DIY Deck Idea: Shady Seating and a Living Wall


This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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!}
Share This Post With Friends!
Share on pinterest
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on print

Similar Posts


  1. This is a beautiful transformation. I think you did a fabulous job. Besides being beautiful, I am imagining the wonderful smells. That would be therapeutic enough for me. A wonderful place to hang and chill (see, I’m old, too) after a stressful day. Well done.

    Stopping by from SITS.

  2. What a transformation!! I love it! The trellises are perfect. And the new lighting shade…perfect!! But you didn’t talk about the rug! That “made the space” for me I think! Did you already have that? Or Was it a find?

  3. Wow this turned out so cute! I especially love the herb pots. I have just the spot picked out for this in my back yard! Well done!

  4. I love it! I imagine it smelling sooo yummy out there sipping those drinks! I WISH I could join you on your deck right now!!!!!

  5. That looks great!! I love the concept of a living wall. Now I need to go outside and see where I can make it work.

  6. What a great job! I love the transformation you made! What a super idea.

    Ideas for your other plants are: ivy (english or boston, vinca, or campanula posharskyana

  7. I love this idea! I have left the backyard up to my husband so far, but this just inspired me!

    P.S. What shade is the deck stain? It really is gorgeous!

  8. Love it! The Babby is similarly grabby when it comes to the plants, but mainly flowers. She plucks off the bleeding hearts, which drives my husband CRAZY.

  9. Wow! That wall trellis really adds interest and totally transforms this space. I love this idea!! I also love your new light, rug, and chair cushions. You must smile every time you go outside.

  10. I love this! I wish the back of my house got lots of sunshine (darn trees). Great job!

  11. Love what you’ve done with the space! It looks so inviting and full of life. Great job!

  12. It looks great what a difference a few things can make. Love the rug and the trellis!

  13. first of all, you are cracking me up. i enjoyed reading this, the actual reading part of it all! but the trellis and the greens make the whole space feel a bit warmer, too! i’d love to see this once things grow in, but it looks pretty darn fab right now!

  14. The trellis across the window is a beautiful idea! And I love the updated light fixture. Love these inexpensive (and cute) ideas.

  15. That is a very pretty space, and the rug is amazing! Cute little one too 🙂

  16. Hopping over from Censational Girls Outdoor Party. Hope you enjoy my ‘patio time’ post. (link #205)

    You have made a creative and very lovely space.

    Happy summer . . . fondly,

  17. Very chic and relaxing! I always liked to have a comfortable, inviting space for an afternoon cocktail whilst supervising the toddlers. As a bonus, you can pluck seasonings for dinner when you herd them indoors.

  18. Oh my gosh, beautiful. LOVE the ‘trellis’ hanging clever. I may have to steal your idea..LOVE it !…btw your little person is adorable.)

  19. Carrie how great… this project has really transformed your outdoor space! Love the trellis.

    New very Exciting Giveaway will start on the 1st!

    Art by Karena

  20. Awww, snap! I’ll be recreating this idea tomorrow. Thanks for sharing.

  21. I’m in love with your lamps! Just what I want for our new house! Where did you get them, if you don’t mind me asking! Thanks!

  22. Just visiting from homepodge 🙂
    I love the trellis/hanging pots. I’m going to give that a try on my patio too!

  23. Here’s a few answers:

    The rugs came from Home Depot last year (on sale, free shipping). They might still have that style, and they were very reasonably priced. I’m very pleased with how well they’ve held up!

    The light fixture came from, and I can’t remember the name but I’ll try to look it up and let you know when I have a free minute!

  24. I’m wondering where you got the planter holders. I found the planters and hooks at IKEA but I didn’t see the other necessity.

  25. Hi, the trellis was in the garden section of Lowes and was $9.99. Hope that helps!

  26. How did the plants do over the summer? Did you drill holes in the bottom of the pots for drainage? Did it get real messy when you watered? Really great idea.

  27. Love the trellis’. The only thing I would do different is paint them black. But they look so cool over the windows like that.

  28. Nice job! I’m planning to steal your idea for my deck this summer. I hope I can figure out a way to do it without too many holes in the siding, Thanks for sharing!

  29. Pingback: Trellis Love | Honeysuckle Life
  30. LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea. We live in a townhome and love to garden tomotoes and other smaller plants, but then our entire patio is covered with pots….yuck! So I’m definitely taking a fun trip to IKEA and stealing your idea for herbs. Herbs for fresh tabbouleh ingrendients are already purchased! They just need a home to grow! 🙂 Thanks for your awesome idea…and gotta love IKEA!

    1. So glad this would work for you! And fresh tabbouleh… YUM… I’m totally stealing that idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.