Get your dream deck

How to get the right backyard retreat for your house.

Make your backyard shine
Make your backyard shine
Putting a deck on your house is perhaps the easiest way to increase your living space. It's a solid investment in a home's equity, so carefully consider how your deck will look and perform over the long term.

Today, designers and builders are conjuring up lavish decks of durable hardwoods or eco-friendly composites that curve sinuously around built-in spas or make room for beyond-the-barbecue cooking spaces. Decks are becoming more hospitable, too, with well-lit dining areas, portable heat lamps, and sofas covered in water- and fade-resistant fabrics.

A swooping steel railing follows the dramatic curve of this deck in Marin County, California, where a semicircular built-in seating area beckons guests to gather. Tucked beside the railing, barrel-shaped deck lights salvaged from an old ship help illuminate the space at night.

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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.