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Top 5 Deck Improvements for Summer Entertaining

entertaining on the deckWith a grill and a cedar deck, Portland residents have a good start to their summer entertaining endeavors. Cedar decking is a popular choice for Oregon homes because of its durability, ability to resist ageing and its classic look. When it comes to summer entertaining, instead of purchasing more decking materials, Portland party hosts only need to think of creative ways to set up the festivities in their backyard living room.

1. Cedar Deck Maintenance

Cedar decking is an investment you make in your home that is important to maintain. Portland is known for its wet climate, and without proper maintenance, dry rot commonly destroys decking materials Portland homeowners do not maintain. To prevent dry rot, sun damage, water damage and other ailments that can affect cedar decking, stain and seal your deck every year before your summer gatherings begin to prolong its life, prevent injury from rotten boards, to save money and induce envy in your guests.

2. Make Insects Buzz-Off

Unwanted pests will gladly crash your party at any given opportunity and can force your guests to take the festivities indoors. To prevent insects from invading your outdoor gathering, use people-friendly repellents. You can find a variety of decorative outdoor lanterns and candles (with and without flames) at home improvement stores that emit a scent that repels mosquitoes. You can also place electronic devices that emit a high pitch sound that insects cannot tolerate and you cannot hear around the perimeter of your cedar decking. A natural, decorative option to fend-off insects is to plant insect-repelling plants around your cedar deck. Portland has a good climate for growing repelling plants such as spearmint, chives, garlic, petunias, catnip, rosemary, sage, lemon thyme, marigolds, scented geraniums and lemon grass.

Covering food that you have outside and eliminating sources of standing water will make your yard less attractive, as well. Drain any buckets of water you are not using and water features that do not use a pump to keep the water circulating. If you have a pool, but will not use it during a party, consider covering it so insects are not tempted to use it as a watering hole.

3. Illuminate Your Cedar Decking

Keep dining in the dark an experience you limit to camping and over-priced restaurants. By adding lights to the cedar deck Portland party guests will use, you will make your structure safer and keep the party going well into the night. Strand strings of lights around or along the railing of your deck to outline its perimeter. Place solar or LED lights on each deck step to guide your guests’ footing. Using solar-powered tiki-type flameless torches or lampposts in the corners of your deck will also provide illumination that can last up to eight hours. Other creative lighting options include placing glowing orbs on tabletops, using illuminated glasses and hanging decorative lanterns.

4. Outdoor Furniture Facelift

Part of being a good summer party host is making sure your guests are comfortable. When using wooden outdoor furniture that matches the decking materials, Portland homeowners should stain and seal the furniture just as they would cedar decking. All too often, outdoor furniture is stiff and uncomfortable because of the materials used to make it weather resistant. On the other hand, upholstered outdoor furniture may fade from being in the sun. If you need to replace your cedar decking furniture, consider newer options that are more comfortable such as outdoor sofas and chaise lounges. If you are looking to revamp your current furnishing, make or purchase slip covers and pillowcases that match the decorative theme of your home.

5. Bring the Tunes Outside

You do not need to drag out the boom box you used in high school to add ambiance to your summer entertaining. Instead, purchase a wireless outdoor speaker system that you can hook up to your MP3 player or home stereo system. Place the speakers on your cedar decking so they face towards the middle of your deck and house so the sound is more concentrated around your guests instead of throughout your neighborhood.

A cedar deck, Portland’s long hours of daylight in the summer and mild weather, good food and great friends are the essential ingredients to summer entertaining. Maintaining your cedar decking in good condition can help ensure guests continue to look forward to gathering at your home for years to come.

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