Who says you can't get something for nothing? I just finished two raised beds made from my neighbor's old shutters and odds and ends of left over wood, then painted them with surplus deck
paint! ZERO COST!!
For quite a while, I have admired all sorts of wonderful homemade and commercial raised beds seen on Pinterest and Hometalk. Because I couldn't justify the cost of buying the lumber and didn't want to tackle disassembling pallets, raised beds did not seem to be in my future. But then, our neighbors replaced their shutters and were nice enough to give them to me when I asked. They know by now that a repurposing project is about to get underway.
You could do other configurations, but I used two shutters on each side and one-half a shutter for the ends. That used up all ten of the free shutters. Odds and ends of lumber stored in the garage rafters came down and became corner, end and middle supports. I even had enough wood screws from another project to use for this one!
See more pictures and all the details on Our Fairfield Home and Garden's latest post
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As a professional deck builder it is amazing looking back at how much things have changed & yet how many things are still the same. One of those items unfortunately revolves around
longevity... Unlike traditional wood decks made 20+ years ago where one could allow them to weather naturally, you would be lucky to get a few year's worth out of a regular wood deck if you tried that now.
In order to enjoy a typical wood deck now it is important that you seal it. No matter if you are a pro or a DIYer, there are two simple rules that I have & hope you will keep in mind no matter what the project is; prepare it properly and follow the manufacturer's directions.
Choosing a sealer:
There are 4 main choices of sealers on the market, each with their own pros & cons. If you are tossing around two or more options, choose the lower tiered item as one can always move up the list but you can't move down it. For example if you are debating between paint & a stain – while you can paint over stain, you can't stain over a painted deck.
· Paint – while many people like the look of paint, this is one of the hardest items to maintain and can easily hide water damaged areas
· Solid Color Stain – while this can look like a paint,it is a stain that gets absorbed into the wood and is easier to maintain, depending on your application some wood grain maybe still visible and it is known to wear unevenly
· Semi-Transparent Stain – For a more natural look with some color, this is the most popular choice, it generally wears more even than solid color, but doesn't protect as well
· Waterproofing or transparent coatings – this will give you the most natural look, but do not hide stains or protect as well
For more on Oil vs. Water Based & other additives: http://bit.ly/DeckSealer
Prepare it properly:
If you ask any professional painter, they will say that on average 80% of their time is spent on properly preparing the surfaces, while only 20% is actually spent applying the product. While this number maybe inflated for decks, just remember that the amount of time spent getting it ready up front, is time well spent.
· Gather all the tools, safety equipment and materials that you will need. Take time to read the directions.
· Check the weather forecasts as most products are very specific on minimum temperatures & when it can be exposed to water
· Make sure the wood is dry enough to accept the stain, sealer, or paint of your choice
· Remove everything located not only on the deck, but around it like furniture, potted plants, wind chimes, etc...
· Cover any plants near the deck to protect them from the overspray & any chemicals you may use.
· Removing any large debris by hand and sweep the deck off, paying particular attention to the area's between the deck boards.
Applying your choice of Sealants:
Do you remember the second rule above? That's right; it's as simple as reading and following the manufacturer's directions. I will give you a few tips though that may or may not be located on the can.
· Apply plastic to any area's that you do not want stain or paint to get on, because once you get started, you do not want to stop to try to clean up an oopsie
· For all stains and sealers, do one complete board at a time – if the you only do half a board or work in sections, you will end up with obvious streaks where the two area's overlap
· Do not over apply the product – in most cases it will result in a flaky or splotchy finish
· Make sure the moisture level of the wood is low enough for work to commence – you do not want to trap all the moisture inside the wood
· Stain or seal all six sides if it is at all possible unless you live by the ocean. This will help prevent moisture from getting into the wood and accelerating the degradation of the finish.
· Let it rest – most paints, stains and sealers take at least a day or more to cure
For more Preparation Tips & other Decking Options; http://bit.ly/HTRC-Decks
INSTRUCTIONS: You can see from the picture what kind of pots I used. The large basin on the bottom is plastic. You can also use a very large terra cotta saucer, but it doesn't hold much water and you have to keep refilling. I know because I tried it.
You can use any size pots you want. I like the strawberry pot because the water comes out of the holes.
The pump sits on the bottom of the big basin. You put a large size pot upside down in the big bowl to
cover the pump as you see it in the picture, then stack other pots as you like. Then you just run clear hose (Lowes) from the pump (also Lowes) up to the top saucer. You have to do a little cutting and drilling on the first pot that the pump is under. Cut out a little space on the edge of that pot so the electrical cord can run through and so that the pot can sit flat and also drill a few holes in the upper rim of that pot so water can flow inside to the pump. Since the pots already have holes in the bottom, you will only have to drill through the center of the saucers to run the hose up.
You have to use a masonry bit. They are a little expensive, but well worth it. You should get a bit large enough to drill a hole the same size as the holes in the pots. Then get a hose wide enough, but one that will easily slide through to the top. I got everything I needed at Lowes.
Put colored stones or rounded river stones (Lowes again) in the top and middle saucers for decoration. The stones will control how your water comes out of the top. Good luck. Have fun.