Andrew Pogue Photography

As summer begins, more homeowners are looking to extend their homes into their backyards. The warmer weather warrants a space where people can relax, entertain, cook, and sometimes swim. A well-designed deck can offer all of that and will entice clients to transfer their down time from inside their kitchens to an elevated space on the house’s exterior.

The 2017 Houzz Landscaping Trends report indicates decks are one of the top three outdoor structures homeowners are looking to add; the most popular outdoor living elements are lounge furniture, fire pits, and dining furniture. As a result, homeowners are creating low-maintenance, multi-level decks that are comfortable enough to be a second living room.

The ipe deck on the Bryker Woods remodel in Austin, Texas, was a small, yet important, addition to the whole-house remodel completed by CG&S Design-Build. Before the renovation, the master bedroom faced the backyard and blocked the ability to have a home that facilitated indoor/outdoor living.

Andrew Pogue Photography

“The new deck encourages family members to hang out by giving them a comfortable place to hang out,” says Marsha Topham, senior project architect at the firm. “The house’s new layout makes the deck more accessible by connecting it to the main indoor living space.”

The choice to add a pergola, with painted steel beams and stained cedar posts and cross beams, was fueled by both function and decoration. Having a backyard with a south-facing exposure called for an addition that would give shade to the deck. But Topham explains that the pergola also makes the deck more inviting and livable.

Wall-mounted sconces and ceiling fan lights illuminate the space at night. That allows the homeowners to get longer use of the deck and creates a connection to the indoor living space.

For more privacy in the backyard, the owners asked for an 8-foot-high fence. With the permission of their neighbors and a unique design element at the top of the structure, they got their request. Oblong ovals with metal mesh line the top of the fence to allow breezes to pass through the properties.