How to Style a Front Porch

-by Kym Kelly

As we come and go in our busy daily lives, we often stop seeing our surroundings through other’s eyes. A neglected front porch that accumulates miscellaneous odds and ends may not seem like a big deal, but to a new visitor or potential buyer it can be a real turn off. Even on a budget, some small touches, such as a good cleaning and a fresh coat of paint on the front door, can really boost a first impression. And, with the addition of a few furnishings, your porch can add real value; creating a welcoming transitional space between the outdoors and indoors.

How to style a front porch

Even a small porch can be made to feel welcoming by updating the light fixture, adding a fun little sign, and a well placed chair, as seen in this picture.

After a good freshening up, consider the size of your porch and your home’s architectural details. You want to make sure people can easily access the steps and front door and not feel crowded with too much furniture or accessories. You will also want to create a style that compliments the exterior of the home, as well as reflects the personality of the home’s interior.

For those lucky enough to have a big front porch, making it into additional usable living space can be a challenge. For years, the porch at our house was left totally blank, other than a seasonal wreath on the door and a welcome mat. I had this idea in my head that it needed to be accessorized with beautiful rocking chairs, wicker love seats and tables, fantastic carpets, lush ferns and gorgeous potted plants just like in the magazines. I wanted it all, but wasn’t ready to pay the $2,000+ to create that style.  Finally, I began to look at items I already owned and scoured second hand stores to find items in my budget that would turn my porch from a boring entry to a bonus living area for our home. Now, our front porch has become my favorite room and I look forward to freshening it up each season by changing the plants and other accessories.

front porch

A customer of ours in Florida sent us this picture to let us know how amazing the
custom stained Western Red Cedar Shingles we provided look on her home (p.s. we love
customer photos!). I adore the sweet style she created on her porch with the vintage day bed and loads of pillows. She lives close to the ocean, so the simple addition of some “beachy” accessories completes this outdoor space perfectly. Note how the color palette of accessories complements the shingles, which we custom coated with a semi-transparent stain called Water Lily. So inviting!

Western Red Cedar Shingles

So, when you go home tonight, take a good, hard look at your entry and begin to think of items you already own that you might be able to add to bring a little personality and style to your front porch. Scour garage sales or thrift stores for a fun piece of furniture and maybe add a fresh coat of paint to the piece to bring additional color to your porch. Next, add some softness with pillows, candles (I buy the inexpensive ones at the Dollar Store), seasonal flowers and accessories.

A well styled porch welcomes you home every day!

Before your next project, be sure to visit us! We ship nationwide ~ Specializing in Premium Forest Products in Western Red Cedar, Alaskan Yellow Cedar and Douglas Fir , as well as other exotic and domestic hard and soft woods.

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington, WA


Cedar Roof Top Deck

Sometimes, thinking outside “the box” can have great rewards! Our customer recently
completed this beautiful roof top deck to enjoy our upcoming beautiful Pacific Northwest evenings. When the weather cools and the “rainy season” begins, the Western Red Cedar deck panels can be removed and stored. Because it is light in weight and naturally resistant to rot and decay, Western Red Cedar is the perfect choice for this type of application.

5/4x4 Western Red Cedar Decking

Each deck panel was made using our 5/4×5” Knotty Western Red Cedar decking; a somewhat uncommon size that allows the look of a wider board, but a little lighter on the pocketbook. This decking is Kiln Dried prior to final milling, which makes for a smoother finished deck board.  Beautiful and affordable!

To make each of the removable deck top panels, the 5/4×5″ radius edged Western Red Cedar decking was screwed to 2×4” Cedar runners cut to the appropriate size for each of the roof top panels.  The size of your panels will depend on your particular roof, all while taking into consideration how the panels will be moved and stored.  If you will be moving the panels up and down stairs by yourself, for ease of removal, smaller panels would work better than something that would be stored on the same level moved by two people.

To allow for expansion and contraction of the decking, as well as to allow rain and debris to fall through, allow adequate spacing between the deck boards.  We recommend at least a 1/4″ gap between boards.  When installing the Cedar deck boards to the runners, to prevent corrosion, we recommend using Stainless Steel or coated screws at least 2-1/2″ long for 5/4″ decking.

20140703_173620 (2)

For more information on planning and installing your decking, including a list of tools and other items needed, please visit our blog on Deck Installation by clicking HERE .  If you have other questions, our team of experts is happy to help.

Before your next project, be sure to visit us

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington, WA


We ship nationwide!

Western Red Cedar Raised Garden Beds

Raised garden beds are a great solution for most people wanting to put in a vegetable garden.   Not only do they look neat and tidy, they also produce a higher yield than traditional gardens per square foot.

Because of its resistance to rot and decay, Western Red Cedar is the IDEAL choice for raised beds.

cedar raised garden beds

And here are just a few more reasons why Western Red Cedar raised garden beds are a great choice

  • Longer planting season. In the Spring, the soil warms faster and retains heat longer into the Fall
  • Because the soil is not being walked on, there is great aeration for your plants, as well as excellent drainage
  • Less maintenance! Weed control is much easier, as is pest control
  • Way less bending ~ this provides relief to the back and knees
  • No tree roots or other obstacles so root expansion is not impeded
  • The wooden frame work makes it easy to attach trellises for upright planting – thus producing even higher yield
  • It is easier to amend the soil as needed for the types of crops being grown

When planning your new raised garden, ideally you would want your beds to be 3 to 5 foot across to allow for easy accessibility for planning, harvesting and weeding, as well as allow enough soil for the veggies to grow in.  Any narrower than 3’ do tend to dry out fairly quickly.   As far as length, that can vary as much as your imagination, or what your particular space allows.   Beds 10-12” deep work well for most vegetables.

Raised bed garden

Western Red Cedar Raised Garden Bed Material


2×12” Western Red Cedar for raised garden beds at pricing you can afford!  Limited to stock on hand!

When available, we offer discounted, full rough sawn Western Red Cedar that is perfect for making raised garden beds.   Our current offering would make the cost of the Cedar for a 4×8’ bed out of 2×12” material about $85.

Cedar for raised garden beds


Select a nice sunny, location and remove the sod.  Next level the area to the best of your ability.  Cut your Cedar into your desired lengths and lay in place.  Next, screw your pieces together using a self taping screw, such as a 4” Timberlock.  We would recommend using 2 per connection.


For protection against weeds coming up through the bottom of the bed, you can place weed blocking cloth on the bottom.  Additionally, if you are worried about moles or other critters boring up through your beds, you can lay chicken wire inside the bed and secure it to the sides using staples.  Next, fill your bed with a good quality organic soil and you are ready to plant!

raised garden beds filled with organic soil ready to plant

Due to excellent pricing on our Raised Garden Bed Cedar, it is sold *as is* ~ there are no returns or exchanges.  pricing is limited to stock and lengths on hand.

Before your next project, be sure to visit us!



Make Your Own Rustic Christmas Tree out of Western Red Cedar

Perfect for small spaces and those who love simplicity. This crafty little tree can be made in practically any size.  Because this little Christmas Tree is made from Western Red Cedar that is naturally resistant to rot and decay, it can be displayed indoors, as well as out.

Start by determining how tall you would like the tree to to make a rustic christmas tree out of western red cedar scraps Cut a piece of 5/4×4″ Western Red Cedar to the length desired.  Ours is about 8′ tall.

Next, measure up about 10” from the bottom of the trunk and begin laying your pieces of scrap lumber.  Pieces that are ¼” thick, in varying widths work really well and add a nice country charm. Use your longer pieces at the bottom, working your way up to the top with shorter pieces.

A good way to make your spacing even between rows, as well as keep your slats level, is to use a block of wood about 1” thick and place it in between courses. Attach each course using screws that firmly secure the material together, but don’t penetrate all the way through the trunk piece.

Since we are working with Western Red Cedar, it is important to use Stainless Steel or coated fasteners for this project.  Other types of fasteners can leave streaking and can corrode, especially if your tree will be displayed outdoors.

Next, measure out the longest piece on the bottom evenly on both sides and draw a line from that mark to the center of the top with a pencil. This will create the perfect triangle, which can be as narrow or wide as you choose.

Using a skill saw, follow the shape of the triangle that you drew and you will have a perfect Christmas tree shape. The tree can be displayed in its natural state, or if you prefer, you could paint it, or a white wash can be applied like in the tree here.

Rustic Western Red Cedar Christmas Tree with Whitewash applied

The make the white wash, mix white latex paint with water. We used a ratio of ¼ paint to ¾ water, for this tree so that the finish is light and the natural characteristics of the wood come through.

Now your Rustic Country Christmas Tree is ready for decorations!

Rustic Handmade Wooden Christmas Tree

Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

We ship nationwide!

Toll Free 866.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington, WA

How To Make a Giant Jenga Game

Fun for outdoor parties, family reunions and other gatherings, a large, “life sized” Giant Jenga yard game set will  provide hours of entertainment for reasonable cost and a little effort.

These instructions will yield a Jenga set that has 18 rows that have three pieces laid next to each other (a total of 54 pieces). For instructions on how to set up the game and rules for playing click HERE

MHow to Make a Giant Jenga Setaterials Needed

  • 5 pieces of 2×4 Kiln Dried Cedar Decking 10’ Long
  • Chop Saw
  • Tape Measure
  • Belt Sander (or hand sanding pad)
  • Safety equipment including Glasses, Ear Plugs, etc


Cost for the Cedar Decking: Approximately $50


Measure once! Start by creating a jig for the Chop Saw by taking an 8 or 10 foot scrap piece of material and clamping it to the saw. Have at least a foot of the scrap piece go past the blade of the saw.

To create the jig, measure 10 1/2 inches from the saw blade and screw a block into the scrap piece that the edge is 10 1/2 inches from the saw blade.  By butting the end of the board into the block each time, you will be cutting a perfect 10 ½” piece each time. Next, set the depth setter on the saw to allow it to cut only through the 2×4 and not through the scrap piece of material that you clamped to the saw.

Directions for making a Big Jenga Set

Cut the Western Red Cedar deck boards into 54 pieces. Do be sure to check the block occasionally to ensure it hasn’t been bumped from the 10 ½” you set it away from the saw blade.

Life Sized Jenga Game Instructions

We recommend using Kiln Dried, Western Red Cedar Radius Edge Decking to help ensure the material slides nicely without catching when the game is in play. A good sanding will also help with this. We used a belt sander, but hand sanding with a block covered with fine grit sand paper would also work fine.

instructions for yard jenga game

Since we are use the Jenga sets we build as an auction item to help raise funds for our local non-profits, we brand the pieces with our name and logo.  Our Jenga sets are ONLY available at auctions/fund raisers that we donate to.

We do post on our Facebook page when an opportunity arises!

giant jenga drinking game


Branding irons can be obtained from our friends at Custom Branding Irons. It is a great way to add that special touch to a wood working project.

Now the set is ready to play!

jumbo jenga game instructions

Before Your Next Project, Be Sure to Visit Us!

950 B Fountain Street ~ Burlington, WA  98233

We Ship Nationwide!

Deck Installation Tips

If you haven’t already, please be sure to visit our previous blog Tips for Designing Your Dream Deck. Once you have determined the deck you want to build, here are some tips to help you get closer to having the deck of your dreams!

#1 – Before You Do ANYTHING else, contact your local Building Department to discuss what permitting is required and what you will need to do in order to obtain a permit, such as drawings, fees, etc. Next, contact your utility companies to ensure no lines will be disturbed or disrupted.

deck part identification chart by DIY Technologies

Figuring Your Materials

After you determined your joist spacing and size, deck height and footing requirements (see Designing Your Dream Deck if you need help with this), put your framing package list together. Be sure to include a count of corrosion resistant fasteners including all the joist hangers, post bases, post to beam to connectors, as well as any flashing that is need.

All deck framing should be Ground Contact Pressure Treated material with a minimum
ACQ rating 0.40 pcf.

Decking needed per 100 square feet (includes 5% waste)

  • 4” product – 320 lineal feet
  • 6” product – 210 lineal feet

Determining the correct number of fasteners will vary based on the decking selected as well as the joist spacing. When face screwing (or nailing) a 6” product down on framing that is 16” on center, you will need approximately 350 screws per 100 square feet, and approximately 480 screws per 100 square feet with the same 16” on center joist framing for 4” material, when using two screws per joist. For other types of fasteners, refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

If you have selected to use Western Red Cedar as your decking, now is the right time to
determine what product you will use to help protect the wood. We recommend using good quality penetrating oil product with mold and mildew inhibitors, as well as UV protection, such as Ultra Premium Red Label Penofin. This should be applied to all four sides of the decking prior to installation for optimum results.

If you have selected an exotic hardwood for your decking, such as Red Balau “Mahogany” or Ipe, you can either choose to apply a penetrating oil to the wood to help it maintain its beautiful color prior to installation (all four sides is recommended), or if you wish for it to simply weather to a beautiful silvery – grey, you can skip this step.

Red Balau Mahogany Decking

Other Items Needed

  • Chalk Line
  • Circular Saw
  • Concrete
  • Hammer
  • Crescent Wrench
  • Drill and Bits
  • Dust Mask
  • Extension Cord
  • Framing Square
  • Gloves
  • Hearing Protection
  • Hand Saw
  • Hoe & Hose (to mix concrete)
  • Ladder
  • Level
  • Nail Set
  • Pencil
  • Pick
  • Plumb Bob
  • Post Hole Digger
  • Ruler
  • Safety Glasses
  • Screwdrivers
  • Shims
  • Shovel
  • Socket Wrench
  • String
  • Tape Measure
  • Tool Belt
  • Wheelbarrow

Getting Ready to Build

Once your materials have arrived on the job site, keep them covered when not in use to keep them clean, as well as to prevent twisting and warping, especially when it is hot or under direct sunlight.

Framing Tips

When framing your new deck be sure to allow for proper water drainage. A deck should angle away from the structure a minimum of 1/8” for every 8 feet to reduce the possibility of standing water. In general, a deck should be installed 18” off the ground for proper air flow (or as specified by the decking manufacturer) to provide adequate ventilation to minimize cupping and warping of the deck top.

It is advised to wear gloves while handling Pressure Treated Materials and to always use ear and eye protection when sawing, drilling or cutting wood. Left over scraps of Pressure Treated materials should be disposed of properly. Never burn them.

Install the ledger to the house. This will provide stability of the deck. Use string to find your footings and to ensure your deck is square. Remove the sod and dig your footings for the posts.  Post holes should be at least 24” deep or up to 4’ deep depending on the frost line in your area, as well as the height of the column.

Install your perimeter posts, then attach your beams to your posts. Attach braces to any posts over 5’ high. Next lay out your joists and install them using either joist hangers or by toe nailing. Add blocking between your joists to minimize warping.

Decking Tips

When installing the deck top, be sure to allow for adequate gaps between boards. This allows ventilation, as well as room for water to drain away. Inadequate gap space between boards puts additional strain on the fasteners and can cause broken screws or nail pops. Avoid over driving any fasteners.

Laying out decking

When face screwing any hardwood decking, pre-drilling is recommended; as well as when
screwing or nailing close to the edge of any wood board to minimize splitting.  Allow small gaps between butt joints to allow the material to expand and contract during weather changes.

Measure once, cut twice!

Our team of experts are also available to assist you with questions regarding product selection as well as creating a materials list.

timbertech decking

Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington, WA


We Ship Nationwide!

Tips for Designing Your Dream Deck

A properly planned for and constructed deck can add significant value and curb appeal to your home. A place to bring family and friends together outdoors, it also helps make memories.

Here are some tips for bringing your dream into reality.

Deck Location

Using an existing doorway that provides access to your deck is a great place to start. If that is not an option, consider converting an existing window into a door that will allow access to the deck off the kitchen or dining room of your home for ease of access. Another consideration when planning where your new deck will be, is what time of day it is likely to be used and whether you prefer outdoor activities directly in the sun or in the shade.

Deck Size

When determining the size of your deck, consider what types of activities you will be enjoying, as well as how many people will likely be participating in those activities on your new deck. Take into consideration the size of all pieces of outdoor furniture, grill, hot tub or other items you will place on the deck, as well as the deck’s size in proportion to your home and surroundings.

Consider all furniture that will be placed on your deck to help to determine the correct size

A deck that is 12×12’ could reasonably accommodate a small round patio table and four chairs.  On average, most decks range in between 200 and 300 square feet.

Deck Height

To ensure a smooth transition going inside and out, the top of your deck should be just below the bottom of the door’s threshold.  Should you want the deck higher or lower to capture a view, or if your lot is sloped, consider building a deck with multi-layers and/or adding stairs. A multi-level deck can add interest to your deck where you can designate certain areas for certain types of activities.

Once you have determined your deck height, be sure to check your local building codes to
determine if railings will be needed around the deck at all levels, as those will need to be budgeted in.

Deck Top

With so many decking options to choose from on the market today, finding a budget that works for you and a general idea of the deck material you desire (wood vs. man-made materials) is a great place to start narrowing down what product is right for you for the deck top.

A deck top constructed of Knotty Western Red Cedar will provide many years of service and currently is the most cost-effective option; while the cost of clear grades of cedar decking will be on the high end of the scale.

Knotty Western Red Cedar decking is the most economical

If you love the look and feel of real wood and are interested in exploring other decking options, Red Balau, commonly referred to as “Mahogany”, is an extremely durable hardwood that is sustainably harvested and is currently the best priced hardwood decking option we offer. Going up the scale is Ipe “Ironwood”, as well as other exotic hardwoods such as Tigerwood, Purple Heart.

If a deck top constructed out of man-made materials, such as composite or cellular PVC, is more interesting to you, we offer a wide range of products produced by Timbertech and AZEK.  Backed with excellent support and warranties, these products have a fairly wide range of price points and colors to select from.

No matter what product you choose, regular cleaning and maintenance will be required. How much of it is determined by the product you choose and the look you want to maintain.

Deck Framing

Now that you have determined the size and height of your deck, as well as the decking you like, configuring the proper framing for the deck is the next order of business. The size of the deck, as well as the number of footings and beams, local building codes, decking type and manufacturer’s recommendations all need to be factored in.

In general, the framing joists are spaced 16” apart when using a 5/4×6″ decking product, but can vary based on the decking product selected.

Recommened joist spacing for Western Red Cedar Decking
Thickness (in.) Width (in.) Grade Category (in.) Span
1-1/4 4 All clear grade categories 16
1-1/4 4 All knotty grade categories 12
1-1/4 6 All clear and knotty grade categories 16
2 4 All clear and knotty grade categories 24
2 6 All clear and knotty grade categories 24

The joist size need is directly related to the size of the deck. Joists spaced 16 inches on center can span 1.5 times in feet their depth in inches. A 2×8 up to 12 feet; 2×10 to 15 feet and 2×12 to 18 feet.

Using high quality pressure treated lumber is recommended. Use caution when choosing products based solely on price, as there are differences in the type of wood used, as well as pressure treating products and methods.

Deck Fastners

Selecting the right fasteners for the job is often overlooked until the very last minute, however all the fasteners and hardware used to construct your deck should be a priority. A properly constructed deck relies on all the connection points of the under framing to stay firmly connected and the deck top to stay securely fastened down.

Fasteners should be selected based on your application, environment and the material being used. All fasteners for outdoor use should be corrosion resistant and special care should be taken when selecting products that will be installed near salt water.

Most decking can be secured using nails, screws or hidden fasteners and should be selected based on the look you desire, as well as manufacturer’s recommendations.

Deck Add Ons

Should your new dream deck require a railing, there are countless options in both wood and man made materials, including powder coated aluminum, stainless steel cable, composite materials and glass. These can be mixed and matched is countless options to provide the exact look you desire.

When selecting a railing, always be sure the railing you select complies with local building codes and follow all manufacturer’s recommendations for installation.

Adding built in planter boxes, benches, timber frame structures or a pergola can help define your deck as a custom outdoor living area. To elevate the feeling of your new outdoor living area to a welcoming extension of your home, add lighting, a fireplace or patio heater and carefully selected accessories.

Red Balau "Mahogany" decking is a durable and beautiful hardwood decking at a reasonable price

Need some inspiration to help you visualize your dream deck? We have a great gallery of projects on Pinterest just waiting for you!

For help on selecting the right materials for your job, as well as help designing your dream deck,please contact our team of professionals to assist you.

Call us today 360.757.6343

We Ship Nationwide!