There is something earthy and solid and appealing about a wooden deck. It is a perfect scenario for relaxing, reading, snoozing, eating, chatting, drinking and cooking, particularly if it is kept in beautiful condition enhanced by an array of planters. If you have a deck already that is looking a little sad, here are some ideas to upgrade it without having to replace it.


Basic, I know, but a couple of hours with a power washer can take off grime, any flaking bits of wood and that slick layer of green slime that arrives with the first bit of winter rain. Just don’t go at it too vigorously or you will end up damaging the wood. Pressure washers can pack anything from 30 to 80 times more pressure than a garden hose. Remove everything off the deck before you begin. Install the soap dispensing nozzle onto the tip of the power washer and distribute the wood cleaner of your choice over the deck in long, overlapping strokes. Do not hold the tip of the wand too near the decking. Some elbow grease with a stiff scrubbing brush will get rid of any stubborn stains. Change to a fan nozzle and “sweep” the deck in long, even strokes working in the direction of the grain.


It is recommended that you refinish your deck every two years with a sealer or protective wood stain or linseed oil rub to keep out moisture. Make sure there are no places where water is pooling on the deck or habitually splashing from an outdoor faucet as this will gradually rot the wood.


Removing everything from the deck for cleaning allows you to view it with a fresh eye. Defining the edge of the deck may mean adding more lush planting if your space needs softening, or it may benefit from a contrasting material such as gravel, rounded stones or lawn.


There is nothing tastier and more satisfying than home grown veggies. If you have any spare space on your deck that receives abundant light and sunshine, large planting boxes are practical and decorative. The handiest place for an edible garden to be is right next to house where you can easily pop out and snip a few herbs. Just make sure that your deck can support the extra weight that wooden planters can add.


To totally alter and update the look of your deck, choose new railings to add a finishing touch. Glass looks contemporary and is a great choice if regular railings are obscuring a view. Cable railing also puts less of a barrier between the deck and the garden. Consider adding built in benches to add more seating.