26 great ideas for decks

Find inspiration for turning a deck into your favorite "room" in the house

Wrap-around backyard deck

Party on the deck

A good deck can capture a view, create a comfortable outdoor room, and add a feeling of spaciousness to your home by blurring the boundaries between inside and out.

This partly sheltered deck serves as an indoor-outdoor space connecting a family room with a patio. Classically simple, it is a great transitional element for nearly any style of house. You can even build it yourself!

See our guide to building a wrap-around deck

Deck with a view

Eric Millette

Taming a slope

A deck at the top of this sloping backyard transformed the space into an inviting destination for taking in the view.

The rear edge of the 15- by 24-foot deck notches into the hill. A low retaining wall holds the uphill section in place and doubles as another bench seat.

Read more about this project

After: Bring the outside in

Small-home solution

A new deck off the back bedrooms helped design team John Jennings and Sasha Tarnopolsky make the most of their 1,100-square-foot home.

The deck, made from Ipe wood, acts as extensions of the living areas, a private outdoor retreat, and a graceful, 3-step transition to the garden.

See the backyard before

Front-yard entry deck

Photo by Art Gray

Front-yard entry deck

Instead of stairs, a three-level deck steps up to the front door of this raised post-and-pier-house on the island of Oahu.

Tropical accessories on the deck and throughout the garden turned this entry into a personal paradise.

More about this front yard

Outdoor extensions

Dominique Vorillon

Room with a view

A deck off this cabin near Twisp, Wash. adds yet another room to a small home filled with creative living spaces.

Concrete steps off the deck extend the house further, leading to another hang-out space on the granite rocks below.

See more of this small house that lives large

Expand your deck

Jon Jensen

Reinvented living space

This home's floor sits 3½ feet above ground, so 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.

More ideas from this deck project


John Granen

Outdoor living room

The deck in this Jackson Hole home acts as an extension of the living room.

""In the summertime," says owner Eric Logan, we wake up, open up the house, and it stays open ― with the girls (Isabel, 5, and Olivia, 1) and the dogs running in and out all day."

Full story

Decks Stinson beach house

Fire pit focal point

This deck more than doubles the home's living space with ample sunbathing, conversation, and entertaining areas.

Expanding an existing deck made of Trex, a composite material, architect Peter Pfau carved out an area for a new entry pavilion and another for a fire pit. A matching boardwalk connects the main house to two tented guest rooms.

Design:  Pfau Architecture, San Francisco (415/908-6408). Construction:  Woodworking West, Stinson Beach, CA (415/868-2265).

Decks Santa Monica lounges

Small-budget deck

This 9- by 25-foot deck covered with multicolored slate tiles provides the perfect place for quiet and relaxation. Handsome stone pavers ― a product called Stone Deck ― make it feel like a terrace on the ground. These tiles rest on the same kind of framework a wooden deck does. The broad wooden steps are made of ipe, a rich, red-colored Brazilian hardwood.

Decks Novato pole fence

Privacy screen

The best vacation spot can sometimes be in your very own backyard. At the enclosed end of this deck, panels made of horizontal tree stakes allow for peace and privacy.

Design:  Gary Marsh Design, Novato, CA (415/897-7623)

Decks Santa Monica lounges

Outdoor sitting area and spa

This L-shaped deck is a tropical escape off a master suite. Architects Ken Payson and Peg Denney designed the serene space as part sitting area off the bedroom, part spa off the bathroom.

Decks Santa Monica lounges

Colorful twist

The fir deck is painted spruce gray to complement the periwinkle stucco walls screening the hot tub.

A low redwood bench along the deck’s outer edge is supported by horizontal cylinders of steel pipe bolted to the framing.

Design:  PaysonDenney Architects, Santa Fe and Santa Monica (800/927-8551)

Dinner on the deck

Thomas J. Story

Dinner on the deck

Bob and Cary Woll's seaside-inspired backyard in Los Osos, California, is as inviting for two as it is for a crowd; the Wolls have entertained as many as two dozen guests, comfortably, on the deck.

Benches of ipe wood wrap around most of the deck (also made of ipe), providing generous seating.

Garden plants ― Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Silver Sheen', and Acacia cognata ― require little in the way of watering and upkeep. A tiny succulent in a square pot serves as a simple table centerpiece.

Concrete side table

Thomas J. Story

Create an outdoor bar

Outdoor chefs need a place to put their tools, and  bartenders must have a bar. The concrete side table beneath the pergola provides room for both while also functioning as a serving counter or buffet table.

Two square cabinets on casters, tucked underneath provide storage. They can also be rolled into action as serving tables or additional seating.

Concrete firepit

Thomas J. Story

Warming firepit

A raised concrete trough filled with recycled glass keeps the dining deck warm on cool nights.

When not in use, the gas firepit can be covered with a slab of ipe wood, which converts it into a coffee table.


Marion Brenner

New dimensions

David Polifko transformed his backyard with three decks of different sizes, at three different levels.

A deck also wraps around an 8-feet-square teahouse, angled to fit a tight corner.

See more pictures of his decks and garden

San Francisco Idea House

Thomas J. Story

Urban retreat

A deck surrounded by a fountain and pond creates an island of calm in the middle of San Francisco.

The water features create an urban habitat that attracts birds and can sustain fish and turtles.

Take a video tour of this eco-minded home

Exterior shot Summer Retreat Home

Connecting the dots

Our Summer Retreat Home project included a deck connecting a series of canvas and wood tent cabins from Sweetwater Bungalows.

See more of this project

Bali retreat

Thomas J. Story

Billowy Bali retreat

Sit on this compact deck, pull the netting around you, and you'll feel almost like you're floating in a cloud above a jungle of exotic flowers.

Get the how-to

Small space

Thomas J. Story

Small is beautiful

This 2-level backyard in San Francisco turns its outdoor space into a spa-like retreat.

Steps connect an upper bluestone patio to a new deck on the lower level with an eco-smart design: By installing the new deck ― built from sustainably harvested ipe ― on top of the old concrete one, that material didn’t have to be discarded.

Two varieties of bamboo (green canes and black) act as a privacy screen along the back fence, while Pittosporum undulatum and a bronze-leafed Japanese maple shade the corners.

Design: Greg Unti, Bella Vita Garden Design, San Francisco (415/ 648-0100)

Backyard deck

Thomas J. Story

Small space update

Creating a colorful outdoor living room from an unruly yard can seem intimidating. But by breaking down the process into a series of manageable tasks, busy parents Trina and Mark Whiteley were able to refresh their small Palo Alto, CA deck.

See how they did it

modern cottage

Sheila Schmitz

Guest lounge

The TimberTech deck around this prefab guest house creates a variety of outdoor destinations, including a barbecue kitchen and lounge area.

On the other side of the structure, the deck connects the guest suite with an outdoor shower and a small office.

See more of this modern cottage

Design an outdoor lounge

Thomas J. Story

Outdoor lounge

Built of Mangaris ― a dark, eco-friendly hardwood also known as red balau ― a new deck spans the living room, kitchen, and master bedroom of this Hollywood Hills home, expanding the usable outdoor space from 120 square feet to almost 900.

Triple and quadruple sliding glass doors on two sides of the living room bring in the view and create an easy transition between indoors and out.

Shower deck

Shower deck 

Measuring 6 feet by 9 feet, this former light well functions as an outdoor shower off a master bedroom in a San Francisco Victorian. A tall outside wall hides it from view; you get to it through French doors.

After owners Alison and David Cameron moved in, they hired a plumber to hook up the shower. The redwood 2-by-6 decking serves as duckboard: water trickles between the boards and falls to a lower area with a drain.

The deck opens to the sky and makes a welcoming, wind-sheltered location for houseplants that periodically come out for a shower of their own. A shelf along one wall provides extra space for smaller plants.

After: Creating usable space

Thomas J. Story

Playroom outdoors

Before this deck went in, this area between the main house and garage was a repository for old appliances and other discards.

Now it's a fun place to relax. The wicker chairs, seashell mobiles, and corrugated tin awnings were inspired by the homeowner's vacation in Costa Rica.

More about this amazing makeover 


Thomas J. Story

A deck with a tub

A Japanese ofuro (soaking tub) turns an EverGrain deck into a personal spa outside the master bedroom.

See more of this Lake Tahoe retreat home

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