Under Deck Ideas to Make the Most of Your Outdoor Space

If you have an elevated deck in your backyard, you may be overlooking a useful space right under your feet! The area underneath many decks is wasted, but with a little creativity, it can become a functional storage spot or even an extra outdoor living area. Enclosing and furnishing the space under your deck opens up many exciting possibilities. With some strategic planning and elbow grease, you can gain a roomy storage solution, a relaxing hangout, or both.

From storage systems to flooring and lighting, we have ideas to help you get the most out of the square footage. With the right modifications, the underside of your deck can become a highly utilized part of your yard. Let’s look at how to enclose, furnish, and take advantage of this often neglected zone.

Install Modular Storage Systems

For easy access to your stuff, modular storage systems are a great option to install under your deck. These systems come in panel sections that can be arranged in different configurations depending on your needs.

Storage wall panels can be used to section off areas or lined up to create a closet-like storage room. Overhead modular units mount to the bottom of the deck above to take advantage of vertical space. Door panels can close off the area but still allow entry when needed. The modular pieces fasten together and to the supports of your deck.

enclosing under a deck ideas

Compared to permanent walls and cabinetry, modular systems are simple for DIY installation. The panels are made of durable and weather-resistant materials like powder-coated steel, aluminum, or synthetic wood composites. You can switch around components if your storage requirements change down the road.

Benefits of Modular Under Deck Storage

  • Customizable layouts to suit your needs
  • Easy access to stored items
  • Systemized organization using included shelves, hooks, and bins
  • Adaptive to future storage needs
  • Made of long-lasting and low-maintenance materials

Include Proper Drainage

When enclosing the area under your deck, ensure you address drainage. The sloped soil under a deck can accumulate a lot of moisture from rain and irrigation. Pooled water will quickly damage any belongings you store under there.

Installing a proper drainage system will capture runoff and divert it away from your storage zone. Options include gravel trenches, catch basins, or french drains. Depending on your yard’s slope you may need to combine approaches. Proper drainage also prevents erosion and keeps the humidity down.

Drainage System Tips

  • Use gravel or crushed rock to fill in low areas that collect water
  • Install catch basins connected to downspout drainage pipes
  • Dig french drains along the deck perimeter to collect and redirect water
  • Make sure the floor slopes away from your house’s foundation
  • Extend downspouts further from the deck edge with drainage pipe

A dry storage area will protect your belongings from mold and water damage. The drainage modifications will also help strengthen the stability of the deck’s support posts.

Include Lighting for Visibility

If you plan to access your under deck storage at night, lighting is a must. Illuminating the space will make it easier to find what you need and navigate around obstacles.

Battery powered LED puck lights work well for deck installation. They stick to the floor joists above and cast light downward. Opt for warm light temperatures rather than cool hues. Outdoor-rated fixtures hardwired to your deck’s electrical system are another option. Place the lights pointing down, not out towards the yard to avoid glare.

For easy operation, install a switch by the deck stairs to turn the lights on. Dimmer switches allow you to adjust the brightness as needed. Automatic motion sensor lights will illuminate the area when you go under the deck.

Lighting Tips

  • Use LED lights for efficiency and long life
  • Stick-on battery pucks are easy to install
  • Aim lights downward to reduce glare
  • Add a switch or motion sensors for convenience
  • Carefully follow electrical codes for hardwired fixtures

With the right lighting in place, your under deck space will be safe, visible, and more usable day or night.

Utilize Vertical Storage

While the floor space under your deck may be limited, don’t forget to utilize vertical storage as well. Wall-mounted shelves, retractable storage racks, and hanging organizers are great space-savers.

Sturdy shelves mounted to posts or lattice walls hold bins, baskets, and frequently used items. Retractable drying racks are useful for laundered items or yard equipment that needs hosing off. Canvas storage cubes hung from the deck rafters overhead create a place for bulky items like patio cushions.

Measure carefully so vertical storage stays clear of your headspace. Make sure deck posts and support beams can handle the weight. Include lips, rails, or netting on shelves and racks to keep items from falling off.

Vertical Storage Ideas

  • Wall mount wire shelving units or wooden shelves
  • Install retractable clothing or utility racks
  • Hang canvas storage cubes from the deck joists
  • Use bike hooks, pulleys, and racks overhead
  • Maximize corner space with triangular shelves

Going vertical with your storage arrangements helps you make the most of limited square footage under the deck.

Allow for Ventilation

Enclosing the underside of your deck can create a damp, humid environment prone to mold and mildew growth. A proper ventilation system helps combat this.

Vents installed in lattice walls or gaps at the perimeter allow air to circulate. Powered exhaust fans mounted to deck joists pull out stale air. Ridge vents at the top of support beams also encourage airflow. Wood or composite decking boards spaced slightly apart improve ventilation between the boards.

Aim to create a cross breeze through the entire enclosed area. The right ventilation prevents humidity and moisture buildup so contents stay protected.

Ventilation Tips

  • Add screened wall vents near storage area edges
  • Install exhaust fans triggered by a humidity sensor
  • Leave gaps between boards and perimeter lattice
  • Ridge vents along support beams improve airflow
  • Avoid blocking ventilation gaps with stored items

Keeping air circulating under the deck is vital for preventing mold, odors, and wood rot over time.

Choose the Right Flooring

The right flooring material will make your under deck space cleaner and more functional. Gravel, pavers, turf mats, and outdoor-rated composite floor tiles are good options.

Gravel resists weather and helps with drainage, but can track into the house. Interlocking pavers or plastic composite tiles create a more finished floor but are pricier. Turf mats add a touch of green while remaining budget-friendly.

Make sure to slope the floor at least 3 inches over 10 feet to promote drainage. Use compactable gravel or add a gravel drainage trench along the perimeter. Extended downspout drainage pipes should divert water away from floor area.

Flooring Material Pros and Cons

Material Pros Cons
GravelInexpensive, good drainageCan track into house, plain appearance
PaversAttractive, uniform surfaceHigher cost, heavier to install
Turf MatNatural look, budget-friendlyProne to wear, needs occasional watering
Composite TilesDurable, zero-maintenanceHigher cost, can appear artificial

Consider your budget, durability needs, and personal style preferences when selecting flooring.

Assess Structural Support

Before enclosing the area under your deck, inspect the structural stability. Check for signs of sagging, rotted posts or joists, and insufficient footings. Depending on the age and condition, you may need to reinforce the framing before adding storage.

A few new support posts tied into concrete piers may be adequate. For extensive issues, sistering new joists alongside old ones provides reinforcement. Severe problems will require partially demolishing and rebuilding portions of the deck.

Also check what size loads your existing deck was designed to handle. Most can only support a live load of 40 to 60 pounds per square foot. Storage items can add substantial weight.

Structural Considerations

  • Inspect deck framing for signs of deterioration and weakness
  • Have a contractor evaluate if unsure about structural integrity
  • Reinforce framing with additional posts, footings, and joist sisters
  • Do not exceed designed load capacity with storage items
  • Obtain permits if modifying footings or doing extensive structural work

A sturdy, level deck ensures your storage additions and possessions stay protected for years to come.

Store Items Suited to the Space

Carefully consider what you place under your deck. The right items will withstand moisture and the fluctuating conditions.

Outdoor furniture cushions, water hoses, lawn mowers, and other yard maintenance equipment are often perfectly suited for under deck storage. Sports gear, bikes, and non-fabric accessories can also tolerate some dampness and humidity.

Avoid storing upholstered furniture, electronics, fine wood furnishings, or other valuables prone to mold and corrosion. Treat metal tools and hardware with a protectant spray first. Use waterproof deck boxes or sealed bins.

Ideal Under Deck Storage Items

  • Patio furniture cushions
  • Gardening tools and supplies
  • Lawn mowers and landscaping equipment
  • Sports balls, water toys, camping gear
  • Firewood, grills, outdoor cooking accessories

Items to Avoid

  • Couches, chairs, and other upholstered furniture
  • Appliances, electronics, and metal furniture
  • Cardboard boxes, paper, books, and documents
  • Fine wood furnishings
  • Clothing, fabric items, and linens

Choosing moisture-resistant belongings suited to the environment will prevent headaches down the road.

Add Finishing Touches

To complete your under deck storage zone, include some finishing touches to polish off the look.

Paint the walls and structural posts bright white or light colors using outdoor-rated paint. This makes the area brighter. Add extra lighting fixtures as needed. Install shelving and storage bins to stay organized. Use hooks, racks, and netting to hang tools and free up floor capacity.

For easy access, build a ramp down to the storage zone rather than steep stairs. Make sure all hardware, fasteners, and components used are corrosion resistant and built to withstand sun and water.

Keep the enclosure looking tidy by regularly clearing leaves and other debris that blows under the deck. A well-kept storage area blends into your backyard aesthetic rather than being an eyesore.

Finishing Touches

  • Paint interior walls white or light colors
  • Add shelves, bins, hooks, and storage racks
  • Hang tools overhead to maximize floor space
  • Build a ramp for easy access under the deck
  • Use exterior-rated and corrosion-proof hardware
  • Routinely clear out leaves and debris

Proper finishing elevates your under deck storage from a dark cluttered mess to a clean, unique outdoor bonus room!

If done right, the area underneath your deck can provide the extra storage space your yard needs or become a relaxing covered hangout zone. By enclosing the area, adding flooring, lighting, storage systems, and ventilation you can completely transform the unused area.

Modular storage components make it simple to add organized storage cubbies customized to your needs. Proper drainage, moisture barriers, and ventilation will keep the contents protected. durable flooring options range from gravel to pavers depending on your budget. Just be sure to assess the structural stability before enclosing the space and loading it up with heavy storage.

You can open up the potential under your deck with a little creativity. Turn your unused space into a functional asset that adds value to your outdoor living area and home. No more wasted square footage – your deck will keep you and your possessions well covered!

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