Backyard Deck Makeover ‘Before’

It’s hard to believe it’s the beginning of April already.

If you’ve been around here in previous years, you know that only means one thing. It’s One Room Challenge time!

[columns] [span6]

One Room Challenge


In case you’re not familiar with it, the One Room Challenge is hosted by Linda at Calling It Home twice a year (in the spring and the fall). It involves 20 featured design bloggers and a bunch of guest participants (including me!) making over a room in 6 weeks…and providing a weekly update on their progress (or setbacks as the case may be).


If you’re visiting from the One Room Challenge and this is your first time here, welcome to my color-filled builder-grade home.

Let’s get right to it!

For this year’s challenge, I’ve decided to tackle… (drum roll please) …an outdoor room…my deck and outdoor bar area.

But First A Little History

This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission if you buy the products from these links (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. But we only recommend products we would use ourselves. For more information, click here to see our disclosures.

Let me start by saying, for those of you who don’t know me, I love to entertain. And I especially love to entertain outdoors in the summer.

When I moved into my brand new builder grade home with the 10′ x 10′ concrete patio and nothing else but mud, I knew that wasn’t going to cut it.

So in addition to putting in grass and a lot of plants, I built a deck with a gazebo, an outdoor bar/grill area, a large flagstone patio and another deck at the back of the yard.

In other words, I already have the outdoor rooms that I want.

So what’s the problem? you might ask.

Well, let me tell you…they’ve been there for quite a few years now, and it’s definitely time for an update.

Having said that, there is no way I would be able to do my whole backyard in 6 weeks, so I’m starting with the part that you see right when you walk out the back door…the deck and outdoor bar/grill area.

What Needs To Be Updated

So here goes nothing…I’m sharing it all…the good, the bad and the downright ugly 🙂

This is the deck and gazebo from the far end.

And no, it’s not supposed to be green. That’s the annual algae build up! So obviously, the annual cleaning is the first thing on the list.

1 | The Chair Cushion Colors

I actually like all of these chairs. But the problem with them is the cushion colors.

Here’s the love seat glider and the two black chairs last summer.

The cushion colors don’t go at all!

The other two chairs look good together, but don’t go with the rest of them. And I’m not really a beige person so the color doesn’t really do it for me.

Also, the “protective coating” on them is peeling, which definitely needs to be fixed.

However, I do love my elephant table and Balinese umbrella.

2 | The Plants

The one thing you can’t see from the picture before is that the evergreen in my little patio garden is splitting (thanks to a winter ice storm we had).

So that will have to come down…after the doves that are nesting in it have moved out.

And I definitely need to do something with those big black umbrella stands! They work really well, but they sure are ugly 🙂

3 | The Gazebo

While there isn’t anything terribly wrong with my gazebo (I actually still like it a lot!), I have always wanted to hang outdoor curtains in the corners.

And the lighting could use an upgrade.

But the candelabra planter is still one of my favorite things in the whole yard!

4 | The Dining Table

Once again, I actually like the basic shape of my dining table and chairs. They’re very comfortable and the perfect size for under the gazebo.

Did I mention I’m not a beige person? So the color of them just doesn’t do it for me.

Plus there are a few paint stains on it that may or may not have come from DIY projects gone haywire…I’m not admitting to anything 🙂

5 | The Bar and Grill Pergola

I covered this outdoor bar using slate tiles, because I’ve always liked the look of them on outdoor kitchens.

However, I have since learned that they aren’t a great choice for outdoor projects that are fully exposed to the weather. Water seeps into the layers in the slate and causes it to split.

So I need a new cover for my bar. And I may use this as an excuse to get new seat cushions, lighting and maybe even a new grill…we’ll have to see where the budget is at when I’m done 🙂

There’s also some Wisteria growing over the pergola, which needs to get gone. I originally wanted to use it for shade but have come to the realization that it is hard to maintain and drops leaves everywhere. So a better shade solution is in order.

6 | The Area Beside The Bar

You can see the area beside the bar through the hole between the fence and the pergola.

Although you can’t see them, there are raised beds back there that are supposed to be my vegetable garden.

I never really finished that side of the yard, and now it has become home for all of the DIY project leftovers.

So I’d like to clean it up and install a walkway. Which needs to look pretty and be easy to push a wheelbarrow on.

7 | A Few Other Things

Of course, since I’m making my wish list, I came up with a few other things I want:

  • better storage for all of my outdoor cushions
  • a new herb garden
  • some outdoor artwork

I think I better stop coming up with things I want before I run out of time.

Now it’s time to figure out how to do all of these things in 6 weeks!

If you want to keep up to date on the progress, be sure to sign up for our email (HERE) so you get notified when new posts come out.

Before you go, don’t forget to visit the rest of the participants in the One Room Challenge. So much design inspiration in one place!

Deck Makeover Updates

In case you’re interested, here’s the progress we’ve made on our deck:

Have comments or questions on our One Room Challenge deck makeover project? Tell us in the section below.

This post was originally published on April 3, 2019 but was updated with new content on June 3, 2023.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Can’t wait to see what you come up with for cushion storage. It is something I struggle with.

    1. I also have a problem with cushion storage…too many cushions, not enough space 🙂 I’m looking forward to having something more functional.

    1. Thanks, Nicole! I have barely started…but I’m looking forward to it being finished, too 🙂

  2. Oh the potential here!! That pagoda arbor and more!! I can’t wait to see what you accomplish! It will be an awesome space to enjoy at the end!! I did my screened porch last ORC and it was a ton of fun!!

    1. Thanks, Marcie! I am looking forward to having it all decorated for summer, but a lot of work between now and then 🙂

  3. Wow, I love it already! It feels very secret garden to me and it’s awesome. I can’t wait to see how you bring it to its full potential!

    1. Thanks, Andi! I’m a little nervous about getting it all done, but definitely looking forward to getting it fixed up in time for summer 🙂

  4. Elaine Lyons says:

    Hi Wanda, very aggressive project. Will be watching!

    1. Yes, I think I’ll be busy for the next few weeks! But I think it will be worth it in the end 🙂