Wood Deck Design - Project 4
Two Level Stained Pressure Treated Deck With Hot Tub and Living Area.
A pressure treated wood deck design that has a private hot tub deck
area and expansive low level entertaining area.
This is a multi purpose deck. The area for the hot tub is physically
separate from the rest of the deck and has a privacy style
This home was brand new at the time and had an empty north facing
backyard. This was a perfect empty artist's canvas upon which to create a
unique wood deck design.
The exterior siding was a taupe vinyl cladding. The grade was flat.
The soil was soft and there was no sod at the time of construction. The
yard extended only about 25 feet to the property line.
Because the yard faced north, exposure to the sun was going to be greatest in the morning hours and less from midday to dusk.
And fortunately there were no underground services in this yard to
worry abouts. The interior elevation of the first floor was only 16" so
the clearance for a deck was getting very tight.
Any design for this wood deck site would have to stay low rather
than rise up and away from the house. But the clients had a couple of
specific demands in mind that would challenge this traditional wisdom..
These clients loved the water - all year long. And since this site
was located in the mild west coast numerous possibilites existed. They
didn't want a full size pool because the yard was a bit small for their
liking but a hot tub deck of some sort seemed to really appeal to them.
The also wanted a large area for entertaining and sun bathing so
they wanted a hot tub in the deck - but that meant it would have to sit
somewhat higher than the main deck surface because of the high water
table. And they wanted lots of sun on their deck which faced north. Not
much to ask for.
Once we defined these two primary requirements, this wood deck
design started taking shape. We explained that to get more sunshine the
lower deck would have to extendat least 12' out from the house.
And we also explained that a high water table in this area meant it would not be possible to set this tub into the ground.
To do so would be flirting with disaster. So we would have to have a
higher level for the hot tub deck. The higher the hot tub deck level,
the more exposure above the fence and less privacy. So I had to think of
Before finalizing the layout we suggested the hot tub deck be
installed at grade on compacted gravel and concrete slab with piers and
footings. The soil here was soft and fertile and moist most of the year.
A conduit was laid under the gravel from the hot tub deck to the
foundation of the house where a hole was cut through the concrete.
A 220 volt electrical line ran from the electrical box out through the conduit and connected to the hot tub.
I decided to have only 2 steps up from the lower level to the hot
tub level to minimize the elevation change as much as possible.
But to maintain privacy we installed a built-in bench around the
back half of the hot tub area and then created a privacy screen that was
5'6" high with 2x2 spaced about 1" apart.
You would have to look directly forward to really see anything and
even then the distance was far enough to obscure any detail. So we got
over the privacy and height issues.
The lower deck was set just below the interior floor of the house and
a continuous wrap around step was built around the perimeter of the
deck to allow access from any point in the yard. The northwest corner of
the deck was also cut at 45 degrees to soften to size and appearance of
the larger structure.
Leaving a large deck like this with sharp corners and angles only
serves to further establish its presence and dominance in a backyard. So
consider this when you are creating your deck design.
Voila! A hot tub deck and spa retreat in their backyard! The clients
loved the final result. It felt like two distinct areas and with the
benches and privacy screen, the hot tub deck had a real intimate feel to
it, summer or winter. They also got an area big enough for soaking up
sun despite the northern exposure.
The clients chose an opaque penetrating oil based stain to really
seep deep into the wood. The colour was a light brown with a creamy
undertone. A lighter deck stain can have the effect, again, of
diminishing or softening the appearance of a large wood deck structure
like this, which is exactly what was intended for this deck design.
As you put together your own deck design, take a moment to think about its size and dimension in comparison to the yard.
If it is really big compared to its environment, try cutting some
corners at 45 degrees or using the deck stain trick. These are subtle
design techniques but surprisingly effective.