Accessing Your Deck

Stairs and doors are an integral part of the deck. Learn how to get the most out of your outdoor space with these tips.

CI-TREX_small-deck_s4x3 Photo courtesy of Trex

Access From Your House

If you already have a back door, then you're all set with an access option for your deck. If it is located in the kitchen, then you have a direct route for transporting food and utensils from the kitchen to the outdoor cooking and dining area.

Consider how you plan to use your deck when deciding how you want to set up access. If you want a hot tub on the deck, then you might want to access it from the master bedroom or the family room. If you don't want to dine outdoors and plan to use the deck for relaxing in comfortable outdoor living room-type furniture, then access from the living room or den might be better.

A deck extends and expands the floor plan of your home, so take advantage of that newly acquired space. Your home will feel more open if you have large sliding glass panel doors that allow you to view the outdoor space from inside.

A nicely decorated deck with inviting furniture, potted flowering plants, a bubbling hot tub or serene water features is part of the indoor/outdoor experience. Frame your deck with large openings and you'll be likely to enjoy it more.

Access From Your Backyard

Stairs can be any width as long as they adhere to the building code in your town. If you have room in your yard, consider installing a wider staircase that will make a dramatic statement.

For decks that are elevated more than a few feet off the ground, consider dividing stairs into two smaller staircases with a landing in between. This will keep you from having a dreaded steep staircase.

For continuity in your landscape, you might consider installing a landing pad made of brick, concrete or pavers, as well as a walkway leading around the house to the front of your yard in the same material. "Generally they should be designed to offer the most convenient entrance and exit to the deck," says Lou Pagnutti, owner of Decks Unique.

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