Discover the Hidden Potential of a Compact Deck

Six often-overlooked opportunities for carving more space from a small outdoor area.

Go Vertical

The Room Illuminated, original photo on Houzz

Just because you have limited space doesn't mean you can't have a stunning garden. Take a cue from this compact deck in Melbourne, Australia and use a plant stand to reclaim seemingly unusable garden space. Instead of spreading plants around the outdoor area, look for a plant stand that allows you to elevate the garden by stacking pots against the wall or in an unused corner.

Look Up

Claudia Georgi Photography, original photo on Houzz

Don't stop at the wall - keep looking up! You can gain a lot of floor space by installing your seating from the ceiling. Two swing chairs and a hammock give this Berlin deck a breezy lounge-like feel. If you don't have a covered deck or are unsure if your existing structure can support additional weight, don't be afraid to consult a local contractor before taking this project on.

Embrace Built-Ins

B. Jane Gardens, original photo on Houzz

A built-in bench can be a real space saver in an outdoor area. It means at least one less piece of furniture to pack into a small space, and it often comes with hidden storage. By working within the structure and design of their current deck, these homeowners were able to add a built-in bench that fit right in. Plus, everything else on this deck is portable, which really optimizes the use of space.

Make the Most of Your Compact Space

Make the Guardrail Disappear

Dirk Denison Architects, original photo on Houzz

This little slice of heaven blurs the line between the deck and the beach below. By incorporating a built-in bench in line with the horizon, these homeowners were able to make the guardrails disappear to create the illusion of more space. The trick here is to find the perfect height for your new built-in to allow for wonderful views and safe seating. Since many local codes have rules regulating guardrail safety, don't forget to review them before getting started.

Use the Gap Underneath

ecodesign Pty Ltd, original photo on Houzz

Perhaps one of the most annoying dilemmas that comes with building a deck is the gap underneath. What do you do with it? Make the most of the underrated space with storage, outdoor lighting, or even landscaping. As seen in this photo, adding a natural barrier is a great way to disguise the gap while also softening the edges of the deck.

Strategize Indoor-Outdoor Connections

clark kitchens and construction, original photo on Houzz

One simple yet important tip in maximizing the potential of any compact space is to avoid overdoing it. A simple lounge chair may be all that will fit. What you can do, however, is coordinate your interiors to work better with your outdoor space. These Los Angeles homeowners strategically placed lounge chairs on the deck closest to the living room, whereas the outdoor dining set is located just off the kitchen. Anything the homeowners need when they're outside is just a step away.


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