Decks, Home Improvement, Remodeling, Renovation

Deck in Fairmount, Philadelphia


“I’ve had it with the dirt, David!” Happily, the Fairmount homeowner was talking about her backyard, not my own propensity for creating dust.

She was losing the struggle to keep her stylish town home immaculate, but she certainly had formidable foes — her twin 5-year-olds, who enjoyed nothing more than digging and rolling around in her overgrown backyard and then tracking through the house.

After considering several landscaping and hardscaping options for the yard, we agreed on the thoroughly dirt-free solution: deck it.

In came the pros. We removed the existing pergola, damaged fence panels and half-buried tools and toys. After digging and pouring nine footings, we were ready for framing.

Our framers barely broke a sweat putting together the deck’s structure — it actually took longer to screw down the 500-square-feet of composite decking than to build the frame itself.

We then replaced or secured any loose fence panels, keeping less than a ½” gap between the deck edge and fencing in any spot. Yet we were careful to leave a nice opening for the homeowner’s treasured fig tree.

Mission accomplished, or so I thought.

When I stopped by to chat the following week, I noticed that the tykes had dumped a planter of dirt in the middle of the deck and were building their version of a backyard sandcastle.

But can you blame them?

View photos from this project.