By Brent Gwatney

When it comes to your homeowner customers’ backyards, the possibilities are endless. The popularity of simple, boxy deck and landscape designs is transitioning to a desire to create something unique and modern. From multi-level decks to decks shaped like leaves, builders are imagining amazing designs and figuring out how to make them come to life. The rise of deck accessories like railing and lighting have opened the door even wider to creative outdoor spaces. These accessories, paired with inspired designs, are empowering builders to blend the decks they build to feel like a part of the landscape, not just an afterthought or free-standing platform.

One-of-a-kind Decks

A strong trend in deck design is the segmentation of separate smaller deck platforms. These “mini decks” can be built in places where a traditional deck might not fit, allowing for use of every part of a backyard, even those with a strange shape or intruding landscaping elements. Because of materials like composite decking, it is also becoming easier to build around these existing elements. With better workability than wood, composite decking can be curved to almost seamlessly encircle a tree or frame a garden (see “Workability of Composites” sidebar). Brands like MoistureShield® can even be installed with ground and water contact, allowing you to put deck elements where you might have thought you couldn’t, and opening up the design possibilities even more.