Our Deck Makes Everyday a Party

The Party Deck

The Party Deck

One of the things we did right when we built The Little House is add plenty of out­door liv­ing space so we could enjoy our nat­ural sur­round­ings while relax­ing.
Dale and a neigh­bor built our deck onto our house in the burbs, but we quickly real­ized after host­ing our first BBQ that a 10 x 12 deck doesn’t give you much room to move – par­tic­u­larly when your hus­band owns 4 BBQ grills.

When we built The Little House, les­son learned, we added a 24 x 10 party deck to the back and a 24 x 6 cov­ered porch to the front of the house.Now I have plenty of room for patio veg­eta­bles and it also gives us room to enter­tain dur­ing mild weather, which is pretty com­mon here in the Ozarks. We even spent one fair weather New Year’s Eve on the deck look­ing at the stars until mid­night.
We also use the party deck for a lot of cook­ing. I guess you could say we had an out­door kitchen before out­door kitchens were cool!
In the city, we ate out at least three times a week, some­times more. We had drifted from the rit­ual of cook­ing together and enjoy­ing meals in our home.
Being here in The Little House has given us an appetite for eat­ing at home again.
On the nights Dale isn’t work­ing, we use meal­time – from the plan­ning and shop­ping, to the prepa­ra­tion, to enjoy­ing the meal – to bring our sep­a­rate days together and wind down. Every din­ner is some­thing we’ve accom­plished together and feels like one of cel­e­bra­tion.
Most of the time, either the prepa­ra­tion or eat­ing (or some­times both) hap­pens on the party deck. We have dreams of build­ing a real out­door kitchen adja­cent to the deck some­day, com­plete with a fire­place, run­ning water and other ameni­ties, but for now, the party deck is part of what make The Little House, Home.

If you would like to grill some­thing spec­tac­u­lar this hol­i­day week­end, here’s a recipe for Bacon Wrapped Grilled Tenderloin:

Take one medium sized pork ten­der­loin and wrap it com­pletely with bacon. Use tooth­picks to hold the bacon on the meat. Place in a shal­low dish and mar­i­nate in the refrig­er­a­tor for 8 hours, or overnight in a gar­lic mari­nade (we use Ken’s). Turn once to ensure the mari­nade soaks com­pletely through all of the meat. Grill over white-hot coals (not open flame) for approx­i­mately 1 hour, leav­ing the grill cov­ered and turn­ing the meat at least 4 times. You can eat it with the bacon (remov­ing the tooth­picks, of course!) but we take the bacon off and give it to the dogs. For us, the bacon is sim­ply to hold in the fla­vor and juices of the ten­der­loin. Slice the ten­der­loin into 12 inch medal­lions and serve with potato salad and baked beans.
Bon Appetite!

Today’s Poll: Where in your house is your favorite place to enjoy food or entertain?

16 Responses to “Our Deck Makes Everyday a Party”

  1. Alberta Daw says:

    Alas! Years ago our screened porch was enclosed with slid­ing glass doors, heated with ceil­ing radi­ant heaters and the con­crete floor lev­eled and cov­ered with Mexican tiles.
    This was because the old­est of our five chil­dren had attained the age of boyfriends and needed a place where the younger chil­dren would have no excuse to come.

    We still have the patio which is great for enter­tain­ing and over­looks the gar­den. A bit too cool in win­ter, though!

    • Kerri says:

      You should add a 1-room heat pump sys­tem that cools and heats like the one we put here in the writer's stu­dio so you can enjoy it in the win­ter too!

  2. My favorite place to enter­tain at my house AFTER sum­mer, of course (since I'm in Arizona), is on the back patio. I also like my loft. I have an upstairs deck off the loft that I'd like to enlarge some day. Right now, it's just too nar­row. I envi­sion a deeper space, with iron rail­ings around the edges, rather than the stucco wall it has now. I like open spaces. Your place seems to have that. Nice!

  3. Kim says:

    Hi! We have a front porch on our old house that's great, but the mos­qui­toes swarm around most nights in the sum­mer. I have plans for a screened in patio some day (a la the Florida Room @ the Jamaica Cottage Shop), but for now, we lit­er­ally "eat and run" back inside to escape the bugs.

    • Kerri says:

      We have a total of 3 porches — the deck, a cov­ered porch on the house and a cov­ered porch on the writer's stu­dio. I think I would like to see one screened in some­day too — just for those nights when the bugs won't leave us alone! :)

  4. Mark says:

    Nice post, Kerri. I rebuilt and enlarged our orig­i­nal 12x24 deck to 16x34. Also replaced the 5/4 deck­ing w/ alter­nat­ing 2x8,2x6,2x4,2x6,2x8 and so on prior to putting a roof over it all. Although it was framed to be screened, we love the open­ness and use the space as addi­tional living/eating space for 3 sea­sons. 2 4'x4' sky lights add all the light­ing needed other than can­dles. No prob­lem w/ bugs even with trees and stream nearby–looking for­ward to try­ing the pork recipe

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks, Mark! A deck with a roof and sky­lights? Too cool! I think you and my hus­band would get along quite well. :)
      Let me know how you like the tenderloin.

  5. Kim says:

    This is a great post. I don't think you can have a big enough deck — it's great for enter­tain­ing. Our prob­lem is the bugs on our deck> We love to eat out there, but the bugs devour us. Maybe you have less bugs than we do?

    • Kerri says:

      Kim,
      We're in the mid­dle of the woods with the lake about 100 yards below the deck, so I don't think we could have less bugs. I'm won­der­ing if it has to do some­thing with the smoke from the BBQ grills (Dale usu­ally has more than one going)? We also light about 4 cit­ranella can­dles before we sit down. Still, we do some­times have to fight the flies, which have been hor­ri­ble this year.

  6. Kathy Winn says:

    Kerri– we built a deck on the back of our house just this past spring. I wish we'd done it ten years ago! I love tak­ing my jour­nal out there and writ­ing to the sounds of bird­song and cicadas. When/if we build at our land, the out­door spaces are going to be very impor­tant. I haven't been eat­ing meat (not gone long enough with­out it to call myself a full fledged veg­e­tar­ian) so won't be able to try the pork ten­der­loin, but the car­ni­vore in me thinks it sounds delicious!

    • Kerri says:

      I also love writ­ing out on the deck — tak­ing my lap­top out and think­ing how lucky I am to be work­ing from here and not in some gray cor­po­rate cube!
      Taking my Country Living mag­a­zine out there on a sunny Saturday after­noon is a real treat.
      Good luck with the non-meat com­mit­ment. I did it for 9 months once, but when you're hus­band won't go for it, then it's hard to plan a meal. I sneak in 23 meat­less dishes a week though!

  7. MarthaandMe says:

    We built a deck this size onto our house too and love it. We put in a Sunsetter awning over a large part of it and the screen room attach­ment. Before that, we didn't use it too much — too many bugs, the sun was too hot, etc. But now this is an extra room for us in the sum­mer and we usu­ally eat out there.

    • Kerri says:

      My hus­band would love to put a roof on the deck, but I keep telling him it's unnec­es­sary as we have the cov­ered front porch. Still, it would be nice to not only have it roofed — or have an awning and the screens some­times. We tried eat­ing out there ear­lier this sum­mer and the flies converged!

  8. Kerri says:

    The great thing about the south is that we get to enjoy the out­doors through much of the fall too. I agree, it has been cool here too, but at least we didn't have many days with that unbear­able humid­ity we get here!
    Let me know how you like the recipe!

  9. Wendy says:

    Great post, Kerri! I love our back­yard liv­ing. It's one of the best things about sum­mer. We have a canopy of trees over our deck and this sum­mer it has almost been too cool. :)

    Thanks for the recipe. Sounds delish!