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Yardzen cofounder Allison enjoying the deck at our Mill Valley project

Yardzen cofounder Allison enjoying the deck at our Mill Valley project

The owners of a mid-century home in Mill Valley, CA, purchased a Full Yard package from us this spring. Their goal: transform their multi-level yard on a hill into an oasis for both kids and adults to enjoy. In their design, we added retaining walls, a large swath of new plants to anchor the soil, turf for the kids, and a new deck.

The “before” of the deck.

The “before” of the deck.

Our clients were thrilled with the design and ready to begin, but the budget was a concern, so they knew they would have to tackle the project in phases. After Yardzen’s CEO Adam walked the job with one of the trusted contractors in our Pro Network, the family decided that the immediate concern was the rickety deck off of the house–for safety, function, and indoor/outdoor aesthetics.

The new deck made a couple of notable departures from the original deck, and some of these improvements have changed this family’s life.

First, we enlarged the footprint of the deck to create ample living space. After completing the project, our clients added a dining table, seating area, and a fire table. The family now enjoys the space daily and even plans to host Thanksgiving out there this year.

3-D rendering of the new deck and stairs

3-D rendering of the new deck and stairs

We also added stairs, a decision that our clients say is the “best decision we’ve made so far” in their exterior renovation process. The stairs have changed their kids’ lives and their neighborhood. Whereas the home used to be very separate from the backyard–only accessible by a steep slope on the side of the house–the stairs now encourage the kids to go into the yard. Not only that, making the backyard accessible opened up a relationship with the kids next door, and through a newly added gate along the back fence, the kids now go out to join their neighbors for nightly basketball games. 

We also made some materials changes to the deck. To add a modern-rustic feel, and for safety, we added hogwire fencing around the deck. We changed the deck from pressure-treated lumber to redwood, a decision increased the price, but one that our client was happy to make because of the sustainability, durability, and beauty of redwood. Learn more in our guide to decking choices.

Since designing and installing the deck, our clients have had some time to save, and they are ready to tackle the next project—that steep slope on the side of the house. Stay tuned to see the results!

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