Among the first projects we undertook was repairing the rotted stained lattice that bordered the back deck. Two pieces were already missing completely, so we quickly finished the task and pulled down the remaining sets of lattice and removed as many of the nails as possible.
Already in the mood to demolish, we followed up lattice removal with some digging. We created a plot about two feet wide around the entirety of the deck and sunroom, digging up the grass and raking up the soil. We opted to add azaleas, which are the go-to shrub in this region and I thought would do well in our soil. As with planting any shrub, I dug a hole to twice the size of the root ball and poured in a heaping amount of potting mix from Lowe’s around the new plant. The azaleas looked pitifully small beside the yawning maw that was our deck, but I reminded myself that when it comes to shrubs, it’s best to think long-term.
Chris, meanwhile, took charge of lattice reconstruction. Having seen the maintenance required of a stained wood product, we opted instead for a white vinyl lattice. I’m night usually a fan of vinyl building materials but in this case, with the combination of wood and the promise of someday being covered by greenery, the low-maintenance option was too good to pass up. Together we measured the openings between supporting 2x4s (all drastically different) and cut lattice to fit. Chris also created a framework of 1x1s that sat in front of each lattice piece, to give a more “finished” look to the deck. All pieces were pre-drilled and attached with screws. Before closing in the ends, we sprayed weed cover over the entire area, laid down several sheets of landscaping fabric and carried in wheelbarrow loads of gravel, to reduce weed growth beneath the deck. The area was finished with a custom-made swinging gate, itself latticed, to allow access to the house’s crawlspace.
Once the lattice had been completed, I went to work with planting. Around the azaleas I added the Siberian iris bulbs my mother-in-law had donated to my landscaping cause. At each corner I place a large pot, with contents that I expected to change with the seasons, because I love the look of unique pots growing up out of a lush garden. It’s like stumbling onto the remains of a 17th century foundation wrapped with moss or a Roman aqueduct draped with vine; the perfect hint of civilization bowed by untamed wildness.