$0 deck makeover & a simple pallet shelf

Our back deck has gone majorly unused since we bought our house two years ago. I mean sure, there's a grill we use, and the table and chairs might give the illusion that we actually sit out there and use it, but we don't. We take the food out to be grilled, then bring it back in the house to eat it.

And I don't know if it's the pregnancy nesting kicking in (mine usually lasts the whole pregnancy), or just the rush of finally making some real progress on the yard, but I had had enough. I wanted the kids to be able to play out there, and I wanted us to be able to sit out there and enjoy a meal now that the weather is nice.
'Cause, that's just sad.

So, first I had to clean the space up, and then I had to make it a fun place for the kids to spend time. 
The first thing I did was give the table and chairs a good scrubbing from being in hibernation all winter. Then I swept the floor, and hosed off all the spiderwebs from under the eaves (while silently praying nothing fell on me). I also gave the grill a really good wipe down since we still haven't bought a cover for it and it had seen a lot of rain and tree pollen the past couple seasons.
Once everything was pretty clean, I  made a little spot for the kids to color by bringing out our pallet framed chalkboard that was just sitting in the garage since the Farmers Markets last summer. This was a great idea, they have loved coloring all over that thing and I'm glad it's getting some good use!
Lastly, I brought the kids' sand table up from the yard where it rarely gets played with so it could see some more action, and they have really been enjoying that as well. It's so nice to tell the kids to go out on the deck and play and be able to clean the kitchen in peace without resorting to the electronic babysitter that is known as the tv.

See, here's the thing about our yard. Our HOA doesn't really allow fenced in yards because they want to keep the look and feel of a rural community.
I guess.
I don't mind it so much, except that we also have wild animals running around like coyotes, mountain lions, and even a rare bear or two; so it's not like I can just tell my cute, short, little morsels, "Go play in the backyard! Have fun! I'll be getting things done in the house! If something comes and bites you just yell really loudly and I'll be right there!"
I didn't even mention the deer that we have in spades, which, trust me, are not cuddly and friendly and can be downright dangerous during the right season.
So yeah, having a fun and SAFE place for my kids to play was becoming really important to me.

But, anyway, the last part of this post is to share my latest pallet project with you!
I shared a little sneak peek on Instagram last week and as promised I'm back with the tutorial for a super easy shelf that anyone could make!

As I was in the process of fixing up the back deck, I decided I wanted to get all of the kids' sand toys out of the garage (and we live in a lake community so we have A LOT). So I was figuring out how to make something and spend as little money as possible, when my husband and this totally simple and brilliant idea and I am so thankful because this turned out much easier than what I had had in mind!

I started with a large pallet and just cut the middle section of boards off with our little jigsaw. If you don't have one you could use a hand saw, but really, they are not that expensive and are so handy to have around!

I had measured the space where I was planning for my shelf to go, but I also wanted to make sure that there would be room to use the basket that we were already storing the sand toys in so I wouldn't have to make another one, since I was trying to spend $0 in this whole endeavor.

For the top piece I just used some OSB sheathing (think a type of plywood using pressed wood flakes) we had laying around and cut a piece that would fit on the top. The leftover side that I had trimmed off I decided to use for a backing support. If I had had a large enough piece of better quality plywood, I would have used it, but this will definitely get the job done

I attached the support piece to the back first, using two screws on each side. Remember that it's always best to pre-drill your holes. Even with doing this I still broke a drill bit because this wood was so dense.
Sorry honey, I owe you one, literally.

Then I simply attached the top piece with some long finishing nails (I choose to use those instead of sturdier screws because I was afraid the dry, brittle pallet would split if I drilled into it. As long as we don't lift the shelf by the top, we should be good.) and there you go, the main structure was complete.
We had an old shelf we had taken out of the garage that I cut up and inserted between some of the pallet slats and my shelf was finished!

I love that the shelves are adjustable so we change it to fit our future needs. And I really love that it was completely free!
I love the weathered look of the pallet obviously, but I might stain the entire thing since the top piece doesn't really match. Plus, the stain would bring out all the lovely imperfections of the old wood that I love so much. So, we'll see.
For now I am loving being able to use the deck, and we finally ate our grilled burgers out there a couple weekends ago for the first time ever since owning this house!
Big win for the home team. :)

(The Black & Decker Jigsaw link is an affiliate, but it really is the one we have and use and I love that thing!)

Linked to: Do Tell Tuesday

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