Smart Deck Upgrades
The right upgrades can transform a little-used deck into a popular outdoor space that's everyone's favorite place to hang out, eat and party. Opting for some smart changes to a modest or older deck can improve its functioning and attractiveness, as well as add value to the home. Here are a few of a wide range of upgrades you can use to revive a lackluster deck.
The size, shape, material and color of planters can add dimension, texture and character to your deck. Planters can be used to define specific-use areas, such as the seating or cooking area of a deck by strategically placing them to separate, or border, those spaces.
In terms of functionality, tall plants are a great way to create a "natural" privacy screen, as well as add some shade on full-sun days. If you have a trellis or pergola on your deck, purposefully placed hanging planters can also add some privacy and help block glaring sun. Custom-built wood planters are considered an architectural feature, adding significant beauty, warmth and a bit of luxury to a deck. Built-in wood planters come with drainage that needs to be maintained. Manufactured wood planters usually come lined with sheet metal or plastic, and meant to hide potted plants, which can be inserted or removed as needed.
Since deck railings can be seen from the ground, they can add architectural interest to your home's exterior. If your deck has wonderful scenic views, you can preserve those views with a sleek, all-glass railing or a thin cable railing, instead of having to look through thick slats or an ornate design. Steel cables, strung between wood or metal posts, can be on the pricey side, so you could combine wood and cable, making sure the cable portion is installed in the sections of the deck where the view is important.
Sculptural, colorful geometric-shaped shade sails, made of UV-resistant fabric, are an attractive, efficient way of providing diffused light for a large or small deck. Sails provide a soft, diffused type of shade, and allow enough light to enter windows near the deck. Shade sails have been described as aerial sculpture, fluttering gently with the breezes. Keep in mind, though, that sails are capable of exerting a strong force on windy days. Shade sails need to be attached to the frame of house, or secured to steel or wooden poles anchored in concrete -- for which a professional installer is recommended.
Hidden Deck Fasteners
Innovative hidden deck fastener holds deck planks in place while enabling the surface to look smooth and modern. There are many types of hidden fasteners, with varying designs. Hidden fasteners are labor intensive to install, which adds to the cost per square foot compared to an installation using deck screws. Many homeowners consider it a worthwhile investment, however, especially if their deck is made of wood or other premium material, and they want it to look its best.