While you’re making the most of your deck before winter sets in, you should also consider how to best use the space under your deck. Some under-deck patio ideas may involve landscaping, but others give you the space you’ve been lacking inside your home.
Let’s focus on this space issue because most homeowners want more storage. That shouldn’t be a surprise, given that more than 10 percent of all Americans rent a storage unit of some variety.
There are two ways to approach under-deck storage, which will greatly impact the useability of the space.
If you’re planning a deck
Great news! If you’re in the planning stages of a two-story deck, now is the perfect time to create totally dry and useable space under the deck. How? An under-deck drainage system.
There are several commercial under-deck drainage systems, but be sure to choose one installed on top of the joists before the deck boards go down. Covering the joists ensures that moisture doesn’t degrade your substructure over time.
With a drainage system, you can also add an under-deck ceiling to create a more finished look. There are vinyl and aluminum options that are popular and affordable. A closed space allows you to add fans, lighting, and other electrical options without the risk of exposure to the elements.
As you plan your under-deck space, don’t forget shelving. Floor-to-ceiling shelves, pegboards, and cabinets will give you many storage options. You can buy a pre-made system or make your own if you love DIY.
If you have an existing deck
Once a deck is built you have more limited choices for storage under the deck. Avoid retrofitting an under-deck drainage system at this point because you will have to install an under-joist system. An under-joist system allows water to drip through your deck boards onto your substructure, which will cause wood rot over time.
You can still use under-deck space but reserve it for items that can withstand moisture. Even still, it’s best to buy water-tight storage containers for items like patio furniture cushions.
You can also store outdoor toys, sporting gear, and gardening supplies under a deck. However, don’t put bicycles in any area that may suffer water damage. You don’t want to get water in your bike frame because it can cause permanent damage when the liquid freezes.
Use lattice to hide your storage and enhance your deck’s appearance.
How can I use under-deck storage?
The options are as limitless as your imagination. Need a little inspiration? Plan with these storage ideas:
- Holiday items. The holidays are coming! Where will you tuck all of those inflatables and reels of lights come Jan. 1? You’ll be glad you thoughtfully finished the space under the deck and organized all of your paraphernalia before another Christmas season.
- Grills and smokers. Keep the grill or smoker close and dry by tucking it under the deck. If you have an adjoining patio, you can roll out the grill any time of year. Of course, never store a grill until it is completely cooled after use.
- Garden tools. Under the deck provides a convenient spot for all of your garden and lawn implements. Use this area to store lawnmowers, rakes, fertilizer, hoses, and flower pots. With a storage bench and shelves, you’ll be ready and organized for next spring’s planting season.
- Sporting goods. Dry storage space is perfect for bicycles, seasonal sports gear, and all of that camping equipment! Hang up some racks for kayaks and canoes, too. You’ve spent a lot of money on your favorite pastimes, so be sure to store your gear safely to avoid damage.
- Cars, boats, and trailers. If you don’t have a garage, you can turn the under-deck area into a garage. Or, if the car is safely stored away, use this space for a boat, trailer, or third car that needs to be protected.
- Playspace. If your home’s interior is overrun with children’s things, create a play space under the deck and tuck away some of those more oversized items. When it’s windy or cold, or rainy, you will love the under-deck space you built. Dedicate a corner of your deck storage to the kids, and they’ll feel like they have their own hideout.
- A workshop. Have you always wanted a repair shop — or a she-shed? Create space for all of your DIY projects. Under the deck is a perfect spot for woodworking, floral arrangement, small engine repair, or whatever your passion is. Working with chemicals, such as wood finishing and under-deck space, can give you room to work and fresh air to avoid harsh fumes.
- Craft supplies. Whether you are an Etsy pro or like to hoard knitting or scrapbooking supplies, your under-deck storage can come to the rescue. Buy clear bins and label everything so your supplies will be at your fingertips when you need them.
- Office space. Everyone’s working from home these days. Use this under deck space as an at-home office or store all of those files taking over your bedroom.
Creating a weatherproof space under your two-story deck is an excellent home improvement, but even if you’re just tucking away storage, make the most of this often-overlooked space.