Most mornings I roll out of bed and step out onto our backyard deck. I like to get a breath of fresh air and greet the new day looking at palm trees and Birds of Paradise. We love our deck, which overall is almost as big as our house.
Decks happen to be an excellent project for the beginning DIY’er. They can be simple (if you start small) and they are usually pretty forgiving of small errors in measurement or level.
Below are eleven beautiful decks I found online along with 21 Design Ideas I see hiding in these gems of outdoor living. I hope you find some inspiration for your summer deck-building project!
Awaken The Senses
This wonderful outdoor space is beyond perfection. I wish I was there!
1. Use lots of colors! – This is a simple deck but it looks beautiful because there is such an abundance of color. When you think you have enough flowers, colorful pillows, and bright furniture, you don’t!
2. Build a Trellis – The use of a trellis structure above the deck serves many purposes. It provides shade from the sun for part of the day, it gives a sense of structure and boundary to the space, and it gives you a place to hang more colorful flowers from, among other things.
Check out the way this awesome space looks from the back!
Upcycled Pallets, Red Paint, and Imagination
This deck just looks so cool. The creativity abounds here. Check out the ideas below for how I would change this to avoid a broken ankle.
3. Use Pallets! – Obviously the key idea in this is the use of pallets. Personally, I couldn’t live with the large gaps in the floor, but it does give me the idea that pallets make a ready-made structure on which to nail or screw regular decking planks, saving time and money on framing. (just be sure the pallets you choose are treated or sealed for outdoor use).
4. Build a wall – I love the wall on the side of this deck. It provides privacy, a place to hang decorations (love the angled flower pots), and it can hide something really ugly, like your neighbors shed.
Rooms With a View
Who says a deck can’t have a floor plan? This deck has halls and rooms just like a house.
5. Consider Creating Rooms – This outdoor space has indoor-like features such as rooms even hallways. These make this deck one of my personal favorites in this group. It’s like a treehouse kind of feel.
6. Use String Lighting – To say that “Proper” outdoor lighting can get expensive would be an understatement. I used to sell the stuff and I was freaked out even by the wholesale prices. Strands of lights like the ones used here work great and hold-up for a surprisingly long time outdoors.
A View to Be Savored
Sometimes you want the focus on the view and not so much on the structure. This sleek and classy deck does that perfectly.
7. Invisible Railing – If your deck is more than a few inches above the adjacent ground you’re going to want some sort of railing. But if you’re blessed with a nice view a railing can be a real bummer. Using coated braided steel cable as shown above can provide a strong barrier to falls without killing your vista!
8 Flush Rim Joist – See, just when you thought this post was all fluffy ideas… here is a pro-level tip. Notice how the top of the board which surrounds the deck is level with the top of the deck boards. (you don’t see the ends of the deck boards) This is a classy touch that is easily accomplished by using a “rim joist” which is one size up from your main floor joists.
Is That a Chandelier?
This deck by Thrifty Decor Chick is like a wonderful living room moved outside. I’ve had my eye on a gazebo canopy like this at Ikea. Now I might just have to buy it.
9. Use a Store-Bought Canopy – Thrifty Decor Chick knocked this out of the park. This outdoor living space is better than my living room! The use of a canopy structure does an outstanding job of transforming the corner of a large deck into a wonderful outdoor room. They have a good selection at Amazon.com and I saw a great deal on one last time I was at Ikea.
10. Use Area Rugs – Indoor-Outdoor area rugs, combined with the grouping of furniture and the variation of direction in the deck boards really gives the deck a livable feel. I guess you can tell I love this deck and I’m sure it’s home when the whether is right.
Can We Trade?
I love my tropical hideout in the sun, but with the summer temps in the high 90’s and the humidity about the same, I’m thinking this spot looks very inviting. What incredible craftsmanship too.
11. Mix Stone and Wood – Stone in just about any shape size or color looks good against wood. Go figure. You can use stone in columns like shown here, in a short knee-wall with seating above, or even a gravel walkway. The bottom line is that the mix of stone and wood brings a natural harmony to your deck. It’s good zen.
12. Combine Smaller Timbers to Create Larger Ones – Check out the way the designer of the trellis above this deck used smaller, 4×4, timbers to create larger beams. They are held together with metal straps which are easily made or custom ordered from a weld shop. The result is a high-end looking architectural detail that really wouldn’t cost much to duplicate.
My Tropical Hideout
Our deck is covered by the shade of Sea Grape Trees and giant market umbrellas. The sound of Island music is usually floating in the air from any number of nearby live music venues. It’s all about the Island Vibe here.
13. Follow Your Vibe – We live just about as far south as you can get in the US. Key West is just a hundred miles due south of our house so the place is pretty tropical. As-if the parrots flying around and the hundred palm trees weren’t enough, we went even further looking for that Island Vibe by using dozens of colors on all of our outdoor furniture.
14. Don’t Forget Your Paintbrush – A related idea is that you don’t always have to be relegated to what you can find in the store when it comes to furnishing. I built the adirondack chairs you see with the help of my sons and the table and chairs were just a standard brown wood color when we bought them. We used a whole lot of Ralph Lauren Paint.
Clean and Modern Materials and Look
Aren’t the chairs in this photo interesting? I’m thinking the chairs and the deck are all made out of composite materials so should stand up well to weather.
14. Get Creative With Laying the Wood – The deck above shows that a change in direction of the deck boards can create visual interest and style. However, it can make the framing portion of your deck-building job a lot harder. Tip: See the board run on an angle at the joint between the two directions? That keeps you from having to keep your boards perfectly aligned in both directions. Without it, the spacing has to be perfect and so does the angle of the corner. (see the deck below to see the same idea without the wide board at the joint)
15. Consider Composite Materials – I can’t reach into this picture and touch this deck to be certain, but I’m fairly sure that this deck is made of plastic, not wood. Quite a few composite decking materials are available that look great, feel great, and don’t get eaten by bugs or destroyed by sun and water. However, they are expensive and you do lose the natural feel of wood.
Step it Up
With all these great decks, this one is one of my favorites. It may be the wood that is used, which looks great. (Sadly, the more I read about the destruction of forests the less keen on tropical hardwoods I get). I also love the landscaping and incredible lamp-post.
16. Multi-Level Decks Rule! – Decks that look much like this have been around forever and they are still just so cool. Why just run a single step along the outside of your deck when you can extend it and make that step a whole new level? Great for sloped properties, you barely notice the fact that the house floor level is almost 24″ above the ground level outside.
17. Throw in Some Hardscape – Take a look to the right edge of the photo above. See the concrete column with the amazing lamp post on top? The lighting could have been taken care of more easily than that for sure. The real purpose of this structure is to provide visual boundaries to the space and to give a focal point when looking out from the house.
Awaken Your Inner Architect
The cool roof structure in the photo below turns me on. The flowers and furnishing finish off a space I would just love to sip my morning coffee in.
18. Never Too Many Flowers – What more can I say?
19. Combine Art and Structure – I love this roof structure so much that when I saw this picture, I stepped out of my office and walked to my own deck to envision something similar. Built very simply out of aluminum and corrugated plastic panels, this roof was clearly done by someone with a sculptor’s eye. The exact same structural elements of any aluminum pool cage or screen room look fantastic by adding curves and angels. Think outside the box.
Small Space Nirvana
This little deck is a slice of heaven provided in a space many people might overlook.
20 – Don’t Let Small Spaces Scare You Away – If you look closely at the photo above, you can see where the rope railing meets the house. The overall width of this deck is only about three feet wider than that table you see, so maybe 6′ or 7′ wide overall. Small enough for a side yard…but look at it! Small spaces have more potential than you might realize.
21 – Use Rope – Sort of like stone mentioned above, rope tends to go just as naturally with wood. You can usually find large rope like this at marine or ship supply companies if you live near the coast. I found some on Amazon.com that is similar to what you see above but not quite as thick. Thicker is better to get this look just right.
There you have it! I hope these ideas are getting your deck-building juices flowing.
If you’ve already built an awesome deck, I’d love to see pictures of it. Share them with me on the RemodelingGuy Facebook Page.