Deck Privacy and Enclosure
Decks need definition. Without it—both above and at the edges—your deck can leave you feeling exposed and uncomfortable. If your site lacks natural attributes that enhance your privacy and sense of enclosure, you can create these qualities with your plans.
Consider privacy first. Is your deck effectively screened from the street and from the neighbors’ view? If your proposed site is on the least exposed side of the house, at a comer where the main body of the house meets a wing, or tucked behind a retaining wall or hedge, privacy may not be an issue. And if your site is isolated from the house or on a hillside above the surrounding views, you may not need to alter your design at all. But if you need to increase your privacy, add a fence, a wall, or trees and shrubs to your plans.
These same elements will also produce a sense of enclosure, of course. But so will benches, garden beds, and other features. And remember to look up. Overhead space will affect your comfort too. Consider including an outdoor “ceiling”—an overhead, such as an arbor or a pergola, or tree limbs.
Overhead space, both indoors and out, has a psychological impact. For example, grand, vaulted indoor ceilings feel awe-inspiring and even a bit overwhelming, and low ceilings can feel confining. The same holds true outdoors, but the rules of scale are different.
Indoors we feel most comfortable in rooms with 8- to 10-foot ceilings. Outdoors we’re accustomed to higher “ceilings,” but feel more comfortable when the outdoor space is somewhat closer to the indoor standard. Your lowest tree branches, for example, may be 15 to 20 feet off the ground, but even that height above an intimate dining table might feel excessive.
In general, make sure deck space that’s reserved for intimate activities has some suggestion of cover over it—from 10 to 12 feet high. Areas for more public activities, such as parties, will feel more comfortable with “ceilings” up to 20 feet high.
A general guideline for “covering” your deck from above is to shelter at least a third of the surface area. More infomation on increasing your privacy can be found here