One of the selling points of our house was the fact that you walked out of the living room onto a deck at ground level. One step down and you were in the garden. We love everything a deck affords: the ability to be in the garden but dry shod, to be able to sit and read or eat outdoors, to have room for guests and on and on. We've used the deck since day one but never really done much in terms of upkeep, other than pounding in a nail here and there.
As it's aged and been shaded, it turned almost black and had gotten very slippery after a rainfall. We knew that and were appropriately cautious. A couple of years ago we even bought some mats to throw across the deck when we had garden tours on wet days. But this year we had the ultimate cure, we had the deck power washed by the gentleman who painted our house.
It looks like new and it's no longer dangerous after a rainy night. But it's still in character with our furniture that, like the deck, has never had annual coatings of waterproofing. The power washing proved a much better solution than tearing the old deck out and replacing it. Now we and the deck can continue aging in place.
On the opposite side of the house in the moon garden is a beautiful lantern composed of stacked rocks. Mark built it one day a number of years ago after I pointed out a similar lantern in a book on Japanese gardens. Ours is symbolic since the stone under the wide cap does not have a carved opening to hold a candle like the one in the book did. Unfortunately our lantern became unbalanced a couple of years ago from winter ground heaves and toppled over. The huge stones stayed where they fell because they were too heavy for Mark to lift without the equipment he used to set it up originally. He kept saying he'd get a few guy friends to come over and help him set it up again one of these days.
Lo and behold, I looked out the window the other day and realized he'd re-stacked it on his own using a crowbar and block of wood as a lever and fulcrum. I was amazed that he managed it and thrilled that it was back in place as it was rather an eyesore collapsed halfway into the garden path. It's always been one of my favorite features in the garden and I'm very happy to have it back.