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How to Create a Great Multifunction Deck

Sep 4, 2007
Very few decks are used for a single purpose. The wise thing to do is to plan for several uses before construction starts so that everyone involved in the process is content with the outcome. The trick is not to go to the extreme. Trying to cram too many ideas into one design can become a disaster. Instead begin by planning for 1 or 2 major activities that the family would enjoy doing on the deck and work out from there.

There are a number of design techniques that can be used in creating ideal multifunction decks:

1. A bench seating arrangement can partially surround a child's sandbox area and provide a place for quiet play, reading and conversation. When the children outgrow the sandbox it can easily be converted to a firepit. The same seating arrangement can be used to partially surround the new firepit and transform the area into a place to get warm and enjoy the company of others. If a firepit is not in the budget or not an item on the family wish list, perhaps a water feature would be a better choice. Again the already built seating will permit quiet reflection and enjoymnet of the sights and sounds related to the water feature.

2. Similarly wide steps radiating down from a hot tub or spa could become an informal seating area and encourage both conversation as well as a relaxing soak in the tub. These wide steps are even more effective if they border more than one side of the hot tub or spa.

3. Try to tie the different activity areas together. An overhead structure such as an arbor or pergola might provide needed shade to 2 different activity areas of the deck. Climbing vines or plants can do wonders to add color and drama to such structures and again help to bond the 2 areas together. Latticework can be incorporated into the sides of the structures also to provide support for the climbing greenery.

4. A cooking area and a dining area could be linked for entertaining by an island or counter which would come in handy for serving. The island or counter would be located in such a way as to be accessible from both areas but would not hinder passage from one to the other. A water source could easily be incorporated into the counter design and allow for a greater measure of possibilities related to grilling, dining and entertaining.

5. A platform surrounding a spa or hot tub could provide seating as well as space for people to sunbathe or relax. The shape of the platform could reflect the shape of the deck itself in some way such as a common angle. The direction of decking on this raised area might be at right angles to the rest of the decking in order to add some contrast or emphasis to the design. Container plants or 1 or 2 decorative objects might enhance the look of this quiet refuge.

6. A water feature could be incorporated into the deck design along with a seating area to encourage conversation and enjoyment of the fountain or koi pond. The important thing visually is to ensure that all water lines and connections are not readily visible. This can be facillitated by running the water lines beneath the deck structure or covering them with stones or wood chips.

7. A pergola or arbor could be created to provide much needed shade to a potting bench located below. A water outlet could be incorporated into this space to provide for the care and maintenance of newly planted flowers and herbs. Hanging plants could be suspended from above for visual impact purposes. A hammock mounted between the support posts of the arbor or pergola would provide an opportunity for a chance to lie back a catch a few extra winks at any time of day or night.

8. Built-in benches or planters could be utilized as boundaries. Movable planters on casters and furniture could be arranged to help to clearly define areas for various activities. Movable screens could also be utilized to separate deck areas into areas for different uses.

9. A single tree or cluster could be incorporated into the deck design along with a seating area to encourage conversation, to allow the enjoyment of the shade created and possibly to provide an opportunity to bird watch, read or have a mid-afternoon siesta.

Homeowners have a wide range of choices related to multifunction decks. Careful use of design techniques can improve the functional possibilities of these oudoor structures and improve the quality of life for their owners, families and guests.
About the Author
Richard Vande Sompel is a professional deck builder of 35 years and over 850
decks built and is the author of "How to Plan, Design and Build a Deck from
Start to Finish". To Discover More About
Multifunction Decks and Claim your 2
FREE Deck Plans, Insider Report, MP3 Audio and discover everything to know about
building a deck visit:
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