Deck to Pergola and Garden Beds!

Our deck had given us no end of grief for the past few years.  Splinters, slivers, crying kids, big pain in the butt, you name it, that was our deck. My friend Jesse and I had both sanded down our decks at one point and used the best kind of stain.  She had ended up ripping hers out last year and it's because of her I felt inspired to do the same.  Of course, I was hesitant, after all I wouldn't want to inadvertently devalue our property.

Not wanting my kids to even go outside was beginning to be even more of a hassle and my son Behr's hands were fast coming up full of slivers each time he crawled outside.  When it comes to the choice of either the property of my home or the property of my son, I'll gladly choose the latter.  I mean we were having some serious warm water skin soaking and sliver pulling sessions around here.

And so with a little idea in our heads the hubs started to take the deck apart.  We couldn't afford to rent a sander or buy new stain.  Plus, we both felt like the deck was so big it took up over half the backyard. 

Look at how tiny my baby is all those months ago.  I believe we did this at the end of February.

Just above you there is a black stain from one of my many projects.  When Anne-Louise fell out the window, my mother spent quite a bit of time up at Doernbecher's hospital.  For the longest time my mother thought that stain was from Anne-Louise's nose and ears after she fell.  My mom kept telling everybody up at the hospital, "There's a stain on the deck from where she fell, just like Carthage Jail!  I've spent quite a bit of time at Carthage Jail and there's a blood stain there too!  The mark of Joseph Smith's blood is everywhere, especially under the blue light.  Their home is now scarred just like Carthage Jail!"  It wasn't until we walked out onto the deck about three months later that I actually started to put the pieces together.  My mother pointed to the stain and said, "Just like Carthage Jail.  That's what this house is like.  Look at the stain from Anne-Louise!"  I said to my mother, "What do you mean?  That's from one of my paint projects."  My mother's reply was one of shock, "Oh you're kidding me!  I thought it was Anne-Louise's blood!  Here I had told Celeste and everyone in the ward and up at the hospital about this stain."  That certainly solved pieces of a puzzle to me because a few of the nurses had kept making comments to me at the time of my daughter's accident like, "Well at least you're mother is free to be here to help.  Look on the bright side."  Or "You're mother can't be that bad of a criminal if she's here.  Surely her heart is in the right place."  I can remember thinking their comments were kind of weird up at the hospital, but also felt so overwhelmed and grateful for any help, I didn't really want to ask questions.  I mentioned this to my sister and she said, "Oh ya, I had to explain to one nurse on Anne-Louise's second surgery that our mom had not been to a jail called Carthage for a crime.  I guess the nurses thought she had actually gone to jail. They had even tried to look up the jail but they couldn't spell it right."  My husband and I laugh about this major miscommunication to this day.  Here the nurse had thought my mother had spent time at a jail called Carthage and were they were naturally all kinda curious.

Voila! A pergola is born.  ALL from our old deck wood.  I even found two gallons of Kilz paint for free on the side of the road to paint the wood with.  I really don't like wasting anything.  Do I save to the point of being a hoarder?  No, but I like to repurpose, let's put it that way.  Otherwise, I end up with too much stuff.  Adele painted the house near that pink hose too.  Only one pole is kind of crooked because there was a big cement chunk in the ground that we really didn't have time to get out with five kiddos running around.

Stunning ripped screen door too!

We wanted to make ours flat because it's nice to sit up here at night and star gaze.  I also wanted the ends to be uneven.  Seriously, I did.

Oh and look two garden beds from the old deck wood too!

My husband built them so that I could sit on the edge and garden.  I call them, "Plant your Arse Planters."  I love to cook, but even more so when it's fresh ingredients from my own garden.

We have more dirt in there now.  As a member of the LDS church we have always been counseled to plant a garden.  I can now have a lot more peace of mind knowing that we have one.

You see what I mean! A comfy seat all around.  Thank-you husband for thinking of that.  He knows that I'm such a green thumb I could spend hours out in the garden.

Look at how my garden grows!  And it's not kids popping out.  Woweee!  My kids are still used to using it as a compost.  I would actually like a separate compost.  The majority of the dirt was free from a woman in our ward.  Note: "Ward" is a term to define a specific boundary where a Mormon might live and attend church in that area during a certain time frame.  I always have mixed feelings about saying that word.  Because if you're like me I just think of a padded room and the famous movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. 

Last but not least, that yellow chair is where I found my daughter Anne-Louise after she fell.  I think it is only appropriate that I can say, "Why didn't we think of this beforehand?"


  1. It looks awesome! It must be so nice to have much more room for your kids and the garden beds will be so useful! That's great that you were able to reuse all of the wood.

  2. Looks great! Your garden beds look wonderful, too! Thanks for stopping by today and for the nice comment on my bookcases!

  3. I'm so jealous. I've been wanting a pergola for years!

    Yours looks great!


  4. Absolutely awesome. Thanks so much for sharing at my Sizzle into Summer party.

  5. I love your pergola. You did an excellent job with it and your raised beds! I wish I could walk out the back door and be in a flat back garden like you can. We live on a mountain, and we have the monster deck because if we didn't we would not have any outdoor living space.

  6. Wow, what a fantastic upgrade! Beautiful!

  7. It turned out great and looks much better! Great job!

  8. Fantastic transformation! I absolutely love pergolas, they really make a defined outdoor space.

  9. fantastic idea! very impressed with how clever you and your husband were--it came out great and provides nice shade for your cutie pies! Your garden is taking off great too, I havent attempted trying my own garden yet..maybe next year :)

    Well done, enjoy it for years to come!

    Katie@Little Things Bring Smiles

  10. You guys did a fantastic job... I'm really impressed :)

  11. Really beautiful. I'm jealous--I've always wanted a pergola!

  12. that looks fantastic! i loved that you used materials you already had. great idea using them from your old deck.

  13. That is such a great idea! I can't believe you were able to transform that space with reused materials! It looks amazing!

  14. What a great idea to make the planters from the old wood. A win-win situation!

  15. Wow, what a serious re-purpose job! I love pergolas & yours turned out awesome!

  16. What a wonderful job you did! I love your pergola~ and great way to re-use! We just put a new pergola up this year too. Would love for you to come share this at my weekend decorating party! :)

  17. Love your pergola!! Very cute!! We are getting ready to do the same on our back deck & I can't wait!! Thanks for sharing! Stopped by from Funky Junk!

  18. Your pergola looks great. What a wonderful idea to repurpose the deck wood.


  19. Great job reusing all of the deck materials! Your yard looks great with the pergola!

    Have a great weekend.

  20. Yours is the post ahead of mine at Inspiring Fridays so pleased would never have seen this fabulous project or heard the story around it.

    The term Ward is used here in the UK as well, it refers to the electoral areas usually in reference to local elections.

    Enjoy your garden XOXO Zoe

  21. Love it !! Your new pergola is perfect !! And, your garden boxes are fab, too !! Amazing that this project was basically free. Way to go !! *Becca* (your newest follower)

  22. Hi there~ Just stopping back by to say thanks for sharing this at Feathered Nest Friday this week! Hope you will come back and share again soon! :)

  23. Fantastic decking material that you have used. I love the garden also. Lovely family. I just saw your deck. It was great to see. I have also added some decking material into my new house at the entrance. It looks amazing. Decking material was cost-effective for me and have purchased by the Futurewood. I think you must checkout for next time.

  24. Seriously, I like the space better this time around. :) With the pergola, you can enjoy a sheltered place to refresh, and it’s a good place for the kids to play in. Thinking that, I believe foldable furniture would be great. That way, all of you can enjoy the space! ;)

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