As things green up and the air gets warmer, our thoughts turn to the summer months, and to sprucing up our yards and entertaining guests. If your home has a deck, now is the time to tend to any repairs it may need, and to decide what kind of upgrades you might want to have in place before you invite company to your first outdoor get-together of the season.
The harsh colder months can take their toll on patios and decks, so begin with a preliminary inspection of how well everything came through winter.
Check all wooden surfaces for discoloration, which can be a sign of rot, mildew or mold, issues which need to be addressed immediately if they are found. Look for loose or broken boards and any nails or screws that protrude.
Conduct a tour of your yard, walkways and decks as if you were a stranger, visiting your home for the first time. As a resident, you may have become accustomed to the quirks and potential hazards that a guest to your home wouldn’t necessarily notice, so try to view the area through a newcomer’s eyes, looking for the places someone might stumble or trip. Is there any uneven planking or are there other possible hazards? Are there crumbling flagstones, bricks or other rock work that could cause an injury? Is there something on which an unwary guest might bump his head? How well-lit are your yard and deck? Install a few solar-powered lights along paths and near any possible tripping locations. You want to make sure that everyone who visits will be safe and can enjoy your hospitality to the fullest.
Reseal your wood, if you haven’t done so in a year or two. Or consider a good power wash to remove accumulated grime and stains. Once all of the maintenance tasks are out of the way, you can decide what new touches to add so that your deck presents a welcoming and comfortable place to relax.
Old furniture can look new with the addition of a few throw pillows or cushions. Strategically placed flower pots add a pop of color a nice fragrance.
String lighting not only brightens an area but lends it a look of enchantment. Hurricane candles achieve the same effect; just take care to position them where they aren’t likely to get knocked over. Tiki torches can illuminate an entire yard, adding to the entertainment space.
The sun remains high in the sky until late in the summer months, so provide ample shade with an umbrella table or canopy for you and your guests. By the same token, the temperature drops rapidly when the sun does the same, so consider ways to ward off the chill. Deck heating units come in a variety of options—table units, free-standing propane-powered ones, or electric wall-mounted radiant heaters. You might want to look into adding a fire pit. Fire pits add charm and atmosphere and provide a great gathering-around spot.
Rather than a portable grill, think about installing a stationary unit. They’re larger, more attractive, and can generally cook more food at a time if you are entertaining a bigger group of people.
Finally, remember you are designing the deck for yourself and your preferences. At the end of the day, it should be the place you want to kick back and enjoy yourself, incorporating those special touches that make it a place you want to spend time every summer evening and weekend.
Need assistance in making your yard and deck look its best? You can always count on the Craftsmen at Handyman Matters to give it exactly the look you would like it to have.