Classic and Contemporary Deck Decorations

The classic and contemporary patios use deck decorations simply, with special attention given to each decorative structure and object. Classic design of patio and yard uses straight lines to create an uncluttered look. Classic design dates back to Greek and Roman times, and common decorations include marble urns and stone benches. Contemporary design is similar to classic design in that its also reveres uncluttered space, but it differs in that instead of emphasizing nature, like traditional or classic design, contemporary design places more importance on human needs and practical function. Contemporary design also uses more geometric shapes than classic design. However, decorating either design is a similar process, and many deck decorations can be used in either design.


  • Less is more, but not if we're talking price. It's better to decorate with fewer, higher quality items; only buy what you absolutely love.
  • Think of your patio as a gateway between the indoors and outdoors, between civilization and the wild. Your patio should be comfortable like inside, but it should also tempt to you to spend more time outside.

Choose a Theme

Contemporary isn't a theme, it's just a design style. There are many themes that can fit into a contemporary or classic patio, such as mediterranean, oriental, or ocean. A theme should pull all your decorating items together to create a more inviting atmosphere. The oriental theme is a popular contemporary theme, since many feng shui principles and the use of spheres fit into the contemporary design. Remember a theme should influence your furniture and rugs, as well as lighting. If decorating your patio with an oriental theme, choose a low standing table over a bamboo mat with cushions as seating and don't forget the chinese lanterns at night. 

Indulge the Senses

Contemporary design is all about fulfilling human needs. Remember to please all five of the senses when decorating your patio. Create a list of items for indulging each of the senses. 

  • Touch: What materials do you most like to curl up against? Satin? Velvet? Linen? Corduroy? Vary the fabrics of your cushions, hammock, and throw blankets.
  • Taste: Tea parties? Morning coffee? The kids' afternoon snack? What kind of eating and drinking occurs most often? Cooking on an outdoor firepit or grill makes outdoor dining more enjoyable and convenient.
  • Smell: Flowers and herbs grown in planters are easy on the eyes and give out aromas to encourage relaxation. Many incense burners and potpourri holders come in contemporary or classic designs made from stone and marble.
  • Hear: What sounds do you want to attract? The sound of a hummingbird's wings beating is enchanting, or what about twinkling wind chimes? 
  • See: Color coordination is important for classic and contemporary patios. Too many clashing colors can make your patio look like a carnival. White, black and beige? Dove-grey, navy blue, and brown? Choose colors to match your theme. 

Turn on the Lights!

Combine natural and man-made lights to accomplish different lighting techniques at nighttime. 

  • Moon lighting: Place in a tree or shrub, shining downwards to mimc the moonlight. 
  • Shadowing: Place a light in front of a sculpture or plant and aim so that it's shadow is cast on a wall.
  • Silhouetting: To emphasize the outline of a sculpture, place a light behind the object and shine up against a wall or other vertical surface.

It's time to spend more time on the patio!