26 great ideas for decks
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
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.
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.
Tropical accessories on the deck and throughout the garden turned this entry into a personal paradise.
Concrete steps off the deck extend the house further, leading to another hang-out space on the granite rocks below.
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.
""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."
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).
Design: Gary Marsh Design, Novato, CA (415/897-7623)
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)
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.
Two square cabinets on casters, tucked underneath provide storage. They can also be rolled into action as serving tables or additional seating.
When not in use, the gas firepit can be covered with a slab of ipe wood, which converts it into a coffee table.
A deck also wraps around an 8-feet-square teahouse, angled to fit a tight corner.
The water features create an urban habitat that attracts birds and can sustain fish and turtles.
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.
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.
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.