Hillside Decks Make the Most of Sloping Sites

By Whiteley, Peter O. | Sunset, July 1993 | Go to article overview

Hillside Decks Make the Most of Sloping Sites


Whiteley, Peter O., Sunset


Three decks reveal the versatility of this Western staple

THE UPSIDE OF LIVING on a hill is that you often get to enjoy great treetop views. The downside is that there never seems to be enough flat space for gardens or people. That's where decks come in. Their broad surfaces create outdoor living spaces, upon which you can entertain or relax, leaving whatever flat land there may be for small patios, planting beds, and pools. Decks offer a different perspective on your house, as well as views that might otherwise have been out of sight.

These three decks vary from one just big enough for three people to another that can hold almost a hundred.

The largest deck, at right, responds to and is dwarfed by its wooded site. Measuring 24 by 44 feet, the deck stretches into a grove of midsize redwood trees that tower above its 2-by-6 surface. Designed by the landscape firm of Emery Rogers and Associates, the deck features framed openings to accommodate the trunks of four 3- to 4-foot-diameter redwoods, and it practically touches three other bordering trees.

Because redwoods have broad, shallow root systems, great care was taken in setting the deck's footings. The post-and-beam underpinnings rest on just nine concrete columns drilled deep into the hill.

The house-facing side of the deck has no railing. At one end of this long side, steps lead to the surface, while at the other end boulders act as steps to a spa and adjacent swim spa. …

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