11 Cool DIY Deck Add-On Ideas

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.

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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. And if you don’t have anywhere to plug something in on your deck, installing an outdoor outlet is another easy DIY project.

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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.

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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. These deck planters are another easy project you can tackle yourself with the plans.

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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; just follow the step-by-step instructions. And it’ll make your deck a more comfortable, welcoming place.
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deck 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. If you like this, consider these front door awning ideas, too.

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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. The green touch that it adds to your deck will make your outdoor space so much more welcoming and comfortable.

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Outdoor Storage Bench Lead
Family Handyman

Outdoor Storage and Seating

This outdoor storage bench is 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.

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string lights

String Lights

There’s nothing quite like the twinkle of outdoor lighting on a cool summer night. It might just be the easiest way to give your deck a little flash. 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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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.