Just because you’re on a small lot or have a challenging yard slope doesn’t mean you’ll be limited to a boring deck design. There are several ways you can creatively build in many features that are common on bigger, sprawling decks, and make the space seem larger at the same time.
Seating: With small decks, space is at a premium, so rather than taking up most of the deck with a large table and chairs, consider built-in features like perimeter seating and under-seat storage benches. This type of design will give you ample seating for entertaining, while leaving plenty of room for a comfortable chaise lounge or two.
Planters: To save valuable floor space, avoid placing a large amount of freestanding planters on a small deck. Instead, have your deck builder design some built-in flower boxes around the outer edges of the deck. Use a variety of annuals to add a pop of color that will last all summer long, or use the planters for growing herbs or small vegetables.
Arbors and Trellises: When you can’t spread out, go vertical! A trellis wall on one or two sides will not only provide a place for climbing vines and flowers, but will also give you more privacy. To protect yourself from the hot summer sun, consider an arbor-type roof over your entire deck.
Fountains: No outdoor living space is complete without a relaxing water feature, and smaller decks and patios are no exception. Fountains come in all sizes, and can be readily found at any home improvement store. Use the exterior wall of your home for mounting a small wall fountain, or place a compact fountain on a small corner table.
Materials: You can make your deck and outdoor space seem larger than it really is by choosing more than one building material. For example, a wood deck accented by a river rock fire pit will add an interesting contrast. Or, if room allows, design a flagstone or stamped concrete patio extension, which will create a separate area for entertaining, as well as give the illusion of a space that goes on and on. A few brick or stone steps leading between them will help to further define each area.
For more ideas on small deck designs, contact your local home improvement contractor or deck builder.