The 3-Month Project

I love our deck. It’s 50′ x 10′ (spans the length of the house) and looks out on woods … and the garden, if you look down. Now that I’ve figured out how to not be bug lunch, I am thoroughly enjoying the evenings out there. The summer days, however, are another matter altogether. The deck gets over ten hours of direct sun and it gets toasty. I’ve always said that if I win the lottery, I want a retractable awning out there. A girl can dream.

We had to rebuild the floor this year – the stain simply could not keep up with all that exposure to the elements. (Which is why the floor is now a different color than the house – it needed a different kind of stain I couldn’t match to everything else. Sigh.)

While the contractor was working, the husband and I mused over how we could get more enjoyment out of it. I’d love to sit out there and write but as much as I like to be warm, not that warm! There was a large section that wasn’t being used – two people can only take up so much room.


There’s a 10×10 tent in the garage that’s no longer being used now that I’m not doing fairs and such. The deck is 10′ wide and it’s 10′ from the railing to the edge of the door. Perfect!

Once the contractor was done, we hauled the tent frame upstairs and tried to put it up. The deck is 10′ wide, yes, to the outside of the frame. Inside the railing & the “bulge” of the siding, it’s about 9’8″. Steel isn’t forgiving – it was a no-go.

If you know me at all, you know that once I set my mind to something, I’m going to get it done. I started searching for 9×9 tents. Did you know you can’t find an inexpensive 9×9 straight-leg canopy with a plain top that isn’t blue-tarp colored? Even those were well over $100. What’s a girl to do? Paint.

My tent started life looking like this:

pDSP1-17035853p275wEleven-plus cans of spray paint later, the top was a more sedate (and nonpartisan) green and the posts aren’t blaringly silver. We brought it from the driveway (the “painting room”) to the deck and put it up. It was about twenty inches short and blocked the door.

IMG_1156Looking through the door. Yeah, no.

So, back to the drawing board. Sort of. Yesterday, we cut four pieces of wood to raise the posts up. That was an adventure in itself – trying to get all four corners up & stable when the frame isn’t quite square.

IMG_1159Taken this morning. In another 3 hours, the tent will be all shade & you could almost fry an egg on the rest of the deck.

It’s not quite done. Once the posts have dried (they’re treated lumber), I’ll stain them the same dark brown as everything else. I want to dye the tie-downs a darker color, too. And next spring there will be a couple of planters with rue and perhaps some other herbs – not only to keep the flies away but hopefully the cats won’t destroy them.

Nonetheless, I finally have a place to sit outside and write or just enjoy the view with a cup of coffee – without the sizzle.