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Holiday Entertaining Tips for Your Cedar Decking

Deck lights are ON!You don’t have to neglect your outdoor living space during the holidays just because it’s cold outside. Your cedar deck can be the perfect spot for entertaining during the winter as well as summer, as you can extend the amount of space your holiday guests use in your home by taking part of the party outside. The following is a look at how to make your cedar decking cozy and festive for entertaining this holiday season.

Preparing Your Cedar Decking

Because winter weather is unpredictable, purchase or rent a temporary patio cover if you don’t already have one installed. To protect against the wind, install plastic curtains that you can roll up and down along the perimeter of the cover.

Make your decking materials look presentable by picking up fallen leaves and debris. To prevent slips in freezing weather, use a broom to sweep dirt off your deck instead of spraying it with a hose. Wipe down the outdoor furniture on your cedar decking and position tables and chairs in a manner that allows for open conversations and mingling. For example, instead of placing patio chairs around the outdoor table, place the chairs along the perimeter of the deck. Position the table at one end of the cedar deck and use it to hold food and warm beverages.

Rent or purchase deck heaters, and position them in a manner that will help your guests stay warm and encourage them to spend time out on your deck. You can also extend the holiday celebration outside with speakers on your cedar deck so the guests can listen and sing along to their favorite holiday songs.

Decorating Your Cedar Deck

Hang garlands or wreaths on the railing of your deck, and accent them with strands of LED lights that are appropriate for outdoor use. If you have a lot of plants on your cedar deck, clear some away so there is more room for your guests, but use some as part of the décor. For example, you can hang sturdy holiday ornaments on topiaries and highlight them with holiday lights.

Fill two tall hurricane vases with shiny round ornaments and place them on either side of your table; you can illuminate them with battery-operated flameless candles in festive votives. Another idea for an outdoor table centerpiece that will match your cedar decking well is using a small, live coniferous tree decorated with miniature ornaments and a short strand of tiny LED lights.

Upgrade the look of the chairs on your cedar deck with slipcovers. With time and sewing skills, you can make your own slipcovers in the fabric of your choice. Otherwise, you can purchase them in retail stores that sell home goods. Consider using slipcovers that come in a color that looks good during any time of year so you can reuse them for future celebrations.

Saving Your Decking Materials from Spills

Red wine can do as much damage to your decking materials as it can to your carpet. If you are offering wine or colorful beverages during a holiday party, clean up any spills on your cedar decking with ingredients you may already have in your pantry. After soaking up the wine with paper towels, remove any broken glass, pour a layer of table salt over the affected area and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Remove the salt, and cover the area with a pasty mixture that contains 2 tablespoons of powdered pumice, 1 tablespoon of baking soda and a quarter cup of lemon juice. If necessary, add more baking soda to thicken the mixture. Use a soft cloth to add the mixture to the cedar deck in the same direction as the grain; allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Remove the pumice mixture with a cloth soaked in linseed oil. Repeat the process of adding the pumice mixture and removing it with a linseed oil-soaked cloth until the stain is gone.

There is no reason you can’t show off your cedar deck during your holiday celebrations. With a little planning and imagination, taking your holiday festivities outdoors can be a fun, unexpected treat for your guests.

[ photo by: ceemarie, on Flickr, via CC License ]

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