“I finally packed the coats away- and I think I can safely start gardening next week! Fingers crossed…no more frost.”
I’m chatting on the phone with a friend in Illinois. She’s excited for the sunny weather on the radar. But the rest of us here in Pine Grove? We’re still wearing our thick sweaters and hoping we don’t get any more snow.
It seems out of place to be writing about decks and porches right now…but in no time at all we’ll be breaking out the grill. If this is the year you finally build an outdoor space you love? It’s time to start planning!
While we’re waiting for those 60 degree days, let’s get inspired together! Today, I’ve rounded up ten gorgeous and problem-solving decks. Whether you need the best deck design for a small backyard or a great deck design to host your big family, you’re going to love what’s inside!
#1 Designing a Deck for Tight Spaces
Most of the world- Europe, South America, Africa- spends more time gathering outside than we do here in the states. It doesn’t matter whether they have an expansive mountain ranch or a small urban flat, other cultures are good at finding ways to get outside.
Here in the states? We tend to think that if we can’t build big- it just isn’t worth it.
But we’re missing out! A small reading nook in the sunshine or a little porch outside your master bedroom is a beautiful way to enjoy some fresh air.
Take this home in Amsterdam for example. It’s smart designs allow a little room for a patio table and chairs:
Talk about utilizing a space!
If you’re worried your small space won’t allow for a deck, I’m here to put your fears at rest.
When building a deck onto a small space- ask yourself these two questions:
#1 Does the size fit the proportion of the rest of the house?
#2 Do the deck materials match the rest of the house?
A small deck might look weird on a large home, but match perfectly with a smaller one. Take this deck for example:
This small space compliments the house perfectly. The wrap-around steps are a natural, compact transition into the yard.
A great question to ask yourself before any deck design is this:
What do you want to do on your deck?
Once you know how you want to use your deck, you can plan better for how to best use the small space you have available.
Decorative add-ons can make or break any small space- decks included. This small build is cozy, with it’s warm wood partitions and corner seating:
It’s perfect for a cup of tea and a book in the morning.
Think you can’t have a nice outdoor kitchen in a tiny space? I’ve got great news- you can! This smart build uses the awkward space between the home and the staircase to create a perfect grill-nook.
I especially love the attached countertop and stone facade work. Our team is skilled in both- so building out a little included cooking area like this would be easy for our crew here at Martin Roofing & Siding.
Your small space can support a deck, as long as you’re conscious of how you use the space. Worried about matching materials and proportions to your home? That’s a job we can help with. You grab the patio furniture, we’ll bring the blueprints.
#2 A Deck for the Whole Family
On the opposite side of the spectrum, let’s look at designing a big deck the whole family can enjoy.
The more space you have, the better, right? Though that’s usually true, it also means there’s more designs to choose from!
As with the small deck, ask yourself how you plan to use your space. Unlike a small deck, you have the space to accommodate multiple interests. So if mom wants a porch swing, dad a hammock, and a play area for the kids? No one has to sacrifice their interests.
Take this deck for example:
The deck zones out separate areas for different functions. It works like an extension of your indoor rooms, with a dining area, conversation area, and comfortable seating. Because the family used minimal furniture, the space always feels open and inviting.
And look at how stunning this deck is:
I don’t know what I love more- the curved railing, the gorgeous composite against the blue house, or the serene water feature.
You’ll also notice both decks blend into the existing space. The first deck wraps around the home, and the second deck extends out. Both follow our small deck rules, even if they accommodate more space.
The (Outdoor) Heart of the Home
The kitchen is the heart of the home- and the way we use it has changed throughout history.
In the past, kitchens remained separate from the rest of the home. They weren’t a gathering place, so much as a room for preparation designed to contain messes.
Overtime, the kitchen became the gathering place for your whole family. We’ve talked in depth about this change while covering our favorite 2021 kitchen trends. But the way we use our kitchens continues to change, and the most recent trend? Outdoor kitchen spaces.
If you can’t wait to fire up your grill, this is the perfect deck for you:
The dark color scheme works so well! And once again, I love how they’ve zoned out separate spaces for cooking, and for seating. The brick barrier wall helps minimize smoke, without closing up the deck.
Or maybe you’d rather live your Italian pizza kitchen dreams, like these homeowners:
The great thing about this design is that it’s a smaller deck, but it doesn’t feel cluttered. The pizza kitchen is built in, and the counter space works to the homeowner’s advantage.
Are you always binging Great British? Looking for extra space to try your latest patisserie challenge? This is the deck for you:
There are several baking benefits to this deck. The fridge offers a space for your sourdough starters, and there are several compartments and nooks to store your flour and sugar. The pergola both looks beautiful, and offers privacy and shade.
Ready to pair your love for cooking with the outdoors? We’d love to help you design a place to grill, and to gather.
#4 Sleek Modern Design
Remember what I said earlier about your deck matching the rest of your house? Your outdoor space is an extension of your interior, and it only makes sense that it flows cohesively.
So if your design style is modern? It’s a great idea to design a deck the same.
Modern design is sleek and stylized. But it’s also sometimes eccentric! I love how the style takes on different shapes and geometrics to create a beautiful space. This deck is a great example of that:
It looks sophisticated, and still offers all the same functions of a standard deck. The homeowner’s didn’t sacrifice space for style, and it matches the home’s exterior perfectly.
Prefer a more traditional build, but love modern touches? Here are three ways to accentuate your modern features:
#1. Mix Your Materials. Wood and metal are one of my favorite ways to do this. Stick with a wood deck, but install metal railing for a unique look.
#2. Mix and Match Plank Colors. Your deck should look cohesive, but that doesn’t mean restrictive. Darker colors play into a modern style, but variations in the boards create something both different, and elegant.
#3. Opt for Perpendicular Boards. This tip is especially helpful for smaller decks. Instead of the standard horizontal boards, go for a perpendicular layout. The small change doesn’t go unnoticed, and co-opts the style in a tighter space. Here’s an example of this below:
#5. A Country Deck for the Whole Family
“Outdoor spaces are many things these days but rustic is not one of them,” claims this Washington Post article. It claims decks and porches are a status symbol, an extravagant way to design a fancy outdoor living room.
WaPo takes a look at Sean McAleer’s award winning deck, complete with a pizza oven, day beds, and yes, a tv.
But decks have carried a significant place in the heart’s of Americans since at least the turn of the 20th century. In the past, decks held some ties to status symbols, but above all else, were representatives of American’s strong familial bonds.
In those days, decks were designed for gathering. Neighbors would congregate outdoors, happy to have each other’s company in the evenings. Children would play in the yards, supervised from the deck.
Maybe you’re not designing an outdoor living room. Outdoor tvs and mini fridges aren’t really your style. So let’s take it back to the early 1900’s and design your dream country deck.
First, let’s look at this ranch style deck which proves simple doesn’t mean boring:
I can just imagine sitting there in the evening, watching the sun set. It’s so quaint! Notice the double doors open up to the living room. Instead of using the deck as a second living room, they allow the spaces to flow freely together. Cost effective, and beautiful.
Rustic and modern style decks share one characteristic: Pergolas used for partial shade.
Pergolas are a great addition to any deck. If you don’t want your space completely covered, it’s a smart design for you. And the all white porch feels like it’s taken straight out of history!
Lastly, take a look at how this home used exposed beams to create a rustic feel:
The architectural detail is stunning!
These rustic decks are a great addition to any home, including historic ones. Worried about adding a deck to your older home? In this article, we offer a further breakdown of what to know before building your exterior space.
When you work with our crew, we help navigate tricky historic building codes, and take pride in our structural integrity. Wondering if your historic home is a good candidate for a new deck? We’d love to help!
#6: Sloped Yard? No Problem!
Here at Martin, we love a good challenge! Every yard is different, and the design approach reflects that.
Often we hear from homeowners worried their yard isn’t the right candidate for a new deck. The biggest concern? Sloped backyards.
There are two approaches to sloped yards. The first is to excavate and remove dirt to make the yard even. This is possible, but isn’t cost or time effective.
The other solution? Multi-layered decks.
A multilayered deck is exactly what it sounds like. To fit different slopes, the deck’s broken up into two, (sometime’s three) parts. These sections can be broken up by slopes or stairs, but don’t have to be larger than a standard style deck.
Here’s an example of a sloped multilayer deck:
Multilayer decks aren’t just great for sloped yards. They’re also the best way to increase accessibility for those with mobility issues. We’ll talk in detail about that shortly.
These homeowners prove multilayer doesn’t mean standard, with this gorgeous design:
The circular space serves as a separate dining area, and the landscape around it brings the space to life.
This style proves most homes can be retrofitted for a deck. In that same vein, let’s talk about designing a deck with wheelchair accessibility.
#7 Beautiful and Accessible Decks
It’s true- and it’s something we’re proud to be a part of. Wheelchair accessibility benefits so many people. Mobility issues affect one in seven adults, but it’s not a deterrent for Americans eager to get outside this Summer.
Even if you don’t have a mobility issue, building an easily accessible deck is a great idea. We’ve talked about the many Americans aging in place, and this style of deck is a continuation of that conversation. If you’ve started renovations to age in place, this is the perfect deck opportunity for you!
This is one of my favorite accessible deck designs:
The slope layout is clever, and offers a stylized approach to an ADA compliant deck.
This deck utilizes steps as well as a ramp. The two access points to the yard don’t make the space look cluttered. Instead, it offers a beautiful and clever way to get outside.
When designing an ADA compliant deck, there are a few factors to keep in mind:
#1. The Width of Your Slope. Your ramp or slope should be at least 32 inches wide. A wheelchair won’t fit in too narrow of a space.
#2. Consider Installing New Doors. Your ramp isn’t the only thing to consider the width of. If you’re having a new deck installed, now might be a good time to reconsider your backdoors. When your door’s open, it should also be 32 inches wide.
#3. Be Sparse with Furniture. For some, the best part of a new deck is the decorating stage! If you’re here- congratulations on your new deck! While decorating, keep in mind less furniture increases mobility. If minimalism is your design style, you’re in luck! But if you prefer lots of patio furniture, talk to your contractor before installation. It’s possible to have accessibility and a maximalist style. You’ll just require a larger deck.
#8. Wraparound Deck Styles
I’ll admit, this style is one of my favorites. There’s just something so elegant about a wraparound deck.
Maybe it’s the historic element, as seen in the Whispering Sisters historic home in Philadelphia:
Or maybe it’s the style’s versatility that attracts me. This home proves a wraparound porch can look great on a smaller home:
But wraparound decks aren’t just my favorite. They’ve been a popular design feature for decades. The style is most popular in Southern homes, but not just due to aesthetic.
Before AC, wraparound decks helped shade a home’s interior. This helped cool the home in the summer months, and protected furniture and artwork from sun damage. Clever, right?
Whether you’re sticking to a rustic design:
Or a modern one:
A wraparound deck looks beautiful on every home.
#9 Designing a Deck to Fit Your Budget
It’s income tax return time, and many Americans are eager to invest their extra cash into a new outdoor space.
Whether you’re working within the budget of your return, or want to add a deck that doesn’t break the bank, here’s the best ways to minimize expenses.
The biggest way to save on your new build? Opt for a lower cost material.
When choosing the material, ask yourself how much maintenance you’re willing to perform. An untreated wood deck is the most affordable, but will require yearly maintenance.
If you’re looking for budget friendly, with minimal maintenance, stick with pressure treated lumber. It’s one of the most popular materials, and for good reasons! Take a look at this classic style deck:
It’s an iconic look, and what most people think of when it comes to decks. Another great thing about pressure treated lumber? It comes in multiple colors and sizes. You don’t have to sacrifice style to stay on budget!
Opting for a smaller deck is another great way to minimize costs. Look at this gorgeous tiered deck:
We design gorgeous decks, regardless of budget or size. If you have questions about building a deck on a budget, give us a call! We’d love to talk through options with you.
#10 Second Story Decks
Remember earlier when we talked about Sean McAleer’s award winning deck? If you’re in love with extravagant deck designs, there’s no shame to it!
Larger decks are popular for a reason! They offer extra space, and have more decor options. If you’ve got a storage shed full of furniture and a love for dramatics, you’ll love second story decks!
This elaborate deck is jaw dropping. As you may have noticed, second story decks require two exterior access points. If you daydream about stepping out onto a balcony and taking in the summer air, this is the deck for you.
Notice the size difference on this deck:
It once again shows how a small deck doesn’t mean sacrificing style. By breaking it up into two stories, it allows for two different zones. The top is for socializing, while the bottom story opens up to plant life.
Lastly, look at this two story deck:
Instead of using the bottom area for seating, they’ve transformed it into a beautiful landscape area. It’s your space- utilize it however you see best!
Is this the Summer for Your Dream Deck?
There’s a gorgeous deck style for every home- and I hope you’ve been inspired by these builds. Ready to start the conversation on your new deck? Don’t wait until the summer to get the ball rolling! Get on our schedule before we fill up.
Still have questions about design, color, or materials? Give us a call! Even if you aren’t ready to commit to a build, we love to share our resources to help you make an informed decision.
If now’s the time to get started, our team is happy to help! We love your Pinterest board and idea books, so make sure to share them.
Give us a call at 570-345-0436 and start the conversation today. Don’t let the snow deter you from making this the summer of your dreams.