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For entertaining, sun, front-door access ... a deck for every purpose.

For entertaining, sun, front-door access . . . a deck for every purpose

Ranging from modest to expansive, the three decks that surround this house are handsome problem-solvers. Each creates usable level areas on a sloping lot which had little flat ground for outdoor living. The largest deck is a multi-tiered platform for entertaining, another makes the most of the limited sun reaching the wooded lot, and the last forms a gracious front entry.

Landscape architect John Herbst of Lake Oswego, Oregon, used similar detailing and materials for each deck to create a cohesive plan for owner Bob Johnson. For decking, redwood 2-by-2s cover post, beam, and joist foundations, and 2-by-4s band the edges. Where there are changes of level, the steps appear to float above each other: horizontal 1-by-2 lath recessed beneath the edging masks the stairs' stringers.

As our photographs show, another recurring design element is the use of 135| angles to make changes of direction along the perimeter of the three decks.

The entertainment platform starts with a 26-foot-long, 12 1/2-foot-wide upper section at the same level as the living room. Builtin benches along the outer edge provide seating. Next, the deck steps down to an intermediate section that leads to the one naturally flat area on the lot. A built-in spa is the focal point of the bottom section, which has a perimeter bench and a wooden privacy fence blocking a view to the neighbors.

In the sunniest part of the garden--the right rear corner--Herbst designed a lower deck off the dining room, three broad, angled steps, and an irregularly shaped upper level. Notches cut in the sides of the upper level conform to the hill and provide convenient places for foundation planting to soften the deck's lines.

The entry deck juts out toward the driveway and has a broad bench for plant display. Both bench and deck make the entry seem more generous; they camouflage the sloping lot, which drops off beneath the deck's projecting side. The angle of the steps also draws guests toward the front door.

Photo: Entertainment deck

High camera angle emphasizes angular geometry of this three-level deck. Acrylic spa in lowest level is sheltered from view by privacy screen behind. Changing the direction of decking on the uppermost level makes deck look wider when viewed from house

Photo: Sun deck

Tucked in rear corner of lot, deck follows garden controus. Broad steps cascade toward house. Large permanent planters flank deck for elevated floral display

Photo: Lot runs downhill from upper right to lower left. Tiered decks minimize slope. Cross-section shows changes in level and lot's slope

Photo: Entry deck

Eave extension, angled side section of deck, and broad steps add breadth to entry as seen from drive
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Date:Aug 1, 1984
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