Planting a Deck

Plant with a Purpose

Whether the plants are on the deck or planted adjacent to it, the introduction of a little green will help the deck blend into the garden and not appear as an object. Here are a few ways to add beauty and utility to your deck.

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Tips for Deck Plants

  • If your deck is high off the ground, you might consider planting some small, ornamental trees around the base so that the canopy of the plants is at eye level. This softens the edge, can add privacy, and may even cast some shade.
  • When choosing a tree, consider flower color and fall color. If the plant has fragrance, try to place it on the upwind side of the deck.
  • Planted in containers or built-in structures, plants add color and accent to the deck. They can tie the structure to the garden, break up large expanses of open areas, highlight an entryway, or enliven a seating area.
  • Plants can define different areas of a deck. Use four containers of evergreen shrubs to establish the corners of an outdoor dining area. Line them up side by side to screen an area for sunbathing.
  • Make use of the walls of the house and train a vine or espalier a tree or shrub to soften the wall. Take advantage of the view from the deck and create patterns of planting in the garden beyond it.

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Ideas for Your Deck

Shrubs and ornamental grasses enclose two sides of this small deck, creating a more intimate atmosphere for relaxation.

Nestling a deck into existing plantings softens its straight edges and makes it look like a natural part of the landscape.

Deck planters don’t have to be limited to the inside of the structure.

This built-in planter creates a deck-level bed. When planning these features, set them out of the way of traffic.