Get your dream deck

How to get the right backyard retreat for your house.

The multi-tasker
The multi-tasker
Like the popular open-plan kitchen/family room inside the house, the deck has become an all-in-one area for cooking, dining, and leisure activities outside.

Though lavishly large, this deck - which starts at ground level and extends out over a sloping backyard - shows how an alfresco layout can seamlessly combine an all-weather kitchen, cafe table and chairs, and built-in seating area.

The design works by clearly defining the function of each of its sections. The semicircular banquette area is the stage for frequent parties - the open-air equivalent of the living room. The large built-in planter does double-duty as a coffee table with a wide rim on which guests can set down drinks.

Opposite this entertainment and lounging zone is a fully stocked outdoor kitchen with grill, rust-resistant stainless countertop, overhead task lights, sink, refrigerator, and cabinets to stow pots, pans, plates, and cutlery.

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The pros and cons of the various materials you can use to build your dream deck (more)
A deck can handle even the rowdiest parties as long as the beam that carries the floor joists is properly bolted to the side of the house. (more)
See the rest of the photo series here. (more)
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.