Creating an Outdoor Paradise Part 2

In our last post, Part 1, we suggested the top three ways to make your backyard into an outdoor paradise. We hit you with the trinity: A deck, the perfect outdoor furniture and a kitchen that would bring tears to the eyes of a chef.

During this installment, we plan to fill-in some of the gaps that will make you gasp with pleasure when you take to your new outside living space. Simple little “spruce me ups” which will add value to your property and give you a place of relaxation and partying without a ceiling or walls. Let’s jump into action!

Decor Tips

Earth tones work well in any enclosed space with a roof. Outdoors, it’s a different story. Going that route will actually end up camouflaging what you’re aiming for. Think about it. You are already surrounded by browns and greens. What you now need is color that complements the environment. Since you already have a fine array of ipe (EE-pay) furniture, why not crank it up with brightly colored cushions?

Colored Deck Cushions
Image Source: Flickr

Other than going the store bought route, if you want something that would truly be ideal, we suggest you DIY it. Making a soft seat and back for your chairs and benches is really simple if you have a sewing machine. The advantages are that you can pick the best patterns to fit the scene. Here’s a simple how-to:

  • Measure the surface you want to cover. Be exact.
  • Purchase whatever thickness of foam you will rest your weary bones upon. Base the purchase on those measurements.
  • You can put on zippers, but it’s not really necessary.
  • Draft a pattern and slice-up the foam and fabric.
  • Sew the fabric inside-out.
  • Insert the foam. At the back of the fabric, sew it together.
  • Sit.


UL-tested Chinese paper lanterns are another way to splash some color around your outdoor paradise. Or you could opt for a couple of strings of single color, all weather Christmas lights. The plus is that you’ve now transformed your deck into a nightside spot for relaxation. And you’ve made the area safer. Got steps? Don’t forget to light them, too.

Plants On The Deck

We mentioned this in a previous post, but living, growing plants bring nature up-close-and-personal.

Enclosed Wooden Deck
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Your deck has some thick railings. Just the right size to balance a planter box. Being the DIY kinda person you are, you head to the garage. Hidden inside the clutter are a couple of pieces of leftover ipe from the deck. All you need is a measuring tape and a few nails. If you’ve built your own deck, surely you know how to construct a planter box or two?

In another corner of the garage you spot a few clay pots just sitting there. Gather them up.

Now that you have the containers, it’s not hard to fill them with dirt. You see where we’re going. You don’t have to be a landscape artist. Head out to a garden supply store and pick up some colorful flowering plants.

Our suggestion for greenage will beckon hummingbirds:

  • Lantana and Fuchsia
  • Trumpet Vine and Trumpet Honeysuckle
  • Cardinal Vine
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Bee Balm
  • Red Columbine
  • Delphinium and Hollyhock
  • Catawba Rhododendron

Ask the folks at the garden supply center what works best for an Austin, Texas climate.

Last But Not Least

One thing that virtually everything in nature enjoys is a good drink now and again. You could go the birdbath route. Just place it on a couple of elevated ceramic tiles in a place on the deck (although, ipe is notoriously water resistant).

Then there’s the 21st century approach. What we mean is a water feature. Nothing big. Simply something you plug in that recycles the water. Birds and butterflies love the sound of trickling water. As a matter of fact, so will you as you slip into your own private haven.

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