It’s Outdoor Living Season: Seven Great Projects

It’s Outdoor Living Season: Seven Great Projects

It’s time for your next great outdoor project—one that you can start and finish to make the most of your time outside. It’s time to load your pickup full of lumber, landscape timbers, pavers and other building supplies you need for the best and latest outdoor living projects for your backyard and don’t worry, if you don’t have your own pickup, ask about our quick and professional delivery service.

We’re ready to load you up and get you started with some must-do backyard projects to run with and make your own, so let’s talk projects.

deck with metal railing and outdoor furniture

The Deck That You’ve Always Wanted

Build it high, low or—better yet—on multiple levels to create the perfect area that takes your inside out. Go beyond the boring 12-foot by 12-foot platform deck that barely holds a patio table and chairs. Instead, create usable spaces that blend style, strength and durability that can handle traffic flow and just help you take advantage of our beautiful summers.

If you want to up the enjoyment factor long term, build with one of our high-tech, maintenance-free engineered composite deck materials like TimberTech or Trex. Both composite boards are made from recycled plastics and wood fibers. They offer full lines of decking boards as well as railings, lighting and accessories for every need. If you want to go with a fully PVC deck, AZEK is the clear leader – it is also made from recycled materials, comes with an unmatched warranty and is extremely easy to maintain.

Working with real wood products—like cedar or pressure treated 2x6s and 2x4s can give your deck more of a rustic design that will naturally weather with age, we have a large assortment of natural wood lumber. Even though it isn’t recycled, due to modern harvesting and replanting standards and new efficiencies at the lumber mills, wood remains one of the most sustainable building material choices available.

The Fence That You Really Need

Build it to gain privacy, define space, restrict accesses, act as a screen or serve as a garden feature. Fully closed or open-sided, fencing design principles remain the same—fence posts with panels or rails and pickets in between to control the view and accesses available. The materials, however, can differ considerably.

While treated wood has been a standard for everything from split rail fence to privacy fence, new composite fencing provides maintenance-free options that far outstrip previous advances like three-rail white PVC fencing. Engineered deck materials manufacturers like Trex also make engineered composite fence components—fence boards, rails, posts and post caps—that offer the look of wood fencing without any of wood’s maintenance or deterioration issues. They’re designed to be sturdy and easy to install yet yield a professional final result.

If a tall, full-fledged fence isn’t for you, consider a railing. A wide variety of manufacturers and options ranging from engineered wood-look composites to powder-coated aluminum railings, steel cable railings, iron railings or even glass panel railings could supply just what you need to set off your favorite space or keep loved ones safe.

The Fire Pit That Everyone’s Been Begging For

Build it in a circle, square, octagon or oval. Small or more substantial, it’s certain to draw everyone to it—lit or not. The most popular, safe and easy fire pit designs use castle block, pavers or stone to enclose a fireproof liner. Crushed stone or gravel fills the gap between the liner and the blocks or pavers, and capstones complete the finished look. If you want to go larger, you can pour a footer, cement a base, and build an enclosing wall surround with stone and mortar.

For safety, make the immediate surrounding area fireproof too with matching or complementary pavers, stone or gravel. To make it beautiful as well, work a pattern—paver radials infilled with gravel, for example, concentric rings of pavers and gravel in graduating sizes, or a mosaic or paver pattern of your own design. For comfort, don’t forget to leave room for seating.

raised planters full of plants, bark walkway

The Raised Garden Beds That You Should Have Built Years Ago

Build them in a single layer at ground level, or create multilevel designs for added interest. Terrace an area in stacked landscape timbers shored with rebar, or frame out beds with treated 2x10s or 2x12s. Raised beds offer ideal solutions for common landscaping and gardening challenges:

  • Grass and Root Intrusion—As barriers, treated lumber or landscape timbers prevent invasive grasses and roots from encroaching on plantings. Lining beds with landscape fabric adds another layer of protection.
  • Steep Slopes—Steep slopes are prone to erosion and dryness, making landscaping hard to maintain. Terraces or layers created with treated lumber boards, landscape timbers, or stone anchor soil and help to retain moisture.
  • Poor Soil Quality—When natural soils have problematic pH levels, are too rocky or hard, or just won’t grow what you want to plant, raised beds can hold conditioned soil and help keep soil additives where you put them.
  • Limited Space—Stack landscape timbers to take a raised bed design vertical, or build multiple levels with treated lumber. Raised beds can take the form of pyramidal designs, towers or even large trough-like planters on legs.
  • Poor Drainage—Soil in low or soggy areas retains unwanted moisture and tends to become easily compacted. Raised beds allow a fertile fill of fluffy, non-compacted soil and the good drainage essential for plantings to thrive.

The Outdoor Seating That Will Already Be There

Build something to sit on when you need a break, something that will bring everyone else out into the yard to enjoy it with you. Could you use a nice pair of benches to give that hydrangea garden a focal point? What about those plans for Adirondack chairs with foot stools that you even printed out yet haven’t gotten around to yet? Have you seen the deck furniture or patio benches that look like sofas—or the DIY outdoor sectionals?

Find your favorite plan, and consider your materials of choice—cedar boards, kiln-dried lumber boards or even engineered composite boards. Build it all out of 2x4s, or use an assortment of 4x4s, 2x4s, 1x4s or whatever else will give you a look that you’ll love. You can build it for half of what ready-made seating would cost, and you can make exactly what you want, paint or stain it as you like, and customize it for the space that you have.

The Pergola That Suits Your Purpose

Build the hottest trend for your home or yard—a pergola with a purpose, a hardscape that takes focal points vertical with posts or columns paired to a trelliswork roof. Many are little more than 4x4s or 6x6s supporting 2x12s or 2x10s topped with perpendicular 2x6s. The elegance of their open design, however, makes any space special.

  • Tailor a pergola to a home’s patio area for outdoor entertaining complete with built-in bar.
  • Design a pergola to stretch along a bank of west-facing windows to offer afternoon shade and a garden view.
  • Pair a pergola with a small koi pond, water feature or bird bath.
  • Stretch a pergola poolside or over a spa.
  • Build a relaxation pergola fitted with hammock or swing hooks or supports.
  • Define an outdoor seating or dining area in a yard or garden with a pergola.
  • Use a pergola framework with planters to create a garden oasis of plants, flowers and vines.
  • Ground an outdoor barbecue area with a pergola for serving and enjoying.
  • Line a walkway for shade or protection from the elements.
  • Add a pergola pergola to provide shade and intrigue to your deck.

You can opt for traditional treated wood, cedar lumber, or engineered composite deck building components like Trex and TimberTech/AZEK. For added beauty and convenience, consider finishing touches like nighttime flush-mount deck lighting or rail lighting, canvas shades or canopies, and privacy curtains or netting.

Light blue shed with barn doors and windows

The Shed That Will Finally Hold Everything

Build it simply—four sturdy walls, a roof, a window or two, and a wide set of barn doors that can handle everything from wheelbarrows and lawn tractors to sheets of plywood or bales of peat moss. A sturdy ramp will make life easier too.

We know. Building an outdoor storage solution may seem intimidating at first. However, each step requires just basic construction techniques, and the result is a shed that will let you store tools, lawn equipment and their assorted fuels as well tons of other items better stored safely outside your home.

  • Prepare a level, stable site. For many designs, block and gravel are sufficient. You can also pour a cement slab or footer.
  • Build your shed floor to last with treated 2x6s or sturdier for joists and at least ¾-inch treated plywood.
  • Frame walls with 2x6s and 2x4s, building openings with headers and jack studs for windows and doors.
  • Framing the roof means rafters—often more 2x6s—and a ridge board. If you want some overhead storage, a gambrel roof is a little more complex but nothing that a few gusset fasteners can’t make possible.
  • You’ll want to sheathe your roof in at least ½-inch plywood if you’re going to add composite shingles or cedar shakes, for example.
  • You’ll need to sheathe your walls as well, depending on the exterior material you choose. An inexpensive solution is T1-11 plywood siding, but many sheds are also finished in Hardie Plank cement fiber boards, LP SmartSide’s wood composite lapboard siding or metal roofing panels installed vertically.
  • Install your finishing touches like the windows, the double barn doors, and that convenient ramp that will let you roll or slide things right inside.

Of course, you can always add life’s little luxuries: a little porch overhang, for example, or tons of hooks, brackets, hangers and organizers. You can also insulate your shed, electrify it, or even plumb it.

Year-Round Help and Supplies for Your Outdoor Living Projects

Whatever your project—spring, summer, winter or fall—the pros at our store are always ready to help. Guaranteed, we have everything you need for your project—treated lumber, natural cedar, kiln-dried lumber, engineered composite boards, shingles, pavers, stones and more. Just as important, we have the know-how, experience and willingness to help so that you can get it done and get it done right. Yep, it’s time to get busy, so what would you like to build?