Combining Decks and Patios

Measuring more than 2,000 square feet and well-suited for large gatherings around the pool, this bluestone patio was a cost-effective extension of the adjacent ipe deck.

The deck has wide steps that allow traffic to flow easily between levels and that can serve as amphitheater seating around the pool as well. Omitting the railing (okay on decks lower than 30 inches above grade) helps unify the two areas and prevents the railing from inadvertently becoming the deck’s main architectural feature.

The upper deck offers a private space for sitting and reading the newspaper or for bad-weather grilling. On the lower patio, larger groups can gather, socialize, eat a meal, or just hang out.

Angles make a space appear larger and more dynamic and can be used to create a nook that doesn’t interfere with traffic flow. Note that the deck and patio surfaces have been “flip-flopped” on this project, which features a travertine terrace on the top tier, and cumaru decking below. The Brentwood stone countertops look like petrified wood, tying it all together.

A boulder casually inset into the stairs becomes an impromptu handrail and a place to set a cup in a pinch. Little details like this add dramatic flair, yet are relatively easy to execute.

This patio is a continuation of the upper deck area, expanding the space for extra guests.The same stone was inlaid into the deck, creating uniformity between the upper and lower levels. Plantings are used to temper the hard surfaces.

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