Deck Designs: Alternatives to lattice and shrubbery in a high up deck

Posted on Jan 14, 2009 under Deck Designs | 5 Comments

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 !

5 Responses to “Deck Designs: Alternatives to lattice and shrubbery in a high up deck”

  1. sexe2006 Says:

    Try lowes.com or homedepo.com sometimes they have a site that you can landscape your yard and include the deck you have- We used it to build our deck and figure out which trees etc. would be best around it!
    References :

  2. L. B. Says:

    I'm no expert…I can appreciate not wanting lattice and plain old shrubbery…how about creating a 'plant scape' with some large rocks, plants that will look nice and are hassle free, an art object of your choice. Make it look like a 'secret area' to be discovered!
    References :

  3. Storm Says:

    This is what my neighbor did and it looks great. She but horizontal timber slates under her new deck to hide things she put there.

    Below are some sites that give you an idea what it looks like. She keep the the natural timber look but it does look good painted as well.

    http://www.resurrection.com.au/pages/mod.htm
    http://www.peakfencing.com.au/timberslat.html

    I think the thin timber slats look the best and not placed to close together.
    References :

  4. Puerto Rock Says:

    If you like water fixtures you can try and go for a Mediterranean theme, try to incorporate fountains, colored glass, mosaic tiles and fun fabric patterns for the patio/deck furniture. Think fountains, statues, wind chimes and fun accessories that have a sort of Morroccan theme. I think it's inviting and soothing and allows for more color than the ordinary shades of green and brown. Have fun decorating!!
    References :
    http://1amf.org/garden_tour_la_times.htm

  5. Kathy T Says:

    Don't know where you are but in Australia we do not put lattice down to 'hide' what is under the deck.

    This is what we do.
    We leave underneath the deck open.
    Create a no fuss, no maintenance garden underneath the deck.
    Put down heavy duty heavy black plastic.
    Over this – cover with gravel – there are different textures & colours available.

    Then.
    Choose a selection of plants. Or alot of the same plant for dramatic effect.
    Plant these underneath the deck either in groups or as feature plants.

    As the plastic & the gravel take up most of the area underneath the deck with some well chosen plants then it is fairly carefree.

    The plants could even be planted as a border following the outline of the deck & leaving the plastic/gravel to the back of the area. Your design choice for that.

    I would go to your local plant nursery & talk to them about what your doing & where your planting these plants as you need to get the right ones. Ones that do not do any damage to the house, do not grow too big or tall, can actually stay alive for where they are to be planted. The nursery will know.

    Here, 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 ok 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 & keeping it tidy.

    Having said all of that, if the area is safe for head height then we make another entertainment area underneath the deck but leave it open. So then there is the top deck & the bottom deck.

    Lots for you to think about.

    Whatever you do your new deck sounds great. Enjoy it.
    References :
    We have lots of decks around about. It is a way of life here.

Leave a Reply