Build a Deck or leave existing patio as is

dinosaur1(5)September 11, 2010

I am thinking of hiring out to build a deck using UltraDeck materials or something that can withstand our harsh WI winters......or should I leave the deck as is. My wife use it rarely only because she is allergic to mosquitos but we have 7 yr old who loves to be outside. We live next to a busy street also.

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Maybe mosquitos light,keep your place drought work.I guess sun light isn't much,I add azalea, select some.

Here is a link that might be useful: if need other pic design

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 6:50PM
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Not sure I understand your post. Nice design. Can you design me a deck or do you think a deck would look good back there?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 8:56PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Why do you want a deck? The first reason that comes to mind for me is to move the location of the step down from the patio door to somewhere off a deck. I agree that a step down as soon as you go through the door is uncomfortable - and potentially dangerous because it's unexpacted. Perhaps a small landing outside the door would solve that problem without going to the cost of a full deck.

I recognize those trees from earlier posts you've made. If the patio doesn't get used because of mosquito problems and given that those trees are only going to become bigger space-hogs, I think you should give serious thought to removing them. That will open the area to better air circulation (which might help the mosquito problem) and give you more usable space.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 10:17AM
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I am looking at my options. I like the idea of a Pergola as well w/ privacy lattice. The only problem is that I live next to a busy street where cars drive 45mph so I need to have something behind my patio. The blue spruces are very nice and can be trimmed, but when they get really big, which will be a long time, you are right they will have to be removed.

What if I just extend the cement to the right?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 10:21AM
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Hi Dino,

Here is my 0.02 cents. I would build deck that has an irregular shape, not rectangular. It would vary width as it moved left and right. I would not go too far to the right because of the window. I would enclose the deck with a screened light aluminum frame. I feel a pergola or even a trellis would be too heavy for the limited space. An awning would be a nice look if needed maybe to shed snow in the winter and rain other times. A fire pit through the deck would be fun and and provide a desire to use the space in the seasons other than summer. Also an invitingly lit area would go to enjoying this area more as well. JMHO Aloha

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 11:18AM
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A link to an online picture showing what you mean would help. Thanks. I agree a pergola may be too big but a deck limits my space to move around the area.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 11:34AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Link to OP's pics:

At its highest, your deck would only be one or two steps off the ground.

If it were only one step above ground level, I would think you wouldn't need a railing (more knowledgeable posters will chime in if I'm wrong). So you could exit the deck at any point (unless you choose to make beds around the deck), just as you can currently exit your patio at any point.

If railings are necessary -- or if you want beds around the deck -- have exit steps to either side; the steps could be quite wide. That wouldn't much limit your options to move about the yard. Cf. the deck and steps in the final pic in this thread:

In any case, I'd make the deck parallel to the line of the spruces, leaving a couple of feet for future growth.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 12:59PM
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To get rid of a mosquito problem in a small space, an outdoor fan works great because mosquitoes are weak flyers.

More permanent solutions include the use of a mosquito trap. These really do work, but you'll need to remove any sources of mosquitoes from your yard for them to make much headway. To knock them back as you start up a mosquito trap, backyard foggers really do work. I don't like pesticides all that much, though, and they'll kill all flying insects.

Search your yard for possible mosquito sources. You'd be surprised at how many are close to home.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 1:16PM
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I would leave the deck and buy one of those screen tents so your wife can sit out there.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 2:54PM
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The spruces and the space are my biggest concern

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 11:23PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

I remember seeing an overhead shot of your backyard on another thread a couple of years ago, with the road some distance away from the spruces. Are the trees planted on the edge of your property, or is your property line closer to the road?

If the latter, you could plant something on the other side of the spruces, and when it's large enough, remove the spruces.

Or, if the spruces are at the property line, you could cut down every other one and plant a good evergreen hedge shrub (or two) in each space -- not even with the spruces' trunks, but just on your side of the property line. Then after several more years, cut down the other spruces and plant those areas. The hedge would take up much less room than the spruces, and you would have a larger yard.

Considering the width of the spruces, you could probably plant two layers of hedge and still gain space.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 11:36AM
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I know this has come up before, but mosquitoes hide on the undersides of leaves. They seek shade, often low to the ground where the humidity is higher. Apparently mosquitoes dehydrate easily.

Your spruce are perfect cover for bugs, so is grass. A pergola with vining plants - clematis, roses, what have you - will be ideal for mosquitoes too.

I suppose you're just bouncing around all kinds of ideas, but are you going to deal with the water problem you mentioned in other threads? Will the patio be jackhammered, drainage corrected and then possibly replaced with a deck? A 7 year old can play on a patio as well as a deck. And a 7 year old becomes an 8, 9, 10 year old and usually wants to be elsewhere with friends, etc.

I'd think long and very hard before getting rid of the spruce at this point; an adequate screen to replace them isn't going to happen overnight. You can't really prune spruce back to make them smaller. What generally happens over time is that bottom branches die and you have to limb them up. Then you're looking at trunks. You live in Wisconsin; drive around an older established neighborhood in Pewaukee or Milwaukee and look at yards with limbed up conifers - is that a look you want? If you've got space that isn't some entities easement, start planning some layer planting.

Also, almost everyone is allergic to mosquitoes - to a greater or lesser degree. You get bit and you've got an itchy, red bump which often takes a while to go away; that's an allergy symptom. If your wife is severly allergic, maybe a trip to the allergist and a program of desensitization shots would help.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 1:57PM
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Any umbrella or enlcosure attracts wasps bees etc. In our backyard.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 4:00PM
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Well, since any attempts at proffering any kinds of solutions for your "dilemma(s)" are met with a new case of ... I was going to say fine whines, but I don't want to be thought of as snarky... you might be left with sequestering yourself in the house with either the AC or heat on and looking at the yard from the windows.

A deck, house eaves, shutters, etc. can attract wasps and bees just as well as any plant material can. There are also spiders, gnats, slugs, grasshoppers, grubs, earthworms, birds, bats, squirrels, and bunnies - just a tiny fraction of the "horror show" that is the great outdoors. :-)

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 7:58AM
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true, I guess our limited means 1 thing. Leave it as is. I will cut the patio slab against my home 6 inches or more to solve the water issue though and take it from there.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 10:24PM
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I think you need to handle the water problem first as you said and do that soon before winter hits and the ice causes you problems. But you should also start looking at all the new possibilities that are happening in the outdoor living industry. Go to resources at and also

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 5:57PM
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