5 Popular Deck Designs Explained

To make sure your new deck looks great and fits your lifestyle, you need to know your options. Explore these popular decking styles.

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    Platform Decks

    Build Low to the Ground
    Platform decks are the simplest deck style. They are usually built on level lots and attached to single-level dwellings. Railings often are not necessary because these decks are so low to the ground. However, homeowners should find other ways to highlight the perimeter. Built-in planters and bench seating are good ways to do this. Angles, curves, a large screened gazebo, and a sunburst railing provide both style and function for this deck.

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    Platform Decks

    Waterproof the Structure
    Because platform decks are close to the ground, it's important that the material is protected from the elements. All structural materials should be pressure-treated or rated for direct ground contact. Also, all materials need at least two coats of protective sealer before they are installed to preserve the undersides.

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    Raised Decks

    Incorporate Safety Precautions
    Houses with above-grade first floors require raised decks. Raised decks must include railings and stairs for safety and easy access to the yard. When complete, these decks include exposed foundation posts that can be concealed with foundation plantings or skirting. Skirting usually consists of lath or lattice panels that fit between the deck and the ground.

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    Two-Story Decks

    Deal with Aesthetic Challenges
    Two-story decks provide outdoor access to the upper levels of your home. While the extra access is a plus, the structural posts and bracing required to support a two-story deck can create an aesthetic challenge. This two-story deck uses 12-x-12-inch posts and angled support timbers to add support and visual interest.

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    Two-Story Decks

    Camouflage Exposed Posts
    Structural members can also be disguised by covering them with decorative boards so they don't appear spindly. Other ways to disguise the exposed structural members include using posts that are thicker than building codes require or using partial skirting along the exterior. This deck uses rock-faced pillars to support the structure.

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    Multilevel Decks

    Highlight Your Yard
    Multilevel decks are a series of decks connected by stairways or walkways. These decks are perfect for sloped lots because the deck areas follow the contours of the land. Joining each section with a short run of stairs prevents the lowest deck from interfering with the views from the higher decks.

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    Multilevel Decks

    Enjoy the Weather
    The multilevel deck style also takes advantage of the microclimates within the yard. This style allows homeowners to have one level close to the house for entertaining, another level in the shade of nearby trees, and a third level positioned to soak up the sun.

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    Freestanding Deck

    Explore Your Options
    Freestanding decks are not attached to the house. This is a useful approach when the house's construction does not allow for a ledger board, which is bolted to the house's framing, or the house requires a three-level deck system. Freestanding decks are built with the same basic methods and techniques as attached decks, except footings, posts, and beams replace the ledger.

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    Freestanding Decks

    Take Advantage of Your Views
    Because freestanding decks are not attached to the house, they are perfect for highlighting the best areas of your yard. Freestanding decks become natural extensions of the landscape when placed in a shady glade or overlooking a beautiful garden.

  • Next Slideshow Deck Decor Ideas

    Deck Decor Ideas

    These deck decorating ideas show you how easy it is to transform your deck into an outdoor living space that reflects a sense of style and charm. Get inspiration for utilizing your space, choosing furniture and accessories, and adding comfortable amenities that wow.
    Begin Slideshow »
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