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Decks with built-ins ... when hillside space is tight.

Decks with built-ins . . . when hillside space is tight Curves and angles give these two hillside decks more than just their distinctive forms. They also provide space for built-in benches and planters, reducing the need for chairs and pots that can devour deck space. And space is at something of a premium in both cases; these decks turn difficult terrain into useful areas for outdoor entertaining. Each offers intimate spots for seating and a larger space where children can play or groups can gather.

Alyce and Michael Gray's three youngsters had no front yard and only a 5-1/2-foot-deep rear deck to play on. One solution was to enlarge the deck, but Gary Marsh of All Decked Out in Novato, California, went further; he broke the added space into different levels to create separate places for adults and children

A 40-foot-wide new deck (shown at left) stands four steps below the level of the shallow original one. Two stairways wrap around an upper seating area and a built-in planter. The J-shaped 13-1/2-foot-long bench uses the 20-inch-deep planter as a backrest, while a curving railing separates the bench from the rest of this level. The railing's curve repeats in the steps to the lowest level, and in the outside railing.

Siding also covers the outer walls of the 47-foot-long, three-level deck shown on this page. The walls step in and out to create rectangular pockets for benches and planters. Built of pressure-treated wood, the 12-foot-wide structure features a trellis-covered section housing an outdoor kitchen (not shown), a 23-foot-long center area, and a small deck that cantilevers out over the hill.
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Date:Aug 1, 1990
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