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Our Deck Project with Planters for Screening

Updated on May 27, 2018
Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia enjoys her cottage in the NH woods near a lake. It's a beautiful area that attracts weekenders and summer folk.

Here's how our deck and planter boxes looked when it was finished.
Here's how our deck and planter boxes looked when it was finished. | Source

Constructing a Deck with Planters for Screening

We like our neighbors, but having some privacy on the deck is important to us too. When my husband started building a deck to hold his grill, it started out as a simple, ground-level wood deck.

Before long, it evolved into a super outdoor living area. I showed him a deck project that I found on the Hometalk site. It included a triple level planter across one side. He liked the idea and incorporated it into our deck.

Here's the way he made the deck.


Here's the Basic Frame Ready for the Decking to be Applied

Framework for the deck
Framework for the deck | Source

Creating the Base for the Deck

My husband wanted to keep it simple, so he laid this framework for the deck. It used a standard sized timber that would fit in his pickup truck bed.

You'll note that he put down black plastic for a weed barrier. The support posts each rest on a concrete paver to keep those from sinking into the ground and to provide stability.

(photo by Virginia Allain)

Take Advantage of All the Great Videos - When Building Your Deck

Take a look at some of these to get the sequence in mind and learn about some of the pitfalls of deck construction.

Add the Surface Boards

Attaching Them to the Frame

To add extra interest to the deck surface, he created a checkerboard pattern rather than have all the boards running in the same direction. He made each square the size of the board so didn't have to cut them.

Check out the video below for details on completing this step.


The Deck Surface in Place

You can clearly see here the 4 sections that form the deck. By making it the size of the boards, there was no cutting needed for the top.
You can clearly see here the 4 sections that form the deck. By making it the size of the boards, there was no cutting needed for the top. | Source

How to Build a Ground Level Deck

Get Inspired by Similar Projects

Look around online for deck projects before you get started. Here's the page that inspired our planters (Backyard Deck in New Orleans :: Hometalk). It was a 16 by 16-foot deck in New Orleans with 4 rows of red cedar planters for herbs.

Here's another example (Recycle pallets by turning them into a planter. :: Hometalk) but my husband doesn't like to use pallets for an outdoor project. The cedar boards in the planters will hold up longer in the weather and against the moisture in the soil.


Avoid Some Common Mistakes - Video Tutorial

Speed up the project with a battery-powered screwdriver.

This is one of my husband's favorite tools. It really saves his wrist and elbow when he has a big project like the deck and planter boxes.

This Is Fun to Watch - A Timelapse Showing a Deck Being Built

More Views of the Deck Project - Photos by Virginia Allain

Decide How Deep to Make the Planters

The size of the planters determines what plants you can put there. We made ours deeper than the project plans we started with & I'm glad we did. Since they are narrow, just the width of the post, the root space is limited and the extra depth helps. I opted to put shade-loving plants like begonias and such in ours.

Adding the Planters for the Deck

Framing up one side of the planters.
Framing up one side of the planters. | Source
The support post is sandwiched between the two sides of the planter.
The support post is sandwiched between the two sides of the planter.
Here are the triple-decker planters. Not quite finished. He has to put the end pieces on next.
Here are the triple-decker planters. Not quite finished. He has to put the end pieces on next.
View from the opposite side.
View from the opposite side.

How We Use the Deck

During the spring, summer, and fall we eat on the deck most evenings. My husband grills 3 or 4 times a week so the grilling area gets plenty of use.

We like to sit out there to read, visit with friends, or just enjoy the flowers and the woods view.

Enjoying the New Deck - Photos by Virginia Allain

This is the part of the deck where we eat in the summer. The gazebo has screen panels that can be pulled across to form a barrier for mosquitoes. Mostly we don't use the screen.
This is the part of the deck where we eat in the summer. The gazebo has screen panels that can be pulled across to form a barrier for mosquitoes. Mostly we don't use the screen.
This is the grill gazebo where hubby cooks steaks, ham, chicken and other tasty meats for our dinners.
This is the grill gazebo where hubby cooks steaks, ham, chicken and other tasty meats for our dinners.
A different angle showing the grillzebo.
A different angle showing the grillzebo.
You can see here how the planters provide a screen across one side of the deck.
You can see here how the planters provide a screen across one side of the deck.
I plant low flowering plants in the planters.
I plant low flowering plants in the planters.

© 2014 Virginia Allain

Tell Me about Your Deck Ideas - What Are You Planning for Your Yard?

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    • heytoto profile image

      Karen Kolavalli 2 years ago from Lexington, Kentucky

      I was really blown away by your various decks and seating areas when I spent time with you there earlier this month. You are both so talented!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      Very nice...my son in law is very talented with wood working. I will show him this. The family spends a lot of time outside and I bet they would like this

      It is so inviting..

      Angels are on the way to you this evening ps

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      It turned out so nice, and I like how you've positioned it in the yard. Tucked among the trees in a little world of it's own.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 3 years ago

      I've deemed Virginia's yard The Garden Of Eden for good reason - it is fantastic! The deck is one of the focal points of the oasis.

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Wow!! What a masterpiece, congratulations on this beatuiful creation!! Nive Job!!

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Your hubby is a handy guy, and his project turned out so well! Plants make such friendly privacy screens--letting light and sound through, but giving us a little buffer from the outside world. Nifty idea, layering them up like that. Congratulations to him and to you on your HQ DIY feature today!

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 3 years ago

      It looks superb. And you can add more plants and things as time goes on. My plans are never so elaborate. Maybe one lounge chair, a table beside it and a colorful garden flag in the ground. Done. :-)

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      What a great outdoor living space. I would never go inside.

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