As promised, here are a few more pictures of the painted deck. I think its looks so much more finished than before. I wasn´t sure at first whether I wanted to paint the pillars the same color, but now I am glad I did. They are way less prominent now.
(Not related: That huge plant that goes up to the railing, anyone know what this is? It was part of some plant package that I bought when I first planted the walled garden and I think it´s quite hideous. It will go elsewhere after this season. Edit: I don´t mean the lupines - the one that towers over everyting in the bed next to the deck.)
I used an oil-based paint. It provides a super durable finish but still allows the wood to breathe which is a good thing outdoors. Also it is super easy to work with, you just brush it on - no primer needed, no need to be super exact because it basically distributes itself. As for the color, going dark was basically the only option here - with a lighter finish I guess every drop of rain would have shown. Anyway I think the color is really good here.
The only complaint I have is that the paint is a little too shiny for my taste - see the reflections in this picture? But otherwise, very happy with the outcome. And we definitely have come a looooong way since this:
Yikes. By the way this picture was part of a post from 2012 which might be interesting for all of you who aren´t sure about the structure of the walled garden - it´s here if you would like to take a look.