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Spring Break at Home: Transforming Your Cedar Deck into an Outdoor Retreat

Cedar DeckingHow often have you said you needed a vacation from a vacation? This year, forget the bottleneck traffic, airport frenzies and paying high prices for a hotel by creating the perfect spring break retreat on your own cedar deck. The trick is to create an outdoor oasis you find alluring, so you’ll prefer spending time on your cedar deck over going just about anywhere else.

Add a Patio Cover

When you aim to create the ultimate staycation at your home, it helps to install some sort of patio cover to protect your oasis from the worst of the elements. There are many patio cover styles available, depending on the climate where you live, from pergolas to awnings to roofs that extend from under a balcony. For rainy regions, we recommend a low-maintenance aluminum patio cover with polycarbonate roofing to provide total protection from the elements.

In areas where rain is less of an issue, an ideal patio cover might be a pergola, which doesn’t provide full rain coverage but does create shade – and looks breathtaking – when covered with climbing vines such as grapes, wisteria, honeysuckle, passion flower, clematis, ivy, Dutchman’s pipe, roses or trumpet vines.

Privacy, Please

Another essential element for relaxation is privacy. To create a sense of isolation on your cedar deck, install lightweight, weatherproof canvas curtains or bamboo panels around the edge of your patio cover; this way, you can draw them open or closed as you please. Alternatively, privacy panels can be installed around your decking materials without requiring a patio cover. Examples of privacy panels can include strategically placed trellises with climbing vines or a natural privacy fence made with tall shrubs.

Dream-Worthy Furniture

When designing your outdoor retreat on your cedar decking, think about the relaxing furniture you’d find at an all-inclusive resort and spa. Today’s patio furniture is all about aesthetics and comfort, and many of the pieces look nice enough to use inside a home. If you plan to share your outdoor space with others, look into weatherproof conversation furniture sets, sectionals, sofas and love seats. Add a touch of class with a posh chaise lounge. Include a small bistro set to make your morning coffee more enjoyable, or a dining set your whole family can use. For the most important part of your spring break retreat – relaxing – hang a quilted canvas hammock or a roomy hammock chair.

Bring on the Heat

Spring break in the Pacific Northwest can still be fairly chilly. Make your cedar deck feel cozier by adding a fire pit near the seating area. Since a fire pit can burn or melt decking materials, use a patio slab or a heatproof fire pit pad. If there is sufficient space and ventilation on your cedar decking, add gas-powered warming lamps in strategic places, like near a sitting area or dining table. If you have questions about using heating accessories on your cedar decking, talk to a local contractor.

A Place by the Water

Indulge your senses by adding a water feature to your cedar deck. The sound of water is relaxing and can help drown out some of the annoyances in your neighborhood. Fountains range in size from ponds with cascading waterfalls to babbling fountains to a simple wall of cascading water that is perfect for small spaces.

When installing a water feature onto a deck, use a pond liner between the feature and the deck to prevent the decking materials from becoming damaged by leaking water. To help discourage insects, use a fountain that continuously moves the water. If you plan to add aquatic flora and fauna into a water feature, use the appropriate pumps and components.

Shine On

During spring break, the sun sets in the early evening hours. Extend the length of time you spend in your personal retreat by adding outdoor lights onto your deck. Some of the more popular lighting options for decks include LED and solar lights. If your cedar deck has a cover, use LED lights, which are energy efficient and stay cool to the touch. To adjust the lighting to your mood, attach the lights to a dimmer switch. Since outdoor lights can attract bugs, think twice about placing a light directly over a dining table or reading area. Instead, use a couple of bright deck lights that illuminate large areas.

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