Decks give you lots of extra living space, and they’re less expensive than adding a room onto your house. They keep your feet out of the wet grass on a dewy morning and free from mud after a rain. And that’s just the short list of why you should have a deck! But many decks look like they’re simply tacked onto the back of the house. While you may crave getting outside, a bare deck can feel uncomfortable, like you’re totally exposed. That means privacy is also an issue, especially if there are other houses nearby. And while many of your plants prefer to spend all of their time in full sun, you might like a shaded spot you can head to on a hot afternoon.
A deck should fit in with the house and garden around it. That means you need at least a few trees and shrubs to give it structure all year and lots of flowers to entice you outside in spring, summer and fall. Check out our design tips and planting plan below. Even if your deck isn’t exactly like this one, go ahead and adjust them to personalize your own backyard living space.
When designing a garden around your deck, make sure at least some of the plants have more than one season of interest. For example, this serviceberry has white flowers in spring and red-purple fruit in summer. Then in fall the foliage changes to shades of yellow, orange and red. Many of the other plants selected are fine with minimal maintenance. Mow off the old foliage of the lilyturf each spring to keep it looking fresh. Be sure to remove the spent iris flowers each spring to encourage a new batch for fall. And for winter fruit on the holly, plant a male cultivar nearby to pollinate the white spring flowers. The multistemmed river birch not only casts needed shade, but also adds a casual, natural look. Its flaking bark really shows off in winter. Remove some of the lower limbs as the tree grows so you can see it better. Curious about the rest of the plants in this plan? You’ll find more information about them in the slideshow below.