Today decks are an additional living space as an extension of our home. They can be large or small, one level or several levels, but either way the most overlooked area of our deck spaces are the steps and landing areas. Here are a few options to creating new living spaces with these areas that will serve both function and style.

Platform Decks

A platform deck will be lower to the ground and will only require one or two steps for access. A benefit to this design is the option of not using railings which will maintain the views from your deck. Without railings you may highlight the perimeter of your deck with bench style seating or built-in flower boxes. Another design element to think about is the deck steps. You can achieve a welcoming look by placing steps at an angle at the corner of the deck, using floating steps, or you can add a second set of stairs at the opposite end of the deck to integrate a contemporary look.

Raised Decks

Homes with above-grade first floors require raised decks and will require railings for safety. With this design option you can create wide stairs with multiple landings, you can have the landing mark the change in the direction of the stairs, or if you choose you can set the stairs to the side of the deck to make them less of a focal point.

Many homeowners are reluctant at the use of railings in fear that it will ruin the views. However, many railings today can add a design element that can still meet building code requirements. You can choose from glass, metal, composite, or cable railing systems that will preserve the views from your deck while still serving a useful purpose.

Multilevel Decks

A new design trend in decks is to have a deck with multiple levels. This allows each level to have its own deck space and to serve an individual purpose. One level can be a seating area, another area can be designated for grilling and eating, while another area has a fire pit and built-in benches. Remember to design the layout in a way that allows people to move easily from one level to another. Given different areas of the deck that may be used simultaneously you may want to incorporate lights in or on the stairs for both safety and ambiance.

Freestanding Decks

This type of deck is not attached to the house and can allow you to highlight your favorite or most used area in your backyard. This design option is a great addition to add to a garden area or place in a family friendly area with shade for eating and relaxing. Just because these decks keep a low profile and don't have steps or landing areas doesn't meant they should be forgotten. Add color and contour with relaxing furniture and potted plants.

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