Small Deck Ideas: 27 Ways to Maximize Your Outdoor Space

Even a small deck is a great place to spend time outdoors with your family or entertain friends. Smaller outdoor living spaces create a cozy atmosphere and can offer versatility and functionality comparable to larger spaces. You just have to put a little more thought into the design and get creative when it comes to how to make a small space serve multiple purposes.

To help you get inspired for your own deck design, here are 27 small deck ideas to consider.

1. Simple Backyard Deck

Perhaps the simplest of all decks is a basic, wood deck with simple railings and siding. This is a great way to get more outdoor living space out of a small backyard, particularly if the yard is slightly sloped. The deck shown here has lattice that any somewhat handy homeowner can cut and install. In fact, if you are handy, this is one you can probably build yourself after watching a few videos and finding plans online.

2. Sauna Deck

This small deck is the perfect spot for a barrel sauna where you can unwind at the end of the day. Notice how this homeowner maximized space by building a well-supported, raised deck over open space adjacent to their living area. To build this deck, you will need an experienced builder and an engineer to ensure safety.

3. Outdoor Dining Deck

If you are working with a small space but enjoy spending as much time as possible outdoors, an outdoor dining deck might be the right choice for you. This is an easy way to expand the square footage of your living space and provide you and your family with a versatile spot where you can enjoy family meals, do homework, work from home, read, or host game nights.

4. Container Garden Deck

Homeowners who would like an outdoor living space and would like to grow food can accomplish both by installing a small deck that offers room for seating and a container garden. Choosing to grow food or flowers in containers allows you to easily move things around to create more space or redecorate your deck. Containers also offer a great way to add color or height to a small space.

5. Mid-Air Deck

If you need a deck with the smallest footprint possible, consider installing one that has no footprint at all. This second-story, covered deck offers an impressive, contemporary entertaining space without taking up space in a small backyard. This is also a great way to provide two levels of outdoor living with the upper deck providing cover for a patio or play area underneath.

6. Outdoor Kitchen Deck

A small outdoor space does not mean you have to forgo a patio kitchen. This small deck is designed to maximize the narrow space next to the stairs by tucking a built-in grill into the area. This allows you to use more-accessible areas for a dining table or seating.

7. Gazebo Deck

Bring traditional charm to your backyard with a gazebo deck for outdoor living and entertaining. This could be a ground-level or raised deck. Either way, it provides a covered space with some protection from the elements, which will allow you and your guests to enjoy your deck more often.

8. Roof-Top Deck

This tiny roof-top deck is accessed through a hatch and offers fantastic views of the surrounding area. If you have limited space in your backyard or would just like a unique, private retreat to steal away to, this roof-top deck might be perfect for you. You can leave it without furnishings to keep it open for yoga or hanging out with friends, or you can set up a few small chairs or cushions to create a comfy getaway.

9. Spa Deck

Even on a large property, there is sometimes a need for small decks. For example, an uncovered deck located to take advantage of the property’s trees and views is the perfect spot for a spa or plunge pool. This may accompany a larger deck for entertaining, but sometimes it is nice to have a small, dedicated deck where you can slip away and destress.

10. Screened-In Deck

Small deck ideas for Southern California do not always include screened-in options, since this is more popular in the Midwest and the South where insects make it challenging to enjoy spending time outdoors. But this is a great option that should not be overlooked. A screened-in porch can also come in handy in Southern California where we do contend with mosquitoes, June bugs, and other critters.

11. Viewing Deck

Viewing decks are often built to provide an observation area where you can entertain guests while watching tennis matches, horse shows, bocce ball tournaments, or any other interesting spectacle you have space for on your property. If you do not have an arena or sports courts on your property, you still might enjoy an observation deck from which you can enjoy ocean views or starry nights.

12. Retracting Deck

If you are looking for a unique addition to your backyard and your budget allows for a splurge, consider a retracting deck, such as this one where the retractable spa cover opens to reveal a luxurious spa but becomes part of the deck when closed.

13. Outdoor Fireplace Deck

This corner fireplace provides a gorgeous focal point and a cozy place for guests to gather while taking up almost no space on the deck. Note how the firebox and chimney are set back from the main part of the deck so that they take very little space away from the living area.

14. Upscale Sports Bar Deck

This is a roof-top deck with a bar, television, and lounging area, but you could just as easily create this setup on a ground-level deck in your backyard. Add a cover and you have an all-weather setting where you can invite your friends over for the big game or host your fantasy football league.

15. Covered Deck

Covered decks can be used for much more than sports bars, which makes this an easy addition to any list of small deck ideas. Covering your deck allows you to enjoy your deck more often and makes it more functional. Adding a cover also gives you the opportunity to add a ceiling fan or lights. A covered deck is a versatile space that allows you to expand your home’s living area and provides you and your family with a comfortable space to spend more time outdoors.

16. Sun-Bathing Deck

Sometimes you want a versatile deck where you can work, play, or entertain. Sometimes you want a deck designed for a singular primary purpose. The above example offers a perfect sun-bathing deck that can also be used for reading or enjoying a glass of wine with your partner at the end of the day.

17. Artificial Grass Deck

When we think of decks, we usually think of either wood or composite decking, but we can increase functionality and visual interest by switching up the materials. For example, a two-tiered deck might have a wood deck on the first level, and then an artificial grass deck on the second level. This opens up more options for entertaining, having a space for pets, or having a play space for your kids. It also makes for a more visually appealing backyard.

18. Pool Cover Deck

Pool covers reduce evaporation, keep your pool cleaner, and make your pool safer for pets and children. They are also not great looking and can detract from your yard’s visual appeal. If you want the pros of a pool cover without these cons, a pool cover deck is an option you might want to consider. When closed, you have a large deck for relaxing or entertaining. When opened, it reveals the pool below and provides two smaller decks for sunbathing or keeping an eye on the kids while you chat with friends.

19. Narrow Pool Deck

For folks who want to include both a pool and a deck in a small backyard, a narrow pool deck is a great option that gives you space for the pool while still providing enough space for lounge chairs, a bistro set, or a small entertaining area.

20. Outdoor Shower Deck

Even a tiny side yard is large enough for an outdoor shower deck. Patio showers do not take up much room and they are a great addition for beach houses, homes with pools, and homes with sports courts, horse facilities, or any other hobby spaces that could leave participants sweaty, sandy, or dirty. If there is enough privacy, you might even just enjoy your outdoor shower for your regular showering routine.

21. Backyard Bathhouse Deck

If a long, luxurious bath is more your style, a covered deck with a bathtub and privacy screens may be a better choice for you. This is one of a few deck options that require hot water and a drain, so you will need a plumbing contractor for this one, but it will be well worth it when you slip into your first outdoor bubble bath with your favorite beverage and a good book.

22. Mobile Greenhouse Deck

For homeowners on the move or who at least want the possibility of future mobility to be an option, something like this mobile greenhouse deck built on a trailer might be the perfect thing. This is ideal for tiny house dwellers who want to grow their own food or have a cutting garden they can take with them when they change locations.

23. Conversation Pit Deck

Sunken conversation pits were once a popular addition to living rooms in homes owned by frequent party hosts. They fell out of fashion a few decades ago but are kind of making a comeback now. The biggest difference between the original conversation pits and the contemporary versions is that today’s conversation pits are often located outside. A good example is this sunken section of the deck with built-in seating around a fire pit.

24. Curtained Deck

Adding curtains to a covered deck enhances privacy and provides increased protection from inclement weather. Soft, flowy curtains also soften the look of your deck and help to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

25. Yoga or Meditation Deck

A small deck is all you need if you are creating a space where you can partake in your morning meditation or evening yoga practice. Add comfy cushions to make the space more versatile for use as a reading deck or lounging deck as well. Curtains will enhance privacy, and a fountain is a great way to minimize external sounds to create a peaceful space for mindfulness practices.

26. Vertical Garden Deck

Small decks benefit from added height, which makes them ideal candidates for vertical gardens. Adding a garden to a wall or fence also allows you to grow food or flowers in a small footprint while adding color and texture to your deck.

27. Built-In Bench Deck

A built-in bench around the perimeter of a small deck is probably the best way to maximize seating while eliminating the need for bulky chairs and sofas. You can add planters to the benches to increase growing space or include built-in storage for patio cushions or entertaining essentials. If there is a sturdy wall or fence adjacent to your deck, you may also be able to install a murphy table to make the space more versatile. If built-in benches are not an option, you can also place portable benches around the edge of the deck to increase seating and help keep folks from accidentally stepping off of the edge.

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