When thinking through your deck designs it may be necessary in some circumstances to want to screen a high up deck area if your house is on a raised foundation. If you have built a wrap-around deck or have planned into your deck designs a high up deck then it is often traditional to put lattice down to ‘hide’ what is underneath the deck, or to line the sides with shrubbery, however often neither of these look very good.
One alternative idea might be to create a low maintenance garden underneath the deck. The way to do this is to initially put down heavy duty black plastic and cover this with earth and then with gravel – there are different textures & colors of gravel available and it is worth experimenting with the gravel color to get the right effect.
When putting together your initial deck designs, make sure you think carefully about the right type of plants – particularly shade loving plants that could thrive in this environment. You can also plant a larger number of the same plant for a more dramatic effect using dramatic leaf plants.
Plant these underneath the deck either in groups or as feature plants. The plants could also be planted as a border following the outline of the deck & leaving the plastic/gravel to the back of the area.
I would initially go to your local plant/nursery and explain to them about what your planting plans are as you need to get the right type of plants that will be happy living in a shady spot under the decking.
It is essential that you buy plants that do not do any damage to the house and that do not grow too big or tall. The nursery will know how high the plants will grow. In some areas it is very popular to plant out mondo grass as a border or succulents underneath the deck area. However, you need to look at what is appropriate for your local conditions.
Hanging baskets with plants can be used along the floor(roof) of the underneath area as well. This idea creates an easy care garden but does the trick of dressing up an unused space underneath decks.
Having said all of that, if the area is safe for head height then you could make another entertainment area underneath the deck but leave it open. So then there is the top deck & the bottom deck and double the amount of entertaining area! The possibilites are endless! Good luck !