Wood and composite decks have a distinct advantage over stone patios. With a wooden frame, it’s a simple thing to install more than one level, creating an attractive and usable space.
Stone or paved patios can be done this way, but it requires retaining walls and possibly extensive excavation. With wood or composite, it’s all a matter of framing and stairs.
Multi-level deck designs are popular for larger areas. They provide a visual break in the deck, creating the look of separate outdoor rooms. Levels can help to direct traffic and even provide impromptu seating on the stairs between them.
Decorative details can be added with multi-levels. Change up the deck board direction or color. Install a different railing or new features like benches or flower pots. You can create an entertainment area on one level and an outdoor kitchen on another. Or elevate a private nook complete with couches and loungers above the main level of traffic.
Different shapes can also be introduced with varying levels. Echo the shape of your hot tub or patio table and give it pride of place. A rectangular deck is also complimented well by a round or half moon level above it. The contrast provides a built in focal point.
Multi-level decks do require more complicated framing. Each level is built on its own, with separate posts and ledgers. The framing is attached where stairs connect them and railings can be continuous if that’s the look you want.
Be careful when working with small spaces and yards. Splitting the deck into levels can make the area appear even smaller. As with open concept homes, small spaces look larger without barriers between the rooms. Take the entire space into account when designing your deck.
If it works for your home, have fun with levels. The possibilities for details and shapes are only limited by your imagination.
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