A swooping steel railing follows the dramatic curve of the deck.
Photo: Ken Gutmaker

Make Your Backyard Shine

Putting a deck on your house is perhaps the easiest way to increase your living space. It's a solid investment in a home's equity, so carefully consider how your deck will look and perform over the long term.

Today, designers and builders are conjuring up lavish decks of durable hardwoods or eco-friendly composites that curve sinuously around built-in spas or make room for beyond-the-barbecue cooking spaces. Decks are becoming more hospitable, too, with well-lit dining areas, portable heat lamps, and sofas covered in water- and fade-resistant fabrics.

A swooping steel railing follows the dramatic curve of this deck in Marin County, California, where a semicircular built-in seating area beckons guests to gather. Tucked beside the railing, barrel-shaped deck lights salvaged from an old ship help illuminate the space at night.
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