As we started the deck build, we felt it was of paramount importance to maintain access from the kitchen, the dining room, and the living room to the pool area. It was also important to keep easy access from the garage area to the swimming pool, or to the shed where we keep many gardening tools. Easy access to the heat pumps was very important, as the repair technicians use the deck to keep their instruments clean, and within easy reach (no mud!) as they do necessary repairs.
For example, the old deck, shown in this photo shortly after demolition started, shows the heat pumps on the far right, and the deck within arms’ reach:
In the new deck, we dedicated one gate to each heat pump; in the following view, each gate opens right-to-left and into the deck, such that the person servicing the units can easily walk toward the garage, located at the upper-right in the following photo:
The previous photo also shows a 100 square-foot landing area on the bottom deck section. The set of stairs visible to the near side opens into the backyard area; at the far end, another set of stairs leads to the patio, under the deck extension shown at the top-left in the photo above.
This next photo shows the stairway access from just outside the kitchen area, down to the pool area:
At the far South end of the deck, another stairway leads from the living room area to the pool:
A nice detail in the next photo, also shown in the photo above, is the enclosed back side of the stairway from the kitchen to pool-side. It was important to do this, as this “finishes” the stairs, as viewed from the patio area:
Earlier I mentioned the access gates to the heat pumps. The following photo shows the gates, one in front of each heat pump – from the deck, each gate opens toward the deck, left-to-right, leaving the deck unobstructed to run to the driveway to retrieve needed tools:
I made the gates, using mortise & tenon joinery created on the Leigh FMT jig. To minimize the risk of water damaging the end grain, I designed the rails to extend the entire width of the gates, and used drawboring to maximize the life of the gates outdoors:
For smooth operation of the gates I selected the largest heavy-duty hinges I could find at the home building store:
The actual deck build phase ended yesterday. All that remains is the installation of lattice on the North side of the deck, to minimize the build-up of leaves under the more inaccessible portions of the deck. The lattice will be installed over ½-inch “rabbit hutch” wire mesh, to further reduce leaves.
As we have started using the deck, we have found that access to all areas of the pool and to the rest of the backyard is key to enjoyment of the surrounding pool and yard area.
— Al Navas