There are aficionados for everything and outdoor decks that complement indoor living spaces are no exception.
Decks typically have a casual feeling that makes for great enjoyment of the outdoors. A deck’s style may signal a particular region of the country, such as Northern New England or recall favorite childhood memories of vacations at a cabin on the lake.
While wood is by far still the leading deck building material, modern composites and high-end aluminum materials have their place in the line-up. They are often more durable and easier to maintain. However, the natural appearance and feel to the touch of hardwoods are just a few of the reasons for its appeal.
#1. Modern Cable Railings
The warmth of wood is one of the top reasons for its appeal. As decks become larger it becomes necessary to have a complementary material that counterbalances this warm feeling.
The cool, clean look, and feel of modern cable railings are quickly growing in popularity for new deck railings and for rejuvenating older decks. These systems can be used to
update existing deck railings to give them a more modern and sleek appearance.
It can be a little tricky to get the proper tension of cable railings so you may wish to consult a professional with that experience. He or she will also be familiar with the local building codes and the precise system necessary to comply with them.
In addition to durability and strength, cable railings are most often selected to maximize the view. No other material comes close. Because the cables are incredibly strong they win out for preserving views from a position of less is more.
#2. Transitional Spaces
Stairs are a functional deck element that can take on expanded roles with prior planning.
Instead of a straight run of stairs to get from one elevation to the next the steps can be broken into a series of landings. These landings can serve as a visual pause to break up a linear run of steps. They also can be functional places for gathering or introducing decorative planters.
If a series of steps has a one dimension rhythm, then the transitional spaces can become pauses that break up that sequence. You could have 3 equidistant breaks (landings) or 2 or 5 landings at different intervals to create a suitable rhythm.
The main rules to follow are generally accepted step tread and riser relationships and conforming to local safety codes. This is especially important with circular staircases that are often used when the transitional space is limited.
#3. Interactive Elements
The appeal of fire, water, and electronic elements, such as audio systems, is that they are engaging. How they are used can boost or soothe the energy of the area.
As with landscape elements in general, deck elements always work best when planned. A nook or space built especially for an element such as a water feature or sculpture only enhances its appeal.
Before introducing these elements. consider the objectives you are trying to achieve, while also considering their impact on care and safety.
For example, an outdoor television is a wonderful feature for bringing people together but its location should be planned so that it is not disruptive. How you would evaluate this for your outdoor environment is pretty much the same as it would be indoors.
You’ll want to avoid blocking transition spaces to stairs and doors so that you and your guests can move around freely.
#4. Open and Closed Canopies
To extend the enjoyment of your deck you may wish to cover a portion of it, either permanently or temporarily.
There are flexible canopy solutions that will help you achieve your objectives while also showing your personality. Kits are available for just about any application including protection from the sun, wind, or rain. Finding the right solution will take some homework, but the pay-off will be worth it.
Think of this in terms of how you plan to use your deck. On a beautiful night, you may wish to open the canopy to gaze at the stars but close it the next morning to enjoy breakfast in the cool shade.
If a more permanent canopy is your style a pergola that provides dappled shade may be the way to go. A functional addition to that structure is a soft shade that provides a break from most of the sun on warmer days and when the sun is directly overhead.
#5. Elegant Lighting
We saved the best idea for last because elegant lighting fits any budget and can be changed in minutes.
If you look closely at the elegant lighting that sets the mood for outdoor restaurant dining areas it’s nearly always lighting that is available at your local home center. Installation is fast and easy using zip ties or simple hooks to attached this classic lighting as seen in the photo above.
If your taste leans toward more modern lighting you are in luck. LED lighting options are seemingly endless. From the brightness to the color of lighting, you have complete control from your mobile device.
Built-in solutions are often the right choice for decks for functionality. To safely pass throughout your deck area at night, it’s often advisable to install foot-lighting that softly illuminates everything, just enough and without disrupting the peaceful nighttime effect.
This type of low-voltage lighting can be attached to sensors so that it automatically lights up just after sunset.
Planning For Outdoor Living
Are you ready to add a deck that will enhance your lifestyle? Turn to Architectural Landscape Design, Inc., a residential design-build company serving the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
We design gorgeous outdoor living spaces that increase the square footage of your home, improve your enjoyment of your outdoor space, and help you make a lifetime of memories with your loved ones.
Contact us today to talk about outdoor room design.