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The deck zigs and zags along with the slope.

Gaining flat outdoor living space on a steep lot is a common Western challenge. Before Carol and Frank Robl built their deck in Bellevue, Washington, they walked out their back door, down 5 feet of stairs, then up a slope to the garden.

The deck they designed and built conquers the uneven topography. Its angular design echoes the angles and roof lines of the house, and the newly replanted garden now meets the deck.

The deck's zigzag design provides a choice of exposures for various occasions. Near the steps, the open south end catches sunlight; the raised triangle is a good spot for showing off container plants or for sunning. A generous roof overhang offers shade and can shelter the barbecue from unexpected drizzle. The bridge off the deck's north end leads to a developing rhododendron collection.

Built of pressure-treated wood, the deck stands on 4-by-6 posts resting on concrete piers. Joists are 2-by-8s spaced 12 inches apart and topped with 1-by-4 decking. Near the steps, siding to match the house masks the deck's support structure. On the north end, the siding was left off, giving the owners access to firewood storage below.

Built-in flower boxes fit between decked areas and help connect the different shapes. Since the wood is treated, the boxes don't require metal or plastic inserts. The space between boards are narrow enough to permit drainage without losing soil. A clump of vine maples (Acer circinatum) casts light shade in summer; leaves drop to admit winter sun. They'll eventually stretch up 15 to 20 feet.
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Date:Sep 1, 1984
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