Not everyone lives on a half-acre lot with room for a large deck. So what are your design options if you live in a home with limited backyard space? You might be surprised to discover that you have quite a few.

As one of Colorado’s premier custom deck builders, we can show you a variety of ways to design a smaller deck space so that it not only appears bigger but is also highly functional. Here are the top five things we recommend to transform your deck from cramped to comfortable:

Short on Space, Big on Personality: 5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Small Deck

(chatzie_jc / pixabay)

1. Build Spatially-Conscious

Running your decking diagonally gives the illusion of space by elongating the area and making it look more expansive. Another way to open up your deck is to forgo the railing if the deck platform is close to the ground. The idea is that without the barrier, the deck extends out to the rest of the backyard and extends your outdoor living area.

Of course, if your deck is located on the second story or higher, you’ll need to install railing for obvious safety reasons. Using wider slats or a cable-style bar allows you to see out to the yard and not feel confined while still keeping family and guests safe.

2. Push Seating Away from the Middle

Installing a bench and other seating along the outer edges of your deck and swapping out the large patio table with a more compact coffee or side table will expand your layout and free up a substantial amount of space.

Think of your standard patio table with six pull-out chairs – this set-up can take up most of the area on a small deck, leaving very little room around the edges to stand when you pull the chairs out from under the table. However, benches, chairs, or sectionals on the outer edge give guests a place to eat and socialize without feeling cramped or limited to the table area.

Building vertically by adding an arbor or pergola can also give you more functional areas for a hanging chair or hammock. Not only are these cool and practical design features, but they also free up deck floor space and draw the eyes upward to other focal points, such as lights and hanging plants.

3. Less Is More: De-Clutter

While a tall potted plant or two along the edge of your deck can vertically expand your outdoor area, a deck full of lots of furniture, plants, and other decor can make your outdoor space feel cramped and small. An excellent way to de-clutter is to use a deck box to store extras like blankets, pillows, grill utensils, and other items when they’re not in use.

Built-in bench seating and grill enclosures can pull double-duty as hidden storage, while rolling carts or coolers can take the place of tables, allowing you to use them as needed and then stow them away off the deck. If your deck is closer to the ground, you can create efficient under-deck storage areas by hanging hinged skirting or a storage access door.

Integrating your deck with the nature around you can help de-clutter in surprising ways. Say you have a beautiful tree in your backyard. Incorporating the tree into your deck design will provide natural shade, eliminating the need for a bulky stand umbrella. Retractable awnings and pergolas will do the same and are great space-savers, too.

Regularly washing down your deck and clearing away plant debris, weeds, rusty furniture, and other neglected items will also freshen your backyard living space, giving it a simple, clean look. Simple is what you’re after when it comes to making your deck platform look larger.

4. Keep it Light and Bright

Consider the colors of your home’s interior flooring adjacent to the deck. Matching the color tones of the two sets of flooring will extend your indoor space to the outside, making both areas seem more expansive and more open.

Using light, neutral colors like grey, khaki, or taupe for the deck boarding and railing also works to broaden your space. Brightly-colored pillows, chair fabrics, and plantings can accent the understated tones, bringing the focal point to the colors and away from the size of the backdrop (in this case, your deck).

5. On the Level

Multi-tiered decks can be visually stunning, but they won’t do your home any favors if the deck area with which you have to work is negligible. Chopping things up into different levels will make everything look and feel smaller and limit your furnishing options. Consider keeping your deck platform at one level to maximize your space.

As you can see, incorporating specific design features into your deck build can do wonders with less square footage. Don’t let a small space keep you from creating the roomy and inviting look you want to enjoy with your family and friends.

Still have more questions? Our custom deck installers have been helping Colorado homeowners build their outdoor dream spaces for years, and we are happy to lend a hand in designing the perfect deck or patio of any size for your home.

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