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Share to PinterestDesign the Deck of Your Dreams
Share to PinterestDesign the Deck of Your Dreams
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An outdoor deck is your personal retreat. A place where you can enjoy coffee with a view, entertain extended family, or share a drink with someone special under the stars. Whether you're redoing your existing space or fabricating one from scratch, find the right materials, and choose a layout that best suits your needs. Even the most awkward spaces can become functional on a budget and the most uninspiring landscapes transformed into the perfect sanctuary with the right design.

01

Design: where style meets budget

Share to PinterestCombine textures on your deck
Elenathewise / Getty Images

The construction materials you choose for your dream deck depend on function, affordability, style, and weather conditions. If you're using wood, choose a rot-resistant species like ipe, cedar, or redwood with a membrane flashing. Pressure-treated woods are the most affordable, but more durable options exist. Plastic and composite decking last much longer, while aluminum is lightweight, fireproof, and eco-friendly. Rubber planks are best for pool and spa decks, but fiberglass, concrete, and stone are great choices for all-weather terraces.

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02

Style from the ground up

Share to PinterestA simple, ground level deck
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A ground-level deck, also called a platform or floating deck, is one of the easiest to DIY. Mounted on the ground or resting on piers, the detached structure doesn't need hand railings. Build a ground-level patio for easy entertaining, or install a freestanding version in a section of your backyard to create a focal point. Plenty of online sites provide free instructions for the project from start to finish. Make it a weekend endeavor, or conjure up your dream design for the contractor.

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03

Believe in modern love

Share to PinterestModern decks are sleek
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A modern floating deck takes your basic design to the next level with creative elements and functional style. Make inlaid patterns with strategically arranged planks or deck tiles, and install color-changing LED lighting for safety and ambiance. For a more custom look, incorporate a sleek outdoor fireplace or grill station into your blueprints. Finish with contemporary patio furniture to encourage more gatherings on your outdoor haven.

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04

These boards are made for walking

Share to PinterestA serene wooden walking deck
Eirasophie / Getty Images

A dedicated path in your garden provides a clean walking surface, allowing access to landscaping during any season. Stone and concrete paths are durable and weather resistant, but a wooden boardwalk is much easier and cheaper to install. The lifted wooden deck is also perfect for sloping or habitually wet landscapes, making this instant classic a smart choice.

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05

A multi-level masterpiece

Share to PinterestMulti-level decking creates intimate spaces
sarahneal / Getty Images

If your backyard landscape is a sloping challenge, consider a multi-level deck that ascends or descends the terrain. Besides adding square footage, multiple landings provide intimate conversation areas for guests. If you prefer gardening, use stepped tiers for access to terraced beds. This design eliminates the need for expensive dirt removal and adds value to your home.

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06

Not just for the kids

Share to PinterestA tree deck is fun
mtreasure / Getty Images

Tree decks and houses aren't just for youngsters anymore. An attractive, suspended deck provides shelter underneath while delivering custom views of nearby landscapes and city lights. Create a chic seating area at the top of a staircase, or add a treehouse to the design for some family fun. Specially designed tree attachment bolts make even the largest treehouses and tree deck projects a safe and secure endeavor.

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07

A little more privacy, please

Share to PinterestSheers provide privacy and style
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You may decide that you want a little more privacy on your exterior deck, especially if you live next to a busy street or close to your neighbors. Keep your outdoor gatherings perfectly discreet with drop cloth curtains, switching them out for sheers during the warmer seasons. A partition wall is another alternative, customizable with windows and planter boxes for visual interest.

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08

Little deck, big smiles

Share to PinterestA custom tiny deck
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Set aside a small piece of your terrain for something unique with a tiny deck. The miniaturized design is a fun beginner's project that also adds an element of surprise to your landscaping. Craft a private seating area for one in a zen garden or an attractive landing for your child's swingset. A tiny deck is also perfect for keeping your grill level and securely in place.

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09

A pergola has you covered

Share to PinterestA wooden deck and pergola
RonTech2000 / Getty Images

A pergola is one of the most customizable elements of your brand new deck. Whether you're assembling a basic, four-pillar design or a more complex, decorative structure, a pergola makes your deck more functional and beautiful. Use bamboo and a thatched roof for a tropical-themed oasis, or natural wood with metal for a modern industrial aesthetic. When in doubt, go with the classic wood construction.

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10

Let your ideas take shape

Share to PinterestCurved decks mimic organic lines
Elenathewise / Getty Images

Whether you're building a gazebo or a wide platform deck, use sharp angles or smooth curves to showcase your woodworking or design skills. Mimic the curvature of your swimming pool with an arced deck, incorporating various materials for a more dynamic effect. Arrange foliage in the deck's recesses for a touch of color. Play around with shapes by crafting half-octagon planter boxes, curved steps, or hexagonal bench seats around trees.

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