Converting deck to patio. Opinions?
I bought a tri-level last summer. It has a deck across the entire back with three levels with steps. It was a nice deck at one time, but it's been neglected and is in need of repair and staining. I'm not really a deck person. They're hot in the summer, they attract hornets, and in the winter you have to keep the snow off. We got 3 ft of snow this winter - it was a nightmare. I ran out of places to shovel it, especially the lower level that has high lattice walls. It was a major pain!
I hate the lower level the most. The lattice walls look like a prison and they hide the nice landscape. There are benches against the back that you can't see because the spruce tree is growing over them. They're just a hornet motel anyway. No one sits there in the summer--they'd get eaten alive by mosquitoes.
I'm mulling over the idea of tearing out just the lower level and making it into a nice patio with stone, shrubs, flowers, etc. It would lead out into the yard beyond, which I'm also gradually landscaping. The upper deck would have steps leading down to it. I think it would compliment the landscape so much better. The spruce trees won't be encumbered anymore. I want to showcase them, not hide them.
I've attached a photo. What are your thoughts? Has anyone done something like this? Of course I'm on a budget so I'd have to consider the cost.