Deck-orating Ideas

Something strange is happening this year-something we’ve yet to experience since living in this house.  For the first time in three years (technically ever, because we always planned to pour a new patio at our old house and never got to that point), we have an outdoor space that is furniture ready without major projects in sight.


Landscaping, windows, and siding are completely finished, making the back deck the perfect place to relax.  Cue the trumpets, bring on some chilled drinks, and let’s get some comfortable seating and decorations.  Before we can fully celebrate, we do want to pressure wash and restain the deck, but that’s not grueling.  We’re checking the forecast for a rain free week to knock it all out, so fingers crossed it happens soon.  Until then, I’m dreaming and scheming ways to cozy up and create a private outdoor oasis.


On the back deck, I’d like to create different zones for eating, lounging/chatting, and enjoying the fire.  Directly off the family room, I placed four of our dining chairs in a circle with the boys’ mini table as a stand in coffee table.  These pieces are not staying here, but give me an idea of the size and layout for the furniture I still have to get.  Our dining set will sit just to the right, beneath the wide window.


This arrangement is centered on the fire pit and waterfall, allowing maximum enjoyment of all areas.

To further separate the eating and relaxing areas, I potted two arborvitae trees ($5 at Wal-Mart) in simple white $15 pots from Lowe’s.  The added height and greenery on the deck do wonders for defining the spaces, and the pots are light weight so I can move these around easily, even bringing inside for winter if necessary.  I filled two other planters I had on hand with succulents, just to add another layer, and popped them next to the trees.


For easier fire pit access, I nestled five flagstones in the rock to create a simple staggered walkway.  Sometimes, you just don’t want to wear shoes, but walking on rocks is rough.


Because we already have the two benches flanking the fire, we don’t need to add more seating over there.  Which is precisely why I want four light weight chairs to keep on the deck, but can easily get pulled over to the fire when needed.


So in place of those dining chairs, I’m considering these chairs from Lowe’s, if I can get Ben to sit in them and give his approval.

At $65 each, they’re a good deal, get very good reviews, are light weight, and stackable for easy storage through winter.  Paired with the comfortable (for me at least), lower seat, they won’t look like dining chairs either.  Though I love the comfort cushions add, I’m not the best at remembering to get them in the house before rain, so I’m happy to not sacrifice comfort with those chairs.  Once we figure out the chairs, I want to make or buy a coffee table to round out the arrangement.  Again, light weight would be nice for winter moving, but not completely necessary.


In other news, the row of grasses I plated last fall have quadrupled in size, most standing about 4 feet tall.


Flanking the wooden benches, at the end of the grass line, I planted drought tolerant, deer resistant Russian Sage.  They smell lovely and should fill in with more purple stems.


Between the house and the walkway, I created a little garden space to enjoy from the deck, but also the bedroom windows.  In the space between the windows, I’d love to add a climbing plant on a trellis.  Knowing plants attached to the house are bad, I doubt I’ll ever convince Ben, but perhaps a free-standing version that could stand a few inches away from the house would work?  Any suggestions for shade loving perennial climbing plants?


Last year’s hydrangea, on the far right in the above photo, is alive and well, with only a single bud so far.


Everything within five feet of the house gets full shade, so I schooched the hostas back and filled in with a few coral bells to contrast against all the green.  At the corner of the house, a viburnum stands guard and should grow large enough to give the back a little privacy from the driveway.


Closest to the walk, in the full sun, I alternated between cat mint and pink salvia.  Hopefully in a few years the plants will all fill in and blend together for a super lush bed.  Just for kicks, and to fully relish the last three years of hard work, here’s the back right after move in.


Broken patio, strange fountain, broken windows, trees far too close to the house, weeds everywhere, and no real place to actually hang out.  Things kind of only got worse from there after tearing off all the siding to replace windows and excavating down a foot to keep the dirt below the wood rim joist.


And this past winter, when things finally looked finished with a super beefy  reclaimed deck, windows, and brand spankin’ new painted and steel siding that hadn’t started to rust.


Now, only a few months later, we call the major components finished.  I have a hard time declaring anything truly finished, because I always get ideas to make changes later on, but nothing other than furniture (see the table just waiting to go on?) and perhaps more plants should happen back here.


Any deck plans, outdoor dreaming, or planting going on at your house?  It sure is nice to step outside, sit, and not feel like there are 1,000 things we need to work on.  It’s equal parts liberating and strange.

18 thoughts on “Deck-orating Ideas

  1. I haven’t been by to check out your progress in a while and DAMN GIRL! House looks amazing!!!!!! Love the direction you guys have taken it 🙂

  2. Hi Amanda, you must be so proud of yourself, I’m proud of you ! All the hard work you have done is paying off and I’m so happy for you. Love the deck! Still loving my robe.

  3. The difference in three years is amazing. Looks so comfortable and relaxing. Do you have a big front yard for your kiddos to play in?

  4. I’ve been wondering about your metal rust siding! From the little bit that I can see, it looks way better than I expected it too!! Any chance we’ll get to see a full post on that?

  5. Looks great! I love the giant beams you used for the patio and I think the siding paint and the steel look awesome. It is hard to wait for plants to grow, isn’t it!

    1. Hi Laura!

      Aren’t the beams super cool? We love how different it looks from standard decks. Yes, as Tom Petty said, “Waiting is the hardest part.” Totally true, I want instant mature plants, like yesterday. 😉


  6. Gorgeous! Warning: The Russian Sage is going to spread really fast, we have the same rock beds and I’m always pulling and trying to contain the russian sage. So just be ready! It sends suckers really long distances through the rocks. I live in Billings, too, by the way!

    1. Hello Herbertleslie!

      I’ve noticed that, and with the lack of mature plants, I’m okay with that. For now at least. Maybe in a few years I’ll be super annoyed plucking stray sprouts out. Super cool that you’re a local, too! 🙂


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