Creating a Deck

Reference Number: KB-00790
Last Modified: July 16, 2015

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Interiors or Home Designer Essentials or Home Designer Landscape & Deck


How do I design an outdoor deck?


Home Designer software offers you a variety of tools that you can use to design a unique outdoor living area to suit your home and your lifestyle.

To create a deck room

  1. Select Build> Wall> Deck Railing  from the menu, then click and drag to draw a deck railing.

    The Home Designer Interiors program does not have the Deck Railing tools. Instead, use the standard Railing  tools, then specify the resulting room area as a Deck room type.

  2. Don't worry about drawing the deck railings accurately as you draw them:  you can move them into position after they are created.  Instead, begin by drawing the basic shape that you would like for the deck area.

  3. Click the Select Objects  tool, then click on a deck railing and drag the Move edit handle that displays at the point where you clicked to reposition it as needed. Use the dimensions that display as guides to move each into position. Repeat this step for each deck railing until the deck is the correct size and shape. 

  4. Select 3D> Create Camera View> Full Overview  to see the results so far. 

    Note: When an area is enclosed by Deck Railing or a combination of Deck Railing and walls, it will automatically be designated as a Deck room, which means that, by default, it will not have a ceiling or roof and will have deck planking instead or regular flooring. 

Many decks have multiple floor heights or stepped areas, adding interest and drama to these outdoor rooms. You can do this by dividing your deck into different room areas and assigning them different floor heights.

To create a stepped, or tiered deck

  1. Select File> Close  to return to floor plan view.

  2. Select Build> Wall> Deck Railing  from the menu, then click and drag to divide the deck into at least two separate sections.

  3. Click the Select Objects  tool, then click a blank area of the deck area that you would like to raise or lower and click the Open Object  edit button.

  4. On the General panel of the Room Specification dialog, delete the Floor Height value and replace it with a new height.

    • In this example, a Floor Height of -7" is used.

    • In Home Designer version 7.0 and prior programs, be sure to remove the (D), which stands for Default, or the program will maintain the default value regardless of your change.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and apply your change.

  5. Select Build> Door> Doorway  from the menu, then click on the railing drawn in step 2, above to place an opening at that location.

  6. Click the Select Objects  tool, then click on the doorway to select it.

    • Click the Center Object  edit button, then click in either deck area, near the doorway, to center the doorway along the railing.

    • With the doorway still selected, use the end edit handles to resize it as needed.

      Instead of placing a doorway, you can specify the entire dividing railing as Invisible on the General panel of the Deck Railing Specification dialog.


  7. Select 3D> Create Camera View> Full Overview  to see your progress.

Many decks feature stairs that lead down to the ground.

To draw stairs down to the terrain

  1. Select File> Close  to return to floor plan view.

  2. Select Build> Stairs> Straight Stairs  from the menu, then hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and drag a length of stairs beginning at a deck railing and continuing down towards the ground.

  3. To see if your stairs are long enough, select 3D> Create Camera View> Full Camera  from the menu, then click and drag a camera arrow in the terrain area, directed at the side of the stairs. 

  4. Once the stairs are in place, you can edit their width, if needed.

When the structural elements of the deck are in place, you can select a railing style for the railings, place furniture, and arrange accent pieces and plants.

To accessorize the deck

  1. Select File> Close  to return to floor plan view, then click the Select Objects  button.

  2. A variety of furnishings and accessories for your deck space can be found in the Library Browser. Select View> Library Browser  from the menu to open the Library Browser window. 

    • Deck furniture can be found in the Exteriors> Outdoor Living library category.

    • Shrubs, trees, annuals and perennials, as well as potted plants, are located in the Plants library category.

    • A selection of designer railing panels are found in the Millwork library category.

      Note: Railing panels are not available in the Home Designer Interiors program.

  3. Select an object that you would like place in your plan, then move your pointer into floor plan view and click to place the object at that location.

  4. Once placed in a plan, objects can be moved, resized, and their materials can be customized.


Railing panels are found in the Millwork library category and are placed as individual objects within railings.  Railing panels are not available in Home Designer Interiors.

To add designer railing panels to railings

  1. Click the Select Objects  tool, click on a railing to select it, then click the Open Object  edit button.

  2. In the Deck Railing Specification dialog:

    • On the Rail Style panel, under Railing Type, click the radio button beside Panel and set the Railing Height.

    • On the Newels/Balusters panel:

      • Set the Railing's Height.

      • Under Panels, click on the Library button to display the Select Library Object dialog and navigate to an appropriate panel type for your railing.

        Note: In Home Designer Essentials, both the Railing Height and the Library button next to Panels are located on the Rail Style panel.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and apply your changes.

  3. Select 3D> Create Camera View> Full Camera , then click and drag a camera arrow towards the railing panel to see the results.