a cool take on a backyard deck — on a budget!

Not only is my friend Dorian a capable drink-gift-tag designer, she is also an accomplished deck designer! No, she’s not a contractor, but I love the deck that she and her boyfriend Aaron redesigned (the beams and supports were in place already) on a budget. The couple’s Seattle-area home has a walkout basement, so the deck from their dining room is on the second floor. Wanting to create a useable, rain-sheltered area under the deck while still allowing light to reach the yard below, they came up with an ingenious solution: they alternated wood flooring with three-quarter-inch plexiglass panels (purchased directly from a local polymer supplier) that they scuffed up to prevent slips). As an added bonus, they look cool at night with light from below shining through, too.

Dorian tells us they initially planned to install a cable railing, but it cost too much for their budget. So instead they combined wood from Lowe’s with wire fencing panels from a local farm and feed store. Total cost for the deck? Around $3,000.

If you’re interested in doing something like this yourself, here’s one caution from Dorian: “We are still having issues with sealing the seams so water doesn’t leak through, but we are working on it.” We’ll keep you posted on their solutions (feel free to suggest your own in comments). But she is looking on the bright side. “I am so psyched to have a working deck in summer,” she says. –Mary T.

From our partners

That deck is awesome! I love the idea of the plexiglass! I may have to hire Dorian to consult on a deck someday… :)

may i direct your attention to a deck made with plexiglass? « Straight from the Container

[…] friends Dorian and Aaron built a deck using plexiglass panels as part of the floor. It lets light through to the yard below, but it also allows lights from below […]


I also live in Seattle and am trying to recreate the plexiglass idea on our deck. Where did you order the plexiglass from?


Hi Karen,

We ordered from a place called GE Polymershapes in Tukwila. I tried to hunt the website down with no luck but if you google it, their contact info should come up. We got the 3/4″ thick plexi.

I also should mention that it can get slick if it’s really wet, and in snow, you’re going down. We sanded with a 120 grit to get the opaque look, and maybe coarser paper would give it better traction. I’d make sure to test on a scrap.

I hope you send pics when it’s done!