Get Inspired: 20 Outdoor Deck Designs and Ideas

Outdoor deck with umbrella covering outdoor seating and table

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

After much consideration, you've chosen an outdoor deck over a patio. Now what? It's time to consider outdoor deck design ideas that will push your project from a sketch on a napkin to an actual outdoor living space.

Decks can be connected to or detached from a house. Decking materials include softwoods, tropical hardwoods, synthetic woods, and pressure-treated lumber. Then there's the type of deck you desire (e.g., wraparound or pool deck), along with shape, size, and even placement pattern of the wood. Furthermore, decks might require a blueprint and engineering, as well as a permit from your local building department.

Here are 20 outdoor deck design ideas to help you get started.

  • 01 of 20

    Balcony-Style Deck With a View

    balcony deck with view of river

    Courtney Keating / Getty Images

    One of the most important considerations when planning an outdoor deck is placing the deck in a location that offers a great view. Perched on a hill overlooking a river, this balcony-style deck makes excellent use of its surroundings. The deck is simple, comfortable, and all about that breathtaking view. A deck positioned so high needs to have protective railings. This deck uses a glass partition that doesn't obstruct the view.

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  • 02 of 20

    Pool and Hot Tub Deck

    deck with hot tub and pool

    Astronaut Images / Getty Images

    Create a cohesive space around a pool and hot tub with decking that is all at one level. In this space, the hot tub is sunken into the deck for a clean and uncluttered look. Plus, the deck's shape conforms to the architecture of the house. It's accessible from multiple rooms and flows seamlessly with the floors inside.

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  • 03 of 20

    Combined Deck and Patio

    A deck and patio combination
    Getty Images

    On the fence about whether to install a patio or build a deck? Sometimes you can do both. This relatively small outdoor space is separated into different areas by the deck and patio. The wooden deck is for dining and relaxing while the patio features several planters to create a garden oasis. The dual flooring adds layers of color, pattern, and texture to the whole space.

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  • 04 of 20

    Hardwood Rooftop Deck

    rooftop deck

    Clive Nichols / Getty Images

    Hardwoods like teak and iroko (pictured) are beautiful as decking surfaces. Most are insect- and weather-resistant, are sturdy, and can last for decades. This makes hardwoods ideal for rooftop decks, which can take a beating if they have no shelter from a structure or overhead trees. In general, rooftop decks won't eat up yard space. And they sometimes are the most private area for a deck, especially in a city.

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    Wide Deck Steps

    Outdoor deck with wide wooden steps

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    Rather than building one flat surface, creating a deck with wide, large steps can have some advantages. The three wide steps on this ipe wood deck also serve as outdoor seating, made comfier with thick square pillows. Plus, they could be a great place to display planters, with the different step heights giving the planters a tiered effect.

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    Screened-In Deck

    enclosed deck

    Eric Vega / Getty Images

    In regions that experience frequent rain or are prone to mosquitoes and other insects, an enclosed deck satisfies the desire for an outdoor room while keeping you protected. Fiberglass is the most popular and inexpensive type of screen material for outdoor spaces. Other choices include aluminum, stainless steel, copper, bronze, and sun-blocking screens. For additional comfort in hot regions, add an outdoor ceiling fan.

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  • 07 of 20

    Dining on the Deck

    Blue-gray dining table on outdoor wooden deck

    Delpixart / Getty Images

    Many people prefer to use their outdoor deck for dining. And there are a few factors to consider when planning the space. For starters, ensure that you have enough room for your desired dining table. That includes space for someone to easily walk around the table while people are sitting at it. Also, consider whether you'll need protection from the sun and other elements via an umbrella or other overhang. And determine whether nearby greenery will drop leaves, berries, and other items on your dining table.

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  • 08 of 20

    Side-Yard Deck

    side yard deck

    Clive Nichols / Getty Images

    Side yards are often only used as pass-through areas to walk from the front to the back of a home. But with decking, a side yard becomes a destination. This side yard features a wooden deck and bamboo growing as a privacy screen. The small seating area serves as a secluded place to read, eat, or simply grab some fresh air.

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  • 09 of 20

    Deck With a Fire Pit

    fire pit on wooden deck

    Angelika Kagan / Getty Images

    Your deck experience shouldn't be limited to the summer months. Adding a fire pit to a deck is a great way to extend your deck's use, even when temperatures start to drop at night. It will add some coziness and create a relaxing atmosphere whether you're with guests or enjoying some time alone. Plus, the fire will provide some moody lighting for when you don't want bright light at night.

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    Detached Deck

    detached deck surrounding garden pond

    eirasophie / Getty Images

    While it's common for decks to connect to the house, that doesn't mean they have to. Detached decks can form a focal point in your yard. And they offer plenty of flexibility in where they are placed and how they are used. This deck surrounds a lush garden pond, providing a stunning aesthetic and a slightly unconventional outdoor experience. A detached option can also be ideal if your home is made out of unsuitable material or doesn't have the proper structure to attach a deck.

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  • 11 of 20

    Natural Beauty

    Wooden deck surrounding pool in natural landscape

    PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou / Getty Images

    Decks can be stained and painted in all sorts of colors. But if you live in a beautiful natural setting, it can pay off to work within the colors of nature when styling your deck. The rich brown wood deck surrounding this swimming pool gives it a rustic look that fits right in among all the trees. And the boulders surrounding the deck only emphasize that natural feel.

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    Wraparound Deck

    wraparound deck overlooking stone walkway

    irina88w / Getty Images

    Instead of sticking to a deck that is only on one side of your house, why not extend it all the way around? Wraparound decks provide uninhibited views of your property, making them a great choice if your home is surrounded by nature or other must-see sights. They also offer plenty of space for different activities, so there's no fear of overcrowding. Regardless of what your plans are, you'll have room to make them happen. Plus, they often allow you to access the deck from multiple rooms for a more convenient flow to your home.

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  • 13 of 20

    Deck Built Around a Tree

    rain-covered deck built around a small tree

    oat_autta / Getty Images

    When deciding to add an extension to your house, there might be obstacles to work around, such as trees and other greenery. Rather than chopping down what's already growing, incorporate it into your deck design. This deck build left a small opening to allow the tree to continue growing through it. And it created a small table around the tree to emphasize it as a focal point. It can take some planning, but it's worth the extra effort for a look that's unique to your property.

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  • 14 of 20

    Deck Benches

    Wooden deck with table and seating

    Maskot / Getty Images

    For an extra level of comfort and aesthetic, built-in seating is a great way to elevate your deck. Whether it's individual chairs or a more extended bench like the one featured above, built-in furniture can help structure the layout of a deck. It allows you to customize seating options based on your needs. And it also can simply let you put extra decking materials to good use.

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  • 15 of 20

    Decking Connection

    Above ground pool with surrounding wooden deck

    Chiyacat / Getty Images

    Make an above-ground pool look just as custom as an in-ground pool with a deck built around it. This deck connects the pool, hot tub, and seating area for a cohesive and thoughtful look. Even if all of these elements were purchased at different points, the deck brings them together to become a well-designed backyard. Decking also can be used to connect outdoor kitchens, dining areas, gardens, and more.

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    Built-In Planters

    wooden deck with planters and a built-in garden

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    Adding large planters to the perimeter of a deck can create structure and potential privacy, depending on what you plant in them. Look for plants that have evergreen foliage in your climate if you want year-round privacy. You also can use the planters to grow your own vegetable garden, especially if your deck is conveniently located near your kitchen. Or simply plant some nice-smelling flowers that you can enjoy when you spend time on the deck.

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    Composite Deck

    composite deck with green house

    WoodysPhotos / Getty Images

    Composite decks, which use plastics in their makeup, are a great choice for those who want something relatively inexpensive and low-maintenance, particularly compared to their wooden counterparts. Composite decks are weather- and stain-resistant, which can be a bonus felt over time, and they won't splinter like wood can. Plus, they come in an array of colors to match your home.

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    Covered Deck

    covered deck

    Eric Audras / Getty Images

    If you want to enjoy your deck rain or harsh sunshine, consider one with a cover. This deck has a permanent roof that turns it into extra square footage of true living space. But there are also retractable cover options that you can extend as needed. You still get the fresh air and breeze flowing through the open sides, but everything underneath the cover is protected.

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    Raised Deck

    raised deck

    Todd Ryburn Photography / Getty Images

    If you live on a hilly property, a raised deck might be the right option for you. Decks don't always have to extend from your first story. You might want them raised to capitalize on a beautiful view or work with a split-level floor plan, for example. Just make sure the raised deck has guard rails and stairs that are to code, so you can safely and comfortably enjoy your bird's eye view.

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    Indoor-Outdoor Living Deck

    wooden deck that flows out from glass doors

    Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

    To get that true indoor-outdoor living vibe, create a deck like this one where the flooring surface remains level as you walk through the door. This allows the area to feel like one big living space, rather than the room indoors and the deck as separate entities. If possible, install doors that you're able to open up wide, so you get an unencumbered flow between the interior and the outdoors.