Distinctive Decks

Successful decks are filled with both form and function. See some of our favorites here and get some ideas for your deck.

Multilevel Outdoor Room

A broad, sweeping staircase integrates a lower patio with an upper deck, creating a huge area for entertaining. Planter boxes all around punctuate the view from the deck. Nighttime illumination provided by spotlights shining behind translucent plastic panels makes the deck comfortable after dark.

Deck with Gazebo Addition

Originally, this home had a simple, rectangular redwood deck. But the deck gradually evolved, first with the addition of a gazebo, then a kitchen, and finally a spa--all blending together to create an appealing 2,000-square-foot outdoor living retreat.

Deck with Built-In Bench

This curved, built-in bench blends with the rest of the multilevel deck and offers a stunning view of the landscape beyond.

Multilevel Decking

This multilevel deck offers amenities for everyone. In full view of the festivities below, upper-level guests enjoy quiet conversations away from the crowd and the hot tub bubbling at the heart of the deck. On ordinary days, comfortable lounge chairs suggest morning coffee or a quiet read.

Deck with Brick Border

A wooden deck featuring brick borders and raised brick planters forms an attractive seating area that nestles into the edge of this property. The fence and tiered plantings create a comfortable backdrop.

Rooftop Deck

This spacious outdoor dining room on the lower level of a two-tier roof is connected to the upper terrace via a spiral staircase. White-flowering hydrangeas provide a colorful yet serene wall, shielding the space from neighboring rooftops.

Deck and Patio Sections

A deck should offer plenty of space for guests. This one, built of Western red cedar, seats six--and surrounding built-in benches accommodate many more. Two steps below, teak chairs are arranged around a portable fire pit on a stone-tile patio. A small group of guests will feel perfectly at home in one area, yet the sections flow together nicely for a larger outdoor gathering.

Deck with Sandbox

Designed to please young children, this deck contains a sandbox. When playtime is over, a hinged lid covers the sand and expands the deck surface area.

Integrated Steps

These steps are carefully fitted between a pair of rocks. They are supported by square tubular steel and angle irons welded together and painted black to disappear into the shadows. This technique makes the stairs appear as if they're supported only by the rocks.

Garden Deck

The deck, built-in bench, and chaise seen here echo the white in the surrounding garden. Formal boxwood topiary adds an architectural accent and joins the deck to the geometry of the garden and the house. The benches are scattered with pillows and offer views of the lush garden.

Deck with Built-In Spa

This built-in spa is big enough for a refreshing summer plunge or an afternoon of splashing with the kids. Even if you're not inclined to hop in, you'll feel cooler just gazing into its blue depths while relaxing on the deck.

Floating Deck

Built with no railing, this platform deck, which floats inches above the ground, has an austere simplicity that matches its Asian-theme surroundings. Local building codes regulate the need for railings; in many municipalities, railing-free decks must be no more than two steps above the lawn.

Deck with Wide Steps

Low, broad steps allow for easy movement between this deck's two levels and to the lawn. When steps are this wide, there's plenty of room to stage a garden growing in containers.

Suspended Deck

This raised deck is suspended over a ravine by naturally weathered support beams that seem to disappear among the trees. Lush planters soften the railing and connect the deck to the foliage around it. At dusk, low-voltage lights atop posts provide magical ambiance.

Deck and Porch Combo

The deck seen here serves as an open-air porch. It sits atop a detached in-ground garage, 12 steps up from the street and 10 steps below the home's front door.

Hillside Deck

A deck area carved out of a hillside is accessed from the home's upper level via a bridge. Redwood decking, a fireplace, and cushioned benches make the space a relaxing getaway.

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