Progress Report – Backyard Remodel

Far be it from me to claim any particular natural skill in handyman-type projects.  I can, however, manage searching the internet for information and I also enjoy learning new things.  This coupled with a bit of a paradigm shift in my view of and approach to working in and around the house has really helped me begin learning to do a lot of these sorts of things and I couldn’t help but share my progress on the back deck.  We have a nice space out back but it was not well maintained when we moved in but a year ago.  I’ve been slowly doing what I could with it but have moved on to a more organized, task-oriented approach.  I don’t really multitask well and handle the process of finishing a project much more efficiently if I see each part of the whole to completion.  Thus after getting rid of all of the ivy that had managed to mix itself with poison ivy which was arduous and quite an itchy task, I set out to try to salvage the back deck.  After a bit of research I realized every time I have ever used water-sealant in the past was not applied correctly.  I have to attribute the credit to finally teaching me the proper process where it is due.  I do not know this fellow personally, but he had a great and informative video and the results hold true, though I think his estimation of finishing the project in a day might have been pretty generous.  He was incredibly thorough, which was fantastic for me at my level of inexperience.  One issue I find with many very knowledgeable people is that when they teach something that they are so familiar with, they leave out some things that they find obvious and simple but to the student it can seem to leave gaps in the instructions.  Not so with Mr. Hazelton’s video, it was just right, even explaining the tools used.  I wouldn’t have even know that such a thing as a “deck pad” existed had that not been pointed out and likely would have tried to roll or paint it on instead.

Ron Hazelton – How to Clean, Renew and Seal a Wood Deck in One Day

Perhaps my lack of experience is at least in part to blame for the longer work time, but I am quite happy with how it turned out.  In the past I’ve made attempts to simply “wing it” and clean up and water-seal porches and decks but had no clue there was such a thing as wood cleaner/brightener, having always used Bleach to little effect.  That cleaner/brightener was magical.  Coupled with a peaceful day of playing with our new pressure washer it already looked pretty good out there.  Now with new paint to cover and protect as well as to provide contrast for the flowers and plants we intend to set out I have some hope of creating a really nice space for us to hang out on cool mornings and afternoons.  It’ll probably be great for picnicking out back in the fall too!

A life-long love of learning is something I truly hope to impart upon Grant as he grows.  Hopefully things like this provide that example that one is never too old to seek advice on even what seems to be the most mundane project or idea.  It is amazing in the world we live in today to be able to seek out the advice of experts with a few keystrokes and mouse clicks and the cost of this information is amazingly free (unless you consider having to watch an add or two as payment).  Removing the fear and worry of failure is also very important to me and I hope as Grant and I approach this whole homeschooling thing we can recapture that understanding that one of the best ways to learn is to get out there and “mess something up”.  We learn best by doing, after all, and the doing is rarely flawless, so we might as well embrace and enjoy that process.

Now how about some before & after photos?  I cannot help but be eager to show off the final product.

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Here are my before photos, before we even began the cleaning process.  Yuck!

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Here are the after photos, after cleaning and staining.  I do believe Suzy snuck a kitty photo in there… not sure if it’s relevant.  Such a diva, that Niko.

Do you have any projects that you’ve been putting off out of either a fear of failure or lack of knowledge?  Cast that fear aside!  Seek out that knowledge!  Get out there and mess something up!  You’re bound to learn so much more than if you continue procrastinating.

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