Building An Oasis


The finished oasis

It’s a cool, sunny Sunday morning here in Southwestern Pennsylvania, so I took the opportunity to have my coffee outside on our deck and enjoy the sunshine.  Our back deck has not always been the most comfortable place to sit and relax.  Let me give you some background…

When Jason and I bought our home in August of 2014, we were immediately in awe over the expansive back deck and the hot tub nestled into the deck floor.  “How cool! Our own hot tub! I bet we are going to use this every day.”


Before picture of the deck with the built-in hot tub

Wrong.  In the two years that we have lived in our house, I can count on two hands the amount of times we actually used the hot tub.  Here’s the problem: In the wintertime, it is way too cold to sit in a hot tub.  You get into your swimsuit (or nothing at all) and make a mad dash from the door to the hot tub.  Once you are in, your body is nice and warm, but your face is freezing cold because the cold wind is blowing or else it is snowing on your head.  When it is time to get out, you contemplate just living in the hot tub forever, because the thought of getting out and having the cold wind hit your wet skin immediately gives you anxiety.  But you do it, and you spend the rest of the night with a body temperature that just can’t seem to regulate itself.  You are either perpetually hot or cold…there is no in between.  In the summer, it is way too hot to sit in a 100 degree hot tub.  Even at night.  So it went unused, and the only activity that is saw was when we added chemicals or cleaned it out.

This past summer, we decided to remove the hot tub and create an outdoor oasis on our back deck, one that would actually be comfortable and enjoyable.  A place to truly kick back and relax with our dogs and friends.

The hot tub was built into the deck and cemented to a concrete slab underneath the deck. There was no way without the assistance of a crane that we were going to get it out in one piece.  Therefore, we decided to cut it out in pieces using a reciprocating saw.  This went surprisingly fast.  All of the hot tub pieces were then taken to the local landfill. This cost us about $120.

Once the hot tub was out, we were left with a hole about 8 feet by 8 feet.  We removed all of the decking boards from around the hot tub location, and put down fresh 16 foot decking boards.  Obviously the color wasn’t going to match right away (you can’t stain new wood until it has time to season) but we figured we would put our new oasis over most of the color disparity and hide it from being such a huge focal point.  With the wood and the screws, this part cost us less than $160.


Hot tub removed and new decking boards installed

The first thing we did was buy a gazebo.  I wanted a lot of shade on the back deck, and something that I could seal during the evenings when the bugs were in full force.  We found a great deal at Value City on a gazebo with metal posts and screened sides for $200.

Next, we started shopping around online and in stores for patio furniture.  I wanted a large sectional couch and a chair.  We already have a table with four chairs and an umbrella on the back porch that we purchased when we moved in.   The best deal we found was at Ikea. We were able to pick the individual pieces that would look best and ended up with a four cushion sectional couch for less than $500.

The coffee table, the separate chair, and all of the cushions came from At Home.  We also purchased the fountain there. If you have never been to an At Home store…I recommend finding one in your local area immediately and spending a copious amount of money there.  It’s not hard to do, that place is incredible.

The rug, the ball light that we strung from the center of the gazebo and the serving tray came from Pier One.  Sign up for their email list to get coupons and you will be amazed at the good deals you can find.  I refuse to pay full price for anything at Pier One because at the end of the season it gets marked down so much.  Just buy all you need for next year at the end of the season and it will be like Christmas when you open a box and find all of your forgotten purchases.  All tolled, the price for our oasis was around $1300.

There are obviously a million different ideas for how to set up an outdoor oasis.  We added planters full of fresh herbs and bought two large palm trees to add to the decor.  The fountain and our wind chime gave it a relaxing, almost tropical feel.

Most of our nights now in the summer revolve around sitting in the gazebo, shutting all of the screens and snugging on the couch to read or watch movies with our dogs.  It has truly become an oasis from the daily grind, and we have enjoyed our deck more this summer than ever before.





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