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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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices 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.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.