Having the deck of your dreams shouldn’t be out of reach just because you have a small yard. Not only does a deck provide an inviting outdoor space for relaxation and entertainment, but it also adds value to your home. Whether you have a cozy courtyard or a compact backyard, a well-designed deck can maximize the use of your outdoor area and create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living.
Architects Aaron Roberts and Thomas Bailey of Room 11 faced a unique challenge when they designed this Kingston house. The home abuts a rock shelf, which means virtually no yard. However, extending the outdoor room to include a narrow deck made use of the otherwise unusable outdoor space. The home decking, constructed from local celery-top pine, a species of coniferous tree native to Australia, is known for its durability and resistance to decay.
This Virginia homestead is nestled between two rivers and a densely wooded property. Anna Boeschenstein, owner and founding principal of Grounded Landscape Architecture and Design in Charlotte, Virginia, used natural typography to create an adaptable deck area so the family could make the most of the outdoor space. The property has linear decks that span outside spaces, allowing the owners to enjoy their hillside retreat. The deck snakes between existing trees and difficult topography to connect the living spaces while preserving the natural elements.
During a kitchen renovation, this family expanded their eating area to the outdoors with help from Mitchell Holladay Architects. The traditional bungalow was reconfigured to create a backyard area with a multi-level ipe deck cascading down to the rear yard. This multi-level deck design maximizes the usable area while minimizing the deck’s footprint, making it ideal for smaller yards or limited outdoor spaces.
In seeking a method to create a suitable outdoor area for her steep home site in Carmel, California, architect Mary Schicketanz confronted a unique obstacle. Her house is situated on a beautiful forested slope. Despite the beautiful scenery, the slope was too steep to install a deck. Mary divided the deck into two sections: a lower area off the living room and a roof deck with panoramic views.
Joseph Esherick, a renowned architect, didn’t let his family’s home in Marin County’s sloping lot stop him from making the most of the area back in 1961. To display the picture-perfect vistas of Belvedere, Joseph carefully positioned windows around the main living room when he built the house into the hillside. Due to the small yard, Joseph created an L-shaped deck that encircles the lower level of the house, providing an area for entertaining and taking in the view.
This prefab house in Los Angeles’ Atwater Village was constructed during World War I. Because of the densely populated neighborhood and limited outside space, the deck’s design needed some ingenuity. And And And Studio worked with Terramoto Landscape to create a simple deck that complements the blue-grey color scheme of the surrounding landscaping plants. The deck connects the main house and the guest house and features innovative cutouts that allow full-grown Yucca trees to peek through without taking up much valuable surface area.
This home in Litvnovice made the most of a small yard by converting it into an outdoor atrium. The deck space includes an outdoor shower and enough space for a hammock or patio chairs. It also features modest plantings around the perimeter for a touch of greenery and surrounding walls that offer plenty of privacy.
This refurbished 2,691-square-foot Norwegian home has an elevated deck that can be accessed from the living and dining areas. Norwegian designer Skapa used the home’s location and natural elements as significant elements in the design. The raised deck makes use of a sloped terrain, transforming it into an outdoor entertaining place.
Don’t settle for a regular deck when you can have a work of art. Brennan Cox, a landscape architect and urban designer at San Francisco’s Groundworks, came up with a clever concept for this Menlo Park ranch house’s small backyard by designing an upturned deck with a bench and an inset succulent garden. The finished product is a beautiful and practical outdoor area that serves as an extension of the indoor space.
Small yards may provide a space constraint when installing a deck, but what if there is no yard at all? The absence of a yard did not deter the owners of this Vienna penthouse from having an outdoor patio. This home is located on the flat roof of a 1960s office building in the heart of Vienna’s fourth district. Delugan Meissl Associated Architects added plenty of outdoor space in the form of decking that spans the length of the penthouse and provides stunning views of Vienna’s fourth district.
This charming Spanish-style LA home features a simple backyard deck that provides a lovely base that complements the white stucco and black trim on the home. Other hardscape features, such as the paver walkway and wall, help minimize landscape maintenance while adding to the Mediterranean vibe of this LA home.
The Monokuro House blends minimalist, Japanese-inspired architecture with indoor/outdoor California living. Los Angeles–based W3 Architects designed the Monokuro House for a family looking for a simple, modern home with Japanese-inspired architecture. The home has a small side yard, so the designers decided to integrate wood decking to flow off the kitchen. The Monokuro House’s open floor plan seamlessly transitions into the outdoor space with its large windows and sliding glass doors.
With only a narrow lot to work with, Dubbeldam Architecture made the most of this tiny, 11-foot-wide house on a corner in a dense Toronto neighborhood. The designers decided the best place for a deck was on the roof to add a touch of nature to the urban setting. The home features a green roof deck that provides a family seating area and environmental benefits. The green roof absorbs rainwater, cools the upper floors, and purifies the air.
Like many homes with a small backyard space, careful planning must go into the deck design to make it attractive and functional. The deck in this Melbourne home is located directly outside the kitchen and has a serving window to help with the indoor-outdoor flow from the house. The serving window provides easy access to the deck, making it simple to entertain guests or eat al fresco while connecting the interior and exterior spaces. This design choice improves the home’s visual appeal and promotes convenience and functionality.
Mary Barensfiled cleverly maximized the vertical space with sleek terraces in this 1964 Berkeley townhouse’s steeply sloping backyard. She used traditional stairways and angular, board-form concrete walls with steel armor to cut their way up the hill while providing terraced planting areas. The house has two seating areas: a private upper-level deck that overlooks the lower-level white granite patio.
Top photo by Ike Edeani
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