As the suburban population grows and houses adjust to smaller lots and other restrictions,the idea of building a deck is coming into its own as a functional, pleasing alternative to the traditional backyard. Unlike lawns and most patios, decks can run right up to the door at the same level as the interior rooms, becoming true extensions of the home. They can follow the lay of the land or strike out on an individual course that creates its own landscape. Decks can also be fashioned and finished in exactly the same materials, colors, and textures as the houses they adjoin, bringing cohesiveness to the entire indoor-outdoor area.
The two-tiered redwood deck pictured here was designed as a friendly takeover of an uninteresting yet high maintenance backyard that sat well below the house and had little connection with the indoor living areas. Stretching the width of the lot, the new deck includes amenities the former space could only dream of: an aboveground swimming pool, conversation and dining areas, built-in planters requiring little upkeep, and a trellis to provide afternoon shade and privacy from neighbors.