This eye-catching deck came about when the Iowa homeowners decided to trade their rickety, 14-year-old deck for an updated living space that facilitated family togetherness. They needed a deck large enough to seat a family of 12 for dinner. They also wanted multiple levels to eliminate a long single flight of stairs.
The result: a two-level cedar deck, wisteria privacy screens, two arbors with overhead latticework, and surrounding plantings. The top level of the deck, occupied by a gas grill and a small table and chairs, measures 20x14 feet. Stairs descend to the lower deck level, which includes two distinct areas. The larger of the two, built for the full family dinner table, is 15.5x12 feet.
An eye-catching arbor creates much-needed privacy. The overhead lattice features a pattern that alternates two copper pipes with 1x4 boards.
A 14-year-old sugar maple creates a stunning autumn foil for the deck.
The homeowners chose furniture patterned after pieces in Monet's garden at Giverny, France. Crafted from eucalyptus, this furniture is more durable than cedar.
Thin-profile cable railing preserves the view of the nearby forest. The cable all but disappears at dusk.
With a sidewalk beside the home and a much-used bike trail behind it, deck privacy is paramount. A striking arbor built with 6x6 posts and copper-pipe crosspieces supports an overhead lattice on each deck level.
Wisteria was planted beside each of the arbor posts and is poised to grow across the topmost lattice, where it will provide shade and screen the deck from bike-path traffic.
Rather than adjust their lifestyle to the limitations of a typical deck, these homeowners built one to fit the way they live. If you're planning a deck, you can do the same by considering these five factors.
1. Be size-wise. It's easy to underestimate how much space you'll need. Carefully think about how you plan to use your deck and what type of furniture groupings you desire.
2. Keep secrets. Guarantee privacy with lattice or vine-covered screens.
3. Light your nights. Position lighting to make evening cooking, serving, and eating a breeze. Always provide ample light near stairs.
4. Remember the grill. The No. 1 deck activity for most homeowners is grilling, so consider including a space designated solely for that purpose.
5. Choose functional furnishings. If space is at a premium, choose built-in benches or planters. Wide stairs can pull double duty as seats and walkways.