15 Ideas for Landscaping Around a Deck or Patio

Looking to update your outdoor space? Give the most-used area of the yard a purposeful makeover with problem-solving plantings, smart shade solutions and fun ways to keep kids entertained.

By: Catherine Strawn

Photo By: Arch Interiors

Photo By: Arch Interiors

Photo By: Deck & Drive Solutions

Photo By: Peter Wimberg

Photo By: Peter Wimberg

Photo By: Hidden Creek Landscaping

Photo By: Hidden Creek Landscaping

Photo By: King Landscaping

Photo By: Land Art Design

Photo By: River Valley Landscapes

Photo By: River Valley Landscapes

Photo By: Ive Haugeland

Photo By: Ive Haugeland

Photo By: Troon Pacific Inc.

Photo By: Ive Haugeland

Cook and Dine in Style

A pergola transformed this patio into an intimate outdoor dining and kitchen area. For more privacy, Arch Interiors of Beverly Hills, California added height to the yard’s perimeter walls with wooden lattice perfect for climbing vines.

Create a Cozy Nook

Arch Interiors added the wall that forms this conversation corner to block the view of a neighbor's house. The built-in seating and candlelit cutouts make the space feel cozy, rather than barricaded.

Turn Your Home Into a Fun House

This deck built by Windsor Heights, Iowa’s Deck & Drive Solutions is no ordinary design. With a built-in climbing wall and a wave slide, it ingeniously supplies a two-in-one solution that kids and adults will love.

Plant a Wall of Trees

To make this idyllic backyard feel even more private, Dayton, Ohio’s Grunder Landscaping Company planted a row of Juniperus chinensis 'Keteleeri' trees, forming an evergreen screen that obscures the street year-round.

Use Water for White Noise

Drown out the sound of passing traffic, literally. Grunder Landscaping Company installed a water feature in this patio that sits close to a road. With adjustable settings, the waterfall’s pleasant gurgle can be turned up or down as needed.

Get Fired Up

With a fire pit on your patio, you’ll want to spend time outside even as temperatures grow chilly. Just imagine roasting hot dogs or s’mores as you cozy up to the blazing warmth. Columbus, Ohio’s Hidden Creek Landscaping built this one to blend in with the house’s Tennessee flagstone.

Add a Modern Edge

Who says the only shade-maker is a classic pergola? For a look that goes with your modern home’s style, follow Hidden Creek Landscaping’s lead and construct a sleek metal-roof pavilion to cover your grilling area.

Go High on Style

This fireplace designed by Atlanta’s King Landscaping is more than just a pretty focal feature. The tall chimney also helps hide a view of the house next door. And those low walls? They can serve as extra seats when a crowd comes over.

Hang in There

With a deck on top and a covered patio underneath, this outdoor space designed by McLean, Virginia’s Land Art Design is the best of both worlds. The hanging woven chair adds a whimsical touch, like a swing for grownups.

Light Up the Night

How does the space look when it’s dark outside? Brad Groff of Wrightsville, Pennsylvania’s River Valley Landscapes says to include just enough light to safely get from point A to point B, then highlight certain features — such as small trees — with vertical lighting. Fixtures that conceal the bulb are best.

Pick Edibles

If your patio isn’t far from the kitchen, why not grow something flavorful so you can snip fresh seasonings and add them to dinner? River Valley Landscaping put cooking herbs in the ground and containers for plantings as pretty as they are practical.

Green Your Grout

Sausalito, California’s Shades of Green Landscape Architecture laid concrete pavers to form this incredible courtyard. Thyme grows in the spaces between each slab, adding verdure and preventing weeds.

Develop a Harmonious Palette

Just as you would coordinate colors in your house’s rooms, select tones to carry through your outdoor space. Here, Shades of Green tied together this inviting area with olive trees and drought-tolerant plants in green and gray tones.

Be Game for Anything

Shades of Green designed a life-size chessboard right into the surface of this multi-purpose space. To install a game board on your patio floor, switch up materials — in this case, marble squares surrounded by concrete pavers — or checker the surface with paint. 

Scale the Walls

To create this kids’ dreamland, Shades of Green transformed an ordinary wall into one for climbing and added a parent-approved fall surface made of recycled tires. Bamboo plantings bring a touch of green to the playful scene.

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