DIY Deck Idea: Shady Seating and a Living Wall


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Summer of 2012 Update:
I’ve gotten lots of questions asking how the herbs fared after a summer of hanging on a trellis– and the answer is they did great!  As for this year, I updated the area a bit.  Just WAIT until you see how the deck area looks now with some new furniture and a few additional plants
(hint– it looks about 1,000 times better than the photos in the initial post!)  Check out the newest version of the living wall using a trellis right here!

The weather this week was delicious.  The kiddos and I have spent every waking minute outside, almost forgiving Mother Nature for the brutal winter this year.  Almost.  We’ve been soaking up the spring sunshine safely in the shade of the “living wall” I’ve been dreaming of the past few years, taking the idea of outdoor living to a whole new level!  When it comes to DIY ideas for the deck, this one was amazingly simple– it just took finding the right pieces at the right time and putting it all together:

DIY Shady Seating and a Trellis Wall
Outdoor patio set up

Doesn’t that look cute?!?  It’s that wall has come a long way, baby.  Let’s start with three issues I had with our current outdoor living situation:

#1:  I have several planters full of herbs on the deck, but Noodle won’t stop picking them and throwing the pieces everywhere.  Must. protect. my. mojito. ingredients.

Little girl watering flowers with a watering can
Farmer Noodle only LOOKS innocent in this photo.

#2.  Here’s the “before”.  This wall and light fixture is boring and ugly.  Blah.  (The weird dark spots on the siding are from shadows, just FYI).

The "before" wall fixture
Another look at the "before" space

#3.   There’s little shade and no seating on this side of the deck.  Boo.

A few years ago I drooled over the cover of a Crate and Barrel catalog that featured brown furniture against a wall full of ivy.  The color combo was stunning.  I hunted down the exact shade of brown and used it for our deck stain, but had no idea how to recreate the ivy wall.  After truly thinking it through, I realized I could do better than a wall of ivy.  I could solve problem #1 and create a wall of herbs.

Two trellises and a trip to Ikea and I was in business.  The trellises were made of harder wood than I realized so it required predrilling and screws:

Screw attaching a trellis to the shed
More views of the trellis

Once the trellises were attached, all it took was hanging the planters using hooks and pots from IKEA.

Trellis attached to the window
Plants in the trellis

I chose cascading or mounding herbs such as lemon thyme, oregano, silver thyme, and a specific variety of rosemary.  I added in sweet potato vine because it will cascade nicely even if I can’t eat it.  Remember that this is just day one; I’m hoping this trellis will be full of greenery in a few weeks!  It’s an outdoor “curtain”, so to speak.

Plants in the trellisPlant in a silver bucket
Plant growing in a silver bucketMore trellis plants

Once I hung the plants I realized I could really have some fun.  Here’s a candle holder, but the ideas are limited only by your imagination.  Vases, lanterns, you name it– a little bit of wire and a hook and it’s on the wall, baby!

Plants and candles on the trellis

Here’s the final result (remember that the plants will GROW and look much better in a few weeks, unless I manage to kill them, which is entirely possible…):

Plants hung on the trellis
Chairs on the shady patio
The back patio is coming together
Seating area on the back deck with a trellis

The seating area was done on a dime.  I’ll go into detail about the pillows in another post, but let’s just say they were made using outdoor fabric over some cheap-o outdoor pillows from Walmart.  The side table is a thrift store score covered in indoor/outdoor Krylon.  I plan on bringing it indoors during any storms but I don’t think the occasional shower will harm it.  Plus it only cost $4 so it’s worth it.

Outdoor seating area on the back deck
Side table with drinks and a candle

I replaced this old light fixture (yuck!):

The old light fixture was replaced

with this one (ahhhhhh!):

The new light fixture

The cost for the trellis project, not including plants because I already had those, was $53.  It took under an hour to put together as well.  Not too shabby!

Because everyone loves a good “before” and “after”, here you go! (I realize that sentence is cliche but I had to say it at least once, kinda like saying “and this is where the magic happens…”)

view from inside the house
The view outside the old space
A look outdoors from inside the house
The back patio before the makeover
 The back patio after the makeover
The outdoor space prior to updating the light
So in love with how this space turned out- great chairs and stunning trellis

Admittedly, the photos don’t quite do it justice.  You might have to join me outside, watching my sweeties splash in the water table while I relax in those chairs smelling the lemon thyme and rosemary in order to understand.  So, come on over!

A baby exploring the new space
Trellis on the windows

In fact, it was such a game-changer that I’m using the idea in another spot– our outdoor entryway.  I’ve put the trellis on it’s side, painted it black, and used this hanging pot from Ikea for the same idea, different look:

White ceramic bowl

I love the modern look of that pot, but it didn’t pop enough on the deck because there is a white shade in the background where it would hang.  It’ll rest on a tan background out front so I’m psyched to use it in that spot.  {does anyone use the word “psyched” any more?  It’s a relic from my youth growing up in a suburb of Boston, as in, “I’m wicked psyched, kid!”}

I’m scouting cascading shade plants for that project, any suggestions for varieties that might work?  It’s a rainy weekend now, but I hope to get it finished soon.  Stay tuned, and have a great weekend!

{linking this up to Centsational Girl’s Outdoor Ideas party.  It’s like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day over there, people!}
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