Get your dream deck

How to get the right backyard retreat for your house.

The buffer zone
The buffer zone
A deck can be the solution to a problem yard, whether that means an uneven grade, a rocky outcropping, or, as in the case of this seaside lot in Carpinteria, California, shifting sands.

The deck, which spans the area from the rear of the house to the edge of the beach, not only provides a solid foundation underfoot, but also a transition between the order of the house and the rough-and-tumble world outside.

Because the punishing elements - salt spray, in particular - can be murder on a deck, the homeowners and their designer, Kathryne Dahlman, used materials that would stand up to the harsh environment.

Weather-resistant composite boards, which are manufactured from recycled sawdust and plastic, were one choice they considered, but ultimately the family wanted the feel of real wood. So Dahlman specified redwood planks installed with a quarter-inch of extra space to allow rain and water tracked onto the deck to drip between the cracks.

The extra breathing room also allows the boards to expand and contract with changing temperatures and humidity.

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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 LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. 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.