From DIY to PSE

A few years ago, my husband and I faced the fact that we needed to replace our 20 plus year old privacy fence. What with several posts rotted off at ground level and a decided lean courtesy of hurricane Isabel, we contemplated the possibilities. We both decided that we couldn’t do the work ourselves so we did a little research on some companies and got an estimate.

Fast forward two years and again we were faced with another big project.  Our spacious backyard deck was sinking into the netherworld for undetermined reasons and besides showing its age, it was too large for our needs.  We had already taken out the above ground pool (which was being held together by rust) and didn’t spend as much time in the sun so we decided to add a screen porch in front the detached garage for some better outdoor living space.

Three big projects in the space of two years.  There are several things I learned from these projects

1.  Time and gravity take a terrible toll.  I put in the original fence 22 years before, including digging post holes, picking out fence boards one by one and nailing them up, one by one.  I couldn’t fathom having the energy to do that again!

2.  You will not save money by doing the demo yourself.  After I watched the guys take out whole sections of the fence and carry deck boards like they were toothpicks I realized that the little bit of savings would have been completely absorbed in the cost of visits to a back specialist, ibuprofen, and a case of Neosporin and band aids!

3.  When your brain says you can do a DIY project, stop and think about how many years have passed since the last time you attempted something similar.  In my case, about 20 years had passed and my body has not kept up with my brain.  I tried to move a few pavers from one part of the yard to another and I swear, all that time outside must have made them get heavier!  I could hardly lift one to put it in the wheelbarrow!

4.  You may think you are in control…but you’re not.  Oh, sure, you can specify the scope of work and the design but when the work actually takes place, you have to stay inside and watch out the windows.  If you’re a hands-on person (as I am), that’s really hard to do.  Although I didn’t mind it when I watched two burly guys struggle to remove a fence post set in five feet of concrete.

5.  All projects take longer than you planned.  This is especially true when you involve building permits and inspections.  I had to remember I was not in control (see #4) and just go with the flow.

All in all, I think the projects were well worth the wait.  Take a look at the before and after pictures and see what you think.

BEFORE:  The old deck
BEFORE: The old deck
AFTER:  The new deck is much smaller and has a wrap-around planter box.
AFTER: The new deck is much smaller and has a wrap-around planter box.
BEFORE:  A ground-level deck in front of the detached garage.
BEFORE: A ground-level deck in front of the detached garage.
AFTER:  The new screen porch.
AFTER: The new screen porch.
AFTER:  The screen porch interior.
AFTER: The screen porch interior.

Oh, and in case the title of this post has you perplexed…we all know that DIY stands for Do-It-Yourself, but I’ve adopted a new term:  PSE.  It stands for Pay-Someone-Else!

 

I didn't abandon my DIY tendencies completely.  I made a work bench from the scrap deck boards.
I didn’t abandon my DIY tendencies completely. I made a work bench from the scrap deck boards.
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