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How to Choose a Deck Design - How Will You Use Your Deck?


By ProMatcher Staff



Decks come in all shapes, sizes, heights and materials, but there are several design decisions that are common to almost every deck: 1) how you plan to use the deck; 2) the traffic-flow; 3) the weather; and 4) the overall character of your home.

Don’t forget: your deck is an outdoor room.

Even though the deck rests in your yard, it’s actually part of your living space which extends into the outdoors. A deck is literally an outdoor room. Stepping onto a perfectly designed deck should be just like walking from one room of your house to another. A deck is a combination landscaping project/home addition.

How do you plan to use your deck?

You need to think long and hard about how you will use your deck. Everyone in the family will have a different view. Take an informal poll, so you end up a design that suits everyone’s needs.

Barbecuing and Entertaining - If you plan to use your deck for entertaining, you’ll want to plan a convenient cooking area as well as adequate space for a serving buffet and tables. You may also want to design an area for sink or bar. Another popular design feature is a fireplace or firepit. If your budget does not allow for these built-ins features, you may want to design your space to allow room for a mobile fire pit or chiminea.

Sunning and Lounging - Everyone wants space for lounging and sunning, so your deck design should allow placement of furniture for sun-worshipers as well as shade seekers. Maybe you want to allow space for a hammock or porch swing.

Enjoying the View - If you are blessed with a beautiful view, you want to make sure your deck is designed capitalize the scenery. Similarly, you want to make sure that your deck design doesn’t block the view from inside the house. This can often be accomplished by designing a multi-level deck with descending tiers.

Private v. Open - If privacy is a concern, you can raise or lower the deck to prevent overexposure. You can also maintain privacy by designing your deck to include well placed trellises, privacy screens or planters.

Children and Pets - Since local building codes will govern the overall design of your deck, you shouldn’t have to be overly concerned with safety hazards. You may, however, want to add child friendly features such as a sandbox, a swing or an open play area. Your deck design may also include a gate where the deck makes a change in elevation or at the top of stairs.

Lighting for Nighttime Use - If you plan to use your deck at night, your design should include some type of lighting. It can be anything from well placed floods light that can be turned off when not in use, to solar lights on the newel posts or on the stair risers that remain ambient from dusk to dawn. You may also want to plan additional electrical outlets for music, lamps, fans or a string of decorative lights.

Pool or Whirlpool - A deck is an awesome home for a whirlpool. You’ll want to design your deck to accommodate the weight and the appropriate electrical needs, and you may want to consider the location of the nearest source of water. Privacy may be a concern with both a both a whirlpool and a pool, so may want to include a privacy screen in your deck design. When designing your deck to include a pool, try to avoid placing stairs or changes in elevation in the proximity of the pool. Be sure to design space for lounging, and don’t forget to design the deck in manner that is convenient for pool cleaning and equipment maintenance.

Container Gardening - If your vision of a dream deck involves plants or vegetables, you need to design your deck accordingly. You can design built-in containers, or you can simply allow the space to add them later. If you like the look of plants perched on stairs or landings, make sure you include perches or nooks in your design.

Next: How to Choose a Deck Design - Traffic Flow, Weather and Character



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About the Author

ProMatcher Staff, ProMatcher
Orlando, FL 32803

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