Deck Dilemma - Help!

Our lovely blog follower Edwina wrote to us recently asking for help. Of course we knew exactly who to ask for help - you:)

This is Edwina's dilemma:
We built the deck in September last year and only got around to painting it recently. Our problem is working out what to do with all the space out there! As you can see, it's pretty huge - 50 square metres. We have it set up so the dining table and chairs are down one end, two couches in the middle and an old BBQ down the far end. There's also a bar fridge, but not much else.

Our idea was that one day, our kids would be able to play out there and have plenty of room. But, as we have no kids yet, that plan is a way off coming together...

The couches were originally in an L Shape, but whenever there was a bad storm they both got drenched, so we pushed them to the back wall.

My problem is working out what to put down the far end, where the BBQ is. I'd LOVE some plants and herbs on the deck, but my husband is pretty picky about not letting water onto the walls and not having anything on the decking that could degrade it... He's leaning towards putting a pool table down there, but I'm not so keen because I think they're pretty ugly, plus it'd get damaged pretty quickly being exposed to the weather.

We live in Queensland, so we spend about 8 months of the year out here, but when it rains it POURS and the storms and wind can be pretty violent.

So, I'd love to hear some creative ideas on how to make the space more comfortable - lighting, furnishings and any solutions on putting herbs out there without ruining the finishes.

Basically, if this space was yours, what would you DO with it??

Thank you so much - really excited to read the responses.

I hope you can help Edwina with some suggestions.
We have also been discussing the exteriors finishes of homes over on the Decorating Forum so pop on over and join in the chatter:)


Alaina said...

It looks like a bowling alley. You need to set up the zones differently. I noticed you have a wall at each end. Why not use the couches against the walls to better protect them and make several smaller conversation areas. Also I noticed the grill is so far from the eating area, why not move them closer together. As for plants, use the drip catchers to keep the water off the floor and set the plants more toward the outer edge of the deck. There are some ideas if it were mine. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing to indicate which room gives on to the far end of the deck - bedroom?

I would certainly take advantage of all that space to set up a hammock, maybe even using it to cut off the bedroom end. Then there could be a more intimate round table and two wicker chair sort of thing at that end, then the hammock and pots on castors with drip catchers as Alaina says.

Your couches would come next, maybe with an all-weather chaise longue or a couple of all-weather chairs and side tables, and have the grill closer to the dining end.

Kerryanne English said...

If that was my decking I'd certainly be setting up a herb garden.
Also Edwina, have you considered installing a couple of those clear PVC roller blinds at one end so that you could pull them down during storms/bad weather. They are very effective and roll up out of sight when not in use.
Beautiful decking and the perfect play area for little ones when they come along.

Gab* said...

Wow, what a fabulous deck!

I agree with Tricia, a hammock would be great out there. I think you need some kind of greenery to 'soften' the area a little. Surely the deck will be ok as long as you have a 'saucer' under the pot and move the pots even now and then to clean under them? Having said that, I'm in very dry SA - we don't have any problems with rotting! Things always die here because it's too dry!

Elements said...

I would create zones with your furniture.
1. Dining in the middle....oversized table with something like rice paper lanterns hanign over to create a peak in the centre this way you can easily take them down if the rain comes and cheap enough to replace if they do get caught in the elements.
2. Bbq on one side..creating your prep area as such....maybe get a rug to put under your bbq, a jute inexpensive outdoor rug....this will create a new zone and catch any bits that jump off the could find a bar style table for hubby to sit and chat while he is cooking or find a timber bench type piece of furniture for placing meats and foods etc.
3. Relaxing zone for after your meal to sit on yopur sofas run them along the back and side of your wall and grab an exterior coffee table and some floor can cover these in weather proof material...they could be used later with kids also.
Herbs could go in little rectangular planters along the fence hanging on the garden side with the ones you see outside window sills.....
I hope we can all come together and give you some great ideas.....great deck by the way.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful deck! Great space!

1. Install clear PVC blinds to keep the weather out during storms.

2. Paint under windows near your dining table with chalk board paint. You can use it to write a menu for a bbq/dinner party or just a fun quote. I think it will add some 'pop' visually to the area, as it looks a bit bland. When kids come along it can be used as a kids zone and you can move the table along.

3. I'd turn your dining table around the other way, it will fit the space visually better

4. Put your couches in a L shape or opposite each other, with the PVC blinds water shouldn't be an issue.

5. Near the BBQ can you intall a bit planter box under the window? We have done this on our deck, a big jarrah planter box to about waist height, depth is only about 30 or 40cms. Ours gets full sun so we've planted an orange, lemon and lime tree (under planted with pansies) and have tied the branches flat to a lattice like frame. If a planter box isn't an option choose matching pots which fill the space and place under the window.

How about stringing up some fairy/christmas lights to add a bit of interest, would look cute at night!

Also you might want to move the bbq closer to the dining area.

brismod said...

I love this deck. It's gorgeous!
What would I do? Like everyone else I would set up zones.
I would put the BBQ close to where it opens from the kitchen. Configure it like an outdoor kitchen with maybe a narrow prep table. Bring the bar stools to that end so the chef is not lonely when cooking or can have a drink while the sausages are grilling.
The dining table I would place in the middle.
And the outdoor lounge I would have at the far end. But I would have them facing each other. So you can have a face to face chat. I'd be pedantic and put the cushions away after use, so they don't get wet during a storm. Also, I'd need a fan for those hot summer days.
Then take up macrame and make funky hangers for pot plants. I'd go hard-core party lights too - none of this fairy stuff. Et voila!

Julie-Ann said...

Love the cafe blinds idea Kerryanne, it would allow you to use the space even on windy days and protect the furniture.
Love the idea of the herbs in planters on the garden side of the deck. For extra protection of any planters that you have sitting on the deck, you could lay some rubber matting underneath. With the planter trays any water spill would be minor and would only sit on the rubber then.
If it was my deck I would have a spa but that would have water issues for your hubby. With the spa and the pool table you would also need to be sure the deck could take the weight.
So many great ideas so far- thanks everyone:)

The Weekend Island said...

Thanks all for the good ideas so far - I think you're right about setting up zones out there. And the bistro blind idea is definitely something we're keen on.

Tricia Rose, the lounge/kitchen area opens onto one end o fthe deck (where the dining table currently is) and the other end has a bedroom opening onto it.

lanne said...

It is LOVELY! I would move the BBQ to the kitchen end. Perhaps even build in an outdoor kitchen style bench that the BBQ can slot into and the fridge can go underneath? There are some upmarket (expensive) versions of this but there are probably some cheaper options if you keep it simply. The cafe blinds are a great idea. I would move the dining area back a bit from the BBQ area.. then place the sofas in an L shape.. one along the wall and one accross the deck. Maybe add a coffee table? Friends can lounge whilst someone/people cook.. and everyone commune at the table.

The area behind the sofas would become like a second room.. add two comfy chairs/deck chairs and a small table.. perfect for ready and lounging.. or breakfast table/smaller setting. The extra chairs will come in handy during a party as would the smaller table (it might become a drinks table etc)

Jenny said...

Yes, I have to agree with what has been said already. I like the idea of zones and the cafe PVC blinds. Best of luck and don't forget to show us after shots. :-)

The Weekend Island said...

Thanks all for the food for thought. I'll do some rearranging this weekend and be sure to send in some after shots when it's done!

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