If you have an elevated deck, you’ll soon realize that there is either a good use of the space underneath it or there isn’t. As professional Landscapers in Lancaster, PA we often see these areas getting a wide array of treatments both good and bad. Depending upon the height clearance underneath will dictate how this area can be utilized.
If there is less than 7 ft. of clearance under your deck maintaining this area will be your main concern. Mowing these areas is not a good idea. Not only is it difficult to operate a mower in this space, but grass will not grow very well because it often doesn’t have enough sunlight to stay nice and thick. You could remove whatever sod is located there and mulch the area for the least expensive initial alternative, but these areas will need to be re-mulched every year or two, which can be a tremendous task the lower the clearance. Using stone under low-clearance deck areas is your best alternative. Dig out any sod and make sure the ground is graded away from the house. Then lay weed fabric in these areas and add stone. There are all sorts of options for stone from the cheap limestone gravel to decorative gravel in all sorts of colors and sizes. Stone in these areas will last indefinitely and will need the least amount of maintenance. Periodically you may want to climb underneath these areas to apply some non-selective herbicide if any weeds attempt to grow.
If your under-deck area has 7 ft. of height clearance or more you should consider making better use of this space. Most times builders give these areas no patios, or at minimum, a plain and ugly concrete pad that only covers a portion of this area. These areas are ideal for additional outdoor living spaces. The deck above can provide a great source of shade and even a structure to anchor hanging plants, swings, etc.
If you plan on using this area while it is raining, remember the openings in the deck above will still allow water to permeate. You can consult with a contractor to install a roof below the deck frame and spouting to have this water stay off of your patio underneath.
Options for patio materials vary. Natural stone walls and flagstone patios or paver patios and block walls are great choices. These materials can be found in a variety of textures and color blends and will compliment the color of the structure as well as decking materials. Not only will an under-deck patio add usable outdoor living space but it will cut down on the maintenance of these spots. Our landscape design team would love to look at your property if you’re considering improving the use or maintenance of this area. For a free consultation, please contact us.