move when you blow it making much easier to clear needles and leaves.

I would go with a hard edge like the first pic if you can.
 
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susanm9006

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This is “the cat site”, right? Aren’t we going to get off track of dealings with our cat families if we start chatting about completely different subjects. I’m sorry, I didn’t read the whole post about the backyard deck but I don’t think I saw anything about cats
This is the lounge where we can talk about pretty much anything we want to including things not related to cats. Take a look at the long list of forums that you can visit and post in.
 
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MoochNNoodles

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Hmm. Pine needles are easy to rake off grass; but I don't know about the gravel. The pine tree we still deal with (it's just over our fence on the neighbor's side; but it's huge) drops needles and pine cones but other stuff too. And that blows into my garden. We put hydrangeas on our side of the fence and mulched around them and that definitely isn't rake friendly. The hydrangeas haven't done well and I've wished we left it just grass. We also have nice rocks around our front rose bushes. It does look nice; but weeding it can be a pain! The crab grass really grows in there like it's no big deal. And we have weed block under it. I've thought about putting some kind of gravel walkway around my raised bed gardens to cut down mowing; but now it seems like mowing is actually easier; even if you have to do it more often. :cringe:
 
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Furballsmom

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Perhaps a natural fiber bristle broom (witch's broom) would work well, as it would sweep the needles but be flexible enough that it wouldn't disturb the rocks...
I haven't used this, but I like the idea. Also, we have a stiff metal toothed rake - it seems to catch the needles and sort of slide through the gravel (imagine a japanese raked garden).

Like this;
Leonard Forged Bow Rake, 62in Wooden Ash Handle | Gardeners Edge
 
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