Covered Deck Design Ideas

Covered Deck Design Ideas

01.How to Plan and Design an Overhead or Pergola

A well-designed deck includes built-ins and features that are added for practical purposes along with architectural elements that enhance the design and materials of the structure. The better the design, the less noticeable it is. Face the truth: it gets hot, and as gorgeously appointed as your fine hardwood deck might be, if you don’t provide shade, everybody will run for cover. A pergola or overhead structure will prolong your enjoyment and use of the deck along while adding an attractive design element.

Assess what already exists: a deck’s railings, posts, and overhead structure should echo a home’s similar architectural elements in front or other parts of the property. A well-designed cover complements your home’s style and the exterior materials used, especially any wood used elsewhere. Among types and styles of overhead structures to consider:

  • Arbor: Smaller than a pergola or gazebo, an arbor includes 2 to 4 posts with a simple slatted roof that is open. Vines can grow over an arbor or lattice can be placed on top for more of an enclosed effect.
  • Pergola: This type of overhead can be identified by having four or more posts or columns. It supports a roof that is traditionally flat, with beams left alone in one direction or topped with cross beams or slats. The pergola’s roof can be left open, covered with outdoor fabric, or support fast-growing vines.
  • Attached overhead: This can be built at the same time as the deck or added to an existing deck. It attaches to a back wall of your house and has a roof supported by sturdy posts at the edge of the deck.
  • Gazebo: More room-like than a pergola, a gazebo can be rectangular, hexagonal, or whatever shape you desire. Gazebos have posts and are more enclosed than other garden structures.
  • Roof extension: Sometimes this has already been done, other times it’s a solution when another type of overhead structure will interrupt the flow and lines of your home’s roof. Work with an architect or other building professional for this type of project; it’s definitely not a DIY endeavor.

Consult your planning commission before starting a project of this scope; you will likely need to pull permits and follow local codes.

For inspiration and ideas, enjoy this diverse, international selection of covered decks.


A Washington D.C. home has a modernist sensibility focused on the privacy of the rear yard: from the front, you’d never guess how open and modern it is in the back. It’s a covered deck that’s an extension of the interior and reflects the proportions of the master bedroom as it looks across a grassy “courtyard.” Designed by Kube Architecture, the deck is built with ipe wood and pressure-treated framing. Small, in-ground deck lights were purchased on Amazon for subtle illumination.

03.Locomotive Ranch Trailer

Following his client’s request, Austin-based Andrew Hinman Architecture incorporated this cherished 1954 Spartan Imperial Mansion house trailer onto a ranch in South Texas overlooking the Nueces River. FSC-certified ipe and Douglas fir decking frames a vintage California redwood hot tub. The roof, which overhangs the deck, is made of metal and reflects sun. The ceiling is built of Douglas fir, which buffers sound during thunderstorms and insulates the home from that Texas heat.

04.Sydney Beach Style

A slightly rustic, greyed-out hardwood deck lends this space a beach vibe that reflects the homeowners’ lifestyle in Sydney, Australia. Designed by Maria Villa of Villa+Villa Style, the wood-frame pergola features a thatch-style roof for a casual, tropical look.

05.Blackbutt Deck

A dark-stained Australian Blackbutt hardwood deck is raised above ground, to be level with the kitchen so that the homeowners can look down over the pool. Designed by Zugai Struckwick Architects of Sydney, the solar pergola allows for all-weather entertaining.

06.Mixed Materials

A farmhouse in Austria features a variety of materials and textures for an outdoor deck that overlooks green, blooming fields. Mossyrock Design Studio used timber framing for the outdoor structure, while rough-hewn stone wall frames a picturesque view.

07.Shade Sails

Extending the living space of a home in Lafayette, California, a deck designed by Studio M Merge is used for casual outdoor dining, covered by overlapping Cali Shade Sails.

08.Rich, Warm Wood

A deck with a patina blurs the transition from indoors to outdoors of this home in coastal Melbourne, Australia. The outdoor space, designed by Acre Landscape Architecture Studio, features an outdoor kitchen with indoor pass-through window covered by a framed roof extension that continues ceiling materials used inside. Architects on the project were Planned Living Architects, with construction by Powda Constructions.

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