Photo: From Handyman

A courtyard in Sydney’s northern beaches had a rotten hardwood deck and overgrown garden beds.

Nigel Ruck, director of landscape company Greenology and presenter with Foxtel’s How To Channel, got together with good mate Morgan Benjes of Sydney Life Landscapes to transform the rarely used area into an inviting outdoor entertaining area.

The design plan

Morgan, who owns the house, says the plan was to build new decking.

‘The courtyard is 38 square metres and the aim was to give us an extension off the kitchen for a larger entertaining space. We’re only a block from the beach and on weekends we often have people dropping in for lunch after a swim, so easy access to a good-sized barbecue is important.’

Excavating the old space

The initial clear-out involved removing 10 cubic metres of soil, bringing the surface level down to keep the deck off the ground while making it flush
with the kitchen floor.

The front fence was demolished to make access easy for the bobcat and other machinery, plus delivery of materials and removal of the skip bins.

Raising the deck

Decking provides the new flooring and creates an indoor-outdoor flow from the kitchen. The interior floorboards and timber framing of the concertina doors were stained to match the exterior boards.

The deck was raised 400mm above ground for drainage as the old structure had begun to rot from ground moisture.

Treated pine 140 x 45mm joists were attached to brick piers. Merbau decking, 140mm wide and 25mm thick, was secured with 65mm square drive stainless steel screws. Says Morgan, ‘The wider boards create the impression of a bigger space.’

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