5 Landscaping Lessons

A deck need not compete with your garden for attention. Here's how to artfully blend the two in your landscape.
Blend your deck and landscape

This homeowner's deck was not always a restful spot in her garden. When she first purchased her 1926 English Tudor-style home in Tulsa, the deck overlooked a barren yard. But she transformed her yard into a vivid, colorful landscape, and utilized her deck as the perfect backdrop.

Here are five suggestions for integrating a deck into your landscape.

1. Connect the deck and garden with patios and paths at garden level. The homeowner and her husband built paths that lead from the deck to prime garden spots. They used Hackett stone for the walkways as well as a water feature and retaining walls in their garden. The trails leading from the deck into the garden visually and physically link the two spaces, and repetition of the stone throughout the garden provides continuity.

2. Use vertical plantings to fill the space between the garden level and the deck level. If only low plants surround a deck, the structure can seem looming. The homeowner suggests three heights of plants and trees be incorporated in the design of a bed to please the eye. When tall plants are used around the perimeter of a deck, the deck becomes part of the garden area.

3. Select evergreens for year-round interest. The homeowner is a fan of evergreens. "I did not want to look out and see twigs and sticks," she says. Evergreens planted near the deck assure that even in winter the base of the structure will not look bare.

4. Install a water feature near the deck. She wanted a water feature near the house in a natural setting so she could hear the soothing sounds of the flowing water. Since the deck is her favorite perching post for enjoying the results of her work in the garden, placing the water feature nearby was a natural choice. Plants that frame the pond are also found elsewhere in the garden to provide continuity. Once the pond was installed, she added water plants -- including Japanese iris, pickerel weed, spider lily, and water hyacinth -- to complete the feature.

5. Bring the beauty of the garden onto the deck. The homeowner planted clematis vines near the face of her deck, allowing the vining plants to use the deck as a trellis. Container gardens fill the deck with colorful blooms.