On my blog, I once wrote about life on the Veranda - a favorite Southern, summer pastime.
Picture a Charleston side-porch house, facing the obligatory magnolia tree, refreshing gin and tonics or the standard mint julep.
But Veranda living is more than just a sense of "place". What really makes it memorable is the company of friends and neighbors, sparkling conversation, or a languid repose with a loved one.
A deck may not technically be a Veranda, but it can, nevertheless, be the perfect gathering spot where memories are made.
The key, however, to great deck entertaining is to have a great deck. Many people don?t believe in decorating their decks but having good seating and some type of a theme can help make your deck the most beloved part of your home.
A favorite theme for a deck is "Outdoor Barbeque." Though not really an official title, a version of "Outdoor Barbeque" encompasses a nice deck, with a classy set of chairs and a table and a grilling area where your husband and his friends can show their talent on the grill. Sharing hamburgers and margaritas with your friends while you wait for the homemade ice cream to finish running - now that is my idea of putting a deck to good use.
On the other hand, a fun theme is great if you have kids. For example, the Beach theme is ever popular for decks. Beach and lounge chairs cover the deck with a table and chairs in the center covered in bright blue and white striped fabric. You can even use ropes, sails, nets, and lifeguard floats to hang from the sides of your fun deck and post flags from different Caribbean or Mediterranean countries on the corners of the deck.
Keeping a chest inside of beach paraphernalia - floats, leis, sunglasses, and even a pirate?s eye patch will keep your children entertained as you try to prepare dinner.
You can also have a country theme on your deck. My great-aunt has this huge covered deck and on it she uses old barrels as side tables and chairs; for the chairs part of the barrel is cut for the back and the previous top of the barrel as nailed down as the seat. There?s kind of a country atmosphere there with the added touches of old Pepsi bottles, signs, and tools hanging on the wall as well as flowers hanging from every corner of the roof.
Whatever theme you decide to use on your deck, the essentials are a table and chairs with some extra seating and side tables. If your deck is too small for that, you can simply purchase a couple of Adirondack chairs and side tables to match. Your parties may be smaller, but you can always put a picnic table in the yard to seat more people. Choose your own theme; a deck is a place where you can put your favorite random items to good use. So from Coca-Cola to country to classic, create your own deck decorations and spend the rest of the summer enjoying your friends on your jazzy new deck.
And no one will care if it's not an official Veranda.
About the Author: Elizabeth Holly lives in the South and writes for women about fashion, fitness, frolic and focus. Visit her at http://www.elizabethholly.com.