Landscape & Hardscape Ideas

Under the deck: A little magic transforms a forgotten space

Under-porch patios are making a splash as homeowners look to enhance their existing homes by gaining more living space. A little paver planning can transform that weedy, moldy area under an elevated deck into a room of many uses. When a raised deck is more than 8 feet off the ground, the space underneath may be a prime candidate for a patio project. Outdoor rooms are a popular home-improvement project, but many homeowners naturally neglect the darker spaces like under-deck areas. The key is to embrace the advantages of an under-deck patio.

Under-deck patios are perfect for when Nature rains on your picnic, or when hot sun calls for a shaded place. Hammocks slung between posts under a deck make for great napping spots, too. Screened-in porches are wonderful for relaxation and sleeping outside for the summer nights.

Some under-deck spaces have access doors, like sliding glass panels, to a ground floor family room, but others have no entry into the home. Both spaces can be designed in a similar manner. A few things to check for to assess the suitability of a patio in an under-deck space:

1.         Height. 8 feet or higher will be the most comfortable and will allow you to include a ceiling fan and/or lighting into your design. Municipalities may have regulations for outdoor porches that may be screened-in or otherwise. Check with a local contractor who is familiar with the requirements.

2.         Drainage. If the deck above provides 100% rain coverage, then ensure the gutters are working properly. Install gutters to shunt rain away from the under-deck patio area if none exist. Consider where rain will fall and how it will drain. Another tip: “Impervious – or non porous – surface amount” is also a common municipality regulation; that restriction may also affect your design but there are pavers that allow water through that can get around this restriction.

3.      Extension. Bringing the under-deck patio out past the edges of the deck is a luxurious look that enhances the utility of the patio. A picnic table can be placed under the deck and the grill placed safely away from the house. It’s imperative to keep any fire elements away from the house and deck, but a grill or fire pit doesn’t have to float unmoored in the yard. An extended patio pulls it all together.

Consider furniture on lockable wheels if variations in seating and dining arrangements fit into your outdoor lifestyle. Fabric curtains and valances can be used to define the under-deck space. Mounting hardware on the deck planks should be simple to do. Hang a valance in the style of a pergola under the deck to soften the space. If the under-deck patio has good rain coverage, many more options exist for furnishings like rugs or comfy, fluffy pillows. What’s great about an under-deck space is it’s room-like quality, and it’s a room that can be somewhat separate from the interior’s aesthetic. For example, a formal house can have a bohemian under-deck room, and it all flows perfectly. Don’t neglect the under-deck space because it may be dark or small. A world of possibilities exist this little space. Open up to creativity and imagination, and you’ll have an outdoor gem you’ll love to hide out in.

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