|You simply can't make outdoor steps too shallow.|
However, remember to make the steps deeper as you make
the rise shallower, using the formula Rise± Run=17.5".
|If there's nothing to stop you from making the deck steps|
full width—do it. Steps make a lovely place to sit and relax.
Another common mistake in designing outdoor steps is to make them the same width as the typical indoor stair, which is typically about three feet. Alas, this yields what my mother would call a hühner leiter: a chicken ladder. Such steps are much too narrow in the context of the landscape. Deck steps, for example, should be a minimum of six feet wide, and even wider if possible. In fact, if there’s nothing to stop you, make your steps the full width of the deck. The extra cost is trivial, and they’ll make a fine spot for sitting on warm evenings.
|Fussy gazebos, such as this prefab one|
made by a well-known company, won't hold up well
in the weather, and look wimpy and inconsequential outdoors.
(including their ceiling heights) by about 20 percent or so over their indoor counterparts. Likewise, decks meant to accommodate outdoor furniture should be no less than twelve feet deep—otherwise, occupants will always feel as though they’re about to fall off the deck edge.
|This gazebo is simpler, heavier, and will only|
get better looking as the years pass.
|This combined steel (a.k.a. "wrought iron") and wood rail |
avoids the gossamer look of most all-steel railing designs.
Certain kinds of joinery are also bad news outdoors. For all their vaunted beauty, miter joints seldom hold up well over time. Even the most carefully-constructed miters will eventually open up and look shabby within a few years (often, in even one season.) Simple, square-cut butt joints—especially ones with a healthy overlap that conceals shrinkage—are much more resistant to the effects of weathering.