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How to Add Living Space with a Deck

Chris and I were able to add valuable living space in our first home by building a deck. The house was 1,300 square feet and we really wanted to add an outdoor living space. The back porch was falling apart when we moved in and there were a number of issues that needed to be addressed.

Back Porch Punch List

  • Remove rotting wood & hornet infestation
  • Lift the roof line to brighten the space
  • Demo cracked concrete
  • Build retaining wall to address drainage issues
  • Add deck & flagstone patio

Back Patio Before

This poor patio was falling apart and we did not enjoy being back there.

Original patio at our flip house

Here is the area next to the future deck where we wanted to put a flagstone patio.

Original side yard where the flagstone patio would be installed

Here was our porch after a major rainfall. The yard was sloped towards the house and water pooled up on the porch constantly. We really needed to fix the drainage issues at this property.

Back Porch Demolition

I have mentioned this before, but we have fabulous friends.  A group of guys came over to help Chris break up all of the concrete and toss it into the dumpster. You can also see the fence that we built to keep the pups in the backyard. We wanted to be able to step directly out onto the deck which meant that Chris needed to rent a machine to dig down below the back door.

After the dirt was removed to the height required for the deck, we built a retaining wall and added a french drain.

New retaining wall and french drain to prevent flooding

The lawn was regraded and sod was laid.  I love the look of fresh green grass!!

New retaining wall and sod

Back Porch Construction

We liked that the original deck was covered and wanted to build a higher roof. Because the roof needed to be tied into the house, we hired professionals to complete this portion of the project. We installed white bead board on the ceiling and added a ceiling fan to really make this space feel like another living room.

Once this part of the project was complete, Chris built his first deck and it turned out amazing!! I was skeptical when he first told me he wanted to build it (sorry Chris), but he totally crushed it.

New back porch

Flagstone Patio Installation

Once the deck was built, we got started on the flagstone patio. We had to prep the space before laying the flagstone.  This included adding a retaining wall by the fence, leveling the ground, adding screening and using a tamper to keep the ground level.  

Flagstone patio preparation

We then added the flagstone and put it together like puzzle pieces. This was more challenging than I expected! Once the flagstone was down, we added more screening to fill in the cracks.  I was 4 months pregnant during this renovation and was only able to help so much with moving the heavy stones and equipment.  

New flagstone patio after installation

Backyard Porch After

We had a deadline for this project and it was to be complete before our gender reveal party at the end of July.  We got it done just in time and I was SO happy we were able to share all of our hard work with our friends along with the exciting news of our first child’s gender. 

I mean, how welcoming is that back porch…RIGHT?! I loved our little herb garden we added.

New back porch addition at our first flip house

For Mother’s Day, Chris sent me out for a spa day and surprised me by building a rose trellis next to the patio. We definitely poured a lot of love into this home.

Flagstone patio

Check out how we added more living space to our second flip house by building a deck double this size!