Want to spend more time outdoors in 2023? Here are 9 projects to help you achieve your goal.

Do you want to be happier and healthier in 2023?

New Year's resolutions almost always center around those two things: health and happiness. Many of us resolve to spend more time doing things we love, more time with family, and more time outdoors.

A comfortable, well-lit deck allows you to accomplish your New Year's resolutions to spend more time outdoors and spend more time with family

A deck revamp can help accomplish all of those goals at the same time. Studies increasingly link spending time in nature with health benefits and increased happiness and emotional well-being. And a deck upgrade doesn't have to be a big, overwhelming process.

Here are nine deck projects you can accomplish early in 2023: three quick and easy short-term projects, three relatively simple medium-length projects, and three larger, long-term projects, all of which will yield huge benefits and help you keep your 2023 New Year's resolutions!

Table of Contents

3 One-Day Deck Projects For An Instant Upgrade

Life gets busy. If you don't have the time, budget, or patience for a lengthy house project, these quick and easy upgrades are perfect for you. They hit the sweet spot, typically taking only a single day to complete while making a huge impact on the look, feel, and function of your deck.

Estimated project times are based on the time it takes to install on your deck. Combined with DecksDirect's massive in-stock selection and fast nationwide shipping, you could start the shopping process today and be enjoying your revamped space by next week!

Swap Out Balusters For An Easy Railing Refresh

  • Estimated project time: A day to a weekend

One of the most impactful projects you can do in a short time is replacing worn, wooden balusters with sleek metal ones.

A wooden deck railing quickly refreshed with metal balusters and metal post caps

Balusters, sometimes called "pickets" or "spindles", are the thin vertical pieces that run between the top rail and bottom rail in most railing systems. Many existing decks have wood railing using square, wood 2x2s as balusters. But over time, those wooden balusters tend to twist, split or splinter.

You can remove those wood balusters and replace them with long-lasting metal ones. You'll never need to paint or stain them, and they'll hold their shape for years to come, unlike warping wood balusters.

The sleek powder-coated finish of round Fortress steel balusters for deck railing
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Depending on your railing setup, you can save even more time by using face-mount balusters. As the name implies, face-mount balusters attach to the side of your top rail and bottom rail, rather than being sandwiched in between them.

A wood deck railing with sleek steel balusters face-mounted for easy installation and easy maintenance

The advantage of face-mount balusters is that they cut down on installation time even more because you can replace them without needing to remove your top or bottom rail. They simply attach directly to your rails with screws, as shown below:

A pair of face-mount deck balusters and the hardware that attaches them to a railing
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Add Solar Lighting And Get Instant Mood Lighting

  • Estimated project time: A few hours to a day

Great lighting turns your deck from plain to just plain awesome. The easiest way to light up your space is using simple solar lighting that requires no wiring.

A deck at dusk lit up by soft Aurora solar deck lights

One of the best places for lighting is on the posts of your railing - this is called post cap lighting. Post cap lights are designed to slide easily onto deck posts and fasten easily with a single screw (as you see below) or a line of silicone.

An Aurora Gemini solar post cap light

You can outfit your deck with new solar post caps in almost no time at all - just place the lights and attach them. They'll start charging immediately in the sun and be lighting up your space by sundown.

You can also find solar lights that attach to the side of your railing posts or your stair treads.

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Upgrade Deck Furniture For Maximum Comfort And Style

  • Estimated project time: A few hours or less
A set of TimberTech outdoor furniture including a chair, loveseat and table

Nothing makes your space immediately more functional and inviting than modern, comfortable outdoor furniture.

Gone are the days of flimsy, plastic chairs and thin tables that blow over in the wind. Outdoor living brands are now producing deck furniture so solid, sturdy, comfortable, and stylish that a finished deck can truly feel like an extension of your indoor living space.

A beautiful, comfortable TimberTech Adirondack chair

TimberTech's line of deck furniture is a clear standout. Designed as a modern twist on the classic Adirondack style, TimberTech outdoor furniture is shockingly comfortable, incredibly stylish, and both sturdy and long-lasting.

Choose from the classic Adirondack chair, a roomy outdoor love seat (called the Mingle Bench) and two sizes of table. Each piece easily installs in ten minutes or less, so you can dramatically upgrade your deck space and have time to enjoy it in the same night.

A set of TimberTech outdoor furniture pieces in contrasting colors
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3 Weekend Deck Projects For A Simple Refresh

If you've got a little more time, here are three more projects to consider. They're slightly more in-depth, but still simple enough that you can complete them in a weekend with the right preparation.

Plan Low-Voltage Lighting To Use Your Deck At Night

  • Estimated project time: A day to a few days

The sister to the solar lighting we checked out above is low voltage lighting, which runs directly off of a standard wall outlet. You can customize a low voltage system a little more with options like dimmers and timers, and the wiring itself is easy enough for even beginner DIYers to install.

A deck lit up at night by bright low voltage post cap lights

It's easy: just plug your transformer into a standard wall outlet. It will transform your home's 120-volt electricity into a 12-volt current that's safe for outdoor lighting.

A diagram showing how to wire up transformers, timers, and dimmers for outdoor lighting

If you use a smart transformer like the one shown below, you can get the ease of the top "basic" lighting setup while still getting the functionality of a dimmer and/or timer.

A smart low voltage transformer with a built-in dimmer and timer to power deck lighting

As with solar lighting, post caps are a great place to start. Look how just a few post caps transform this deck into a warm, inviting setting for an outdoor dinner:

A table on a deck set up for a grand dinner and lit by the romantic mood lighting of Trex post cap lights

Most post cap lights use easy plug and play lighting - that means no complex hot-wiring. You can see the easy plug and play fittings below:

A Trex lighted post cap and the wire that powers it

You can run a line of post caps off of one main run of wiring, using a splitter to power each individual post cap:

A diagram showing how to run deck lighting around a deck to power post caps

Beyond post caps, you can class up your deck lighting in other ways. Stair lighting is an awesome option. Just drill a hole into your stair riser boards and pop in a recessed stair light, like the one below. It will fit perfectly flush with your riser for lighting that's totally unobtrusive during the day but brilliant and functional at night.

A recessed Trex deck stair light

The result is a show-stopping luxury deck look with stairs that are incredibly well-lit and safe for guests of all ages - and you can wire it all up in one weekend.

A gorgeous, top-to-bottom Trex deck lighting setup including post caps and recessed stair lights
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Install An Underdeck System To Double Your Usable Space

  • Estimated project time: A few days

What if you could double your outdoor living space without expanding your deck structure or building a new deck?

That's the idea behind underdeck drainage and deck ceiling, which take advantage of already existing space - the area underneath your deck - to expand what you can do outdoors.

A gif showing the space under a deck before and after a ZipUP Underdeck drainage system has been installed

The space under your deck is typically an afterthought. Bare joists and beams are unsightly, and deck boards are designed to install with a gap so rainwater drains through them. But adding an underdeck drainage system funnels the rainwater away and into a gutter system, while replacing bare deck framing with a polished, stylish ceiling.

The result is a finished outdoor room that you can enjoy rain or shine. It's the perfect place for a hot coffee on a drizzly morning or a good book amid the patter of raindrops in the spring.

Shown above is ZipUP Underdeck, an easy-to-install panel system. If you're interested in ZipUP, check out our simple ZipUP Calculator which can take the dimensions of your deck and build you a custom shopping list of all the parts you'd need for a new ZipUP System.

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The smooth, polished finish of the UpSide Deck Ceiling by ColorGuard

Another great option is UpSide Deck Ceiling by ColorGuard. UpSide installs much the same way as ZipUP, and both can install onto existing decks without requiring you to remove any deck boards. The main difference with UpSide is that its panels look like classic beadboard with thinner lines for that must-have modern farmhouse look.

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Add Privacy Panels For Maximum Peace And Relaxation

  • Estimated project time: A day to a few days

You can quickly make your space more calming and peaceful by adding privacy railing. Privacy panels create a boundary between your space and the neighbors, or between separate functional areas of your outdoor space, like a cooking space and a relaxing sitting zone.

A stately Boardwalk privacy panel from Barrette Outdoor Living

Privacy panels can come in a range of looks, from solid to slightly see-through. That means you can dial in the exact amount of privacy you want for a space, while also choosing an option that fits your personal style.

A modern Morse privacy panel from Barrette Outdoor Living

Privacy panels install easily into frames that are simple to put together, so you can add privacy to your space in a weekend or less.

An ornate Sprig privacy panel from Barrette Outdoor Living
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3 Long-Term Deck Projects With Huge Benefits

The New Year is a time for big goals. If you want to completely overhaul your deck in the coming year, we've got good news: with DecksDirect's experienced project planning help, you can drastically revamp your deck - or even build a new one - in plenty of time to enjoy the coming spring and summer. Here are some longer-term projects with a high return on investment:

Replace A Worn Railing To Make Your Deck Feel Like New

  • Estimated project time: A few days to a week
A lake view seen through the nearly-transparent Key-Link cable railing system

Changing out your deck's railing is a larger undertaking, but one that can make your deck feel entirely new without pulling up a single board.

Modern deck railings come in a range of low-maintenance materials like metal and composite, so you can upgrade today and count on your new railing to stay beautiful and strong for years to come without ever required you to paint or stain it.

Plus, modern railings have become surprisingly easy to install, with simple kits that include everything you need for a section of level or angled railing. Just install the rail kits between posts and you're ready to go - it's about as easy as a big Lego set for adults!

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You can class up your deck with a totally unique look by choosing the style of railing. Here's a look at a few different railing styles you could choose from.

Metal Railing

A set of deck stairs with subtle, stylish AFCO Pro deck railing

Metal railing creates a strong, modern look that's tough and durable in any weather. Another bonus is that metal railing tends to be especially easy to plan and install, like the AFCO Pro railing pictured above.

See how easy AFCO Pro Railing is to plan and install!

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Composite Railing

A calming, inviting deck surrounded by classic Trex Select composite deck railing

Composite railing takes the classic look of wood railing and translates it into a sleek, low-maintenance package made of composite material - a mix of natural wood fibers and synthetic plastics. Pictured is the classy black-and-white look of Trex Select railing.

See how easy Trex Select Railing is to plan and install!

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Cable Railing

A lakeside deck with Key-Link cable railing at sunset

Cable railing is a beautifully modern twist that opens up your view by replacing balusters with thin runs of stainless steel cable. Pictured above is Key-Link Horizontal Cable railing with cable runs that almost disappear into the sea view beyond.

See how easy Key-Link Railing is to plan and install!

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Glass Railing

A foresty deck with Trex Signature Glass deck railing

The most luxurious option is glass railing, which gives you incredible deck views and a modern, extravagant style. The deck above is using Trex Signature Glass railing, which puts glass panels into the popular Trex Signature metal railing system.

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Replace Wood Decking With Low-Maintenance Composite To Save Hours Of Upkeep

  • Estimated project time: A few days to a week

If the boards of your deck are starting to discolor, you can quickly refresh the space with a new coat of stain or paint. But if your boards have begun to rot, splinter, or warp (as wood is wont to do), then consider swapping out your deck surface for beautiful, low-maintenance composite deck boards built to last for decades in the elements.

The rich brown finish of Trex Transcend deck boards glinting in the sun

Composite deck boards are made of a mixture of recycled plastics and natural wood fibers, making them more resistant to moisture, mold, mildew and rotting than traditional wood boards. Each board is capped with a tough, durable shell designed to weather the elements with ease. The TimberTech Legacy deck board below is one of the premier options on the market, showing off that protective capping on all four sides.

A cross-section showing the interior material and tough capping of TimberTech Composite Legacy decking

Composite deck boards come in a brilliant range of natural colors with unique surface textures you can see and feel. Plus, you can get boards with pre-grooved edges to install them with hidden fasteners, or get square-edged boards for traditional face-fastening screws:

A look at the square and grooved edge profiles of TimberTech Vintage deck boards

Composite deck boards are tough and scratch-resistant. This Trex deck below is perfect for yard games, grills, or furniture because it uses the Trex Transcend decking line with the brand's top scratch-resistance.

A wide Trex deck set up for summer lawn games

Another low-maintenance option is PVC decking, which removes the natural wood fibers entirely. PVC decking is made of 100% synthetic material, making it the most moisture-resistant deck board available. The deck board below shows TimberTech Landmark decking.

An oceanfront deck featuring PVC deck boards from TimberTech's Landmark Collection

If you're planning to install deck boards, consider a unique deck board pattern. We can help you plan for it with a simple phone call to our team at 1-888-824-5316, and a pattern can really set your deck apart from the neighborhood.

You can mix in multiple widths of deck board, like the TimberTech Vintage deck below:

A Scandinavian style deck featuring multi-width deck boards from TimberTech's Vintage Collection

Or you can mix and match two colors of deck board for a gorgeous contrast. Learn more about deck board color combos in our guide to the Best Two-Toned Deck Board Color Combos here.

A stylish, modern deck with deck boards from TimberTech's Legacy line of composite decking
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Expand Your Deck Space Or Build A New Deck

  • Estimated project time: A week to a few weeks

If you're looking to build a new deck from the ground up - or build an expansion onto your existing deck - DecksDirect is here to help!

A drawn-out deck plan with a pencil and measuring tape nearby

We staff a team of experienced deck project planners who will take the layout and dimensions of your space and help you create a start-to-finish plan for a beautiful, customized deck.

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A classy brown deck with stairs made from TimberTech's Vintage Collection of PVC deck boards

To build your deck for the long haul, check out Fortress Evolution Steel Deck Framing, created to handle any climate and keep your deck on a stable foundation for years to come.

The framework of a new deck made with Fortress steel deck framing
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A diagram pointing out the names of different parts of a deck

We'll help you create a shopping list so you can get every part and piece you need in one order without needing to pause your project to order more materials. From framing to decking to railing and more, DecksDirect is the go-to resource for deck project planning.

That includes time-saving tools like the CAMO Marksman Tool or the EDGEXMETAL hidden fasteners below:

A CAMO Marksman tool making it easier for someone to install deck boards onto a deck frame
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Deck boards being installed with CAMO hidden fasteners onto a metal deck frame
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Learn more about the basics of deck framing and building in our Deck Framing Guide and learn deck parts and terminology in the DecksDirect Glossary of Deck Terms and Lingo.

Browse more deck design and railing style notes to upgrade your backyard space and deck in the DecksDirect Railing Style Guide: the quickest way to learn if your home is more suited for a classic aluminum deck railing or a showstopping cable rail setup.

The more you know, the better your deck and backyard projects will be! Whether you're looking at a brand new project, a deck update, or a style refresh, give our deck project planners a call at 1-888-824-5316 or send us an email at hello@decksdirect.com. Our experienced team will help you get the information, products, and tools you need for an awesome deck completely personalized to your needs!