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7 Ways to Create a Multi-Room Cedar Deck

Garden designers have long understood the magic of dividing a yard into garden “rooms” by adding hedges, water features or fences to break up space. Cedar decking can also be thought of as a series of rooms. Too often, homeowners add decks according to sheer square footage, with little thought as to how they might create usable spaces in their new outdoor living areas.

To make the most of their decking materials, Portland residents may want to spend some time brainstorming and daydreaming about different activities they’d like to enjoy on their cedar decking. Will you dine, cook, relax and socialize on your new deck? If so, consider creating separate “deck rooms” for each activity using the seven dividing techniques we’ve gathered below. Without visual breaks, an unbroken expanse of deck will have to be highly versatile, with portable furniture and accessories.

1. Adding changes in level.

Just as a sunken living room automatically feels like a distinct space, even if no walls contain it, rooms are automatically created by adding multi-level decking materials. Portland deck designers may choose to wrap decks around outdoor staircases, with several landings where guests can gather to enjoy the view. Alternatively, you can add a double-decker structure, with one story of decking outside the bedrooms and another lower-level deck with built-in protection from the rain. Multi-level decks will also allow you to expertly place various deck accessories. For instance, you can prevent grill smoke from drifting into sunbathers’ eyes by placing the grill on an upper level of your cedar decking.

2. Following the footprint of your home.

Think about cedar decking that wraps around a home: Even in a boring, box-home design, this deck will naturally include four rooms – one on each side of the home. In the same way, you can add natural rooms to your deck by following the footprint of your home’s design.

Alternatively, you may choose to build a “yard deck;” i.e., a deck that highlights your landscape more than your home. Yard decks are generally located away from the home and may follow the more organic, irregular shapes of landscape features. Because it is spaced away from the home, a yard deck will naturally seem like a separate room.

3. Creating “walls” with trellises.

Trellises are akin to walls for your cedar decking rooms. During the summertime, when vegetables and flowers grace each trellis, the various rooms of your deck will feel especially private and protected. And trellises are easy to decorate with string lights during the darker months of the year.

4. Adding privacy screens.

Privacy screens represent another option for outdoor walls. You may choose fair-weather screens, such as those that were originally designed for indoor use. Whether you prefer ornate Asian décor or a simpler Arts and Crafts style, there’s probably a perfect privacy screen for you. Here’s a quirkier option for outdoor privacy screens: Create hinged screens using fencing materials. Obviously, this method will work best if you imitate any fencing currently surrounding your home. Fencing experts may even have old samples that would make good room dividers.

5. Creating visual breaks with planters.

Homeowners often forget the power of flora to separate areas. To create rooms on their decking materials, Portland residents can fill a row of large, decorative planters with “thrillers” (tall, showy plants to add vertical privacy), “fillers” (plants to fill the middle height in each planter) and “spillers” (plants that naturally want to drape down over planter edges).

6. Building a patio cover.

Patio covers naturally create outdoor rooms. Indeed, in many tropical climates a pergola would simply be considered a room. Adding a solid roof or translucent patio cover over your cedar decking will automatically define a new room.

7. Hanging drapes from your patio cover or pergola.

Imagine white linens hanging from your pergola, swaying in the summer breeze, drawn to provide extra privacy while you sip lemonade and flip through a paperback. Hanging drapes is an elegant way to break up your cedar decking. Just be sure to include tie-backs as well, so you can quickly convert your outdoor sanctuary into social hotspot.

The techniques listed here can help divide even the largest deck plans into small, cozy rooms.

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