My clients wanted to replace their existing deck with one that offered as much privacy as possible, especially in the hot-tub area, which would stay in the same location while being upgraded. They liked the idea of more shade and better lighting, and placed a high priority on low-maintenance materials. It was a short wish list, and to maximize their new deck’s “Wow” factor, they gave me free rein on this project.

In my design, I shaped the new deck to balance the home’s rear elevation and odd-shaped lot, and to stay clear of the hot-tub area [read more about the author's deck design guidelines here]. The deck’s angles focus the view on forested areas and away from neighboring homes. To help my clients visualize the design before it was actually built and avoid changes later on, I provided them with a full set of 3D renderings, which I prepare using Sketchup Pro. Only grizzled tradesmen and architects can truly envision a project from 2D plans.

Frosted privacy glass is a key element in the design. I used tall panels to block the less attractive views from the main deck and incorporated shorter panels into the rails and down the stairs to make the entire space feel private, wherever one is located on the deck. Frosted glass panels below the stairs create another privacy barrier for when the homeowners are using the hot tub.

To provide the desired shade, I specified three Arcadia louvered roofs, one over each room on the deck and one over the hot tub. Besides dropping the temperature on the deck by about 15 degrees F on sunny days, the louvers create a dry space on the deck in wet weather. Heaters and ceiling fans can also be mounted within the louvered roofs.

The staircase is lit with mini LED fixtures with "eyebrows" that prevent the light from shining in users’ eyes while navigating the stairs at night. Fixtures that cast light both up and down were installed on the posts supporting the louvered roofs, while recessed pot lights were installed below the deck in the aluminum soffits. We chose a soffit that matches the color of the home, and wrapped the support posts, beams, troughs, and fascia with PVC trim that matches the decking.

My client is an accountant, with an in-home office on the third floor of the home. Besides opening up another door to the master bedroom on the main deck, we added a door to the small upper deck, which allows her to take her work outside on beautiful sunny days. Remember, people invest in a dream deck to enjoy life.