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7 Ideas to Customize Your Deck

Updated August 12, 2020

Lowe's Editorial Team

By Lowe's Editorial Team

Add flair and function to a basic builder's deck with these tips for an affordable face-lift. These seven tips will help you stay on budget, introduce some color and add privacy.

Deck Upgrades

Keep a deck makeover budget-friendly by enhancing the basic structure. Before, this deck was builder-grade basic, but the platforms, rails and balusters were in good shape. With a new coat of stain and a few updates, this deck went from basic to brilliant.

A basic wood deck with stairs next to the house leading down to a small grill in the yard.

1. Improve the flow of traffic by moving the stairs. Before, the stairs were too close to the back door and created an awkward flow from the house to the yard. Moving the stairs opened up the path and made room for a grill.

A dusky green and blue-gray deck with privacy screens, a canopy, metal skirting and plants.

2. Refresh a plain wooden deck with stain. Choose solid-color acrylic deck stains in two colors: one for the main exterior color plus an accent color.

3. Hide the dead space under the deck by adding a skirt. Aluminum panels add an artistic element and provide an interesting backdrop for plant beds.

4. Fill in blank spaces around the deck with plants. Shade-loving plants in containers also add an artistic element and hide the dead space under the deck. The containers add a spot of color to the yard.

Stenciled privacy screens installed above railings on one end of a deck.

5. Create privacy with screens. Use screens to block out views of neighboring yards while maintaining an open, airy feel.

An overhead structure or pergola on a deck supporting hanging ferns.

6. Add architectural details with an overhead structure. This structure mirrors the home's style and gives the deck the look of an outdoor room.

7. Create a focal point by highlighting a scenic view in the yard. The two posts of the overhead structure frame a section of the yard the way a picture frame focuses attention on a piece of artwork.

Deck Upgrade Considerations

These updates were made to an existing 12-foot-by-14-foot deck. Costs and building codes vary. Because the size and structure of your deck (as well as the size of your house and yard) will differ from what's shown, building plans specific to this deck weren't provided.

Here are a few more things to think about when planning your own deck update:

  • What will you use the area for? Think about your favorite types of leisure activities. Do you like dining outdoors? This will help determine if you should expand the area and what other types of upgrades you might need.
  • What is your budget? Determine how much money you’re willing to spend on your upgrades to help make the best design choices and get the best upgrade for your investment.
  • Can you do the upgrades yourself? Depending on how complicated the updates are and what tools you own, you’ll need to decide if you’re up for a DIY project or if you’ll need to hire a pro. Whether you hire a contractor or do the upgrades yourself, you may need a permit and an inspection. Plan ahead to ensure the upgrades will be completed in time to enjoy your deck before the prime season ends.
  • Have you considered lighting? The right mood lighting can make evenings on your deck more relaxing and promote conversation. For help, see our Outdoor Lighting Buying Guide.
  • What about plants and planters? Add live plants to your deck to beautify the space, and you can change the look as the seasons change. For help, see our Planters, Window Boxes and Plant Containers Buying Guide.
  • Do you need to upgrade your seating? The right seating will improve conversation and provide a space for dining outdoors. Storage benches are also a good idea. They do double duty as storage and extra seating. For more ideas, see Relaxing Outdoor Living Spaces and our Patio Furniture Buying Guide.
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