How to Protect Your Deck From Potted Plants
Want to spruce up your deck with some foliage without causing harm? Potted plants are a fantastic way to dress up an empty deck and bring life to your outdoor space. Something you may not have thought about, however, is how a potted plant can cause damage to your deck’s surface and affect its longevity.
To protect your deck from potted plants, there are several elements to bear in mind for optimal deck protection. From choosing the right planter to dealing with trapped moisture, we’ll provide valuable tips to safeguard your deck’s surface so you can enjoy it for years to come.
By following these guidelines, you can confidently add beautiful greenery to enhance the ambiance of your outdoor living area without compromising your deck’s durability or long-term aesthetics.
Choose the Right Deck Planters for Your Deck
The right deck planters will complement your deck’s style but won’t sacrifice your outdoor living space with scratches, structural issues, ugly stains, and excess water.
Standing water under deck plants and container gardens can stain your deck and lead to mold and rot. Go for glazed ceramics or plastics that don’t let water seep through their walls and cause damage to your deck. Avoid porous materials like unglazed terracotta that can retain dampness and cause potential damage from sitting on your deck over time. Solid-sided planters are better than wire baskets or other open-topped containers because they prevent soil from spilling out and keep the plant roots contained.
Size also matters. Ensure your planter is appropriate for the plant you want to grow and won’t exceed your deck’s weight capacity. Be aware of how much weight your deck can support safely. Overloading it with heavy pots could damage your decking material in the long run; the weight of the planter, plus the soil and water, can cause the wood to warp, planks to bow, and loosen nails.
Use Saucers or Trays Underneath Deck Planters
Prevent root rot and moisture-related issues by choosing a planter with a proper drainage system so your plants stay healthy and look nice. Avoid water damage by placing drip trays under each pot to collect runoff before it reaches the deck surface.
Move Your Planters Around
To avoid indentations to your deck, move them around regularly. This helps prevent rings, avoids discoloration from sun exposure, gives the wood and decking material a break, and encourages variety in foot traffic when it comes to scuff marks and wear and tear.
If you’re worried about scratches from moving plant containers around frequently, place rubber mats underneath each one as an extra layer of protection from rough edges (although this isn’t always necessary). You can also use trays made of non-abrasive planter materials like plastic or resin.
Use Planter Feet, Plant Stands, and Hanging Planters
It may not be realistic in some cases to move potted or live plants around a lot – they may be heavy, the setup of your deck may not allow it, or maybe your household has physical limitations that prevent moving objects of size.
In this case – elevate any potted plants! Give your plant pots some airflow by using pot feet, plant risers, or pot stands. These inexpensive devices elevate pots off the ground slightly, allowing air circulation under them while also preventing direct contact between wet soil and decking material, reducing the chances of decay due to trapped moisture. This helps prevent water damage, protects against rot and pesky ants and termites, and promotes healthy growth.
Something else to consider: vertical gardening. Save space and minimize contact with decking materials by using wall-mounted, hanging plants or trellises. They’re practical and pretty.
Try A Weather-Resistant Rug
Protect your deck from scratches and water damage caused by pots with a strategically placed weather-resistant rug. Rugs can provide wooden decks with a nice pop of color while protecting your deck.
Don’t Overwater Your Planters On Your Deck
Stick to the guidelines for the plants you’ve chosen. This will prevent overwatering in the first place.
However, you can’t control rain, so don’t forget about drainage. Ensure that your chosen planters have adequate drainage holes at the bottom so any extra water can escape instead of pooling around roots or seeping into deck boards. This will help keep plants healthy and the decking dry and in good condition for years to come.
If your container doesn’t have drainage holes, consider drilling some yourself so the water can escape easily without harming your decking.
Using high-quality potting soil that is well-draining is less likely to cause damage to your wood. Additionally, adding a layer of mulch at the bottom of large plant pots aids in proper drainage and prevents water from pooling at the base of your plants.
Prep Your Deck Accordingly
Sealing your deck can go a long way in ensuring its longevity. Apply a water-repellent sealer or stain to protect your deck from water damage caused by potted plants. This will help your deck last longer. We have several sealant products at Decks & Docks we can recommend to help your deck last longer.
Check for any signs of wear and tear that may need fixing before adding planters. Loose boards, rotting wood, or corroded fasteners can cause problems down the line.
If you’re building an outdoor space, we can guide you in selecting from pressure-treated wood, composite decking, hardwoods, and other choices that will also give you the highest level of protection from water, scratches, and the elements.
Keep Up with Regular Deck Maintenance
Keep your deck in tip-top shape by regularly inspecting it for signs of moisture damage like warping or discoloration.
Sweep away any dirt and scrub the area with a gentle detergent solution to remove grime. This will help avoid mold growth beneath the planter.
Inspect Your Plants
Periodically inspect your plants to ensure they are not over-hydrated or experiencing root deterioration, which can damage a wooden deck.
Create Zones with Container Groupings
Control the impact of potted plants by grouping them in clusters or creating designated zones with a combination of tall and short planters.
When thinking about how you want to artistically display your beautiful plants, be sure not to put them all in one spot; it’s considered best practice to distribute their weight evenly across your deck.
Need An Expert Opinion? Contact Decks & Decks!
Don’t let potted plants ruin your deck’s lifespan! Before adding planters to your deck, inspect it for wear and tear, clean the area, and apply a water-repellent sealer or stain. Be aware of weight limits and consider using protective accessories like pot feet or risers. Ensure your chosen planters have adequate drainage holes at the bottom so excess water can escape instead of pooling around roots or seeping into deck boards.
With these tips, you can create a lush, green oasis on your deck without compromising its integrity. And if you need any help along the way, our team of experts at Decks & Docks is happy to assist you, whether it’s picking out an effective sealant, sprucing up your existing deck, or planning a brand-new one. Give us a call today! Happy planting.
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Alexis is truly a jack of all trades. She has worked for Decks and Docks for over five years where she served as an Assistant Manager before moving into Outside Sales. Alexis has also helped us open multiple stores along the Eastern Coast of Florida and has acted as Manager at a few locations throughout the years. When she’s not working at Decks and Docks, she’s volunteering at a local animal shelter.