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Hillside decks make the most of sloping sites.

Three decks reveal the versatility of this Western staple

THE UPSIDE OF LIVING on a hill is that you often get to enjoy great treetop views. The downside is that there never seems to be enough flat space for gardens or people. That's where decks come in. Their broad surfaces create outdoor living spaces, upon which you can entertain or relax, leaving whatever flat land there may be for small patios, planting beds, and pools. Decks offer a different perspective on your house, as well as views that might otherwise have been out of sight.

These three decks vary from one just big enough for three people to another that can hold almost a hundred.

The largest deck, at right, responds to and is dwarfed by its wooded site. Measuring 24 by 44 feet, the deck stretches into a grove of midsize redwood trees that tower above its 2-by-6 surface. Designed by the landscape firm of Emery Rogers and Associates, the deck features framed openings to accommodate the trunks of four 3- to 4-foot-diameter redwoods, and it practically touches three other bordering trees.

Because redwoods have broad, shallow root systems, great care was taken in setting the deck's footings. The post-and-beam underpinnings rest on just nine concrete columns drilled deep into the hill.

The house-facing side of the deck has no railing. At one end of this long side, steps lead to the surface, while at the other end boulders act as steps to a spa and adjacent swim spa. At its northern end, the deck arcs and cantilevers outward, offering views of distant San Francisco Bay.

A smaller deck in Southern California, meets a challenge posed by more typical backyards--to provide a place for sun and views in a tight space. Tarzana architect Nick Williams's task was to make the steep slope that sweeps up from the backyard more inviting. The limited usable flat space here was largely taken up by a swimming pool, so Williams designed an 8- by 14-foot deck that projects from the hillside and overlooks the pool.

Since the deck stands away from the back of the house, it becomes a destination and a focal point within the garden. It also has a virtue appreciated by owner Shelley Loew--the deck basks in afternoon sun that misses the patio of her Woodland Hills house.

The last deck contends with the steepest site. Pat and Roger Milligan's deck features a graceful, sweeping curve that arcs around their living room. The curve's inside face doubles as a bench, and the pipe atop the railing seamlessly connects to the railing system used elsewhere around the house.

Designed by Gary Marsh of All Decked Out, of Novato, California, the gray-stained deck is bordered by a tongue-and-groove railing. To keep the view from the living room unobstructed, the deck steps down from a slate patio that also wraps around the room.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Whiteley, Peter O.
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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