Decking Out Your Deck Decking Out Your Deck

Sure, you have a nice deck, but is it fully loaded with all the options or is it just a stripped-down model? Many deck owners just toss out a grill, some chairs and a table and consider their deck complete. Yet there's no reason to be a minimalist.

Below are several ideas to transform your deck from a bunch of timber to a true gateway from your home to your garden.

  • Get a wrought-iron table & chairs set that stands up to harsh weather and needs little more care than an occasional wire brushing to clean off surface rust.
  • Accessorize the table with an umbrella to keep lounging lunchers from getting sunburned.
  • Add hanging baskets of flowers, or if you're really ambitious, an ivy trellis along the house wall that fronts the deck.
  • If your deck lies straight off the kitchen, start an herb garden that hangs on the railing just beside the door.
  • Likewise, flower boxes can hang on the deck's railings with azaleas and begonias brightening up that stark wood deck.
  • For true plant aficionados, grow a small tree, such as a ficus, on your deck.
  • To light up nighttime parties, use natural or artificial lighting or combine the two. Surround your deck with several tiki torches as a natural source of light, but be sure to use Citronella lamp oil to help keep the bugs away. If you use artificial floodlights, get yellow bug lights to repel those unwanted guests.
  • To keep nature in its place be sure to have citronella candles or a "bug zapper" for mosquitoes and flies. For hornets and wasps there are traps that attract and kill those annoying pests. Also, be sure to fence in the area below the deck with fine-mesh wire to keep mice, skunks, opossums and other critters from taking up residence down under.

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