How to Design a Beautiful Lakefront Deck that Lasts a Lifetime

If you’re lucky enough to own a lakefront property, you want to take advantage of the view. It’s also nice to have a sturdy, comfortable outdoor area where you can enjoy the scenery. A well-built deck or patio can be a great addition and provide not only a great view, but also serve as a relaxing outdoor oasis.

The key to constructing a deck or patio near the lake is to use materials and methods that keep it water-resistant. That’s why it’s best to solicit guidance from skilled professionals who can plan, engineer, and construct a deck that’s functional, stylish, and attractive that will last for decades.

Durability and Safety

As with most structures, the foundation of a deck is critical. This is especially true when it’s near water. Consider using innovative materials, such as helical footings (instead of concrete) with galvanized piles that are designed to endure the harshest Minnesota winters. The galvanizing process protects steel against corrosion from moisture to guarantee maximum product longevity.

By using materials that keep your structure solid and secure, the deck is not likely to splinter or crack. That reduces the chance of trips, falls, and collapsing rotten boards that cause injury.

Comparing Deck and Patio Materials

When deciding what type of materials to use for the deck or patio, you may have to make compromises. Natural materials like wood, stone, and clay bricks are more attractive, but they require more maintenance and won’t withstand harsh weather like composite, aluminum, and other brick pavers.

Natural Wood

Different types of wood have been used to make beautiful decks for many years. From redwood, cedar, and tropical hardwoods, you’ll get a natural, warm look. Some tropical woods are more expensive and harder to work with than the others.

The most popular option is pressure-treated wood boards. It’s chemically treated to withstand rot, mold, and insects and relatively inexpensive. It’s readily available and easy to work with.

Pressure-treated wood has a tendency to crack or warp over time. In the past, pressure-treated wood was treated with chromated copper arsenate, a suspected carcinogen. Now, though, it’s treated with less toxic chemicals, making it relatively safe for the home.

The overarching disadvantage of natural wood is the amount of maintenance required. They require washing, staining/painting, and boards will need replacing over time. Insects, rot, mold, and mildew are all factors that may make wood a less effective solution for lakefront properties.


Get the aesthetic beauty of wood without the disadvantages by choosing a deck made from composite materials. These have been around for a while, but the technology to make them has evolved over the years. Improvements include increased resistance to staining, fading, scratching, mold, and mildew.

One such popular composite alternative is Trex, an engineered wood solution. Available in a wide variety of colors to complement any décor. The finish closely resembles the look of wood, without all the upkeep.

Unlike wood decks, Trex will not:

  • Rot, split, swell, twist, or fade
  • Crack from insect infestation
  • Require annual painting, staining, or sealing
  • Splinter easily
  • Contribute to deforestation (not one tree is felled to make it)

While composite materials are environmentally friendly when it comes to sourcing and manufacturing the materials to make it, they are not so sustainable when it comes to disposal. The materials used to make the composites, like plastic and wood, may be recyclable individually, but combining the two negates that capability.


Another alternative material for decks is aluminum. It has similar advantages over wood that composites do, in that it won’t rot, warp, splinter, or crack. It’s extremely resistant to mold, mildew, and insects. It won’t rust, peel, or blister.

Most aluminum decking surfaces are slip-resistant, making them safer from falls in damp weather. It also remains cool, so it won’t burn your bare feet in the hot summer.

Aluminum is very light, yet 2-3 times stronger than wood. It requires little maintenance and will last for decades. If the aluminum panels used to construct the deck have interlocking edges, it creates a watertight surface that even keeps the area underneath the deck dry.

The main drawback to aluminum is the cost. It’s actually the most expensive type of deck material.

Some people may consider aluminum to have an industrial look, making it less attractive. While others appreciate its durability and the clean lines that can make it ideal for many modern homes.

Patio Materials

The main choices in source materials when laying a patio are concrete, brick, and stone.

Natural stone and clay bricks are standard materials used for thousands of years. Using them for patios creates an elegant look. They can increase your home’s aesthetic appeal.

Natural materials are more prone to wear and tear. Although many believe that natural worn patina is part of their charm.

Pavers can be made of brick, stone, or concrete. Brick pavers are a manufactured product made of clay. They are cast in molds, then heated and cured. Cobblestone pavers are made from natural stone and cut into paver shapes. Concrete pavers are cast bricks made of Portland cement and aggregate.

Although natural materials are more visually appealing, their cost and maintenance requirements are higher than their paver counterparts. Pavers have a solid and smooth surface without holes or gaps. This makes them great for resisting moisture, keeping weed growth at a minimum, and reducing accidents.

These manufactured materials can be designed to look weathered or brand new. If you want to replace the pavers down the road, there is usually a demand for used pavers, so they can be considered recyclable.

Get Professional Design Assistance for Your Lakefront Deck

Architectural Landscape Design’s skilled designers and master carpenters have been crafting exceptional lakefront decks, piers, and patios for over two decades. Contact us to create a plan that makes your lakefront living lifestyle everything you imagined.