19 Ways to Create a Dream Deck Where You'll Love Relaxing

Small outdoor deck

Transform your deck into a relaxing and restful retreat. Gather the ideas and inspiration you need to get your project started from these beautiful decks.

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Make It Wonderful with Water

Set Up Screening

Use a fountain to soften the noise of a busy street or to create a soothing background sound. It's easy to add a water feature to your deck. Tuck small fountains in corners, where they'll be out of the way, or use a bolder, built-in piece as a dramatic focal point.

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Blur the Edges

Beautiful Backyards

Grow perennials, shrubs, or small trees at one end of your deck to create a sense of enchantment (and to add a bit of privacy). The plantings will also help blend your deck with a surrounding garden. Include your favorite fragrant plants, such as lilacs or gardenias, to complete the magical setting.

Here's a hint: Place your taller plantings right up against your deck to make it clear there's a barrier.

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Layer It Like a Cake


Add interest to your deck by creating different levels. To enhance the effect and eliminate tripping hazards, add outdoor lighting to each level.

Here's a hint: You don't need a tall deck to create drama -- even a foot or two of height difference from a built-in planter can bring your deck from expected to extraordinary.

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Add Architectural Elements

outdoor living space

Dress up your deck with a pretty pergola or other architectural accent. This pergola, for example, creates a stunning focal point overhead and provides shade that shields a handy outdoor cooking area.

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Hide It in the Garden


Enjoy a peaceful getaway by tucking your deck into a secluded corner of the yard. After all, there's no rule that says your deck has to be attached to your house.

Here's a hint: Place your deck in a private spot to make it more of a sanctuary. Flowering vines, such as wisteria, can help create intimacy, as can a simple pergola.

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Give Yourself a Getaway


Mature trees make this detached deck feel nestled in the landscape, and a water feature off the end creates a moat effect. These elements combine perfectly to make the deck seem like it's in the middle of nowhere—even though it's just feet from the house.

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Go Swimming


Make your deck feel more upscale by adding a pool or hot tub. If you crave a dramatic look, consider adding a vertical-edge pool (sometimes called an infinity pool), which looks as if it drops off into the space below.

Here's a hint: Check local codes to see if your deck or pool will require a railing or fence for safety.

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Be Playful


Add character to your outdoor spaces by creating different designs in the deck flooring. Not all of the boards have to run the same direction, nor do they need to be made from the same material. This cheerful deck bears a border of soft green paint that helps to frame the main seating area.

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Create Curves

curved deck

Make your decking playful by adding curves. You can make curved decks from a number of materials, including wood and composites (manufactured from wood and plastics). The design requires a little more work, but the effect is well worth it.

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Fill It with Plants

outdoor furniture

Soften your space with beautiful blooms and lush greenery from container gardens. It's easy to tuck a few containers here and there -- and if you use a drip-irrigation system, the planters will practically take care of themselves.

Here's a hint: You might not be limited to growing annuals. Perennials and shrubs survive outdoors in containers if the container is large enough, which might be 4- to 5-feet wide in northern climates.

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Run for Cover

Raise the Roof

Cover your deck with a roof made from plexiglass, fiberglass, or similar material, and you'll never have to worry about being rained out. Choose a clear material to let the sun shine through on bright days, or if you're in a hot climate, try a translucent material that will provide shade.

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Just Add Light

outdoor sculpture

Use a variety of lighting techniques to give your deck a theatrical look at night. And you don't have to go over the top -- you can get a great look with nothing more than a handful of strategically placed candles, lanterns, or solar lights.

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Bring the Indoors Out

deck furniture

With today's sturdy outdoor fabrics and wide selection of outdoor furniture, you can make your patio or deck as comfy as your living room. Choose from lounge chairs, love seats, and even sofas in just about every style imaginable.

Here's a hint: Consider adding accessories, such as outdoor rugs, to dress up your deck floor, and canopies that will create shade and offer a ceiling.

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Use Dramatic Details

Combine Deck Lighting with Screening

Add distinction to your deck with unique accents. Be creative and select the features that best suit your personality and your style. This sleek deck, for example, boasts an attention-grabbing trellis that adds a splash of modern style and appeal.

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Grow Your Own Food

vegetable planters

Include a few planters filled with your favorite fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and you'll transform your deck into a miniature farmer's market. Most of these plants grow beautifully in containers—and some, like this eggplant, look as elegant in a pot as your favorite flower.

Here's a hint: Look for dwarf or compact varieties of your favorite vegetables. For example, patio-type tomatoes usually grow only 2 or 3 feet tall.

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Sit and Stay Awhile

outdoor sectional on deck

Give your guests a selection of relaxing spots by providing both built-in and freestanding (pictured here) seating options. (And remember, the more built-ins your deck offers, the less furniture you'll need to purchase.) Keep in mind if you live in a hot, sunny climate, shade from large trees or buildings can make your deck even more welcoming.

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Solve a Slope


Turn a troublesome slope into an opportunity to showcase your deck. Here, for example, the deck was carved into the hillside and surrounded by a retaining wall. On top of creating a dramatic presentation, you'll add usable space to your yard.

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Get Your Feet Off the Ground


This elevated deck makes smart use of a sloped backyard. And while most of us don't have extreme hillsides like this to conquer, you can apply the same idea in a smaller space. Simply floating your deck 2 or 3 feet off the ground on one side can make it a showpiece.

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Make It Cozy

Small outdoor deck

This small deck offers a great balance of comfy furniture and lush surroundings. Its stylish decor and convenient amenities make it the perfect fit for summertime entertaining. Adding features that suit your needs is all it takes to create the deck of your dreams.

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