Imagine entering your backyard and being greeted by a beautifully designed deck, the perfect extension of your living space. With a custom deck design, you can craft a peaceful oasis tailored for relaxation, but you also significantly boost the resale value of your home.
In this blog post, we’ll share ten simple yet effective tips for designing the perfect deck—based on space availability, use patterns, material choices, and more.
Designing a Great Deck: 10 Excellent Tips
Designing a deck is not just about laying down some planks. It’s about shaping a space that aligns with your lifestyle, complements your home, and stands the test of time. Here are ten tried-and-true tips to set you on the path to a great deck design!
1. Define Your Purpose
Before diving into the design specifics, you must define the primary purpose behind your deck. This will streamline your design process and ensure that the end result aligns perfectly with your lifestyle and desires.
For example, if you want the space for hosting BBQ dinners and parties, you’ll need a spacious, open layout with plenty of seating, even a built-in bar or BBQ pit. Or, if you have kids in the house, it’s important to incorporate safety railings and non-slippery floors. Add cozy corners, a hammock, and outdoor cushions if you want it to be a relaxing area.
2. Consider Your Environment
One often overlooked yet crucial factor in designing a deck is the environment surrounding your home.
If your deck has high sun exposure, installing umbrellas, shades, and UV-resistant materials is important to prevent fading and tear.
Moreover, strong winds can be a hassle, so incorporate heavier furniture and tall plants as windbreakers. Use water-resistant materials or those with good drainage capabilities if it rains often.
3. Incorporate Safety First
A deck has its own safety concerns, like safeguarding young children, ensuring guests’ well-being, and protecting the material against elements like wind, rain, and sun.
As a start, install railings to prevent accidental falls. Decks can be slippery, especially when it rains, so opt for textured material or anti-slip coatings.
Ensure the stair treads are wide enough for secure footing when building deck stairs. Additionally, install ambient lighting on the deck floor, especially along steps and edges, to prevent falls in the dark.
4. Plan for Size and Scale
Like any room inside your home, a deck must be proportional and balanced. The size and scale should reflect your home’s architecture and the landscape around it.
Analyze the architectural elements of your home, such as windows, doors, and the overall structure, to ensure your deck’s size complements these features. Assess the size of your backyard as well to ensure your deck isn’t too big or too small.
Before finalizing any plans, check with local authorities or your homeowner’s association to understand any size or scaling restrictions. Make sure you comply with the IBC codes for building a deck.
5. Think About Flow and Traffic
A deck that’s beautifully designed but lacks a logical flow can ruin the overall experience for you.
Start with the entry and exit points to ensure your deck caters to foot traffic and functional flow optimally. Ensure doors from your home to the deck are wide and unobstructed. Think about adding steps or ramps for a smooth transition to gardens or lawns.
Next, avoid placing furniture or other obstructions in primary walking areas. Also, clearly define zones like dining, lounging, or grilling and make sure they don’t get in each other’s way.
6. Choose the Right Material
The material you choose for your deck will significantly affect its durability, maintenance requirements, aesthetic appeal, and lifespan. From traditional woods to modern composites, each material has its own set of pros and cons.
For example, pressure-treated wood is a budget-friendly option resilient to decay and termites. However, regular maintenance, like staining or sealing, is required to prevent weathering and can warp or split over time.
On the other hand, you can go for a composite deck made from wood fibers combined with plastic. It’s durable, resistant to rot and insects, available in various colors, and requires minimal maintenance. However, it’s more expensive than wood and can get hot under sunlight.
7. Incorporate Multiple Levels
If you have a large or sloped backyard, you can incorporate multiple levels into your deck design to create distinct zones and capitalize on views.
Multiple levels can divide different activity zones, such as a dining area on one level, a lounging zone on another, and a fire pit or hot tub on a third. Just make sure there is enough space between each of them.
Higher levels can offer better vantage points, ideal if your property has a scenic view or a beautiful garden.
8. Add Built-in Features
If you have a big family or invite guests often, built-in benches or seating walls are a good option. They can accommodate more guests, eliminate the need for bulky furniture, and you can even store additional cushions or gardening tools under the seats.
A built-in grill or cooking station can be an excellent addition to the deck for outdoor cooking. Just make sure the area is properly ventilated and is kept away from flammable materials.
9. Pay Attention to Details
While broader elements like size and material are essential, smaller details often elevate a deck from ordinary to extraordinary.
The board layouts in your deck, like herringbone, diagonal, or picture framing, can enhance visual interest. Additionally, when incorporating railings, consider a mix of materials, such as glass panels with wooden posts or metal balusters.
Make sure the color scheme of your deck matches that of the overall house. As for finishings and trim, fascia boards and postcaps can give your deck a polished, complete look.
10. Consult a Professional
While you may have a vision for your outdoor space, translating that vision into a functional, safe, and aesthetically pleasing deck requires expertise.
Professionals bring years of experience and can offer insights you might not have considered. If you want additional help, choose a contractor or designer specializing in deck design.
They’ll be more familiar with local building codes and regulations and can guide you to the best choices for your needs, budget, and environment.
Creating a custom deck design can be a very rewarding home improvement project. It lets you tailor your outdoor space to your unique preferences, lifestyle, and the specific contours of your house.
From defining your purpose to choosing the right materials, these tips will guide you in designing a deck that’s both functional and visually appealing. So get started on your deck project today and enjoy your unique outdoor living space!