Backyard Deck Summer Refresh

Now that summer is here, are you dying to spruce up your patio, deck, or backyard? No idea what to even do and wanting some inspiration? If so, this is the post for you. I’m sharing all about how I refreshed my deck and furnished it from scratch, just in time for summer! You’ll be able to check out the crazy before and afters, as well as shop my entire look. Let’s dive in!

A backyard deck is shown with chaise lounges and numerous chairs and umbrella, ready for summer.

When we walked through our to-be house for the first time last October, there were so many things I loved about it, but this deck was the nail in the coffin for me for wanting to buy it. We live in a flood zone less than half a mile away from our region’s largest river; it floods on average every two years, and February 2019 saw historic levels of 16 feet above ground (only flood #4 of all time!). Because of that, our house is perched on stilts roughly 30 feet off the ground. We’re nestled in the treetops that surround us, and we lovingly call it our treehouse!

The biggest challenge for me was furnishing our house. We moved into our 1,500 square foot house from a 300 square foot studio (with no outdoor space), and we had the (lack of) furniture to match. We moved in in November, and didn’t spend a lot of time out here with it being winter and cold. When warmer temps started rolling around, I finally decided it was time to tackle this space and make it useable.

Let’s take a look at what I was working with!

The dining area

The previous owner was so kind and left behind this table and chair set — but no cushions. Yikes! When thinking about this refresh, I wanted the space to feel cohesive, grown up, and like a retreat. The dream was of spending dozens of summer days and nights out on this deck and I wanted it to be welcoming for guests and also super cozy where we could spend hours at a time.

I also knew I would prefer buying more expensive items up front, since we’d have them a long time. I didn’t want to bother with buying cheap things now and then end up replacing them in a couple years. The chaise lounges and thick, plush dining chair cushions were a splurge, but soooo worth it!

Two chaise lounge chairs lie waiting in the sun. A backyard deck is given a summer refresh.

The rug

One of the things I love most about this space now is this rug. I feel that it really provides a central focus point and helps ground the three pieces on it. I do the same thing with putting a cutting board under a couple smaller kitchen items! When I bought it, I had intended it to go under the dining table and chairs, but I noticed that after it had rained and someone sat/rocked in a chair, rust water leaked out of it onto the deck. I didn’t want to ruin this rug so I ended up moving it under the chaises! If I had planned to put it there when I bought it, I would have opted for a slightly smaller size (it’s 10×14′), but it works.

The question I get a lot is about how to care for the rug! It’s meant to be outdoors, and is made with synthetic fibers. While it’s okay to get wet, we’ve rolled it up and put it alongside the house when there’s a big rainstorm in the forecast just to protect it since it doesn’t need to get soaked unnecessarily. We do the same with all our cushions. Otherwise, for drizzle and dew I’m not concerned about it being wet. I also vacuum it once every two weeks or so (yes, really!) which makes it look brand new again! Dirt and pollen collect on it and make it look/feel way dingier than it really is, and it feels so nice to run the vacuum over it and spruce it up again.

Two chairs and a footstool are ready for guests on a deck. A backyard deck is given a summer refresh.
A table and chairs sit under an umbrella on a deck among the trees. A backyard deck is given a summer refresh.

The privacy screen

Another question I get is where I got this wooden privacy screen. I’m always so proud to say that I built it! Five years ago, I was living in an apartment and my third story bedroom had a balcony on it that looked out onto the center of the apartment complex — which housed the communal garbage bins and parking lot. It’s kinda hard to describe, but the apartment was on the inside of the “square” of the complex, so I was surrounded by other buildings. I didn’t want to look out onto that anymore, or have other people staring at me while I sat on the balcony, so I took to Google to find a solution!

While I don’t remember what tutorial I followed, I found it through a random keyword search so I’m confident you could do the same as well. Try “wood privacy screen DIY” and see where that gets you. I also built two shorter screens that went on either end of the balcony to form three sides of a rectangle; haven’t figured out what to do with those yet so for now they’re living in the garage!

Cafe string lights hang in strands across the photo. A backyard deck is given a summer refresh.

The lights

I also DIYed the posts for the lights I strung up (you can see them in the background of a few photos if you look closely). There wasn’t a tutorial I was following for those — just made it up as I went, but it was really easy and straightforward. After spray painting a couple 2x2s, I attached them to the railing with U-bolts and zipties and screwed in ceiling hooks to the top. Piece of cake! For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed about having cafe lights strung in my backyard just like this, and it was the absolute best getting to make that come to life. It’s so cozy lying on a chaise at night underneath them!

So there you go, friends. My back deck summer refresh! This space now feels like an oasis and sometimes I still have to pinch myself that it’s mine. Check out my source list below so you can snatch some of these items up for yourself!


Chaises: Amazon

Chaise pillows: Target

Side table: Target

Rug: Rugs USA

Dining chair cushions: Overstock (also carried by Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon, possibly Target)

Umbrella: Amazon

String lights: Amazon

Black armless chairs: Target, similar

Black armless chair pillow covers: Woven Nook

Footstool: Ikea

If you loved this post, be sure to check out my other lifestyle posts here!

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