Quite a number of people think that raised decks are the only truly dramatic outdoor living spaces. However, ground level decks offer their own design advantages including those that are just a step or two up from ground level.
These decks are simpler to build than their higher relatives, raised decks. Low level decks tend to blend easier with the size and shape of the house to which they are attached. They also have more direct contact with the surrounding yard and its landscape features. This means that it is a much simpler matter to make the gardens, walkways, open yard area and the deck part of one integrated design. In a practical manner, low level decks also rarely require the existence of a railing system which can create a strong sense of enclosure. And since there is no railing, there is nothing to interfere with any views that might be enjoyed while sitting on the deck.
There are a number of design techniques that can be used in creating an ideal ground level deck:
1. A wide set of steps can become a transition to the yard. They offer more design possibilities than standard size stairs. They can serve as platforms for container plants and other decorative objects. In addition wide stairs can be used as extra seating for small or large gatherings.
2. Something as simple as a change in direction in the shape of the platform can break up the monotony of a rectangular deck. A 45 degree angle here and there can alter the appearance of a ground level deck and add a dramatic look to it.
3. Container plants and hanging baskets can be used to create a movable landscape much more easily for a lower deck than a higher one. Clusters of plants in one or two colors are extremely effective in accomplishing this.
4. The careful placement of a perimeter of washed river rock or some other natural material can create the illusion that the deck is floating in place. Low voltage lighting can be used to repeat this effect once the sun goes down.
5. Lush foliage that strategically borders the low level deck can also be utilized to create an airy, floating appearance to this outdoor space.
6. A low L-shaped or wraparound ground level deck can be constructed to conform to the shape of the house in a more aesthetically pleasing manner without overpowering the home.
7. A fence or privacy screen can be easily used to provide a refuge from the eyes of prying neighbors or act as a wind screen. A trellis or section of framed lattice can also work well with climbing vines and plants to accomplish the same purpose.
8. Simple built-in benches can provide extra seating without obstructing views of the surrounding area. Something as simple as rearranging the deck furniture can be the key to improving the view also.
9. An overhead structure such as an arbor or pergola tends to be less obtrusive while providing protection from the intense rays of the sun. Either one can also provide support for attractive climbing vines and colorful plants that will enhance the look of the deck.
10. The use of similar materials on the house and deck can help the deck blend in with the surrounding backyard and ultimately add a great deal of subtle beauty to the whole landscape design.
Careful use of a variety of design techniques can enhance the look of any ground level decks and improve the quality of life for their owners and their families and guests.
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