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Outdoor Living: 12 Inspiring Backyard Deck Ideas

Is your deck looking a little too plain and generally underwhelming? Or is it old, worn, and in need of a makeover? Whatever the issue seems to be, it’s probably time to take some backyard deck ideas into consideration!

Your deck should be an enjoyable space where you converse, eat, and listen to the sounds of nature. If yours doesn’t match this vibe, you can use paint, extensions, and decorations to make it more interesting and inviting.

Keep reading for some eye-catching and fun ideas you can try with your backyard deck!

A firepit, plants, and furniture are just a few backyard deck ideas

Simple Backyard Deck Ideas

1. Illuminate Your Staircase

Do you find yourself tripping on your deck’s staircase once the sun goes down? This is a telltale sign that you need to upgrade your lighting options! It’s also a sign that your stairs aren’t safe for nighttime use, which can lead to serious injuries.

Staircase lights are an excellent option for providing just the right amount of light for nighttime stair use. They also offer a beautiful glow that gives your deck’s staircase an elegant feel and an aesthetic look.

You’ll get plenty of compliments on these ambient little lights. And you can feel at ease knowing you and your guests won’t trip or fall with this backyard deck idea.

2. Install Decorative Railing Spindles

Most people have plain wooden railings on their decks. There’s nothing wrong with them, as they’re sturdy and do their job of keeping people safe. But they can be boring to look at.

An easy backyard deck idea to fix this bland look is with decorative railing spindles! This small change can quickly give your deck more of a wow factor by offering intricate, elegant designs.

Decorative spindles have the power to bring a sleek and more modern look to your otherwise plain deck. They’re stunning to look at while still serving a purpose. Safety doesn’t need to be or look boring!

3. Cover Your Deck With a Pergola

How is your deck during the spring and summer? Is it moderately shady, or do you feel yourself melting in the blazing sun? If you’re burning your feet and overheating, it’s time to look into shade options like a pergola!

This backyard deck idea is perfect for protecting you from the sun by providing a cool spot to relax. It’s functional while also offering you a low-maintenance piece of beauty that will embellish your deck.

Adding a pergola will give your deck a more home-like feel and showcase a put-together look. It almost creates an outdoor room without walls!

Try putting your pergola over your furniture for the ultimate relaxation area. It may work best with dining areas, as everyone can enjoy their meal without the sun in their eyes!

4. Paint Your Deck an Eye-Catching Color

If your deck’s current paint layer is beginning to peel, it’s probably time for a fresh, new change. While new paint might seem simple, it has the potential to alter the appearance and vibe of your deck significantly!

When it’s time for a fresh coat of paint, it’s easy to go for plain brown. But try to pick something different!

Deck painted bright white with red chairs

Using anti-slip deck paint in shades like red, white, or sand can be beautifully bold. This backyard deck idea can make your deck look brand new, and opting for anti-slip paint will provide added safety.

5. Screen Your Deck In

Do you avoid your deck in the summertime due to mosquitoes and other annoying bugs? While bug spray can protect you short-term, applying it every time you go outside can be annoying and smelly.

Screening in your deck is another great option if you want to spend time outside without bites and bug spray.

Blocking your deck in with screen mesh will keep out any pesky bugs that might bother you, including disease-ridden mosquitoes. It’ll also offer a well-ventilated, comfortable area that you and your guests will love hanging out in.

Opting for this backyard deck idea essentially extends your living space into the outdoors.

Backyard Deck Addition Ideas

6. Add Deck Rail Planters

Planters are an excellent way to bring bright pops of color to your deck. However, they’re prone to breakage due to weather and can be tripping hazards. An easy fix for these issues is to get them off the ground with deck rail planters.

Stationary box planters allow you to have a large variety of plants in one area. They can make the perfect replacement for gardens if you don’t have enough yard space for one. Try planting stunning flower options like mixed pansies or hydrangeas.

You can also use the planters for mosquito-repelling plants, such as lavender, to keep bites to a minimum. Lavender proves to be an effective natural repellent that may be able to replace synthetic bug repellents!

7. Add Bench Borders Instead of Railings

Railings are primarily for safety rather than for decorative reasons. But if you feel like railings are a little too plain, you can turn the space into seating!

High-back benches can provide the deck-bordering safety you need while offering more seating for your guests. This backyard deck idea gives your deck more of an aesthetic appeal along with a low-maintenance furniture option.

You can place backless benches against your railing or build your own seating.

Cedar deck with built in benches for seating

If you choose to build your own benches, it might be a good idea to paint them the same color as your deck. Doing this will give your deck a more cohesive look, making it seem like the benches were always there. You could also opt for staining the benches with wood stain for a natural look.

8. Build a Deck Addition Around Trees

Putting an addition onto your deck is a great way to spruce it up and provide more outdoor living space. But building this addition around a tree is even better!

Making a towering, beautiful tree the centerpiece of your deck addition is sure to be a conversation starter. It melds your deck together with nature and almost creates a treehouse-like vibe.

You can also expect the tree to provide a decent amount of shade. So, you might not even need other shade options!

This backyard deck idea would be ideal if you already have a tree in your yard. But you can always plant a tree sapling and build around it!

Just be sure to trim any loose branches with tree pruners as your tree grows. Doing this will prevent falling branches from hitting and damaging your deck.

9. Create a Conversation Pit

Are you looking for a deck design that’s both useful and aesthetically pleasing? A conversation pit could be the perfect backyard deck idea for you!

Adding a conversation pit to your deck will give it a more comfortable and inviting feel. It’ll probably be where all your guests want to hang out!

Deck with a conversation pit.  Pillows on the benches and a fire pit in the middle

Conversation pits also create the feeling that your deck has multiple levels. This can help make your deck space look and feel bigger than it is. More space, or at least the feeling of more space, is always a good thing!

To make your conversation pit more cozy, adding bench cushions would be an excellent idea. Sitting on wood for long periods isn’t that comfortable. So, squishy cushions should increase the comfort factor and make people feel more at home.

Added Features for Your Backyard Deck

10. Get a Firepit

Firepits are versatile features that you can enjoy for at least three seasons out of the year. The crackling noises they create, along with their comforting warmth, make them hard to resist. And they’re especially great for enjoying s’mores and other campfire favorites!

Luckily, you can find plenty of firepit ideas that’ll make an excellent addition to your deck. Just be sure to place your firepit on a firepit mat to keep your deck from warping or getting too hot. You can enjoy your company and the crackling fire safely with this combination.

Consider pairing this backyard deck idea with a conversation pit for the ultimate relaxation area!

11. Combine Floor Lanterns and String Lights For Ambient Lighting

Creating the right ambiance for your deck is essential to outdoor comfort. Plus, seeing your loved ones at night is hard if you don’t have any lights!

Using floor lanterns and string lights in tandem can help make a cozy atmosphere. There’s just something about warm white lighting that provides a comforting and calming environment.

Combining lights at varying heights will also keep your deck sufficiently lit, which means everyone will be safe from falls. It’s a backyard deck idea that’s both functional and gorgeous.

And if you want more patio light ideas, check out Glowing Ambience for more suggestions!

12. Set Up a Kitchen and Dining Area

Enjoying tasty meals in an outdoor setting is the epitome of warm-weather relaxation. So, bringing that experience home to your deck is only right!

Deck with lights and an outdoor kitchen

Setting up a kitchen area with outdoor cooking appliances is the first step in enjoying outdoor meals. You can house your cooking essentials in an outdoor dining cart and set up a beautiful dining area.

A cooking and dining area will allow you, as the host, to be with your guests while getting dinner ready. You won’t be stuck cooking alone or missing any of the fun! It’s the perfect backyard deck idea for food lovers and entertainers.

Try These Backyard Deck Ideas!

Don’t sit back and watch your deck turn into an outdated, bland area before your eyes. All it takes is a few upgrades, and it’ll soon be the backyard deck of your dreams.

So, gather some supplies and turn your deck into an inviting, fun space with these backyard deck ideas!

Be sure to take a look at our backyard living page for more ideas and outdoor inspiration!