Awesome Dual Outdoor Deck Editor Anne Reagan guides us through some simple steps and tips to create a deck you’ll love, all summer long.

See more of Anne’s picks for an ideal deck here on her Styleboard.

Summer has finally arrived and now is the time to maximize your outdoor space! With a bit of planning, your family can literally extend your living, dining, and entertaining square footage. Create your dream deck with these simple tips.

Ensure Safety First

Before decorating your deck for summer, make sure it’s in top shape. Walk around the perimeter and inspect under and around the deck and support beams. Decking pieces, stairs, and framing should not wiggle, and all fasteners and nails should be securely in place. If you’re unsure about the safety of your deck, call in a decking professional to assess the structure and fix any potential issues.

Pro tip: The perfect time to inspect the integrity of your deck is during the cleanup process. Use sandpaper to file away any splintered areas, clean away moss and dirt, trim nearby branches, and apply fresh stain and protectant if necessary.

Maximize Your Space

Too little furniture on the deck will make the space look small and underutilized. Extend the décor to all edges of the deck and give the eye a reason to move around the space. Planters, seating, umbrellas, and other décor create movement and a feeling of spaciousness. Multiple seating areas not only make the deck feel larger, but also you’ll have more places for guests to sit and enjoy the view.

Pro tip: To ensure safety, leave plenty of space for traffic to flow around the grill, stairs, and doorway. Never block entrances or exits, or place obstacles in a pathway. A good rule of thumb is to allow 3 feet of space for people to walk around your zones.

Create Entertaining Zones

Treat your outdoor deck like an extension of your home by having the right zones for your family. The cooking zone should include the grill or outdoor kitchen, the dining zone should include a table and chairs, and the conversation or relaxing zone should incorporate comfortable seating like lounge chairs. Your family may also want a potting bench, sandbox for the kids, or an outdoor bar. By creating specific places, you’ll optimize your deck and create the best areas for entertaining or relaxing.

Pro tip: A wide-open deck doesn’t have natural walls to define sections. Use outdoor rugs, umbrellas, potted plants, or freestanding furniture to help create the “rooms” you desire.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Color

Adding color through furniture or plants is the best way to make your deck stand out. Color moves the eye and can trick the brain into thinking that the space is larger and more dynamic than it really is. Furniture is a great way to incorporate seasonal décor changes from year to year. Purchase furniture that has fitted outdoor cushions or coordinating pillows; consider purchasing two different colors if you think you want to change your palette next season. Containers and planters are another way to quickly introduce color to your deck. Use containers of different heights to elevate and soften the sides of the deck.

Pro tip: Tall containers work well to establish different zones or block views on the deck, but there’s no need to fill the whole container with soil. Purchase a plant insert or place an inverted container inside the tall planter. You’ll save dirt as well as water.

Anne Reagan, Editor-in-Chief,


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