Are you thinking about adding a new deck or replacing an old one?  If so, are you wondering which type of deck design is practical, functional, attractive and most befitting your home and property?

Well, let’s begin by explaining the five most popular deck designs, from simple-to-elaborate and everything-in-between.

Platform Deck

A platform deck — also referred to as a low deck, grade-level deck, ground-level deck, patio deck or floating deck — is designed and built a few inches off the ground.  Simply put, it’s a (slightly!) elevated space to enjoy your backyard.

Detached Platform Deck with Pergola by Archadeck

Detached Platform Deck with Pergola by Archadeck

Low level decks are often attached to your home; however, a detached structure might work well too.  Some have railings.  Some don’t have rails.  And some use a bench in lieu of rails to help define the deck’s perimeter and provide seating as well.

Attached Platform Deck with Partial Rail and Bench by Archadeck

Attached Platform Deck with Partial Rail and Bench by Archadeck

A platform deck can be constructed from most any type of decking material, designed as a small or large space, and built with-or-without other amenities.

Large Attached Platform Deck with Pergola and Rails by Archadeck

Large Attached Platform Deck with Pergola and Rails by Archadeck

But regardless of the style chosen or the building materials used, a low deck is a rather simple structure and possibly a DIY project.  Just remember that proper ventilation and moisture protection are key details to ensure a successful project.

Raised Deck

Not all homes are positioned where the main-level jives with the foundation; therefore, a raised deck will require rails and stairs for safety and backyard accessibility.  Foundation posts and concrete footings are required too.  Depending on your property, the deck’s elevation might be only a few feet up or it might be raised pretty darn high!

Raised Deck by Archadeck

Raised Deck by Archadeck

Elevated Deck Design by Archadeck

Elevated Deck Design by Archadeck

Stairs and rails, done right, will enhance your deck’s curb appeal.  On the other hand, posts and footings, if left unfinished, can be unattractive.  The solution?  Post covers, deck skirting and simple landscaping will easily remedy a potential eye-sore of an elevated structure.

Elevated Deck with Post Covers by Archadeck

Elevated Deck with Post Covers by Archadeck

Any well-planned deck should accommodate your preferences for project-scope, maintenance and style.  So, depending on your home, lifestyle and budget, ask yourself what works best — a small raised deck for dining or a deck that spans the length of your home; an all-natural wood deck or one with lower maintenance requirements;  an outdoor space designed with ‘no holds barred’ or a simpler project with an understated, yet sophisticated, style?

Small Raised Deck for Dining, Lattice Skirting and Pergola by Archadeck

Small Raised Deck for Dining, Lattice Skirting and Pergola by Archadeck

Multilevel Deck

A multilevel deck design follows the contour of a sloping lot whether the slopes are gentle and subtle or dramatic and steep.  Each level is joined with steps or a staircase depending on the depth of the slope itself.

Deck with Level Change by Archadeck

Deck with Level Change by Archadeck

Deck With Multiple Tiers by Archadeck

Deck With Multiple Tiers by Archadeck

A second advantage of a tiered deck is the logical separation of different areas for different purposes.  In other words, deck levels define the outside activity.

For example, the deck level closest to the house and kitchen becomes a natural place for dining.  A sun-filled spot is perfect for sunbathing.  Lounge in a shady spot.  Entertain near the hot tub… well, you get the picture.

Multi Level Hot Tub Deck by Archadeck

Multi Level Hot Tub Deck by Archadeck

Two Story Deck

Similar to a deck designed with levels, a two story deck is a fantastic way to make functional use of a sloping yard.  And it will double the square footage of your outdoor space without overwhelming the back of your home.

Two Story Deck by Archadeck

Two Story Deck by Archadeck

Practically speaking, a two story deck will beautifully connect your house, from the inside out, to each and every floor.  And best of all, the upper level deck will maximize a scenic view.

Tall Two Story Deck by Archadeck

Tall Two Story Deck by Archadeck

But what’s underneath?

Consider an underdeck ceiling beneath the upper deck and skirting (or storage) beneath the lower deck.  These amenities will not only polish off the look of your two story deck, but make the space more useable too!

Two Story Deck with Underdecking, by Archadeck

Two Story Deck with Underdecking, by Archadeck

Safety-and-style-wise, the railing and stairs for a two story deck are uber important.  Safety gates and lighting will provide peace of mind and security, day or night.  And well-designed deck steps and rails add curb appeal.

Two Story Deck with Safety Gate and Lighting, by Archadeck in St. Louis Mo

Two Story Deck with Safety Gate and Lighting, by Archadeck in St. Louis Mo

Screened In Deck

And finally, a screened in deck is the absolute best way to make the most of your backyard; it can be designed and built as a platform, raised, multilevel or two story structure… or a combination thereof!

Elevated Screened In Deck with Level Change by Archadeck

Elevated Screened In Deck with Level Change by Archadeck

Downpours, excessive heat and bugs?  No problem!  The roof provides shelter and the ceiling is a perfect spot for a mounted fan and lighting.  The screens are a bug-barrier and provide a sense of privacy for an outdoor room that can be used nearly year-round.

Screened In Under Deck Enclosure by Archadeck

Screened In Under Deck Enclosure by Archadeck

Key Takeaways

Platform decks are built close to the ground and may or may not require safety rails.  These decks are simple structures and might be a perfect DIY project for your weekend-warrior handyman!

A single-plane, raised deck is ideal if the back of your home doesn’t coincide with the level of your yard.  When compared to platform decks, a raised deck is a little trickier, construction-wise.

The multiple levels of a tiered deck form outdoor ‘activity zones’ and these separate spaces are joined by a few steps or a full staircase depending on the lay-of-the-sloping-land.

Two story decks are often a logical choice for homes with more than one story, especially if the lot is steep or sloped.  Two (or three) story decks unite the home from the inside-out and create a whole lot of deck space in proportion to your home’s architecture.

And last but not least:  screened in decks are simply the best of both worlds:  part house, part yard.

Next Steps

To discover more design ideas for your outdoor space just visit our website, west-county.archadeck.com.  You’ll find photo galleries, an online inquiry form, a free download for Archadeck’s design guide and video too.  From the homepage you can click on our social media links to Pinterest, Google+ and Houzz pages.

Do you live in the St. Louis Missouri area? If so, please consider Archadeck.  Our offices are in St. Louis West County and we’re locally owned and operated.  We live here.  We work here!  Call anytime – 636-227-0800.

Multilevel Deck Design by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Multilevel Deck Design by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

If you do not live in St. Louis, simply visit archadeck.com or call 888-687-3325 for Archadeck owners/operators in your neck of the woods.

(Archadeck of West County and St. Charles County serves the Greater St. Louis territory including all areas of St. Louis County, St. Charles, St. Charles County and parts of Illinois too.)

Sources

Better Homes and Gardens, DIY Network, This Old House, Home Guides SFGate, build.com, eHow.com, House Logic, The Archadeck Blog, Archadecks of Raleigh/Durham, Austin TX, Bucks/Mont, Central Iowa, Birmingham, Chester County, Virgina Beach, Kansas City, Central Connecticut

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