Outdoor Living Spaces for Every Taste and Lifestyle.
Whether you are building a new deck or remodeling an old one, durability and function are just as important as a sharp design. You will want to choose the right materials. Make the best use of available space. Consider the various ways in which you plan to use the deck. And, yes, you will also want to create an outdoor living space that is just as comfortable and inviting as an interior one.
A deck is designed to connect the inside to the out. Before you get started, ask yourself a few practical questions:
- Will you use the deck to entertain guests, reflect and relax, or keep the kids outdoors during the summer?
- Do you have room to expand your current deck outward or upward, or both, as multilevel decks are becoming increasingly popular?
- Do you want the deck to adjoin a hot tub, pool or gazebo, or a particular room in the house?
- How much privacy do you want?
- Do you have the time and budget to maintain a natural wood deck, or should you investigate a low-maintenance, composite material such as Trex?
The three decks featured on this page were all designed to create comfortable, easy-to-maintain living and entertaining spaces that enhance the individual lifestyles of the owners. They are all located in Princeton’s Province Hill Development.
Province Hill is a gated community of 34 single-family, ranch-style homes built by Dickson Development between 1979 and 1982. Dickson designed the homes to have a rustic, West Coast feel, with ample space around the properties. Many but not all of the original homes had wooden decks. Over time, some of the decks were replaced by patios or reconfigured by new owners, while others may not have been maintained regularly.
“It is always a pleasure to get a chance to work on a home we built, especially when we can reconnect with the original homeowner,” says Richard Dickson. “In each of the decks, I had the opportunity to enhance homes I originally built using new construction techniques, materials and design trends.”
A Deck with Trex: A Low-Maintenance Alternative to Wood
This deck was designed to have a smooth flow from the house to the deck, specifically from the kitchen and formal areas of the living room and dining room to the outdoors. It was also designed to be low to the ground so no railing was needed. The structural frame was constructed with ground contact–approved treated lumber.
The deck also features a popular composite material called Trex, which is available in a variety of shades that never need staining. With this alternative to wood, you don’t have to worry about termites, rotting or splinters. The initial investment is higher than natural wood, but you save on maintenance over the lifetime of the deck. Trex is also made of 95 percent recyclable wood.
“This material did not exist when we were building the Province Hill neighborhood. Trex is low maintenance and should last for decades,” says Richard.
The deck adjoins the gazebo, which needed to be removed and reinstalled. “We did not build the original deck and gazebo; there was a patio here instead,” adds Richard. “Our challenge was to lift it off the deck, intact, and then reinstall it after the deck was constructed, which involved a lot of labor.”
The refurbished gazebo now has new siding and screening, which match the materials on the inside. The newly painted gazebo fits nicely into the deck, yet another comfortable transition from one space to the next.
A Deck to Connect: Welcoming Nature Home
This simple yet elegant outdoor space was also built using Trex decking as well as Trex railing. The deck was just one part of a major renovation that included a completely remodeled bathroom and kitchen. The new kitchen offers direct access to the deck, and inviting views of the deck and yard.
Dickson built the home in 1981, and it’s still owned by the same person. The home originally had steps from the dining room/living room area to a paver patio that adjoined a small deck off the kitchen. Dickson removed the patio and steps as well as the original deck. The new deck was constructed to coordinate with the renovations happening inside.
When the new kitchen was installed, the doorway to the original decks was closed off. “There is now direct access to the deck from the kitchen and dining room/living room,” Richard explains. “New Anderson sliding doors lead to the deck, creating a wonderful flow from the inside to the outside.”
A Deck to Entertain and Relax in Comfort and Style
The most notable feature of this expansive deck is a perfectly appointed outdoor kitchen with a built-in grill, refrigerator and under-mounted stainless steel sink. Other details of the kitchen area include granite countertops and sleek cabinetry built to withstand the outdoor elements.
“The homeowner selected an outdoor refrigerator from Coyote, a grill from American Muscle Grill, a stainless steel sink from Elkay, a kitchen faucet from Grohe, and cabinets from Atlantis Outdoor Cabinetry,” says Richard.
This 1,000-square-foot outdoor space is perfect for entertaining family and friends, with a comfortable and spacious sitting area alongside the kitchen. It’s easy to access the space from the house or the driveway. “We constructed a blue stone walkway from the driveway to the front side of the deck, and a coordinating blue stone patio on the back side, leading out to the yard,” says Richard.
The decking and railing are made from a low-maintenance material from Timbertech. Stainless steel wiring is used as railing. The step risers and top railing feature LED lighting that can be controlled from inside the house, and is on a dimmer.
Dickson built the original home in 1981 with a patio. This new deck and patio space take outdoor living to a new level.
“While each of these decks has strong, unique qualities, they have one thing in common: They are great places to live and entertain.”