Stepped deck connects home and garden

Reinvent your space by connecting house and yard with a multilevel outdoor room

Expand your deck

Jon Jensen

Expand your deck

photo by Jon Jensen

Before the deck this home and garden felt disconnected. (See thumbnail photo below left.) Now the family has a spacious new living space right outside their door. 

4 ideas from this project you can adapt to your own:

1. Durable material

Portland homeowners Grant and Suzanne Malin built their new deck with wood/plastic composite 1-by-6s from Timber-Tech (800/307-7780) that last 25 years. They come in several colors (the Malins chose Redwood) and need only periodic cleaning with power-washing and an eco-friendly product such as Corte-Clean (888/203-2202. Rails (except cedar caps) are copper pipes.

2. Gentle transition
Because the Malins' ground floor sits 3½ feet aboveground, the deck needed to provide a gradual descent into the garden. Seven steps connect the deck's three levels to a small ground-level patio with a portable fireplace. There's seating on the top and bottom levels, and storage beneath the deck for the couple's canoes. The homeowners did much of the work themselves but had a contractor build the deck. See how to build a simple transitional deck

3. Built-in planters
To create the look of a garden on the deck, the Malins installed three built-in planters that drain to the ground below. Framed with pressure-treated wood, the tall, narrow beds are finished with copper sheets cut to size at a plumbing-supply store.

4. Softening greenery
Each planter contains a tall focal-point plant, including a windmill palm by the house and a coralbark maple at right. Filling in around them are low-growers with lime green or reddish brown foliage to complement the deck's rose and copper tones ('Marguerite' sweet potato vine tumbles around orange calibrachoa and a bronze carex in the planter at right). 

INFO Deck and garden design: Darcy Daniels, Bloomtown Garden Design & Nursery; 503/331-1783, Portland.n



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