Last year, to prep for the major backyard living project described in this article, I installed a wide La Cantina five-panel hinged door that opened onto an existing concrete patio behind my client’s home. While we had the wall opened up to beef up the framing seismically with Simpson Strong-Tie Strong-Wall shear wall panels and a 20-inch-high PSL header for the wide door, we upgraded the electric to provide controls and wiring for a planned patio cover and a new 1,000-square-foot deck. Recently, I returned with my crew to finish up the project, located in the hills of California’s northern Orange County.

In the first phase of the project, the author reframed the wall facing the back yard to accommodate a wide five-panel hinged patio door.

We started by removing the existing deck and breaking up the concrete patio. Then, after building the forms for new engineered footings to support the patio cover, we brought in a subcontractor to monolithically pour the footings and a new stamped and colored concrete patio.

We anchored a pair of 6x6 posts to the footings with seismic brackets, then lifted a big PSL beam into position on top of the posts. After connecting the beam to the posts with more seismic hardware, we hung the patio cover’s 2x8 rafters and 2x6 ceiling joists, then sheathed and shingled the roof.

The patio cover was framed with 2x8 rafters bearing on a PSL beam supported by a pair of 6x6 posts. Seismic hardware was used to reinforce the connections between all of the framing members, and to anchor the posts to the steel-reinforced footings.

While the stucco contractor stapled up lath and started applying colored stucco with a Spanish texture to the patio cover, we began framing the new deck, which is elevated a couple of steps above the level of the patio. Finished with Trex Transcend tiki torch decking with a lava rock border and a matching Trex railing, the new deck provides the homeowners with a better view of the nearby Santa Ana Mountains when they are snowcapped in the winter.

The patio cover's sheathing was wrapped with building paper and lath to prep it for a stucco finish to match the existing house. The project also included outdoor kitchen cabinets clad in stone veneer to match the column bases.
The column bases have cast-in-place concrete caps stained to match the stamped concrete patio. The project included an elevated 1,000-square-foot deck, accessed from the patio by full-width stadium-style stairs.

To illuminate the steps for both safety and as a design element, we installed a series of recessed lights in the risers. These are part of the package of 57 Trex step and cap low-voltage lights that illuminate the deck and railing. ❖

Photos by Michael Walter.

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