Landscaping around our deck

grullablue(5)June 30, 2011

We just got our deck finished this week! (well, not quite done, we have the stairs to finish) My husband, our 9 year old son, and I did it ourselves. Now I'm trying to figure out how to landscape around it! I perhaps should have provided a straight-on shot....the stairs are not right in the middle, we basically lined the stairs up with the patio door, and also have them set up so the patio table/chairs are tucked away on one side and we don't have to walk around them or anyone sitting there to get to teh stairs. I have a planting bed I recently started on the side of the deck (right side in of this pic,) which has some lilies, clematis, and succulents, and is completely mulched. I'd like to extend the bed around the corner of the deck to the stairs to avoid mowing around the stairs, but what to put there? And something in the corner on the other side of the stairs. Probably two shrubs, one on each side of the stairs for sure. I was thinking maybe one of the smaller wine colored weigelas...but unsure yet. I'd still need something to fill in from the shrub to the corner on the right side of the pic. The house faces south in this pic, so receives a lot of sun... if anyone's up some suggestions I'd love to hear them! If the area didn't receive so much sun I'd just throw some hostas in there...I love hostas, and have lots of them I could divide.

I'm not sure what to do with the bed edge yet.... some sort of edging, idea. Don't want to spend a lot on stone/blocks...not right now anyway...

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98charles, your continuing attempts to hawk your commercial website, presumably in an effort to build search engine links, is becoming tiresome and is against the rules of this forum. The thread-starters want pertinent answers to their questions, not a link to your website, which absolutely reeks of outdated and cheesy marketing.

My apologies, grullablue, for the interruption to your thread.

The new deck looks nice. I would make a wide bed around the deck and stairs, extending to or past the bottom step without making bends or corners in the bed where the stairs are. Continue it around the left side. Of course, you'd leave an opening where you step off the stairs.

Sorry, I have no suggestions for plants; I'm not familiar with what will grow in your area. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: A special message for 98charles

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 9:59AM
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If you have lots of them to divide, why not put the hostas in there? Some can tolerate sun better than others. If they're 'free', they could place hold until you figure out what you want and the weather is more conducive to planting.

As for edging, I would go with a trench. That way you can tweak the bed shape if you want.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 10:51AM
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Thanks for the input! I would like to do some sort of landing at the stairs...preferably flagstone-type, but that may hold off till later. But that's exactly what I had in mind. Yeah, I wasn't too keen on not having the stairs centered, but it actually turned out nice, I thought!

If I don't come up with something else...I could always try some hostas...if I see they aren't doing well with the sun, I could always pull them out. I don't know what types I have, as my own hostas came as divisions from others in the past!


    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 12:24PM
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Was there a reason why you didn't use treated wood?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 3:48PM
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All of the wood used for the deck is green treated lumber. The spindles, especially, were still quite wet when we put them in. So will probably wait till next spring to stain it.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 4:18PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

I like the clean look where you boxed in the under-deck area. (Wish I could do that to my deck -- but it's a deck-in-the-sky on the walk-out basement side of the house.) The photo certainly doesn't look like green lumber.

Is this the same side of the house as the giant-stone retaining walls?

Does the porch receive any shade from the trees south of the house (assuming it's that side of the house) or from the west?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 4:41PM
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Hi Grullablue,

I also love the clean look of the boxed in area under the deck. I bet that is AWESOME at keeping vermin out.

Since this area faces south & has a lot of sun, could you use any of the beds for herbs? They generally like sun & heat, and I'm assuming those sliders go to your kitchen or a dining room (that is close to the kitchen). Most herbs also like sandy soil that drains well, so I'd look for some other drought tolerant plants to go alongside them.

I know most herbs are annuals but some are really pretty, like purple basil.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 5:20PM
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I agree, it doesn't look treated. My hubby is a builder by trade, and he knows better.... but I still asked him when I saw the lumber in the back of the truck. But once we got working with's sticky, wet, green gobs in spots...must have been very freshly treated, perhaps the color hasn't sunk in yet? Not sure? A friend of mine just put in stairs too, and I asked her if she used treated wood, as hers looks like mine. Here, she got it from the same place (where we always get our wood). The floor was actually done last year, it's darker in color as it's weathered, too.

The skirting was hubby's idea, and I LOVE it! We had woodchucks building dens underneath there....ground squirrels under there....I knew it was going to be a problem. He dug a trench and dug the skirting in well.

The steps were also his idea, I'm not sure if I like them or not...we already had the materials for them, so didn't spend anything to put them in (concrete blocks with the pavers inside). Sure, they're solid, and everyone who sees them loves them...maybe they'll grow on me. There are a couple of gaps that need to be filled in, as you can see in the pics.

I was gone for the past couple days, just got home, and see he tilled my planting area around the deck the rest is up to me! I think what I may do is go to a few local places, and see what they have left, locally. Perhaps I'll come home with something...perhaps not. I saw a spirea last week at one place I really liked, but they only had one left, and I'd want two. As far as spirea, I kinda like the ones with the darker leaves, not the light green or yellow leaved ones...which they had lots of those. So.....we'll see what I find! Garden centers around here have all their stuff clearance priced now....may be slim pickin's!


    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 2:27PM
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Sorry to fixate on the deck when you asked about planting but the design is substantial and heavy and any planting would work better if it didn't accentuate this. It would also work to cut holes in the horizontal rails and the hand rail of the steps but if you don't go that way look for shrubs with a delicate branch structure and leaf pattern. Japanese Maple would be the template but what works in your area and resembles this would be best.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 4:28PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

It would also work to cut holes in the horizontal rails and the hand rail of the steps

Interesting idea, Ink. I can see how it would work ... but I think those boards are concealing the ends of the 2x2's. How about stenciling a design on them instead? (I have no idea if that's possible with treated lumber.) Of course, there are already a large number of visible knots in those boards.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 4:48PM
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Ink...interesting thought.... I've looked at that pic I posted and the word I came up with was "blocky"...but I think you hit the nail on the head describing my thought. I was concerned with the size boards he was using for the railings...the width of them....because I was afraid it would just take up too much "space" or cover to much up, and I'm kinda thinking that's the feeling I'm getting. He already had several of these boards we'd been saving...and wanted to use them, so we stuck with that size. I love the idea of a laceleaf type japanese maple...I LOVE JM's, but my gosh they're expensive around here. VERY. I also didn't have good luck with the one I had....I killed a beautiful tamukeyama, couple years ago, and still devistated by it. Thankfully haven't killed anything sice!

However...I did go shopping today, there's a great garden center about a half hour from here that has their stuff on sale for the season, and I came back with two neon flash spireas. They are great sized, nearly hip high on me, and I think they'll do well in that sunny spot. I also love the color. I'm just reading up on deadheading/pruning. I took a only wish is that I had gotten one more....perhaps I'll go back. Because now that I've placed these two in the general area of where they go, instead of trying to find other things to fill in the space, I think just adding another towards the open side of the front of the deck would have been a better idea. I wasn't thinking....obviously. It was between these and dark horse weigela...

I'm considering driving back up there tomorrow to grab one more. Thoughts?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 8:11PM
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whitegarden(Z5 MA)

Unlesss you install a system that will handle the moisture that is going to fall through your deck boards, you've created a water problem there. You've created the perfect environment for rot. You need air circulation under a deck to handle rain and melted snow run-off. Also, no way will wood deter groundhogs, mice or rabbits. They just gnaw right through it. You should replace the tight wood boards below with lattice or slats, either vertical or horizontal, with spaces in between them to allow air circulation.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 5:43PM
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