Outdoor Deck Porch & Patio Season Is Here

It is officially the start of outdoor deck, porch, and patio living season here in South Carolina.  Looking at the national news, I know for many in the northern sections of the country and Canada – winter has returned with a major slow moving snowstorm… sorry, :-)

I hope this post helps you see that spring is happening in the south and will be moving north soon.

white outdoor table on wood deck

The calendar says spring, so does the high 70’s degree weather with crystal clear blue skies around the lake.

The last few days my mailbox has been stuffed with home decorating catalogs… Serena & Lily, Frontgate, Ballard Designs, Pier 1, and Pottery Barn.

…that are filled with the newest and prettiest outdoor furniture and accessories. Thoughts of decorating patios, porches, and decks with the beautiful furniture, coupled with the beautiful weather tells me the warm weather season is here.

looking at gazebo along shore of lake

Yesterday was so nice outside, it was hard to get any work done inside. So instead of fighting my urge to be outside, I gave in. I decided to round up some of the decorative items I like to use outside to give our lakeside deck some style. I like to make the most of the deck while keeping comfort and function in mind and… it all has to be low maintenance!

I thought I would share a few things that I added to the deck, along with one big project that has happened along the lake shore. I also have an update about painting the exterior of the house.

deck getting ready for spring decor and outdoor living

There are no jaw dropping changes on the deck. I just brought out the items we use on a daily basis and when we entertain on the deck.

Pink vinca in deck planter

I bought and planted pink and purple Vinca to get six of the barrel-style flower planters started again with summer color. The other six planters have Wandering Jew or Mums planted in them that come back every year, so I only had to add vinca to the remaining six planters.

old outdoor coirdoormat that needs to be replaced

I also made a list of a few items I will need to buy to replace a few older items that have served us well, but are worn… like this doormat.  I have four – one in front of each sliding glass door on the deck.

Door mat in turquoise, blue and green pattern

They used to look like this the first summer we lived in the house back in 2016…. so colorful and pretty. They held up well in spite of being out in the elements 24/7.

I am still searching for budget friendly doormats to replace them.  So far, I do like this white and navy Cabana stripe one the most, but I am still searching.

outdoor deck decorating with nature ideas

The worst of the spring pollen is over (it can get really bad here – a thick coat of yellow on everything). Good news is that a steady rain earlier in the week cleared the yellow coat. Then Ed and I hosed everything around the outside of the house down to remove the residue. We can finally sit down outside without getting yellow pollen all over us.

With the surfaces free from pollen, I could put out a few pretty items on a metal outdoor sideboard that was a hand-me down from our previous house.


The metal outdoor sideboard was green when we inherited it. I sprayed it with Rustoleum Hammered Brown 5 years ago and I have to tell you that the paint finish has held up amazingly well… as in WOW! that is good paint.

I used the same spray paint to update an outdoor dining set at the same time. It also still looks great.

Outdoor clock on brick wall

I was going to bring out the twig vase I made, but decided I like that better in the fall.  To find some new items to decorate, I went up to my attic decor stash and brought down a few “nature-looking” items to add some pretty to the metal sideboard.

  • I bought the outdoor copper clock from the Frontgate catalog about 5 years ago. It is no longer made, but they do have a similar one now. I also found this similar and slightly smaller clock.
  • The lantern I have had for years is no longer available.
  • The citronella candle is from last summer’s TIKI line. 
  • The white ceramic planter is from a florist flower delivery I once received.  The 12″ diameter faux topiary sphere is from HomeGoods.  I also found a 15″ one.


Exterior House Painting Update

Getting a deck ready for outdoor living

It is also official that the exterior of my house is going to be painted!!!

I don’t have a date yet, but it is going to be soon. I am excited to get the project started. I have been thinking, planning, and gathering ideas for this project since we first moved into the house. This will be our 4th summer here.  I do have a plan all drawn out. I will share a lot more on getting the house painted and other exterior updates we are going to make with you soon.

A Big Project We Had to Do Along the Lake


The lake level is dropped every winter to kill lake weeds so that in the spring, summer and fall the water is crystal clear. We took advantage of the lower lake level this winter to complete some major work on one section of our shoreline.

This was a big and expensive project that we could not postpone any longer. One that we could not do ourselves. We had to hire a pro to install – Riprap – not shiplap, but riprap. :-)

Rough and eroded shore of lake before adding RiprapPhoto taken of lake shoreline when water level was down over the winter.

The sprinkler head you see in the above photo used to be way out in the water. When we first moved into the house I always wondered why there were two lawn sprinkler heads about 16 feet out in the water on either side of the gazebo.

At the time I thought they must have been used as a decoration, you know like a “Waltzing Water Show”. I kid you not – I was clueless why anyone would put sprinklers that far out in the water.  I also thought that since lake water is used to water the lawn, that it had something to do with the lawn watering system.

I soon learned that our lawn used to be out past those sprinkler heads.  Since our property is on a point of land with water on 3 sides, the front shoreline takes a beating from waves, boat wakes, and wind.

Ed moved the sprinkler heads 2-feet in from the water last summer. As you can see in the photo, the sprinkler head is again no longer on the lawn since the waves have eroded the shoreline about a foot from last year.

Riprap along lake shore

Hello Riprap.

If we wanted to still have property on the lake side of the house in ten years, we needed to add riprap to armor our shoreline to stop erosion.

riprap along lake

As an added feature, we had stone steps added allowing us to easily walk into the water from this area of the yard.

View of lake a riprap along shore of lake viewed from home deck

I like it and one bonus I didn’t foresee. The sound of the waves crashing against the rocks is louder than when it hit the lawn – which is music to my water-loving soul. :-)

Is the weather springlike at your house yet? Have you started any decorating on your porch, patio, deck or outside living space?

Affordable ideas on what to use to decorate a porch, patio or deck when the weather gets warm.

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  1. That Sassy Life coach says:

    What an exquisite view! I am in pure awe

  2. Hi, we were very interested in your experience with the disappearing shoreline. We too, live on a lake and were surprised to see this and thought this would only happen to ocean front.
    In fact we also moved into this home in 2016. Our house is brown with teal doors. We are jealous of your climate when looking at your pictures. Just got our dock in last week here in Massachusetts. We have a screened porch where your deck is but it is decorated in a similar fashion. Looking forward to seeing your paint choices.

  3. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

    I’m so glad you had the money to save your wonderful shoreline! I’m hoping your not painting your brick?

  4. Nancy McHale says:

    Your shoreline looks beautiful! What a transformation!
    We are hoping to go to Maine next week to see how winter treated us!!
    How’s Zoe!! Love her name!

  5. Shannon at Skip to My Life says:

    I have to admit, I am extremely jealous! But I am now inspired to incorporate many of your decor ideas on my deck, especially the topiary ball and lantern. Looking forward to seeing the “after” paint.

  6. Your blog is always such a good feeling blog & I love reading your posts. Here in South Florida we just had our pool & deck re-done. Also added some things from Home Goods to pretty it up. We don’t get pollen but always have black dust to clean up everyday. We have never figured out where that comes from but maybe from the Everglades.

  7. Diane, As always, this looks great. Are the stone steps anchored and who installed them for you? Have you considered cable deck railing? Some friends on Lake Murray just replaced theirs and it’s almost invisible.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Patricia –

      The steps are anchored in the rocks, I am not sure if there is any other anchor. The guy who did the riprap was Chris Faust of GGE & C Services.

      I love the cable deck railing, but I don’t think we will be installing it anytime soon, only because we need to do other projects, like a new roof…$$$
      cha…ching… cha… ching… and front exterior updates. I wish I could win the lottery or had a huge amount of $$$ to do whatever I like to the house to get it the way I envision all at once, but it is going to take time. :-)

  8. Nothing is more fun than decorating your own house and repairing flowers, because you can turn them into what you want.

  9. Kathy Duval says:

    Love your place. What lake are you on? I spent 3 years stationed in Columbia. Love the Southeast. Now we winter in Yuma and summer in Oregon where our kids and grandkids are. We just bought a house down here, so doing lots in the front and back yard areas to make them pretty. Looking into getting palm trees and cacti.

  10. I am anxiously awaiting your painting project as I have the same project this summer. More details to work out, but come June I am starting.

  11. I live on Lake Norman in NC on the main channel so I know what riprap means. It means a great deal of expense. Who knew I would move from CA to buy rocks and pine straw. LOL I really enjoy living on the water though. I especially enjoy your blog.

  12. If you google Thunder Bay, Ontario you’ll see we’re on the tip of Lake Superior. In July, white fluffy stuff starts falling from the trees & covering everything, maybe that’s like your spring pollen. Its only lightly snowing!

  13. Wow, that’s interesting and something I never even considered before, but then we don’t live on the water. I’ve seen that done and wondered why…..
    Love all the pictures of your deck, look forward to seeing it blossom with the coming weeks and months, I can hardly wait to see your plans for the house exterior to come alive too! Thanks Diane! Have a great weekend.

  14. Kathryn Rhyne says:

    I am also excited to have the warmer weather finally here. We need to wash all of the pollen off of our little deck as well. The shoreline looks great!!

  15. The yellow cloud of pollen has just started here in Virginia.

    The water level at our lake house stayed high at our lake house over the winter and the water line was over our riprap resulting in some erosion. Because of the slight erosion, we need to add more riprap this spring or summer.

    I like how you have steps going into the water. I wish we had a spot to do that for our dog.

  16. Wow!! Love the lake view ?
    Here in AZ we are having gorgeous Spring weather….hoping it holds and that we don’t get hot early this year.
    Yellow rain is bad here now. Mesquite and Palo Verde trees are pretty but messy.
    Wildflowers and cactus blooms are my favorite. The Saquaro’s are getting their crown of blooms.
    Can’t wait to see the finished deck ?

  17. Most of our snow is gone but we are expecting a storm tonight & into tomorrow, hopefully the last snowstorm. How interesting to hear about the spring pollen, I’ve never heard of that. I’m so excited you decided to paint your house!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Holly – Where do you live? I am assuming a place with no pollen producing trees. It is misery for many with allergies. I hope the snowstorm isn’t too bad and passes by quickly.

  18. Virginia Kohler says:

    We are still in the yellow cloud, in Seneca, SC ( near Clemson). Our lake levels are high (Hartwell and Keowee) due to record rains this winter. It is raining again this weekend so we are hoping a lot of the pollen will be washed away.
    I always enjoy your posts, such reasonable solutions!
    We are looking at putting riprap in the gully between our yard and the street. When the thunder storms rip through we have a lot of debris from the yard in our street.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Virginia –

      Yellow Cloud – very funny, but describes living through pollen season perfectly. :-) Lake Murray was back up to normal level about a month ago, now it is even higher for the same reasons other lakes in the region are. We are very happy with the riprap so far. After this summer we will know if it was worth doing it. Hope the pollen settles down soon in your neck of SC. Enjoy the weekend.

  19. yes, Spring is here in FL. we live in an oak hammock and just finished our swimming so between construction and pollen I was finally cleaning up the back yard and screen porch this week. I rinsed the porch and it was a yellow river. I’ve always loved falling asleep to the sound of lapping waves in a lake house….heaven.

  20. Oh I wish I was there to enjoy your beautiful property.

    Today mother nature blessed Minnesota with a spring snow storm. We lost two six foot panels to our fence from the insane winds. Sometimes it looked like we were in a snow globe looking out our windows. There were moments of total white out.

    Looking forward to seeing your new paint project.

  21. Julia@Cuckoo4Design says:

    You are so lucky! Love your views, deck, and imagining the sound of water while sitting on the deck. And I don’t know how I missed this but who’s the kitty at the door ;)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Julia – The kitty is Trax. He is my daughter Kelly’s cat. He was born at a Bucknell frat house and became Kelly and her roommate’s when they were Seniors. They saved him from abuse. When Kelly was in her first year of medical residency, Trax lived with us. As most kitties he loved any sunny spot in the house, but my office was his favorite as it stayed sunny all day. He lives in Virginia now with Kelly. He lived with us for 3 years when we were still in PA and Kelly was in the Peace Corps in Africa. He makes himself seen in many of my blog posts back then. :-)

  22. Your lake view is amazing! Southern Cal weather has been Spring-like mixed with Summer! It’s typically in the mid to high 70’s in April but it was in the high 80’s a few days ago. The pollen count is high and the last time it rained, the pollen on my roof ended up on my driveway, It took me a few minutes to realize why there was a big yellow stain across the entire front of my garage! We’ve had abnormally high amounts of rain since late Jan. We really, really needed the rainfall but the rain mixed with warmer than normal temps has created a “super bloom” of native plants–which are gorgeous!–and weeds which aren’t so welcome!

  23. 1960s girl says:

    Hi! The weather is getting warmer every day after it snowed on Tuesday. We’re getting there! Usually we go from winter to summer (we don’t even bother to buy spring clothes!)
    As for decorating, we can’t do much of it since there’s always a family of at least 6 racoons (the mum + 5 babies) roaming our backyard from May to November. They play with everything and anything.
    We still manage to make the backyard lovely with Adirondak chairs and a nice patio set. But we can’t buy those pretty decorations Ikea sells since the racoons and squirrels will eat or destroy them.
    Those rascals even wash their hands in MY pool! But they are cute.
    I showed the pictures of your property to my husband and he’s a little envious right now!
    We are too looking for a place with a view on a lake or mountains, in Canada. But it’s hard to find a place that meets our criteria.
    Enjoy the warm weather and don’t forget sunscreen!

  24. And here I thought they were just called stones along the shore! The ‘riprap’ looks great! I bet you are excited to get the house painted. We got just a couple inches of snow here in southern Wisconsin, but it’s been too cold here to do yard work so far. We did have a couple of warmer days, but we were traveling, so the yard work is still waiting for me. Hopefully in a couple of weeks, I’ll be able to get to it. Enjoy your evening! ;)