Think about how foot traffic will flow across your deck. Make sure that your furniture and grill arrangements do not interfere with movement. Your stairs and the house door should be easy to locate and free to access from any area of your deck.
Guardrails will usually define the perimeter on taller decks. A short rail or benches can help guide traffic and maintain views for a low deck where guardrails are not required. The interior spaces of the deck need to include aisles for movement. Changing the direction of decking can be a useful technique to separate spaces. Pointing diagonal decking in a certain direction is a subtle cue to direct people's path of movement.
Your deck stairs will anchor your deck to the yard and act as a primary point of access. Measure the height of your deck and use our Stairs Calculator to determine the number of steps you need. Long sets of stairs can be gently wrapped around a deck or split by a set of landings to reduce their awkwardness. Avoid landing stairs underneath a deck frame because of headroom issues.
Multiple levels can be used to gracefully move people across your deck in interesting ways, but be aware that severe and sudden changes in elevation are not only awkward-looking, but also can be dangerous. Steps that form irregular angles or that are difficult to see may cause a tripping hazard. For low decks, consider stepping down around an angled corner with a cascading wrap around the stairs to help blend the deck into the yard.