The deck is a great, and sometimes underestimated, place for entertaining. A well-decorated outdoor space provides the perfect ambiance for gathering with friends and family, grilling and enjoying the extra time surrounded by nature.
Decks can be transformed with simple solutions, including a variety of plantings, intimate lighting and an array of colors. Get inspired with these deck design ideas to decorate your outdoor space.
Plants are the most important feature on your deck to create an environment that embraces being outdoors. Nothing is worse than a sterile wasteland of deck space. Potted plants are a simple addition to a deck to add lush greenery and vibrant color. But, overexposure to the elements can fry your beautiful plants, so be sure to consult the experts at your local nursery to select plants that can withstand the heat.
For color that lasts, a few examples of heat-resistant blooms include Angelonia, or the summer snapdragon, with its purple, white or pink flowers. Canna is also another perfect plant for creating a tropical look with large leaves and bright flowers in shades of red, orange, yellow, and pink. Lantana produces multicolored flowers in welcoming shades of red, orange, yellow, pink, and white and is a favorite for butterflies. Butterflies also love the starry clusters of Pentas flowers. Flowering vines with large blooms, like Mandevilla and Passionflower, are great climbers and could be used as colorful backdrops on the deck, either climbing the walls of the house or a tall framework on the deck.
If you are looking for greenery options without the blooms, bamboo is easily grown in containers and creates a lovely, tall green space on your deck. With its big leaves, the banana plant can also do well in large, colorful pots and makes a great big presence out on the deck. As long as you don’t have children around to get hurt on the sharp leave tips, a potted Agave is perfect for some architectural flair.
Nobody wants to melt in the sun or run inside when it rains. Your deck should offer at least one space that serves as respite from direct sunlight and the weather. Say no way to the boring eyesore of the oversized table umbrella. There are many shade solutions to consider when decorating your deck. Large canopied awnings (freestanding, framed and bolted into your deck, or retractable), DIY shade alternatives (hand-built pergolas with heavy vine coverage or awning fabrics), and inexpensive sun blockers like portable tents are all options to explore. They will keep your deck cooler and screen out harmful ultraviolet rays.
The best options in outdoor furniture are pieces that are low-maintenance and positioned like a cozy room in your home. A large sturdy table and inviting chairs will create the feeling of an outdoor room. Select a table that’s large enough for your family plus guests. Chairs should be comfortable for lounging and encourage family and friends to linger. Add extra pillows to dress up the seating areas. Choose fabrics, colors and patterns that will play with the color in your plants, creating the perfect backdrop for relaxation.
A well-decorated deck is only enjoyed when it is seen. As the sun sets, the stars appear and your guests begin to arrive, the ambiance becomes ideal for entertaining. Selecting the right accent lighting for your deck is necessary for safety, sight and overall aesthetics. A nice balance of lights on railings, stair risers, posts and along other deck bases will create a welcoming atmosphere after dark. “Lightscaping” is the way to go, and there are many options on the market for deck lighting, including solar lights and LED options. Have fun with your accent lighting selections, and highlight your perfect outdoor destination. The deck should be a place to enjoy solitude or the buzzing of friends and family during the day or evening hours.