Magazine article Sunset

Decks for Outdoor Living

Magazine article Sunset

Decks for Outdoor Living

Article excerpt

Gracious spaces for alfresco get-togethers

Decks reflect the Western tradition of using gardens as extensions of our homes. Well-designed decks can transcend even the most lopsided sites by creating level areas that extend living space, add room for entertaining, and bring the garden's beauty closer. The decks shown on these pages accomplish all these feats quite neatly while leaving plenty of growing room for plants.


Wooden decks and flagstone patios are familiar surfaces for landscaping, but they rarely meet as gracefully as they do in Patty and Hal Hawthorne's back garden. The fluid meeting of wood and stone draws together what had been a fragmented yard.

The deck surface is made of red lauro, a durable Brazilian wood that combines the sturdiness and weathering characteristics of teak with the color of redwood. Metal deck clips secure the 1-by-6 decking to pressure-treated girders, leaving the surface unmarred by nails; only an existing pineapple guava tree pokes through it. Along the deck's back and outside edges, broad built-in benches add seating.

The flagstone-covered portion serves mainly as a sinuous path. From a sliding glass door in the living room, the Arizona chocolate flagstone flows outward, leading ultimately to a gazebo.


Geometric shapes pattern the surface of this ground-level deck, which serves both as a boardwalk and as an entertainment space. The deck breaks into two paths around a rear garden. The main one, shown in the photo above, runs the length of the house, then grows into a creekside deck. The other leads from the parking area to the kitchen door.

With so much of the garden covered with wood, it could have seemed monotonous. …

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