Creative Deck Planting Ideas to Build a Green Oasis Right at Your Doorstep

The concept of integrating plants into architectural designs dates back to ancient civilizations.

By: THURSD. | 06-09-2023 | 7 min read
Garden Plants Outdoor Plants Architecture
Creative Deck Planting Ideas.

In modern landscaping and outdoor design, deck planting has emerged as one fashionable trend that harmoniously marries the tranquility of nature with the functionality of outdoor living spaces. With a plethora of imaginative approaches, incorporating plants into your deck design can transform your outdoor area into a lush sanctuary where you can unwind, entertain guests, and connect with the natural world.

The concept of deck planting involves creating a garden or green space on a deck, balcony, terrace, or other elevated outdoor area. This approach is popular as it adds natural beauty, improves air quality, and creates a tranquil outdoor oasis in urban environments or spaces where traditional gardening might not be feasible.

Some Key Elements of Deck Planting

The idea of integrating plants into architectural designs dates back to ancient civilizations. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is a famous example of early plant decking, showcasing terraced gardens adorned with various plant species.


Creative Deck Planting Ideas.
Photo by @mylittlekatecod on Instagram


Nowadays, plant decking plays a significant role in urban greening efforts. As cities become more developed and green spaces diminish, bringing plants into decks and rooftops helps combat the heat island effect, improve air quality, and enhance the overall urban environment.

Plus, they reduce stormwater runoff, lower energy consumption by providing insulation, and absorb pollutants from the air. They also create microclimates with the vegetation on the decks providing shade, reducing temperatures, and increasing humidity in the surrounding areas, making them more comfortable for outdoor activities.

And yes, it aligns with the biophilic design principles, which emphasize humans' inherent need to connect with nature. Having green elements in our immediate surroundings, even in urban settings, can have positive impacts on our well-being and mental health.

Guidelines for Ideal Deck Planting

Certain guidelines govern the practice of deck planting. These elements are intended to ensure that when one has plants in their deck, the result is ideal, functional, and addresses one’s desires.


Creative Deck Planting Ideas.
Photo by @peabodydavidh on Instagram


Container gardening is a central aspect of deck planting. Instead of planting directly in the ground, plants are cultivated in containers such as pots, planters, and hanging baskets. This allows for better control over soil quality, drainage, and plant selection.

Then there is the element of plant choice, which is crucial for successful deck planting. Factors such as sunlight availability, wind exposure, and space constraints must be considered. Drought-tolerant plants, ornamental grasses, flowering perennials, and even small shrubs or trees can be used, depending on the size of the deck.

Proper soil composition and drainage are essential for healthy plant growth and these must be considered as well. Using a high-quality potting mix tailored to the specific needs of the chosen plants is important. Adequate drainage holes in containers prevent waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot.

Different parts of a deck may receive varying amounts of sunlight and exposure to wind. Therefore, understanding the microclimates on the deck helps in selecting the right plants. Some plants thrive in full sun, while others prefer partial shade.


Creative Deck Planting Ideas.
Photos by Gary Fultz on Unsplash


Regular watering is also necessary for container plants, as they can dry out more quickly than plants in the ground. Accordingly, proper maintenance, including pruning, deadheading, and occasional fertilization, is important to ensure the plants remain healthy and vibrant.

Deck planting is not just about the plants themselves; it's also about creating an appealing visual arrangement. Therefore, consider factors like color combinations, plant heights, and textures to design an aesthetically pleasing space.

In cases where deck space is limited, vertical gardening techniques can be employed. Wall-mounted planters, trellises, and hanging planters allow for efficient use of space while adding a vertical element to the garden.

Ideas to Elevate Your Outdoor Spaces With Deck Planting

There are several ideas in deck planting that would enhance your immediate outdoor space. These ideas are both practical and easier to implement with minimal costs and in turn, transform your outdoors into beautiful mini-gardens.


Creative Deck Planting Ideas.
Photo by @thekiwihome on Instagram


Built-in Planters That Seamlessly Integrate Greenery

One of the most versatile ways to incorporate plant life into your deck design is through built-in planters. These designated pockets of greenery not only elevate aesthetics but also offer a refreshing atmosphere.

A bench with built-in planters along its perimeter, for instance, creates a cozy retreat that is wrapped in the different hues that nature has to offer.

For built-in planters, one can opt for plants that don't grow excessively tall and have a controlled spread. Ornamental grasses like Festuca glauca Elijah Blue or perennial flowers such as Geranium Rozanne thrive in these contained spaces. Their compact growth habits ensure they stay well-behaved within the planter borders.

The Ascending Green Beauty of Vertical Gardens

To maximize space and create a visually entrancing focal point, one can opt for vertical gardens on their deck. This is achievable through installing wall-mounted planters, trellises, or modular systems to transform bare walls into lush vertical landscapes. This approach not only adds greenery but also enhances privacy and provides shade.


Creative Deck Planting Ideas.
Photo by @insideoutmag on Instagram


Plants with trailing or climbing tendencies are perfect for vertical gardens. Consider vibrant options like nasturtium, known for its edible flowers, or the classic English ivy for a more timeless touch.

You can also combine these plants with colorful fuchsia or delicate Boston fern to create a multi-textured masterpiece.

The Beauty of Potted Paradises

If you are seeking flexibility in design, then potted plants offer a dynamic solution. You can strategically place planters of varying sizes around your deck to create a dynamic arrangement that can be changed as the seasons shift. These can incorporate different kinds of plants and flowers ranging from blossoming blooms to aromatic herbs. The possibilities are virtually endless.

When it comes to potted plants, diversity is key. Incorporate aromatic herbs like rosemary and lavender for both culinary and sensory pleasures or also mix in flowering plants like petunias or begonias to introduce pops of color.


Creative Deck Planting Ideas.
Photo by @royalvanzanten on Instagram


For added drama, consider ornamental grasses like Pennisetum setaceum Rubrum, which sways gracefully in the breeze in your outdoor spaces.

The Serenity of Green Roof Retreats

Green roofs present an ideal and intimate garden nook if you are a fan of them. You can therefore uplift your deck design to literal new heights with a green roof. This innovative concept involves covering your deck's surface with a layer of soil and planting a mix of greenery. Not only does this provide insulation, but it also absorbs rainwater and mitigates urban heat.

Green roof decking demands plants that are hardy, low-maintenance, and able to withstand varying weather conditions. Sedum varieties, such as Sedum album Coral Carpet and Sedum spurium Ddragon's Blood, are exceptional choices due to their drought tolerance and vibrant foliage.


Creative Deck Planting Ideas.
Photo by @gardenslondon on Instagram


Native grasses like Bouteloua gracilis (Blue Grama Grass) can be added to complement the sedum's texture beautifully.

The Ethereal Elegance of Hanging Gardens

The hanging plants concept creates quite an enchanted ambiance in a setting. You can achieve this by suspending lush hanging planters from your deck's overhead structures.

Be it from pergolas, eaves, or beams, these cascading gardens bring a touch of ethereal elegance into your outdoor space.

Plants with trailing growth habits thrive in hanging planters. The delicate strands of the string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) offer a whimsical aesthetic, while the bold foliage of Boston ferns brings a touch of a tropical aura to your deck.


Creative Deck Planting Ideas.
Photo by @conlongroup on Instagram


Additionally, the colorful tendrils of Tradescantia zebrina (Wandering Jew) can add a playful caress of color to the whole setting.

The Elegant Pliability of Climbing Plants

You can also enhance the feel of your deck by introducing climbing plants that gracefully cuddle your deck's structural elements. Trellises, pergolas, and railings become the podiums for these plants to compete in showcasing their splendor while also providing a natural shade.

Climbing plants are ideal in this instance and they should possess strong tendrils or stems for effective attachment. Clematis varieties like Clematis Nelly Moser or fragrant Jasmine vines can create quite the ideal atmosphere in this case.

And for a touch of exotic, trumpet-shaped mandevilla blooms could be added to bring a tropical flair to the arrangement.


Creative Deck Planting Ideas.
Photo by @insideoutmag on Instagram


You Can Design Your Own Deck Plant Oasis

With these creative DIY ideas, you can successfully enhance your deck creating quite a serene and tranquil ambiance right in your immediate outdoor space. So go ahead and try them out!


Feature image by @conlongroup on Instargarm, header image by JayMantri on Pixabay



Can't get enough?

Subscribe to the
newsletter, and get
bedazzled with awesome
flower & plant updates