I start out every Spring/Summer with a list of projects that need to be done before fall. And this year was no different…my big summer project was to paint the house.
Then my plans got broadsided by a family of raccoons and I had to change my priorities. For those of you who do not know, Toronto is inundated by these destructive beasts. I guess it was inevitable that they would eventually recognize weak spots in my old deck and decide to take up residence underneath. They smell bad, make noise, are fearless, get into everything, can damage roofs…you get the picture…they are very unwelcome roommates!
I consulted a pest control company and learned that the only way to evict the critters was to demolish the existing deck.
Then dig a 1 foot deep trench around the outside edge of the new deck, pour concrete to keep the raccoons out and extend wire mesh beyond that.
Then construct a new low-to-the-ground deck or stone patio. Luckily, a contractor friend just happened to have a gap in his schedule, with crew standing idle, so it was out with the old and in with the new all within the hottest week of August.
After all that was done, I was finally able to create a relaxing deck. Read on to find out how.
Build Wide Steps
The finished deck has wide steps that are easy to walk up.
These steps make it feel like you can take your time…which makes the whole deck feel relaxing.
To make it more interesting, the 2”x 6” pressure treated deck boards were installed on the slant in opposite directions on each level.
Add a Privacy Fence
My existing lattice fence provides some privacy from the neighbors.
That screen makes the deck feel very cozy and relaxing.
Holes in the fence provide a perfect spot to hang some plants.
Surround The Deck With Plants
Plants add shade and automatically make everything feel more “zen”.
Of course, I had to have plants, so as part of the design, we left a 2 foot space on 2 sides of the deck so that soil could be added.
The third side was already a developed part of the garden (as you can tell from the larger-sized plants).
I filled this space with shade tolerant perennials (Japanese painted ferns, astilbes, geraniums, ‘Jack Frost’ brunneras, various hostas), shrubs (‘My Monet’ weigela, and yews and a rhododendron for winter greenery), and a couple of clematis to climb the fence and an ornate trellis.
All of the blooming plants bloom with blue/purple flowers (except the rhododendron). Using a monochromatic color scheme is very soothing, as is the blue and purple palette.
I also added large pots of houseplants and containers of blooming blue flowers.
Even the pots are blue!
Use Comfortable Furniture
Comfortable chairs with cushions make you feel like staying for a while.
The lounge chair is perfect for relaxing.
And this little table in front of the fountain is the perfect place for al fresco dining.
Add a Soothing Water Fountain
Nothing is more soothing than the sound of splashing water, so a fountain is a must! I already had this mosaic tiled wall fountain which fits perfectly between the fence and the house.
It provides the soothing sound of splashing water. And hides some of the downspout coming from the roof.
Install Landscape Lighting
Low wattage lighting installed among the plants gives the garden a magical feeling at night. It also provides enough light that you can still enjoy the deck in the evening.
Using citron candles in strategically placed holders to ward off the bugs helps make it even more enjoyable!
Adding a few novelty LED lights adds some personality.
Provide Easy Cushion Storage
To make sure you actually use all of those comfortable cushions, install a waterproof deck box that is big enough to hold them. This will make it really easy to pull them out when you need them and put them away when you don’t.
I love this new outdoor space and enjoy relaxing there from early morning to evening. I am also finding it a very easy spot to entertain guests. And while the raccoons still live in the neighborhood, they are no longer living under my deck.
Incidentally, it is a big bonus because I still managed to paint the house!