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Innovations in Decks & Decking

See what's new in deck design and deck materials.

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-Once upon a time, a deck was just an 8 X 10 platform with a picnic table. But wow, have things changed! I'm Lacey Howard. Adding on a deck is one of the most popular home improvement projects. They yield big results fast and rarely cost a fortune. Today's best decks are bursting with function. To get the most out of a deck, think of it as multi-room addition. Each activity you want to do on the deck should have its own special room. For example, this deck has 3 unique rooms: an outdoor dining area near the kitchen, a private balcony off the master bedroom, and an area for entertaining. The best decks work with rather than against the lot and the view. The best way to work with your lot: layer on the levels. First, place platforms at various heights based on your home's doors and windows, as well as the contours of your yard. Then, connect platforms in the same level with bridges or pathways, and use stairs and terracing to link platforms on different levels. Think decks are only made of one material? Think again. Decks can combine multiple woods, stone, brick, synthetic materials, and metals for some truly unique looks. This deck mixes an exotic hardwood called Ipe, with painted pine and a brick patio for a look that's casual yet classic. One dramatically sweeping curved element, like a bench or a fence, add tons of character. Rounding off the edge of a platform or each step on the staircase introduces instant sophistication. Even a functional railing can benefit from a soft curve. But don't go curve crazy. Just one or two curvy elements are all you need for some added drama. Thanks to so many new outdoor products, gadgets, and appliances, you can now furnish a deck just like any room in your home. You can include an outdoor kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances. Add sources of heat so you can enjoy your deck even in cool weather. And relax in durable furniture that's just as comfy as anything inside your house. So there you have it. My favorite design ideas combine a few or all of them to create the deck of your dreams!