Landscaping is as much art as it is a science. This makes it a tricky endeavor. You’ll need to ask yourself some questions before starting. For example is, there enough space around your deck? Is the final look going to obstruct a certain view?
What about management? Do you have time to maintain your yard?
Those are all questions you should ask before getting started. But assuming, you answer in the affirmative, then keep reading!
While brainstorming landscape looks can be hard, we have a nice list for you below. It’s varied and matches a variety of tastes. Plus, it’ll cut your research time!
So to get started…
- First – Landscaping Around Ground Level Deck
- #1 – Use Landscaping to Make Your Deck Larger
- #2 – Use Landscaping to Downsize Further
- #3 – Big and Empty
- #4 – Keep it Simple
- #5– Larger Decks but Smaller Gardens
- #6 – Elegant, But Easy to Maintain
- #7 – Custom Planters
- #8 – Outstanding Deck (But With a Small Garden)
- #9 – High Mountain Vibe
- #10 – Extremely Bare Look
- Second – Landscaping Around Raised Decks
- #11 – Add Eye-Catching Effects to Your Steps
- #12 – Landscape in Patterns
- #13 – Focus on Tall Plants
- #14 – Small and Adorable
- #15 – Keeping it Really Small
- #16 – Try Hover Deck Designs
- #17 – Let Nature Inspire You
- #18 – Try a Luxurious Look
- #19 – Try a Suburbia Look
- #20 – How About a Tropical Look?
- #21 – The Lazy Option
- #22 – Add in a Large Planter
- Third – Ideas for Pool Decks
- Fourth – Landscaping Around Tall Decks
- Fifth – Landscaping Around Floating Decks
First – Landscaping Around Ground Level Deck
#1 – Use Landscaping to Make Your Deck Larger
With a smaller deck, you can make some tweaks to give your yard a bigger size.
Start by growing flowers and foliage with low elevation. Make sure there’s lots of space between what you grow. This creates the illusion of a large but open area. Also, you should use bigger potted plants at your deck’s edges. It’ll enhance your deck by making it look sizeable!
#2 – Use Landscaping to Downsize Further
Let’s say your deck is as small as a runway. What should you do?
Start by trying not to overcrowd it. Make sure there’s little around the perimeter, which should give it a spacious look.
One way to make your deck seem larger is by applying stone filler at the perimeter. It gives your deck more void space, and it makes maintenance less effort-intensive!
#3 – Big and Empty
This only works if your home already has a large deck. You’ll also need a sizeable yard.
In that case, you don’t need landscaping to make your deck look bigger. You’ll need it to create the illusion of more space!
Start by adding large rose bushes at your deck’s corners. Pick bigger plants, and the thicker the bushes, the better. Mix with some petunias, and now you have a nice but basic look!
#4 – Keep it Simple
Maybe your problem isn’t size. Maybe it’s the look of it.
Plain decks are painful to look at. You might assume that landscaping would fix the issue, but how should you proceed?
Here, we recommend an Eastern style. Add light-colored stones across the perimeters. Make sure they aren’t too large. After planting grasses in your yard the stone bed should attract attention from any plain space visible.
If that’s not enough, try planting a tree in the mix, which should give your yard a more outstanding look!
#5– Larger Decks but Smaller Gardens
Let’s say your garden is a tiny strip. There’s still hope, and you can find an excellent design that works for you.
We recommend taking advantage of the vertical space. Add some tropical plants that won’t grow tall to the point of being bushy. Something like elephant ears or bamboo should suit you well!
#6 – Elegant, But Easy to Maintain
If you’ve got tons of space and little free time, then you want something low maintenance. Here, we recommend an elegant/modern look.
We recommend letting your garden stay bare. Don’t place ornamental grasses or plant flowers. Instead, keep small-statured trees in a row. Junipers release a toxin into the soil that kills other growing plants, which means fewer weeds in your yard!
#7 – Custom Planters
Let’s say your deck works with wraparound steps. While you may like the design, it’ll make landscaping a nightmare. It’ll be hard to add plants around your deck while creating a clean look.
Here, you can try built-in planters. Try custom-building a planter that matches the steps of your deck. It will fit your landscape better, and you’ll never have to worry about mismatching looks again!
#8 – Outstanding Deck (But With a Small Garden)
If your deck looks impressive but your garden’s abysmally small, then keep reading.
It’s a chance for you to explore a wide-open space look. Done right, you can even landscape lawn-grade grass into your garden.
The look is all about optimizing how the grass looks around your deck. Simplicity is key here, and you shouldn’t need to endure a high-maintenance landscape routine afterward.
#9 – High Mountain Vibe
When deck landscaping, the first thing that comes to mind is grass, and a greener look. But why not take a different approach?
Why not landscape to create a mountainside look? It offers a similar warm feeling and is a bit unique. Plus, it’s a good way to impress guests!
The basics here are simple. You’ll need boulders. Pick those sizes and shapes that are irregular. Use them to wall up your yard’s borders. Also, swap out the pebbles in your yard for gravel and asphalt. You can then cap off the look with iron accessories and furniture for a full effect!
#10 – Extremely Bare Look
Maybe an extravagant look isn’t your goal. Maybe you’re looking for something simple, especially if your yard isn’t growing plants (poor soil quality, lack of maintenance to maintain your garden).
If so, then no worries. There are some plants you can grow without requiring your attention. Even poor soil works with those plants! You can try liriope and descue grass, both being drought resistant.
Add in a koi pond and some stones, and you have a complete look!
Second – Landscaping Around Raised Decks
#11 – Add Eye-Catching Effects to Your Steps
Let’s assume your deck matches your home’s look. Your goal here is to add effects that make your deck stand out. But how should you proceed?
Here, decking plant ideas are simple. You’ll need low-height flowers and shrubs growing at the nearest location of your deck. You want them to be as visible and open as possible. Then, proceed to grow larger foliage as you move further from your house.
Your guests’ eyes will naturally focus on the deck, with the plants serving as a frame for it!
#12 – Landscape in Patterns
If your soil drains well, but you lack time to landscape (or even plan a final look), then this is for you.
Low-maintenance landscaping around raised decks is easy. Pick some low-maintenance shrubs. Plant them in repeating patterns until the entire bed if filled. Add in some primrose bushes between the patterns for added color, and voila! You have a beautiful landscape!
Do note that the bushes will require occasional maintenance from you. But, since most of what you’re growing is shrubbery, you won’t need to invest too much time at all!
#13 – Focus on Tall Plants
Want to highlight what you like most about your deck? If so, you can try beautiful wood with your raised deck! Those are looks that you’ll definitely want to show off!
Here, you’ll want to grow low-height foliage (such as hostas). They work well with high decks since they naturally let you plant taller landscapes. You can even add in a hydrangea without detracting from your deck’s look, or obstructing its view!
#14 – Small and Adorable
Let’s say you’ve got a small deck that looks similar to a balcony. What kind of beds should you grow?
If your deck looks regal and plain in nature, then try a dignified but simple look.
You can plant small cedars at your deck’s corners, and next to your deck’s stairs. The rest of the bed should be filled with short flowers, giving it a terrace-like look. You can try hostas, which require little attention on your part.
#15 – Keeping it Really Small
Your deck may be a porch in size. But that’s how some people like it, including you. It gives off a cozy vibe and keeping it that way helps many people relax.
Here, you’ll need to pick landscaping that won’t make your deck look overgrown. Your best bet is trees. Try Japanese maples, which are excellent for giving small decks a tight feel.
#16 – Try Hover Deck Designs
Let’s say your deck is extremely small. It’s small to the point of not having furniture on it (even a chair takes up too much space). A deck like that is where your grill is, and some other items you barely use. Plus, that deck may have a tiny strip or a garden bed.
But that’s not an issue to worry about. You can landscape something like that. We recommend using low-height plants that require little direct sunlight. After all, small decks do give plants much shade.
Also, pick bushier plants. Make sure they fill as much space as possible. With a fuller look, you’ll emphasize your smaller deck less, and you’ll have a more holistic yard.
#17 – Let Nature Inspire You
You don’t have to aim for an artificial look. Something simple and natural works well.
Decks with earthy tones shouldn’t use extravagant garden beds. Instead, you can complement them with modest shrubs.
Globe and dwarf evergreen shrubs work as an addition. You can also add in cedar for a bright-colored effect. Plus, the shrubs you plant are low maintenance, and they’ll retain color all year!
#18 – Try a Luxurious Look
Let’s go back to artificial ideas for a second.
Assuming your deck is futuristic, what landscape design works best with it? Which plants complement glass and metal well?
The question here is none. You see, the goal here is to make your futuristic deck stand out. So you’ll need landscaping that pales in comparison to it.
Start with smaller flowers and shrubs. Pick plants that don’t catch an eye. All landscaping you do should aim to give your deck a border. You’re simply filling space.
#19 – Try a Suburbia Look
If you’ve got lots of deck space, then some pottery should match it well. You can lay them out to your satisfaction. Impatiens and petunias fit a suburban home well.
All you need to do is place them on the outer edges, maintaining your deck’s spacious feel!
#20 – How About a Tropical Look?
Your deck can assimilate pampas, European beachgrass, or fescue. They’re all wispy, and mixing them together gives your yard a tropical feel.
The goal is to pick plants with an air-blown look. They should remind you of a good seaside escape, and done right, you’ll have one at your doorstep!
Another suggestion is a red verbena ground cover. Add some succulents (agave is a start), and you have a complete tropical feel.
#21 – The Lazy Option
Maybe low-maintenance landscaping doesn’t describe you enough. You might be the type to not spare a minute for yard work. So what kind of landscaping fits you best?
Here’s what to do. Get some bags of decorative pebbles, gravel, stones, and lava rock. Fill the garden’s border with those rocks, and voila! Low maintenance!
But just to be on the safe size, plant some trees for a more natural feel.
#22 – Add in a Large Planter
If your deck has tons of space, you can build a wood planter in (assuming it won’t take up much room). Make sure it’s chest height and use it to display a decorative tree you choose.
A planter does a lot for your deck. It gives it a unique look and makes it look more like a garden within your yard. It’ll definitely catch an eye!
Third – Ideas for Pool Decks
#23 – Californian Heat
If your pool isn’t getting much shade, then you’ll want a hot look rather than a simple view.
We recommend referring to Nevada and California’s scrub forests for inspiration. Model your landscape after them. It’s all about picking warm and light colors.
After getting the base, add in fountain grass and some evergreen shrubs. Pygmy barberry can add a nice touch too.
#24 – Relaxed Pond
Ponds are always excellent landscaping ideas. You don’t need something too large. A little fountain will do.
A pond’s role is to put people at ease. After placing one next to your pool, you’ll find yourself in a more immersive state of mind.
Complement your ponds with smooth but large stones on the edges. Also, plant in some zebra grass clusters for an authentic look. Be sure to tuck those into the rocky edges.
For a final touch, don’t forget to a couple of water lilies!
#25 – No Space for a Garden?
If your pool and deck take up excess space, then this is for you.
It’s not hard to landscape around those. All you need to do is liven up the small garden bed left in your yard!
First, don’t plant anything bushy or tall. The plants you’ll need include evergreen shrubs, succulents, or annual flowers. Your goal is to add a touch to the area, without leaving it bare.
#26 – Midwestern Relaxation
With an in-ground pool and small deck circling it, you might have a relaxing look. But you can still work on that more.
Your landscape here should be shore and sparse. Fin some dwarf ornamentals or similar grass types.
You can take it a step further by adding a small pond close to your deck. While a redundant idea, it quite complements the pool!
#27 – Large and Regal
You might have a deck that looks like a castle. That is, it’ll be large (alongside your pool), and it’ll attract tons of attention.
Landscaping around is that simple. You want to pick plants that further enhance the attention towards your deck, and layer them out to that end.
Start by setting up a border with carnelian, cedar bushes, and petunias. Focus on whites and yellows that won’t detract from your deck’s earthy colors. You can cap off with potted impatiens on your deck’s steps.
Fourth – Landscaping Around Tall Decks
#28 – Nothing to See Here
If your garden is well below your deck and you can’t see it from a good angle, then this is for you.
You don’t want to leave your garden bare. That’ll make it look excessively open, leaving it awkward to stare it.
You can solve that issue with boxwood bushes. Plant them at the back of your bed. Then, fill the border bed’s forefront with grasses of your choice. And for a guest-friendly look, add some overhead potted peonies.
#29 – Maintenance Frustrations
Tired of planting beautiful flowers, only to have your kids (or pets) trample all over them? If so, then why not fill that space with something that’s low maintenance?
You don’t need to fill it with something lazy. Start with filling the ground with creeping cedar. Also, plant some evergreens, like arborvitae or junipers. Now you have a year-round durable landscape!
#30 – National Parks for a Garden
What if your garden bed’s excessive in size? Maybe you’ve grown some trees and still have tons of space?
While landscaping all that might seem scary, we recommend enjoying the activity. After all, you can landscape without sacrificing ideas. You can literally plant and add whatever you like!
You can add a pool, keep it simple, or go for a tiered design. For a tiered look, add in hostas at your garden’s fronts, and some lavender by each stairway.
#31 – Lazy Creativity
Sometimes, the excess might be a problem. You might have the opportunity, without the time or drive to put something in a vast space. So what should you do?
We recommend shrubs, gravel, and sand. It’s really effortless and done right, you can turn a bare garden into a lazy (but acceptable) art piece.
Divide your garden into segments. Fill each with different filler material. The end result should look like a puzzle piece. Then, add some boxwood bushes in a few beds, and you’re done!
#32 – Focus on the Leaves
How about keeping your design approach unique? Go for an exotic look that screams boldness!
You can do so by covering the whole garden bed with decorative stones. Use river stones, gravel, pebbles, lava rock, and whatever else you want. Lighter colors have the strongest effects.
Then, bring attention to the leaves. Add a couple of sizeable leaf plants at odd angles. Leave lots of space between them. You can use bird of paradise, giant rhubarb, or elephant ears.
Fifth – Landscaping Around Floating Decks
#33 – Eastern Relaxation
Landscape work drastically changes your deck’s personality. Simple touches can transform your deck from one feeling to another.
With an eastern relaxed look, you’re combining simple touches for a sacred effect. You can start with a wood square in your backyard. Then, cover the entire yard with gray gravel. Add some beach or blue oat grass around your deck.
Try windmill palms and ostrich palms in random locations. You can also add hanging baskets and Boston ferns to your fence. Just make sure to keep lots of open space, as that’s the essence of the look!
#34 – Pergolas Look Good
Maybe your deck is more of a wood base with a pergola on top. Maybe it’s suited for sitting and sightseeing nature.
That’s not an issue. Less can be more. You can landscape to that end by adding some lilies and daisies to attract butterflies and birds. Add ornamental trees to get bird nests closer to you.
#35 – Sitcom Style
Why not try a home sweet look? All your deck needs is a couch and floor. The landscape should simply match that image.
The grass should resemble a carpet, so keep it low kempt. Don’t put much around your deck’s borders.
At your yard’s edges, grow some common houseplants. Dwarf shrubs and succulents work well. Also, add in some flowering bushes to finish.
#36 – Seaside Pier
If your deck reminds you of a still water body, then let the landscaping match!
Start by adding elements unique to calm water bodies. Medium river stones are a start. Make sure they’re dark and smooth. Place them on dark and rich mulch. Finish that off with switchgrass, and the look’s complete!
#37 – Go For a Pond
Building a pond is one of the easiest ideas you can apply.
All you need to do is a deck around. Line the end result with some strong boulders, then fill it up with water!
There’s no weed pulling involved here. Plus, you can have as much greenery as you like!
In conclusion, if you’re ready to turn your deck into a beautiful oasis, this guide is going to give you a lot of inspiration. You’re probably going to fall in love with the stunning beauty of a deck, even if you don’t have the land available for one right now. And, since there are no hard and fast rules on what to do when it comes to deck design, you’ll be able to mix and match any ideas you see in this guide, to create the landscape you really want.
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And we’ve got a bonus resource you can use right now to kickstart your own deck design! Click here to find out more.