When pondering a deck, most of us envision trailer-trash homes in low-end subdivisions. 

You've seen them, those elevated platforms scabbed onto the sides of houses supported with skinny timbers. They look like one swift kick and the entire mess would come crashing down onto the busted-up lawnmowers and unused kiddie pools stored underneath. 

Like everything else in the design world... 
There are shitty decks and there are awesome decks.


(Source: Bernard Trainor)
Wood decking seamlessly blends this sitting area into the landscape as the wood feels more organic than stone. The 'bridge' over the end of the pool is genius as it creates a break and textural interest.

(Source: Designrulz)
Complimenting an earthy house set among the trees, the deck continues the woody theme down to the pool area. 
Stone or hard surfaces would interfere with the 'woodsy tone.' 

(Source: Rossetti Wyss Architekten)
Contemporary often appears cold or inorganic. 
Here the wood balances the glass and stucco and feels completely unified with the trees planted within it.

(Source: Photobucket)
Wood feels appropriate at the beach; it has a sensual, tactile reaction with the feet.  Stone is often too hot to walk on in the direct sun.


(Source: Designrulz)
In bucolic scenarios it's important the architecture and its various components don't override the view. Therefore, this deck feels like an extension of the 'horizontal plain' of the main house.

(Source: Australian Home and Garden)
This awesome dining pergola and bathing platform needed to be elevated to capture the views; the random platforms mimic the design of the pergola whilst creating an interesting progression upward. 

(Source: AD)
I'm a firm believer in  less-is-more! 
I love this secret '420' deck tucked into the hillside. 
It's unobtrusive, serves a purpose and feels very organic...

(Source: Homeizy)
This outdoor space feels completely integrated with the porch and house as the clean lines, materials and paint scheme are kept simple. 
The permanent BBQ and banquette give the deck gravity. 
The trellis should be white or allowed to gray like the flooring, it looks like crap in a stain finish....jus' sayin'.

(Source: Ramon Esteve, Spain)
Stone paving would be too formal here and it would echo like an inner-city alley.... Wood creates a sensuality, absorbs sound and allows the rainwater to drain through. 

(Source: Freshome)
Needin' some zhuzh for yer ranch home, hon? 
A wrap-around deck at threshold-level matches the shake-siding and breaks up the flatness of the patio...

(Source: Gudmundur Jonsson, Norway)
The smaller-width boards in the deck compliment the soffit above keeping the design simple and coordinated.
(Source: Elias Rizo Arquitectos, Mexico)
This deck - like the roof-line, seems to float above the ground. 
The decks structural support elements are kept back, out of site, creating the floating effect.
Notice the gravel under the deck, it's a much better look than dirt or weeds!


(Source: Designrulz, Australia)
This tiny Munchkin home utilizes their small deck to make their interior feel larger. By coordinating the direction of the floorboards outside with those inside, the house appears larger.

(Source: Pinterest)
The principle rule with this home is contiguous lines.
When the sliders are open all materials run from inside to outside; the counters, floors and ceilings create a more open, lineal, boundary-less feel.

(Source: AD)
By using the same material on the bath and deck floor the bathroom  now seems to be one large, open-ended room.

(Source: Beverly Hills Architectural Review)
Major coin can buy you some big-ass opening walls!
However, using the same oiled mahogany inside and out is what nails the effect! 

(Source: Architect Arthur Casas, Brazil)
Another freekin' amazing example of disappearing doors and coordinating the inside with the outside....soooo damn sexy!

(Source: Tierra Design, Arizona)
Even if the glass doesn't open to the adjacent covered deck, it makes the interior appear twice as large by coordinating the woods direction.

(Source: ARX Architects, China)
I'm totally in love with this house, natch, riiiight??
The glass walls of this Modern home were designed to be invisible, and the expansive decks contribute to the illusion. 


(Source: Houzz)
This insane rectilinear pool with the rounded wooden deck create perfect balance; the stone edged pool relates to the lake and mountains while the wood deck relates to the forests.

(Source: Freshome)
Whoah, how awesome is that?? 
A small island in your own backyard!
The wood is a nice balance to all the cement a pool requires. 

(Source: Stelle, The Netherlands)
For homes in the countryside with an informal vibe, wooden pool decks are the perfect solution as they feel like a boardwalk through the dunes. 
Also, if you have to accommodate "impervious surfaces" codes and can't have a cement pool - use a vinyl-liner pool with a wooden deck.

(Source: Designrulz)
Lets get jiggy on that deck! 
Craycray, right?

(Source: Eduardo Hernandez, Mexico)
Balancing the cement, bricks and stone, the wooden sunning deck softens the look. An advantage of wooden pool decks is they don't radiate heat back up.

(Source: Robert Gurney, USA)
This contemporary home feels way more organic with the wooden decking reflecting the soffit material above.


(Source: Vineyard Magazine)
This unstained deck with painted railing blends in perfectly with the shingle style house. Keeping a deck in sync with existing details is paramount for traditional homes.

(Source: Hampton's Cottages and Gardens)
This small balcony uses wood to blend in with the roof shingles. Wood feels good on bare feet, and the water will flow through it and out of scuppers.

(Source: Marie Claire Maison, Belgium)
Roof decks and balconies look like shit with just a rubber membrane or gravel to walk on. You want something on top of that membrane like a wood decking pallet system to make it look finished.

(Source: Buddhist Retreat, Utah)
Second floor decks structurally need to be light-weight, making wood the perfect material. To appear as an integral part of the structure they need to blend in with the entire structure, so don't stain the deck some gawdawful color of cat-shit-yellow.

(Source: Ksenia Nikitina, Moscow)
Roof decks can be windy, so use built-in furniture, it's more practical and nothing blows around - or away.
Using the same material is best as it looks simpler and smarter.

(Source: House 'S')
Often, there are weight restraints when considering a roof deck.
Keep the lines and railing design simple and it wont look like a low-budget afterthought.


(Source: Houzz)
Add some style to your deck by using a border, or consider laying the timbers on a diagonal. The reveal (space) between the two steps adds an interesting shadow detail, and can also have low light emitting at night to help light the way. 

(Source: Designrulz)
Why have one narrow set of steps when you can make the entire garden feel more accessible?
(There's that bad orang'y redwood color again!)

(Source: SAOTA)
Instead of long timbers in one direction, cut or score them in even sections and create a simple, architectural pattern which adds some texture and interest....
('cause God knows that lame-ass furniture ain't doing much for that deck!)

(Source: Finestre Villas, Italy)
I think these narrower boards are super smart looking.

tension wire balustrade is the perfect thing for certain decks as it doesn't interfere with the view.

(Source: Pinterest)
This deck has a painted skirt-board around the outside edge and stair risers which gives it a clean line and hides the supporting structure beneath. The white banding matches the trim on the rest of the house.
(That planter bench is hideous - the white railing should be ALL the way around)

(Source: Architectural Review)
The solid knee-wall around this deck makes the deck feel integrated into the structure as opposed to an add-on.

(Source: HandyMan)
If your deck is elevated above the ground and your not using a screening to hide the area under the deck, then make the exposed details good ones!

(Source: Heliotrope Architects)
A well-designed bench wraps around this deck keeping people from falling off the edge; one part is solid and another elevated on steel legs to allow better air-flow through the house.

(Source: FDS Arquitectos, Uruguay)
This deck wall has it all!  It's a bench; it's a wood storage bin; it's a privacy wall, and it holds an outdoor fireplace! 

(Source: Freshome)
You want a beautiful deck, not a pile of drek, am I right?
This custom railing has perfect proportion and scale, and is aesthetically head-and-shoulders above a 'stock railing' from Home Depot. 
(However, once again....DON'T STAIN A DECK CLEAR! It'll look like shit in 12 months and be a continuous headache forever!)

(Source: Pinterest)
This seaside home has a fully enclosed banquette built around its edge which serves as a safety barrier, a seat and a privacy wall. The untreated cedar naturally turns gray which blends in with the house.
(remember, when people are looking up at an elevated deck it doesn't need to be very high to obstruct their line of sight).

(Source: Family Handyman)
Hidden fasteners are a must for a smart looking deck.
Surface mounted screws or nails are skanky! 


That's a hot mess - so much work for such shitty results....
Remember, SIMPLE is always better!

Thomas Chippendale would shit his pants if he saw this Chinese pattern being sold as ready-made pressure-treated railing sections.
Decks on Colonial houses  =  hot mess!

Nice house, nice deck, nice details, heinous color! 
This home should have a deeper taupe-tone stain or let it age naturally to a driftwood color.

Why's there a railing around this deck?  
Most codes don't require a railing until the drop-off is over 30"
An extra step wrapping the entire circumference of this deck would be so awesome, and it would make the deck feel more expansive.

Never, ever stain your deck 'redwood' orange.
There's no wood in nature that's that color!

Got that deck design right out of one of those "Handy Helper" magazines at the Home Depot didn't ya?

Really, a deck in your front yard, seriously?
(If you use those railing pickets I authorize your neighbors to make fun of you)

Leaving the underside of a deck open is like no curtains on your bathroom window - ain't nobody wanna see your junk... 

You Can Do It, I'm Here To Help!