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I Built a Mega Outdoor Living Space and I Mean MEGA

May 31, 2015

Imagine ignoring conventional wisdom and simply going ahead and building a mega deck. I recently built 900 square feet of deck space around the perimeter of  half my home and absolutely love it. I lost twenty pounds and built some solid muscle in the process. It has been one of my dreams for the past five years to have an attached deck. Not just any deck but one that is truly a living space. Cook, eat, nap, entertain, watch wildlife, commune with nature, and have lots of extra space to spread out with power tools so I can build big stuff that I can’t build indoors. Oh, and finally get a hot tub.

I took the plunge and ordered that hot tub a few weeks ago and then had to burn the midnight oil in building that dream deck by the time the hot tub arrived. My son, Thomas, worked beside me every step of the way. Love that sudden adult relationship with a twenty year old son. It made the project so much fun and boy, we got it done a lot quicker that I could have on my own. We beefed up the hot tub area of the deck with extra supports. It all came out pretty level, thanks to renting a laser transit on Day One. I highly, highly recommend doing that, especially with a deck that wraps around a home in all sorts of configurations.

My new hot tub arrived from Fitness Leisure out of St. Petersburg, Florida. It’s a five seater- not super fancy like those crazy amazing floor models you see in a retail spa outlet, but well-built, wonderful and perfect just the same. We rolled it onto the deck using garbage can dollies and I spent two hard days converting the wiring from 110 to 220 volts by installing a GFCI breaker box and then wiring to the main breaker box. (That heavy wire was a BEAR!!! to wire up.)

0527150824a Last night I climbed in the hot tub for the first time.Hummingbirds darted back and forth, the moon peeped through the clouds, and the frogs were in full chorus. I deemed it worth every cent and sore muscle to be able to sit in a hot tub on my own private elevated living space, high above the sloping ground, poison ivy and ticks, and with full view of a beautiful mini-forest.0531150806a

I learned a few lessons from all this.

1. Even when the going gets so tough you want to bawl, KEEP ON GOING!  It’ll be worth it in the end.

2. When everyone tells you 900 square feet of deck is too much, tell them it isn’t enough but its all you can afford.

3. Use building codes like your best friend. Seriously. I am love with building codes.

4. If you wire up a hot tub on your own,  get an electrician to at least follow up and insure you did it right. (Note: I DID wire it up correctly but my connections needed to be tighter.)

5. Be creative like crazy- you don’t get too many opportunities like this in one lifetime.

Today, I am going to savor and rest. We threw a graduation party last night for my seventh son and the hot tub was a big hit. I crashed at 11pm but the party went on until 3AM according to my very sleepy sons this morning.

I have lots to still do, like install a permanent railing of steel cable, three sets of stairs, and finish a pergola.  Then on to designing some cool deck furniture. Can’t go around sitting on five gallon buckets with a folded towel on top forever. Actually, if I modded them…. Hmmm…..

Medical report:  I go in for surgery this week to correct a major hearing loss in one ear. I cannot lift or sneeze or anything for a month. This wreaks havoc with my building projects, not to mention duckweed harvesting but it will be worth it. My world has become more and more silent. I am lucky to be able to hear the loudest of birds outdoors. I can only imagine what the world will sound like once I recover from this surgery. Wish me luck!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 5, 2015 11:27 am

    Hi! I hope your surgery went well!

    I wonder, is there any chance that the recorded webinars might be available for those of us who’ve found out about them too late?

    Thanks for the information and resources you provide here. I’m looking forward to growing duckweed!


  2. June 2, 2015 8:30 am

    Did I tell you how amazing you are? The deck is gorgeous and the scenery even prettier. Can’t wait to enjoy it with you soon. Praying for your surgery to let you hear the rustle of the leaves, the whisper of the wind and the songs of all the birds… and perhaps the some toning down of those noisy frogs so you can hear all the rest more clearly. Love you!


  3. May 31, 2015 6:46 pm

    Great job! I love our deck. You have to really keep it blown off with leaves and the little stuff that finds it’s way into the cracks of the deck. But I wouldn’t do without it 🙂 Sure hope your surgery goes well and get back to hearing every little creature. By the way, I got some duckweed growing in two large containers with a water circulating pump. They are slow growing. I thought they would grow quicker. I put some fishy poop water in it.

    Good luck to you!


    • June 1, 2015 9:44 am

      HI Joy. I have a leaf blower that makes short work of clearing the deck and a son who LOVES the chore. For the duckweed, I’d turn off the pump, insure that you don’t have too much manure in your water and that you have a good established mat of duckweed on the surface- or algae will compete. Play with it. Temps have a lot to do with fast growth as well.


  4. Sue permalink
    May 31, 2015 11:38 am

    BEAUTIFUL! Now come build one for me!



    • June 1, 2015 9:45 am

      Sue, pay for my plane ticket and feed me good during the process, I just might!


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