7 Ways to Upgrade Your Deck for Better Outdoor Living

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outdoor living tips

There’s nothing like hanging out on your deck and spending quality time with friends and family. If you already have a deck, we don’t have to tell you that—you know about the benefits of having a great outdoor space. However, believe it or not, it is possible to upgrade your deck and make it even more awesome! By that, we mean you can make it more stylish, more comfortable, and more useful. Here are The Deck Authority’s 7 ways to take your deck to the next level and create the ultimate backyard.

1. Enhance how you use space by adding storage.

Are you getting the most out of the space on your deck, or do you have clutter like gardening tools, watering cans, and kids’ toys? If you spend a lot of time in your yard, it may be natural that you stuff starts piling up on your deck. Adding storage to your deck helps you get organized and gives you more space for hanging out.

Storing your supplies in deck boxes helps you neaten up a bit, but we recommend you try a built-in storage bench for the combined benefit of more seating and more storage. You can either build a storage bench yourself as a weekend project or talk to your contractor, and it can easily be made out of the same material as your deck. 

2. Add a pergola, and drape it with vines for shade!

Bougainvillea is a great vine for covering your pergola!A pergola over your deck provides shade from the sun and protection from weather while adding visual appeal to your deck. Many have a lattice time structure with an open top, which allows for air flow to your deck, but it’s possible to add a proper roof. If you have a vinyl or wood deck, you can have a pergola constructed from the same material, or you can opt for an aluminum pergola.

Depending on the structure of your pergola and how close together the rails are, you will achieve some shade with an open top pergola, but for full coverage, you need something to fill in the gaps. One option is draping cloth over your pergola. However, if you grow some climbing plants over the top, you’ll have a natural shady solution. We’re obsessed with pergolas covered in bougainvillea because it’s thick and woody for maximum shade, and the flowers come in beautiful shades of pink and purple. Plus, it’s naturally pest-free.

Other woody vines you can use to drape a pergola in the mid-Atlantic region include:

  • Virginia creeper/Woodbine
  • Wisteria (If you can, grow American wisteria rather than the varieties from Asia, which are classified as invasive species)
  • English Ivy

You may opt to cover your entire deck with a pergola, but if that seems claustrophobic rather than cozy to you, you can cover one area and leave the rest open.

3. Splash on some color to make your deck pop.

Many decking materials come in a wide variety of colors, especially if you’re using vinyl, which isn’t limited by the colors found in nature. Still, while wood decks have fewer color options, you can stain them however you want! If you renovate your deck, you can even combine materials on with different colors and textures on different areas of the deck.

Adding a railing or seating in a contrasting hue is one way to create interest with colors. If you have a wood deck, you may want to try a new stain—and if you don’t want to create contrast, you can also try matching for a more uniform look! For instance, you can stain your deck the same color as your shutters to make it match the house, or you can try a contrasting color.

4. Wrap around and close it off with a railing. 

Need a weekend project? A railing and gate can make a normal deck feel safer and cozier—even if your deck is lower to the ground and a gate isn’t necessary for safety. Building a deck railing gives your existing deck a sense of space that keeps it feeling protected. This is also a great way to add contrasting colors like we just discussed—there’s no reason your railing has to be the same color as your deck.

5. Bring the inside outside with cozy furniture. 

Why shouldn’t your deck be your favorite room? With lawn chairs, it’s hard to get properly cozy. Outdoor wicker couches and chairs allow you to create a second living room in your backyard. Plus, you can match your cushions to your house or get them in the same colors as your potted plants. If you furnish your outdoor deck with some comfy furniture, everyone will want to gather outside. 

6. Warm it up with a fire pit or patio heaters. 

Getting chilly? A fire pit is a fantastic addition to your deck because it creates a central point where everyone can gather and even roast marshmallows. It also helps make your deck usable all year round. If you don’t have the space for a fire pit, consider adding some patio heaters. Both of these additions will allow you to enjoy your deck on chilly autumn nights. Combined with comfortable wicker furniture, why go back indoors?

7. Finally…let there be light! 

Don’t stumble around in the dark! If you’d like visibility in the evening and a better ambiance, incorporate solar or low voltage lights on your deck. You can even follow the recent twinkle light trend and spruce up the deck that way. Twinkle lights are those spherical bulbs on a string that create a magical atmosphere! Adding a little light will make your nighttime deck relaxing all the more enjoyable.

While a deck is a great addition to a home, even better is a custom deck that has everything you want! To achieve your ultimate deck, you can take the DIY approach or talk to a contractor. Storage space, built-in seating, you name it—if this sounds like a dream to you, it’s time to make it come true!

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2 Comments

  • John says:

    The article mentions that changing your deck’s color is a cost-effective way to upgrade your deck. The article mentions that this is especially easy when it comes to vinyl since the colors can be pretty flexible. My wife and want to put a deck in our yard, so I’ll be sure to let her know that vinyl decking could be a viable option for us since it’s so versatile.

  • Barbera Peters says:

    I love that you talked about how adding a pergola and draping it in vines would be a great way to spruce up a patio. It never would have occurred to me to look at the structure of the pergola and see how close together the rails are for growing vines. Thanks for the awesome inspiration project.

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