Deck Design Ideas for Your Lake House

Photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story via Sunset

For those who love the lake lifestyle, an outdoor deck means much more than a wooden platform extending out into your backyard. These coveted al fresco spaces offer a glorious place to take in the view. Decks also offer an effortless setting for outdoor entertaining and a favorite go-to spot to sip drinks and chill out any time of day. All you need is a little imagination, a good plan, and a great design that befits your location and your home’s orientation to the lake. To find one that suits your unique situation, your style, and your budget, here are some inspiring ideas to get you dreaming.

Architectural Harmony


Photo courtesy of Corey Gaffer via Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

When designing your outdoor space, think of it as a visual extension of the overall architecture of your home. This will ensure you create a seamless and well-balanced transition from indoors to out, giving a sense of harmony to the complete design of your home.

Overlooking Lake Superior, the deck of this contemporary waterfront home designed by Snow Kreilich Architects emulates the dwelling’s beautifully restrained modern architecture. Designed mainly with stone, blackened wood, and glass, the house extends its sleek aesthetic to the outdoor space with clean lines, minimalist furnishings, and natural materials complementing the rugged landscape. A glass railing echoes the home’s stunning transparency and provides sublime unobstructed views.   

Waterside Wonderful

Photo courtesy of Decoist

Delightfully rustic, this outdoor haven offers a lakefront experience so seamless you feel as though you’re floating on top of the water. Dotted with flickering lanterns and an outdoor fireplace on an elevated tier around the deck perimeter, the space beckons for an outdoor get-together under the stars.

Start by selecting your favorite wood from an array of choices to achieve the look you’re going for. Rustic decks can be built from ipe, cedar, redwood, or any type of pressure-treated lumber. This one even incorporates tree-stump tables that lend an organic vibe. Low-slung woven chairs, a comfy cushioned daybed-like sofa, and a plush furry rug create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.   

Slope Solutions

Photo courtesy of Houzz

Deciding what to build on a steep lakefront hillside might seem like a slippery slope to navigate. But what about incorporating beautiful wooden steps that ease down to a generous platform deck overlooking the lake? A brilliant idea indeed. This one in the Lake Austin area makes the most of its magnificently perched setting with elegant glass-enclosed stair and deck railings that enhance the view. Lanterns hung from the treetops overhead make a graceful and unexpected decorative accent.  

Destination Deck

Photo courtesy of California Redwood Company via HGTV

Create a staycation vibe on your lake property with a beautiful deck set away from the house that captures a breathtaking vista. Crafted from California redwood, this lovely platform deck provides a walkway and a destination seating area for taking in splendid views of the water, wildlife, and passing boats. Think of it as a little escape to enjoy sunset cocktails with friends or just a quiet respite where you can enjoy the open air and get away from it all.  

Sunken Spa

Photo courtesy of HGTV

If your lakeside setting includes a slight slope and a fantastic view, consider punctuating it with an expansive seating area that steps down gradually to a luxurious sunken hot tub. This beautiful oasis overlooking Montana’s gorgeous Whitefish Lake offers a spacious deck that stretches the rear expanse of the house. A lower-level hot tub creates an appealing focal point and an idyllic spot to soak, relax, and take it all in. 

Cozy & Covered

Photo courtesy of One Kindesign

This lavish covered deck brings the comforts of your family room outside into the fresh air. Outfitted with a stone fireplace and a soaring beamed ceiling accented with a wrought-iron chandelier, this all-seasons deck amplifies the square footage of your lake home and provides an irresistible gathering spot. Plush seating pieces invite comfy seating, rain or shine, and the warm crackle of a fireplace offers cozy warmth on chilly evenings. The wrap-around style and pierced wood railings create unobstructed views from any vantage point.

Picture Perfect

Photo courtesy of Lisa Romerein via House Beautiful

For a deck style that befits the front of your home instead of the back, keep it clean and simple with a built-in bench that wraps the perimeter. The clean lines and the bench’s low positioning visually frame the entrance to your home while emitting a warm, welcoming feel. Enhance with beautiful potted plants in matching containers to create satisfying symmetry and bring about a lush botanical element that will soften the hard edges.

Small & Sweet

Photo courtesy of Proven Winners via HGTV

If you’re short on space, no worries. You can have your cake and eat it too by creating a small but incredibly charming space outside that’s packed with personality. Choose your favorite style—from urban chic to country cottage—and create your own slice of heaven with just a few necessities. A couple of chairs, a tabletop surface, and some pretty floral accents will do the trick with minimal effort and cost. Here, well-worn stacked crates and wooden chairs lend a vintage feel while pots of flowers introduce vibrant color that lends an alluring WOW factor to this tiny deck.

Now is the perfect time to get started on your dream deck at the lake. For more ideas and helpful tips, visit House Beautiful.  


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