deck can beautifully bridge the gap between indoors and out, providing an inviting, comfortable space from which to enjoy your backyard. And far from being a basic rectangle at the back of the house, a deck can be customized to fit your house and lifestyle to a T. Read on for 17 deck designs to get your creativity flowing.
1. Party deck. If outdoor entertaining is what your backyard is all about, think about how you can work your favorite party features into the deck plan. In the party-ready space shown here, there is room for a hammock, a fire pit, an outdoor kitchen and plenty of built-in seating.
2. Mixed-materials deck. Combining wood decking with concrete elements — like the low wall and stairs shown here — works especially well with contemporary, modern and urban homes. In addition to walls and stairs, consider working in a concrete planter or built-in bench seating.
3. Tree-hugging deck. Custom fitting a deck around a tree is a wonderful way to integrate the deck farther into the yard. Consult an arborist before beginning work to be sure you allow enough room for the tree’s mature size.
4. Petite deck. Working a deck into a smaller yard can actually make the space feel larger — and more usable. The owners of this charming Spanish colonial bungalow in Southern California built a deck extending into the yard, making the most of the space between mature yucca trees.
5. Dining deck. Love eating alfresco? Plan your deck to fit your dream dining table and site it for maximum dining enjoyment — not too far from the house and under a tree (that can hold string lights or lanterns) would be ideal.
6. Corner deck. If your home has a corner “missing” from the layout, filling in the exterior space with a corner deck can complement the architecture. And if you can add sliding glass doors leading onto the deck, so much the better.
7. Curved deck. Balance the rectilinear forms and sharp angles of a modern or contemporary home with a softly curving deck. Steps down to the deck area and a concrete retaining wall surround provide a secure feeling and a bit of a windbreak.
9. Master bedroom deck. Decks don’t need to be huge to have a big (and very positive) effect on lifestyle. Case in point: a small deck off the master bedroom, with just enough space for a pair of lounge chairs and a table to set a drink and a book.
10. Shed deck. Give a shed the fancy treatment with a mini deck across the entrance. Whether you use your shed to store gardening tools, as a kids’ playhouse or as a writer’s getaway, a deck will help it be a welcome addition to the garden.
11. Layered deck. Layers of decking merge in this unusual and visually interesting deck design. Well suited to modern and contemporary homes, a deck like the one shown here would also make a striking addition to a small urban lot.
12. Meandering deck. Let the deck beside your home be only the beginning — curving and snaking through the backyard, a meandering deck beckons further exploration. Consider placing a garden sculpture, a bench or another special feature at the end of the path to create a destination.
13. Garden path deck. Encourage exploration of your back garden by placing a series of interconnected decks throughout. Using a combination of narrower pathway decks and wider platforms will draw visitors through the space.
14. Multilevel deck. When you are working with a sloped or narrow lot, splitting up the deck into multiple levels can make the best use of the space. An outdoor kitchen could be positioned on the upper level (nearest the house) for easy access to the indoor kitchen, while a seating area or fire pit could be placed a few steps down, creating a private hangout zone.
15. Destination deck. Who says a deck has to be attached to the house? If you want to be drawn into a beautiful backyard, consider placing a freestanding deck platform in your favorite spot. Nestling the deck into trees or creating high landscape plantings behind it will help it settle in.