Is it just us, or are all the best songs about summer? “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy”… “Roll out those lazy hazy crazy days of summer”… “Oh, those summer nights.”
No wonder, since summer is the time to kick back with an iced tea, dig into a juicy read, and relish the slow hours before sunset. And what better place to do all that than from the comfort of your own backyard?
If you have an outdoor space but need some ideas for decorating the deck, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know to make your back deck “party central” this summer:
Determine a Vision for Your Back Deck
The first element to consider when planning ideas for your backyard deck is seating. Decks are about more than just dining; the coziest ones incorporate nooks for lounging, too.
Yes, you should have enough seats to host an outdoor dinner party on your back deck (six is a good number to aim for). But consider alternative spots specifically for conversation or relaxing. If you typically host more than eight guests, for example, set up at least two separate mingling spaces so no one is straining to hear.
Another way to optimize your back deck for social occasions? Offer a variety of seating options. Fun picks like hammocks are a surefire hit with younger guests. Low levels, like chaises, aren’t always comfortable for guests with accommodation needs. Convertible seating, like an ottoman, is a great option for storing as-needed accessories (e.g., extra napkins, blankets) out on the back deck itself.
Next, decide what vibe best suits your outdoor space. It’s an interior design rule of thumb that outdoor spaces look best when you bring the inside, outside – so try to translate your home’s indoor design scheme to your backyard deck.
A specific palette is also a helpful guiding tool; subtle color coordination makes a space look effortlessly elegant. Try your hand at color psychology – you don’t have to stick with all brown and black. Pops of red ooze romance, blue tends to be calming, and grey is simple sophistication, whether it’s in your living room or on your back deck.
Start planning for plants, too. Succulents are the obvious choice for summer weather, since they thrive in the sun. But if you want to keep an outdoor garden going year-round, go for a tolerant bloom like perennials. Otherwise, potted plants acclimate well to warm weather – and come winter, you can bring them back indoors.
Last, but far from least, factor in your budget. Do you want to put most of your money into furniture, or save for something like an upscale grill or pizza oven? There are plenty of ways to cut down costs when decorating your deck. Try your hand at DIY with a basket-turned-side-table, or recycle wine bottles into torches. Alternatively, hit up your local thrift store for deals as good as they are unique.
The ultimate money saving hack, though, is to “shop around” your home. You never know how those extra throw pillows or funky art pieces you have lying around might perfectly punctuate your back deck.
Factor in Any Large Appliances or Centerpieces
In addition to the two major deck staples – dining and lounging areas – outdoor spaces also benefit from a touch of recreation.
Grills and decks go together like, well, hot dogs and buns. If you’re including one, make sure to leave room for food prepping – a side table is always handy next to a grill. Another great deck idea is a fire pit; they’re ideal for roasting s’mores in the summer, and they’re versatile enough to be used in colder months, too.
Speaking of seasonal convertibles, you can’t go wrong with the timeless jacuzzi. Just make sure that when you move it into your yard, you do so without flooding it. Or if an above-ground pool is more your style, set one up next to your deck. From now on, every summer party can be a pool party!
Start Putting All the Pieces of Your Back Deck Together
Now that you have a general vision for the deck, and determined which staples will serve as its centerpiece, it’s time to start getting everything into place.
Think of the deck as a room. Lay down a rug as your starting point; this will anchor the space together.
Next, strategize the layout of your appliances and furniture. If your grill will be the main focus, try to place it right between the inside kitchen and outdoor seating area for easy access. Got a great view? Set up the dining table overlooking it.
If you live in an urban area, ensure privacy by constructing a makeshift wall. Shannon from Homemade Lovely has a tutorial for building a vertical garden, which she used to enclose her property. (Best of all, you can customize with whatever plants you want – how about some mint for mojito garnishes?)
Another option for creating privacy is simply adding drop-cloth curtains, which can be opened and closed as needed, letting you choose between sweet sunlight on the back deck and privacy from your neighbors when you need it.
Make the Deck Uniquely Yours
Now comes the extra fun part: Imbuing the backyard deck with your personality. Accessorize depending upon the main purpose you want your deck to serve.
If you have kids, keep at-the-ready accessories within reach. Think books, comfy blankets, and plenty of towels if your deck has a pool or hot tub. A plethora of throw pillows is great for hosting guests of any age – just make sure to add removable cases for easy laundering.
Live in a mosquito-prone area? An overhead fan is the simplest, most effective way to keep the pests at bay.
And then there’s the romantic touch: Lighting. There’s no limit to deck lighting ideas, so it depends on your overall design scheme. Do you want hanging string lights, or maybe some solar lanterns? You can even set a cozy ambiance using exclusively candles on the dining table.
Since your deck is your new outside “room,” feel free to incorporate feng shui, too. Running water, like the kind from a fountain, is purported to calm and refresh energy. Similarly, there’s a reason wind chimes are a backyard staple: they’re designed to keep outdoor spaces serene.
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