First Time Homeowner 6: Landscaping & Deck

Completed exterior of First Time Homeowner house.
Completed exterior of First Time Homeowner house.

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To put the final touches on the renovation of our First Time Homeowner house, we replaced the deck, landscaped and sodded the yard, and put in a crushed limestone driveway.

Building the Deck

The existing deck on the back of the house was in poor condition, so we decided to remove it and build a new deck from the ground up. In the process we also moved the deck over so it was more centered on the back door, and cut one side at a 45° angle to provide space between the deck and garage.

Framing the deck for the First Time Homeowner House.
Framing the deck for the First Time Homeowner House.

The steps in building the deck included:

  • Check the slope of the yard to make sure water drains away from the house.
  • Layout the location for the foundation and dig holes for the posts.
  • CAMO Hidden Deck Fastener System.
    CAMO Hidden Deck Fastener System.
  • Position pressure treated pine 4” x 4” posts in the holes to serve as the deck foundation.
  • Mix and pour concrete to fill the holes around the posts.
  • Attached pressure treated pine support beams to the posts.
  • Cut and attach the pressure treated pine floor joists to the support beams.
  • Attach 5/4” pressure treated pine deck boards using the CAMO Hidden Deck Fastening System.
  • Build pressure treated pine steps to the back yard.
  • Add a railing with 2” x 2” balusters around the deck and down the steps.
Finished and furnished First Time Homeowner deck.
Finished First Time Homeowner deck ready for outdoor entertaining!

Watch How to Build a Wood Deck on Your Home to find out more.

Securing the Back Door

Schlage alarm lockset.
Schlage alarm lockset.

To keep the back door to the house secure, we installed a keyed Camelot Entry Lockset with Built-in Alarm in an aged bronze finish from Schlage.

The battery powered alarm on the lock has three different settings that allow it to sound if the door is:

  1. Opened
  2. Touched or tampered with
  3. Forced entry

Landscaping the Yard

Landscaping the yard on the First Time Homeowner house began by removing all the existing shrubs and trees around the house. The yard was then tilled using a motorized tiller, and any loose grass or other debris raked up.

Landscaped planting beds.
Landscaped planting beds.

After the location of the planting beds had been established, following the plan from landscape architect Tony Seymour, the sod in the yard put down.

Once the grass was in place, the shrubs and trees—including japonica, nandina, azalea, gardenia, and sasanqua—were planted around the house foundation and yard, making sure to space them properly to allow for future growth.

As a finishing touch, a layer of pine straw was added to the planting beds to serve as mulch to keep weeds from growing.

Crushed Limestone Driveway

Homeowner Chelsea Lipford decided to use crushed limestone for the driveway on the house, since it was less expensive and more maintenance free than poured concrete or asphalt. Another advantage to crushed limestone is that it’s a pervious material that allows rainwater to soak into the ground, rather than running off.

Chelsea and Danny spreading out the crushed limestone driveway.
Chelsea and Danny spreading out the crushed limestone driveway.

When installing a gravel or crushed limestone driveway, be sure to put landscape fabric down first to keep weeds from growing up through the rocks. The limestone was delivered in a dump truck, then spread out evenly along the driveway.

Watch our video on How to Install a Gravel Driveway to find out more.

As a final touch, mortar mix was used to repair the stone curb along the street. Loose stones were removed and set in a bed of mortar, while mortar squeezed out of a grout bag was used to fill any gaps between stones.

Other Tips from This Episode

CD Storage Containers

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
CD Canister Storage Containers

Empty plastic CD canisters make great storage containers in the shop or garage. Start by cutting the center post off the canister base, then mount the base upside down on the bottom of a shelf with two screws. Put the items you want to store in the CD container, such as safety glasses or dust masks, then twist the canister on the base.

Scotts Snap Spreader

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Scotts Snap Spreader

The Scotts Snap Spreader makes it easy to apply fertilizer, insecticide, grass seed, and ant or weed killer to your lawn. Simply position the Scotts Snap Pac bag on the spreader, lock it into place, and you’re ready to go without any messy pouring or measuring. The Scotts Snap Spreader and Snap Pac bags are available at The Home Depot.

Painting Galvanized Metal

Ask Danny Lipford:
Painting Galvanized Metal

Before painting galvanized metal, such as drip strips around eaves or roof flashing, use a wire brush to remove any oxidation, then wipe the surface with white vinegar. The vinegar is a mild acid which acts to etch the galvanized coating so the paint will stick. Next, prime the surface with a primer made for metal, followed by two topcoats of paint.


  1. We enjoy your program every Saturday – it is great and so educational. We have a bath that has the small shower and whirlpool – need to change to a walk-in shower, but don’t know the best solution. Maybe this would be a good subject for one of your shows? Our closets are on each end of the bath with the whirlpool in the middle – on the other side is the toilet room with a door, the sink and then the small shower.

    Thanks for helping so many people –

    God Bless!


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