I absolutely love our deck. It was one of the major draws when we purchased this house. The possibility a deck brings – like spending cool evenings outdoor, or having picnics with the family outdoor, is so exciting and one of the reasons I love this time of year so much! The only problem is that the harsh winter we had has really wreaked havoc on our deck and backyard. If you feel like your deck is looking pretty rough, I can relate! That’s why these tips will bring any deck back to life, even after a winter as harsh as we’ve had this year.
In This Post
- 7 Ways to Refresh Your Deck for Spring
- 5 Great Deck Plants
- Types of Decks
- Grilling Recipes for Your Deck Space
7 Ways to Refresh Your Deck for Spring
1. Start with a water pressure clean
First off, your deck probably has a lot of gunk on it from the elements. Things like dirt, rainwater, pollen and tree dust, or just general wind will stack on your deck and start to erode it. It’s important that if this is the case for your deck, you first remove it before anything. I know that this sounds like lots of work but it doesn’t have to be difficult! It’s easy to hire out power-washing using a service like Angie’s List, but you can easily DIY it with a great high pressure cleaner as well.
For this, I recommend grabbing a solvent/cleaner from your local home improvement store like this one. You have the option to use this in power wash form, or to use it manually. I believe many stores will also rent out power or pressure washing machines, but you can also attach a special hose and nozzle to your regular watering hose. From there you follow the instructions on the bottle and get to work! Most decks require this at least twice a year regardless, just to keep it in its best form. Water is wood’s worst enemy, so making sure that your deck is still holding well is important, if your deck is a wood one. This is one of my greatest tips for refreshing your deck!
2. Stain or paint your deck
Now that your deck is clean and any mold or dirt is removed, you can move on to something more fun like updating the color of your deck! We’ve kept our deck at a natural color, but I have toyed with the idea of painting our deck something light. The difference in painting or staining can actually be quite large. I thought that perhaps it would be the same but no, if you paint a deck with quality paint meant for deck and wood, you won’t have to refinish for at least 6-8 years. That is huge as opposed to stain that doesn’t stand the elements as well. Stain has to be reapplied at least every 2 years.
It’s all about how you want your deck to look. If you want a natural look then a quality stain will give you that beautiful finish. Regardless of what stain you do choose, it’s a good idea to make sure that it’s a waterproof stain so that it beats out the elements longer. For paint, I recommend always priming it first. This is what keeps your deck lasting as long as it does. Then you should try a paint specific to decks since these tend to have sealants in them as well. The options for deck paint are really great. Keep in mind you can also paint your deck floor a darker color and your railings a light one if that’s a look you are going for.
3. Update your flooring
I’ve recently seen some deck floor options that are so cute and different and offer a great opportunity for those decks that aren’t exactly a floor you’re looking for. The biggest trend in this is the tile floor option.
If your deck is built with cement and you want a softer more deck-life feel, then adding these fun wood tiles will create that feel. The biggest leader in this has been IKEA, although I know there are plenty of options available on other sites. They have the wood-look tiles that just snap together, but they also have options for turf and even a more ceramic tile look, which is very fun! These options are so great for small houses or apartments where maximizing space is essential, especially if you’re trying to cover up something like a cement slab. Perfect way to refresh your deck!
I don’t think many people think of stenciling their deck but the look can be really amazing. It’s common nowadays to stain a focal wall, but a deck floor can be just as beautiful. This is a great option for anyone with a wood deck that just wants to upgrade to something different. Stencils can be great to cover up wood that is mix-matched such as from different types of wood. It does take a little heart and lots of patience, but the look is truly customizable and can give you the unique tiled look you want.
Last but not least is the popular outdoor rug option! We have one for our deck and I’ve always loved its versatility. It makes everything feel pulled together and homey and give me the option to throw it in the washer if needed or to hose it down just as well. This option is obviously the easiest, but can still completely transform your space. Also, you can easily switch it out as you see fit with your style preferences. I love the rugs from here since they are meant to last well into the outdoor summer months.
4. Add Plants
Plants, plants, plants! You can’t go wrong by adding some lush and growing plants to your deck. They bring the life back to your space, and can add so much color as well. Since it’s a deck, most of your plants will be in planters but you can have fun adding them in different sizes and heights.
Plants in planters are your biggest game-changer here. If you’re already a plant person then you know your options are unlimited when it comes to what kinds of plants you have. If not, then there are a few things you should register to ensure that your plants live their best deck life.
- Is your deck shaded? If yes then a shade plant such as shade perennial or fern would do great. If no, and your deck is full sun, then something like a Mandevilla Vine or Petunia would do great. You can easily determine which plants will do well by reading their tags or talking to your garden center.
- Will you plant large pots? Simple question but people often forget that large potted plants require a great amount of water. Make sure your hose is close by so that you can easily give these guys a healthy drink of water. Also, it’s a great idea to place these planters on wheels so that when the cold weather strikes again you can easily move.
Hanging plants are also a wonderful addition to a deck. They bring a lot of visual interest and can make for that dreamy vine deck look. If you don’t have anything to hang your plants from (such as a deck pergola or the like) then you can also consider creating your own trellis or potted plant shelving. This is a great option for small decks or apartments.
Plants are such a great way to refresh your deck and bring it back to life!
5 Great Deck Plants
- Mandevilla Vine – This one is great outdoors but it does need a trellis or something to climb up. It does well with both sun and shade and flowers really beautifully.
- Lavender- Such a great option that can withstand heat once it’s well established. It also smells amazing so you’ll want to keep it close by.
- Fushia – This one is a beautiful flower option that does really well in the shade.
- Monkey Grass- If you’re wanting to create a lush option, then any ornamental grass will do well. They need full sun but should be kept in pots so as to not take over other plant areas.
- Hydrangeas- This gives such a beautiful flower and is considered a shrub. Keep it in the sun and you should get a full bloom in early summer.
5. Upgrade your furniture
Now the fun starts with accessorizing! There are so many ways you can go about this but starting with your deck seating is the easiest. If all you’re doing is updating what you already have then perhaps all you want to do is upgrade your pillows, or add a seat/couch cover.
If you’re looking for all new seating then you have the options of these kinds of seating:
- Lounging– This includes rocking chairs, chairs with a sloped back, or benches.
- Entertaining – This type includes the more “living room” look with a couch and coffee table.
- Dining– This is what you would consider your dining sets and bistro set furniture.
Our deck is relatively small so I’ve just opted for a small living room concept, with a couch and a table (check out My Decorating Ideas for a Small Deck HERE). My kids are still small so eating outdoor is still something that proves to be more difficult than stress-relieving at the moment. I’m sure we’ll get there one day and when that happens, we’ll move into the dining sets/picnic table concepts!
Depending how large your deck is you can easily update your space with the appropriate type of furniture, depending on how you envision using the space. If you don’t think you’ll be grilling on the space then perhaps just lounging furniture is what you’ll need etc. Assess your options and see what works best for you when you’re refreshing your deck. Here are some of my top fave looks for each category:
- Josellyn 20″ Wide Outdoor Wicker Patio Sofa with Cushions
- 4-Piece With Storage Box Outdoor Conversation Set
- Oval Side Chair Patio Dining Set
- Rectangular Patio Dining Table
- Beaumont 8-pc. Dining Set in Charcoal Finish
6. Create an ambient with lighting
Lighting is such a huge aspect of our deck lives that often gets overlooked. You can completely change the look and mood of a deck just by adding some soft lighting both above and at your feet. When we added strands of string lights, the deck took on a whole new look and mood. It became a vibe! Here are the best options for throwing a new mood onto your deck.
- String lights– Oh this one is easy, I know! Adding string lights in any size can make a huge difference, but the real patio versions are large with independent bulbs. Christmas-style lights are fine too, but the patio version ones keep up the longest and provide the best light.
- Solar lights– The best part about these guys is that you don’t have to worry about changing any batteries, charging anything and that they become completely remote.
- Railing lights– You’ll typically find strips of LED lights that can be attached to the underneath of railings that give the whole deck a glow.
- Pathway lighting– If your deck is also attached to a path then adding lights to the path with solar landscape lighting can make it safer as well as beautiful.
There are also independent outdoor lamps that will work great for your outdoor furniture, not to mention you can always use candles!
7. Provide some privacy
Many people don’t realize that often times the reason they don’t actually use the patio or decks they is because of privacy! An open front porch makes sense, but a back deck can be uncomfortable without privacy. If you want to use your deck this summer or refresh it and actually use if this spring, then consider adding some new privacy ideas.
Privacy with plants
Consider adding large plants or plant boxes at the edge of your deck. Plants with large lush leaves such as a Bird of Paradise or Elephant’s ears are great noise and visual blockers.
Add a wall
Portable walls or a privacy fence is actually the simplest way to get instant privacy. Then you are free to dress it up with everything from outdoor art to hanging planters.
Create a Trellis
A large trellis with ivy or a vine plant can add privacy and also a beautiful garden look. Trellis are easy to come by, but you can also create a version of a privacy screen with a trellis. Just add a vine plant and watch it grow to cover your space!
A curtain rod with a sheer fabric in a light color is a great way to provide just the right amount of privacy while still letting some light pass through and illuminate your space. You can also find a stretchable fabric and stretch it between two posts to create the same effect without the wind causing a problem.
Try an umbrella
Large patio umbrellas are actually great ways to create some privacy and block out the sun. Opt for an umbrella that can swivel so that you can prop it at the perfect angle to create a little private space.
A deck is such a terrible thing to go to waste! Don’t let your spring or summer pass you by, instead, refresh your deck and use it to its fullest potential this year. With these ideas, you’ll have your deck ready to entertain, relax, or both in no time.
Types of Decks
Not all decks are created equal! These are the various types of decks or patios that you might discover or look to create for yourself.
- The Wraparound Deck – Think like a wraparound porch, but that extends all the way through the back of your house.
- The Multi-tier Deck– This type is great if you have a lot of backyard room to extend outward to. They bring in levels of space so that you can use different areas for different activities.
- The Attached Deck – This kind is similar to what you would consider an attached garage and often has a type of overhead covering.
- The Detached Deck– This one is more of an island where you have to walk from your home to the elevated deck. It’s usually a platform of a sort with a covering.
- The Rooftop Deck – This could also be an over garage deck, which means it’s above your home and usually found in apartment complexes.