Hearth and home
Give your barbecue a home of its own by building it into a floating barbecue bench. Not only does it look totally schmick, it also provides a large and stable area that’s perfect for food preparation and serving. No more crowding everything onto those little attachments at the side of the barbie! Durable oiled decking timber makes it a seamless match to the deck itself and by floating the bench, you create the illusion of space, with room for greenery below.
Sure, you’ve already got a table and chairs on the deck, but why not add a little more comfort with a built-in bench seat and planter boxes? Plants add instant softness and interest, but by breaking out an extended seating area, you can also soften the hard, linear edges of an enclosed space. Define the area with paint or a piece of wall art, add lots and lots of colourful squashy cushions and you’ve got yourself the perfect outdoor spot for relaxing.
All hands on deck
Create this striking basket-weave pattern by using readymade modular decking sections, laid at right angles to each other. This is a great DIY project for a weekend: prefabricated, treated pine base frames (that can be joined to your required size) are topped with pre-constructed decking modules that come in a variety of timber finishes. Instant deck, instant interest!
In the zone
Instead of building a large deck all on one level, consider building a new deck (or converting your existing one) so that it operates on a series of defined, varied levels. Not only is this visually more interesting, it is also a practical solution for decks that are quite high above ground level, as it avoids a long steep staircase, and also allows you to create different but related zones for outdoor entertaining – one area for casual, comfortable seating – complete with fireplace – and another for serving food and eating.
Who doesn’t love an outdoor shower? Even if you don’t own a pool and live miles from the beach, there’s something simply magic about being able to take a shower in the garden when the weather is right. Add privacy by building a simple structure of posts and canvas, or other outdoor screening material, at one end of the deck, get a tradie to deal with the plumbing, and surround the area with lush ferns, pebbles and water-loving, shade plants. Bliss!