Five-Star Deck Dining
Does your deck say "Walk on by" more than "Have a seat"? Follow these tips for sprucing up any outdoor space.
Before its transformation, tumbleweeds had more fun on this deck than people did. There was no privacy, no ambience, no plants--just minimal seating that offered a less-than-stunning view of the adjacent carport.
Wasting no time, Assistant Projects Editor Mary Leigh Fitts turned this nearly forgotten deck into an enticing outdoor room.
First on the to-do list: Hide the parking area beside the patio to improve the overall atmosphere. The homeowner needed something that would stay permanently in place, so a local craftsman created the effect of louvered blinds using pressure-treated 2 x 4s.
Mary Leigh made curtain panels out of a weather-resistant fabric, such as Sunbrella, and hung them on either side of the table using makeshift curtain rods of heavy-gauge wire. She also stretched a hemmed piece of the same fabric above the table so that it's always covered. Secure the overhead fabric by nailing the ends to side structures that support the curtain rods or by adding grommets to the fabric and using hooks.
Setting the Table
Mary Leigh thought a sturdy piece that would last for years, rather than a plastic or picnic table, would look attractive in the new space. With that plan in mind, she had an iron craftsman design and make a table base (which cost about $800). Then she trekked to a stone-and-tile store and had a piece of limestone cut for the 36- x 72-inch top (about $600). If you want a one-of-a-kind table for less, opt for a glass-top or plywood one that's tiled with an inexpensive material.
A candle lantern centered above the table adds a soft glow. Canvas director's chairs circle this table, and underfoot lies a nylon, patterned rug that can be left outside, rain or shine.
Don't forget accessories! Dress up your outdoor table using cloth napkins as place mats and fill bowls with citrus fruit for a fast centerpiece.
Other than a grill, one of the best pieces to have on your deck or patio is a buffet. And if you think it only belongs in a dining room, think again. This weather-resistant copper-topped buffet will get prettier with age and exposure to the elements. Shine the top once in awhile with copper cleaner, and you'll be pleased with its lasting good looks. The inside can be used for storage so you don't have to make so many trips to the kitchen when you have guests over for a big barbecue fête.