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No room for a deck? Have you looked at your garage roof?

No room for a deck? Have you looked at your garage roof?

A life of servitude awaits most garages,considered little more than receptacles for cars, tools, and household leftovers. Inside, the five garages we show on these pages still serve this role. But on top, their roofs enjoy far more glamor. Converted to decks, they've become favorite places for outdoor entertaining.

A space-efficient idea that favors houseswith small gardens or those on sloping lots, the garage-top deck makes use of otherwise wasted space. Because garages on hillside lots often sit below the level of the house, the roof deck can be a same-level extension of interior living spaces.

Views may be discovered or enhanced:elevating the deck one story can extend sightlines beyond the edge of your property, over fences and neighboring houses. Where views aren't desirable, trellises or panels of acrylic or translucent glass can screen them out while providing privacy or wind shelter.

An obvious but important requirement isthat the garage must have (or be convertible to) a flat roof form. Because a deck will place additional loads on the roof, walls, and foundation, you'll need to consult an architect or engineer to see if reinforcing framing may be required.

Cutting away part of a pitched roof

A double take is a common first reactionto the deck over Anne and Larry Hill's hilltop garage, pictured above. From the street, the peaked roof on the front part of the garage conceals most of it; but a section of lattice fencing on one side hints that there's more up there than meets the eye.

Designed by Seattle landscape architectThomas L. Berger, the 18 1/2- by 19 1/2-foot deck gives the Hills an elevated view from the back corner of their property. The deck nestles behind an 8-foot-wide section of pitched roof over the two-car garage. A planter-topped storage shed obscures the stairs leading up from a new rear patio.

Part of the garage interior is lost to thesupporting foundation and pump and heater for the 5 1/2-foot-diameter spa that sits in one rear corner of the deck. A series of 2-by-12 joists, spaced 8 inches apart, supports the spa; 2-by-12s on 16-inch centers underlie the rest of the decking.

Two decks with wide-open views

Rising from the slope of a boulder-strewnAlbuquerque lot, Glenna and Jerry Wilger's garage lies just below their house's floor level. Landscape designer William Hays connected the house to a 16- by 20 1/2-foot deck on the garage roof with a multilevel bridge. The tar-and-gravel roof has a network of sleepers that support decking of alternating redwood 2-by-4s and 2-by-6s. From the street, there's little hint of the deck: it's inset from the edge and ringed by 21-inch-high planters that act as wide, low railings.

On a San Diego site that also enjoysexpansive views, architect Scott Emsley of Solana Beach, California, designed a wide-open entertainment space extending from the west-facing side of the house. An unobtrusive metal railing defines the edge of the 22- by 25-foot tiled floor inset in the garage's tar-and-gravel roof.

When there's no view

In tight urban lots with neighboringhouses close by, there's special need for private outdoor space. The owners of the San Francisco house shown at left wanted a garage, but wanted a garden retreat, too. Architect Paul Sherrill gave them a concrete-roofed garage and a private, two-level roof garden that starts on the same plane as their kitchen. Recessed planters break the garden into areas of decking and permanent planting.

Supporting one end of a vine-covered trellis,translucent south-facing fence panels shield the garage-door side of the deck from street view. They allow sunlight into the garden but block wind.

They're good for children, too

Seattle's rainy weather brings out a virtueof roof decks that parents of young children will appreciate: there's no mud. Even in the dead of winter, Char and Ed Alkire find their 20- by 20-foot deck makes a great place for their two young daughters to play outside.

The roof deck, added as part of a remodelby Seattle architect Todd Soli, joins to the rear of the house with a stairway that leads up to the main floor. Lapped siding visually links the house and garage.

Photo: Seattle: hidden behind a roof peak

Driveway view (above) shows lattice fencing rising behind front roof section. Seen from above (right), the discreet deck is more apparent. Two levels of lattice screen deck and spa from neighbors. A 4- by 7-foot planter over a storage shed supplies color at deck level. Brick-edged patio is 2 1/2 feet above driveway

Photo: Albuquerque: multilevel deck

Ringing edge of garage-top deck, wide, low plantershave built-in galvanized pans with drip system. At right, planters barely show above adobe-style garage

Photo: San Francisco: out of sight above the street

A private surprise, this protected deck-garden filled with permanent and seasonal container plants is hidden from street and protected from wind by panels of translucent acrylic (below). Siding extends from house to blend with garage. Stairway to garden (left) rises from garage interior

Photo: San Diego: ocean-viewing platform

Flat roof extends beyond garage walls, making deck appear to float; tiled surface is inset 5 feet from outer edge. Upthrusting lines (including vertical light fixture) add interest to sculptural stairs (right) that rise from driveway through roof-level opening

Photo: Seattle: wet-weather play

Two slender balconies added to rear of house overlook all-weather,polymer-covered plywood play deck (below left) on garage roof. To enclose deck, low walls sheathed with lapped siding were added to garage rooftop
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Apr 1, 1987
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