A deck can be the perfect place for a container garden, whether you want to grow beautiful flowers or edible plants. Vinyl decks are an even better option than wood decks, since vinyl is more weather and moisture resistant. Before you start planting, make sure you know these tips for keeping your deck in good condition as the garden grows upon it:
Select the Right Planters
You need garden containers that will allow you to grow a healthy garden without damaging the deck. Fortunately, vinyl resists most types of damage far better than wood, so you can use almost any planter on the deck.
The main thing is to make sure the containers have bottom drainage holes. This is for the health of the plants. They will also need a drip tray beneath the pot to catch any draining water. If you use pot stands with the containers, check that the legs are smooth. You don't want rough or jagged legs to gouge the vinyl decking boards. Stands with wheels are the best choice, since they will help you to move the plants more easily.
Protect the Deck
Although vinyl isn't as prone to water damage as wood, mildew and mold stains can occur if water collects beneath planters. Prevention is the best option. If you are using large containers that can't be easily moved, opt for the wheeled plant stand whenever possible. Another option is to use a large mat or tray beneath your pots. This will catch any moisture so it doesn't sit on the decking boards.
You will need to move the pots and mats periodically to make sure no damage is occurring. If you do notice any mildew growth, wash down the vinyl decking boards with an anti-fungal cleaner or with a solution of 10 percent bleach mixed with water.
Keep it Clean
Dirt and gardening debris can scratch the deck, making the boards seem dull or leading to stains. Your best defense is to sweep the deck regularly so the debris doesn't build up.
Soil can also contain iron, which will leave behind reddish-orange rust stains. Frequent sweeping minimizes the chances of this happening. If rust or mineral stains do occur, use a cleaner that contains oxalic acid or Trisodium phosphate to remove them.
Mineral and rust stains may be more likely to occur in winter, when the pots sit empty and you stay warm inside. Heavy rain or melting snow can flush minerals and iron out of the pots and onto your deck. You can prevent this by putting the pots away in a garage or shed in the fall, or at least moving them to a covered area.
To learn more, contact a company like Eternal Vinyl Sundecks with any questions or concerns you have.