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First, the wooden planks got a serious scrubbing with a heavy-duty deck cleaner to eliminate mildew and dirt. After drying for a full 48 hours, they were coated with Thompson's Water Seal Clear Wood Protector, which guards wood against water damage and fading. Then came the fun part: choosing furniture.
We selected pieces that are both good-looking and easy to care for; after all, it defeats the whole easy-living idea if you have to lavish time on maintaining your backyard retreat. The chaises were chosen for their rust-resistant, wrought-iron frames, comfy cushions, and sturdy back wheels that make them easy to move around in pursuit of sun or shade.
The teak dining table, with its simple, curve-back chairs, fits into a cozy corner. Although it looks luxurious, teak is easy to care for: It can be oiled to maintain its original color, or allowed to weather to a silver gray. Crate & Barrel's pillows, covered in weather-resistant fabric, add a hit of bold color to this serene tableau.
Finally, we encircled the deck with leafy, potted plants to create a feeling of seclusion. The result is a private garden sanctuary -- right at home.