Category: Deck Upgrades

Creating an Outdoor Oasis: Incorporating Landscaping into Your Deck Design

Trex composite deck with plants and furniture

Outdoor living spaces have become an essential part of modern homes, providing a seamless transition between the indoors and the natural world. A well-designed deck can be more than just a place to grill and gather; it can be a tranquil oasis that reflects your personal style and connects with the surrounding landscape. Here’s how you can create an outdoor oasis by incorporating landscaping into your deck design.

1. Understanding Your Space

Understanding your space is the foundation of creating an outdoor oasis. It’s about recognizing the unique characteristics of your yard and how they can be harmonized with your deck design. From the way the sunlight hits different areas to the natural flow of the landscape, every detail matters. By carefully assessing the area and identifying key features, you can create a design that feels natural, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. Avoiding common mistakes like ignoring the surroundings or overcrowding the space ensures that your outdoor oasis will be a comfortable and inviting retreat.


  • Assess the Area: Consider the size, shape, and orientation of your deck and yard. Think about how the sun, wind, and other elements will affect the space.
  • Identify Key Features: Recognize existing features like trees, ponds, or slopes, and integrate them into the design.


  • Ignore the Surroundings: Avoid overlooking the existing landscape and how it interacts with your deck.
  • Overcrowd the Space: Don’t add too many elements that can make the area feel cramped or unbalanced.

2. Choosing the Right Plants

  • Select Native Plants: Native plants are adapted to your local climate and soil, making them easier to maintain.
  • Consider Scale and Proportion: Choose plants that complement the size of your deck and don’t overwhelm the space.

Plants for Connecticut:

  • Perennials: Black-Eyed Susan, Coneflower, and Joe-Pye Weed.
  • Shrubs: Mountain Laurel, Inkberry, and Summersweet.
  • Trees: Eastern Redbud, Dogwood, and Sugar Maple.
  • Grasses: Switchgrass and Little Bluestem.

Plants for Massachusetts:

  • Perennials: Bee Balm, Goldenrod, and Lupine.
  • Shrubs: Bayberry, Viburnum, and Witch Hazel.
  • Trees: American Elm, Red Maple, and White Pine.
  • Grasses: Indian Grass and Northern Sea Oats.

3. Incorporating Hardscape Elements

  • Use Natural Materials: Stone, wood, and other natural materials can create a harmonious connection between your deck and the landscape.
  • Add Water Features: A small fountain or pond can add a soothing ambiance.

4. Creating Functional Zones

Dining and Cooking Area Ideas:

  • Outdoor Kitchen: Consider adding a built-in grill, sink, and prep area. Stainless steel appliances are durable and weather resistant.
  • Pizza Oven: A wood-fired pizza oven can be a unique addition.
  • Bar Area: Including a bar with seating can create a social hub.
  • Cooking Safety: Ensure proper ventilation and fire safety measures.

Relaxation Zone:

  • Outdoor Fireplace: Options include wood-burning, gas, or a fire pit, with materials like natural stone, brick, or fire-rated concrete.
  • Seating Arrangement: Arrange comfortable seating around the fireplace.

Safety Considerations:

  • Fire Safety: Ensure construction to local building codes and include proper safety barriers.
  • Material Selection: Use non-combustible and heat-resistant materials.

5. Lighting and Accessories

  • Use Ambient Lighting: Soft lighting can create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
  • Add Personal Touches: Decorative accessories like cushions, rugs, and art can make the space feel personalized.

Trex Lighting Examples:

  • Deck Post Cap Light: Tucked discreetly under the cap, providing a warm downward glow.
  • Stair Riser Light: Installed into step risers, durable for years of foot traffic.
  • Recessed Deck Light: Subtle dot lights that install flush on the deck boards.
  • Aluminum Post Cap Light: Integrates lighting into the Trex Signature® aluminum post.
  • Wedge Deck Rail Light: Versatile post lamp that can be installed on composite sleeves.
  • Energy Efficiency: Trex deck lighting uses 75% less energy compared to incandescent.
  • Easy Installation: DIY-friendly with the built-in Trex LightHub® connection system.

6. Sustainability Considerations

  • Water Conservation: Use drought-tolerant plants and efficient irrigation systems.
  • Eco-friendly Materials: Examples include recycled composite decking, reclaimed wood, bamboo, permeable pavers, solar lighting, recycled metal, and low-VOC paints and stains.

7. Working with Professionals

  • Consult a Landscape Designer: A professional can help you create a cohesive design.
  • Hire a Skilled Deck Contractor: Ensure that the construction is done to code and meets your quality standards.

Creating an outdoor oasis is more than just adding a few plants around your deck. It’s about designing a space that resonates with your lifestyle and connects with the natural environment. By thoughtfully incorporating landscaping into your deck design, you can create a tranquil retreat that enhances your home’s beauty and offers a place to relax and entertain. If you need professional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to experts like Regan Total Construction who specialize in creating beautiful outdoor living spaces.

Filed under: Deck Upgrades, Decks, Trex Composite Decks

Adding a Pergola or Shade Structure to Your Deck: Tips and Inspiration

beautiful deck in the springtime with a new pergola

If you’re looking to upgrade your outdoor living space, adding a pergola or shade structure to your deck can be a great way to enhance its functionality and aesthetics. Not only can a pergola or shade structure provide shade and shelter from the elements, but it can also add visual interest and style to your deck. In this blog post, we’ll explore some tips and inspiration for adding a pergola or shade structure to your deck.

Benefits of Adding a Pergola or Shade Structure to Your Deck

Before we dive into the tips and inspiration, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of adding a pergola or shade structure to your deck.

  1. Increased shade and comfort: A pergola or shade structure can provide much-needed shade and shelter from the sun, making your deck more comfortable and inviting.
  2. Aesthetic appeal: A pergola or shade structure can add visual interest and style to your deck, enhancing its overall appearance.
  3. Privacy and seclusion: Depending on the design of your pergola or shade structure, it can offer increased privacy and seclusion for your outdoor living space.
  4. Versatility: A pergola or shade structure can be customized to suit your specific needs, whether you want a space for entertaining, dining, or relaxing.

Tips for Adding a Pergola or Shade Structure to Your Deck

Now that you know the benefits of adding a pergola or shade structure to your deck, let’s take a look at some tips for incorporating this feature into your outdoor living space.

  1. Consider the style of your home: When choosing a pergola or shade structure, it’s important to consider the style of your home. You want to choose a design that complements your home’s architecture and enhances its overall aesthetic.
  2. Choose the right materials: Pergolas and shade structures can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, vinyl, and metal. Consider the durability, maintenance requirements, and aesthetic appeal of each option before making a decision.
  3. Think about the placement: The placement of your pergola or shade structure is also important. Consider the amount of sunlight your deck receives throughout the day and choose a location that provides the desired amount of shade.
  4. Incorporate lighting: To extend the use of your pergola or shade structure into the evening hours, consider incorporating lighting into the design. This can include string lights, lanterns, or even built-in fixtures.
  5. Add plants and greenery: To add a natural and inviting touch to your pergola or shade structure, consider adding plants and greenery. This can include climbing vines, potted plants, or even a living wall.

Inspiration for Adding a Pergola or Shade Structure to Your Deck

If you’re looking for inspiration for your pergola or shade structure project, here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Rustic wooden pergola: A wooden pergola can add a rustic and natural touch to your deck. Choose a design that incorporates natural wood elements, such as rough-hewn beams or a distressed finish.
  2. Modern metal shade structure: For a more modern and sleeker look, consider a metal shade structure. This can include a minimalist design with clean lines and geometric shapes.
  3. Mediterranean-inspired pergola: A Mediterranean-inspired pergola can add a touch of Old World charm to your deck. Choose a design that incorporates warm, earthy colors and intricate details.
  4. Contemporary wooden shade structure: For a more contemporary look, consider a wooden shade structure with clean lines and a minimalist design. This can include a sleek finish and a monochromatic color scheme.
  5. Tropical-inspired pergola: To create a lush and exotic outdoor oasis, consider a tropical-inspired pergola. This can include a design that incorporates vibrant colors, natural materials, and lush foliage.

Regardless of the style or design you choose, adding a pergola or shade structure to your deck can provide a multitude of benefits. Not only can it enhance the functionality and aesthetic appeal of your outdoor living space, but it can also increase your home’s value and appeal.

In conclusion, adding a pergola or shade structure to your deck can be a great way to upgrade your outdoor living space and make it more comfortable and inviting. By following the tips and inspiration outlined in this blog post, you can create a pergola or shade structure that perfectly suits your style, needs, and budget. So, start planning your project today and get ready to enjoy your newly upgraded outdoor living space!

Filed under: Deck Upgrades