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14 DIY Deck Add-Ons That are Seriously Cool

It’s time to turn your blah deck into your summer happy place. These easy add-ons (much cheaper than an entire deck redo) will provide an instant improvement.

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shaded pergola

Shade Shelter

You don’t have to let the blazing sun or drippy weather drive you indoors. One of our favorite DIY deck ideas, this simple covered pergola, will keep you comfortable long after your neighbors with unsheltered decks have given up and gone inside. Get full plans for building this shaded pergola here.

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deck lighting

Deck Lighting

Plan and install a low-voltage lighting system to light up your deck. No electrical skills needed; you simply plug the system into an existing outlet. It’ll highlight deck features without glare and is safe and easy to install.

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under deck roof

Under-Deck Roof

One of our readers, Rune Eriksen, sent us photos of his design for a home-built deck drainage system, and we were impressed enough to check it out. His low-cost, easy-to-build system catches the water that drips through the deck boards and redirects it to the outside of the deck. Now Rune can use the area under the deck as a covered patio, where he can enjoy warm summer rainstorms without getting wet. Several commercial systems are available to create a dry space under a deck, but Rune’s seems to be just as effective. And it’s inexpensive and easy to build using materials found at any home center. Here are the details in case you’d like to build your own version. Thanks, Rune!

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Family Handyman

Custom Post Caps

One of our favorite customizable DIY deck ideas is to make your own post caps. We’ll show you how to get a perfectly square cut on the end of a 6×6 post, cut notches and shape deck posts with your circular saw. The decorative touch will give your deck a professionally built feel!

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deck planters

Built-In Planters

Planters make a striking addition to any deck, and also create more privacy, making the outdoor space feel almost like a separate room. Get full plans for building these amazing deck planters here.

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privacy screen on deck

Privacy Fence

Convert a deck railing into a handsome privacy screen and block nosy neighbors, unsightly views, wind and noise. It’s easy to build and will fit most decks. And it’ll make your deck a more comfortable, welcoming place. We’ll show you how to do it step-by-step.

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deck awning

Awning

Cool deck ideas make you think of shade! A canopy patio awning is a fabric-roofed structure supported by a freestanding, rigid frame that’s bolted to your deck. The frame becomes a permanent part of your deck, and you can either leave the fabric up year-round or remove it seasonally. The fabric should last about 15 years. Learn more about different types of awning options for your deck here.

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Family Handyman

Railing-Mounted Planter

In a little under an hour, you can make this simple railing-mounted planter. All you need is some standard gutter parts. Get the plans for this deck planter here.

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FH15MAR_DCKBLD_12Family Handyman

Refresh Deck Posts

One way to spruce up posts is to cover them with a maintenance-free material. AZEK makes a PVC Column Wrap that’s super easy to install. Simply glue together three sides, slide them over the post, glue and clamp the last side in place, and then never worry about painting or staining again. AZEK Column Wrap is available for 4×4, 6×6 and 8×8 posts. Order it at home centers and lumberyards that carry Azek products.

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Outdoor Storage Bench LeadFamily Handyman

Outdoor Storage and Seating

It’s just a box made from four frames with legs that wrap around the corners. The panels that fill the frames are plywood with waterproof fabric stapled over them. Covering the plywood seat with foam and fabric is something even an upholstery novice can manage. This bench is easy to customize, too: You can change the dimensions; choose fabric to complement other patio furniture, and stain the wood to match your deck or paint it to match your house. Here are the full plans.

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Family Handyman

Move-Anywhere Umbrella

This moveable umbrella is one of our favorite reader-submitted DIY deck ideas. “I needed a stand for the large shade umbrella I bought for our patio,” says reader Brenda Barnes, “but all the ones I could find were designed for use under a patio table. Then I had a brilliant idea. I bought a large resin flowerpot and filled it about a third full with concrete. While the concrete was wet, I inserted a short length of PVC pipe that was just slightly larger in diameter than the umbrella pole. I covered the bottom of the pipe with duct tape so it wouldn’t fill with concrete. Then I drilled a few drainage holes above the concrete, filled the pot with potting soil and planted some shade-loving plants. Now I have a windproof umbrella stand and a beautiful pot of flowers in one!”

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string lightsimging/Shutterstock

String Lights

There’s nothing quite like the twinkle of outdoor lighting on a cool summer night. To get you inspired, we’ve rounded up 10 of the most breathtaking outdoor lighting looks to take your backyard oasis to the next level.

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fabulous fire table april 2017 DIY cabinFamily Handyman

And for a Little Warmth…

A fire table is a beautiful addition to your outdoor living space—and an invitation to gather around. It’s also a stylish centerpiece that gives you a great opportunity to showcase your DIY prowess. Click here to find out how to build it.

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dream deck

The Whole Shebang

This deck isn’t huge—about 16 ft. wide x 18 ft. deep plus bays and stairs—but it’s big on features. The upper deck is just the right size for entertaining small groups—spacious but intimate. It has cantilevered nooks on both sides that provide space for seating and barbecue storage. The pergola shades the upper deck and the home’s interior from the sun, and it offers a space for hanging or climbing plants. The lower deck is a great place to hang out in the sun, while the cascading stairs flow into the yard and provide lots of space for planters and pots. Get the full details, and learn how to build them into your deck.

There’s no need to learn how to build a covered deck when you can easily build this deck with pergola using our project plans.