As I’ve mentioned, over the past 6-9 months we’ve slowly been doing a number of things to get ready for the sale of the ranch. I had been saying every year for about the past 12 or so years that we must replace the porch and deck — the wood had been splitting and it was just worn out. The porch led down to a narrow section of deck which was just awkward and unusable, so I wanted to eliminate that to increase yard space. We spent a back-breaking week a number of years ago installing a flagstone patio, so the deck was unnecessary.
Last fall we finally replaced the porch using the existing concrete footings and we completely eliminated the lower deck. In doing so we uncovered the chipmunks food stash, which I felt really bad about. He had quite a little tunnel network going on under the deck. We like watching the chipmunk stuff his cheeks with sunflower seed (and so do the cats) and scurry off only to return a minute later to scoop up more seed. We moved his stash next to another hole, so he spent the next few days gathering that up and relocating it. I’m sure he didn’t plan on renovating his kitchen last fall, poor little fella.
Then the question was, What to do about the area that the lower deck occupied? It had created a somewhat gravelly space between the porch and the flagstone patio. But winter came and we didn’t have to think about it for a while as the snow covered it. We talked about covering it with more gravel, but if the future owners didn’t want that, it would be quite a job for them to clear out.
In the end we decided just to lay down mulch, which we were able to get free from the village Public Works department, and we put our Weber grill there (I know, hot charcoal + mulch is not the best idea, but Pete just got a grill mat for Father’s Day, we don’t use lighter fluid and the garden hose is right there, so we should be okay). Pete also moved some flagstones from another area of our garden to create a path from the porch steps to the patio and he did an awesome job! He also filled in with grass seed, so it looks like we planned the space all along. Not bad for a relatively quick fix!
Cost: around $350