Wood Deck Ideas

Integrating Hardscape with Softscape

Wood deck ideas for privacy and shade. Unique deck decorating ideas. Getting a wooden deck to blend into your landscape design. Tips for landscaping around decks. Pictures.

New Smyrna Beach house with 3 wooden decks.

This house overlooking the Atlantic ocean is a perfect example of how smooth the visual transition from hardscape to softscape can be. The home, with its 3 wooden decks, belongs in this setting.

The palm beside the house is a Sabal, a Florida native that grows naturally along this strip of sand and is often planted around the multi-story houses and condos here to link them to the earth.

Another New Smyrna Beach house with 2 wood decks.

Here is another home on the same beach (New Smyrna on Florida’s east coast). The modest beach shack style of this house fits with the rough textures of the sand and the glaucous foliage of the silver saw palmetto which grows wild throughout this area.

Wood Deck Idea: Color

Brown is a very popular color choice for wooden decks. This is because of how readily it blends in with natural materials. Brown stain is the “little black dress” of the wooden deck.

Other colors require much more thought and planning to pull off.

Wood Deck Ideas
When Life is Not a Beach

A modern Victorian home with wooden deck .

Landscaping around the deck of a beach house is easy. Nature will provide you with most of the plant material and suggest a design, but we can’t all live right on the dunes.

Those of us who dwell further inland must be more creative.

This modern Victorian home features a beautiful 2nd story deck which overlooks the home’s front yard.

It is best to plan the landscape around an upstairs deck while sitting on the deck since this is the vantage point from which you will most often be viewing it.

Other Wood Deck Ideas for Landscaping:

Consider planting in patterns that only become apparent when viewed from above. A parterre, for instance.

I also think that trees or tall shrubs that grow taller than the height of the deck’s railing give a more integrated look and feel to a upstairs deck.

The leaning oak in this yard does this with old-fashioned charm.

My aunt's yard below her 2nd story wood deck.

This is the view from my aunt Charlotte’s deck in Connecticut. My aunt is an avid gardener who has arranged her back yard plantings so that they present an enjoyable picture from her deck that changes with the seasons.

An old Weigela that was installed by my grandmother begins the color show each spring. Black Eyed Susans and Purple coneflower close the season in late fall.

Deck Privacy Ideas

Charlotte's deck and her next door neighbor's with a tree in between.

This is Charlotte’s deck. Her neighbor has also added a backyard deck to his home.

Elevated decks are useful in this part of the country where homes are often built on hills. The deck provides a level outdoor surface for the homeowner to enjoy.

Lack of privacy is a common problem with elevated decks.

The evergreen planted at the property line between the homes provides some screening.

Deck with Umbrella
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A fence can be erected around a deck to provide privacy for sunbathing. If space allows, potted trees can be placed along the fence line or grouped to create cozy seclusion.

Deck Decorating Idea

Open Air Bath at Luxury Hotel, Formerly Ian Fleming's House, Goldeneye, St. Mary
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This is one of the most unique wood deck ideas I have seen.

Turn your wooden deck into an open air bath!

This rainforest bath is at a luxury resort. A combination of privacy fencing, banana plants and areca palms create seclusion and tropical ambiance.

Who needs a spa when you can pamper yourself so sumptuously at home.

Landscaping Around Decks

Chairs on the Deck Porch of a House
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If you are fortunate enough to have an expansive deck, you may wish to place a few pots or planters on it. This is not usually the case.

Most wood decks are compact. Consequently, most homeowners jealously reserve this precious space for such creature comforts as seating, a table for outdoor meals and a grill.

The plants are usually placed on or in the ground surrounding the deck.

Petunias growing around a backyard deck.

If flowering annuals are liberally used, this can be just as lovely. Here, pink petunias envelop a tiny deck in joyous color.

Rocking Chairs on the Patio
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The stone facade and lush plantings integrate this deck of tan wood seamlessly into its surroundings.

The hardscape and sofscape here have been carefully planned not only to create a wonderful outdoor living space but with the view from inside in mind.

Deck Chairs in the Shade of an Umbrella
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A bit of potted greenery softens the edges of this weathered wood deck, but the real landscaping is provided by a strip of lawn bordered by a narrow ribbon of perennial plants.

Large unbrellas shade the seating areas.

Deck Shade Ideas

A canopy gives shade to a wood deck on the beach.

In hot climates, the sun on a deck can be unrelenting. Try one of the following deck shade ideas to obtain fast relief:

  • Erect a cloth canopy or install large patio umbrellas. The canopy will cover a larger area, but umbrellas can be moved to suit the situation. Be sure the base of any umbrella you plan to use on a sun deck is heavy enough to keep it upright on breezy days.
  • Attach a retractable awning to the wall of the house. My neighbor had one of these installed on his pool deck. It is attractive when in use and disappears when it isn’t.A more permanent and more elaborate shade solution is to build a wooden pergola aver the deck.The structure itself will filter the sun shining on the deck. For deeper shade, cover it with a vine. Climbing roses perform beautifully in full sun and their fragrance will delight you.

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