Tour a welcoming front yard deck

Lessons for your own entry from a little piece of paradise

Front porch/deck

Photo by Art Gray

Creative deck designs: Living out front

Welcoming front-yard deck

Instead of stairs, a three-level deck steps up to the front door of this traditional (raised) Hawaiian post-and-pier-house, located on the island of Oahu.

The deck is built of ironwood using Tiger Deck construction (instead of nails, boards are hammered into metal “tiger claws”). Owners Chris and Mary Beddow keep it looking new with occasional applications of a hardwood oil called Penofin.

Click ahead to see how they outfitted their entry, turning it into a personal paradise.

Front gate

Photo by Art Gray

Inviting entry

Builders Charlie Castro and Randy Hixon used foliage from one of the garden’s red ginger plants as a template for hand-carving this gate’s leaf motifs in wood.

It was then painted to match the deck chairs, resulting in an overall look that's both welcoming and in sync with the garden’s theme.

DIY bowl fountain

Photo by Art Gray

Cool water

A 30-inch-wide glazed and sealed stoneware bowl (similar from $100) fitted with a small bubbler pump (from $20; creates the ambience of a fountain without the fuss or expense.

Because the bubbler does little more than stir the water, there’s no need for a reservoir beneath the bowl.

See how to make a bubbling fountain

Iron lanterns

Photo by Art Gray

Recycled lighting

Left behind by the property’s previous owner, rusted iron lanterns from Asia sit atop concrete pillars near the deck.

For similar lanterns, check import stores, or try the more contemporary Seasons lanterns of perforated powder-coated steel from Rios Clementi Hale Studios, available in four colors and three sizes (from $50;

Red-leafed ti plant

Photo by James Carrier

Hot color

“The vibrant jungle backdrop turns our deck into Shangri-la,” says owner Chris Beddow, who chose most of the plants for this Hawaii garden.

One key element: red-leafed ti plants (Cordy­line fruticosa), which glow like torches, waking up the mostly green palette of Manila palms, crotons, and ferns.

In cooler climes, sub Cordy­line  ‘Festival Grass’, Canna  ‘Tropicanna’ or ‘Tropicanna Black’, or some Solenostemon.

Adirondack chairs

Photo by Art Gray

Easy seating

The Beddows bought their Adirondack chairs unfinished and had them painted to match the roof. Similar ones are available from L.L. Bean (chair $169, footrest $79).

For the table, the couple fitted a 19-inch-high glazed container (similar from $50) with a 20-inch-diameter tempered-glass top ($30; Small silicone pads cushion the glass.

Monkey garden statue

Photo by Art Gray

Exotic element

Although carved monkeys aren’t for every garden, this one, bearing bromeliads and a bob of moss on its head, seems right at home among the jungly palms and sansieverias.

Front porch deck

Photo by Art Gray

Accessories budget

  • Adirondack chairs and footrests from L.L. Bean:  $496   
  • Side table from a nursery (base) and Pier 1 Imports (top):  $80
  • Seasons lantern from Rios Clementi Hale Studios:  $50
  • “Fountain” from a nursery (bowl) and the Home Depot (pump):  $120
Total: $746

More:  See how to make a transitional deck

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