If you’re considering how to make the most of your outdoor living spaces, adding a deck opens up a lot of opportunities. During planning and construction, you have the chance to be intentional about making the most of your deck. Don’t just throw a few board together and call it a day!
Pay attention to the details: whether it’s adding deck joist tape to protect your new deck’s substructure or deciding to install a hot tub, some amenities are best added during construction. While you’re still planning, look at photo galleries on various decking websites to gain inspiration.
As you begin to dream, consider this five critical details.
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1. Pay attention to the sun and your surroundings
If you’re building a new deck, you’ll want to consider its orientation to the sun. Expose your deck to more sun if you live further north to get the most out of the four seasons on your deck. However, the further south you live, the more you’ll want to angle your deck to protect it from the sun.
A deck that wraps around one corner of your house allows you to take advantage of any weather. You might also consider adding levels to your deck to make the most of your views. Make sure the design of the deck complements the architecture of your home.
2. Create cover
When you imagine dinner on the deck, sitting beneath a blazing July sun probably isn’t what you had in mind. Depending on the orientation on your deck, weather may play a big role in how often you enjoy this outdoor living space. Whether you add an awning, a pergola or a roof extension, creating shade over your deck offers relief from the elements. You might even check out a “smart pergola,” which uses movable louvers to let you catch a breeze and shield your deck from rain.
Given our propensity to spend more time outside during 2020, patio heaters and other appliances and amenities that foster four-seasons use of your deck have become very popular. Plan what extras might make your deck more useable all year long, and install them during construction.
3. Curate the space under your deck
If you have a two-story deck — your deck is elevated enough to create a room beneath —install a drainage system to create dry, usable space under the deck. This network of troughs and gutters, best installed during deck construction, keeps spills and snowmelt from dripping through the deck boards.
With a drainage system, you can add a ceiling and make a more finished living space with lights and fans. This protected space offers the opportunity for endless outdoor living amenities. Some homeowners extend their square footage for entertainment with outdoor televisions, fireplaces and kitchens or bars. Others transform their under-deck area into a personal spa with a hot tub and beautifully comfortable seating.
4. Elevate your board design
Who says horizontal lines must dictate your deck design? Be imaginative with patterns and colors. A diagonal design puts boards at a 45-degree angle from the house and can draw the eye to a focal point, such as a beautiful view, a fire table or water feature. Herringbone decking looks like a zipper, with an intersection of two opposing diagonal lines that meet in the center of your deck.
You might inlay a special design to really elevate your deck. Consider a rose compass, sun or octagon — remember that straight lines are much easier to achieve than curves in an inlay. Adding an area with colorful tile or painting your boards a vibrant hue are other ways to create a visual focus for your deck.
“Picture framing,” concealing the ends of deck boards for a clean finish, adds to the aesthetic of your deck. While it’s not a new trend, it is a popular one, with more designs featuring contrasting colors for even more impact.
Mixed materials, such as adding aluminum railings to a wooden or composite deck, can create a more modern feel. Combing materials, seen more and more often now with restaurant and other urban construction, blends sophistication and comfort. A cocktail rail will give you a little more room to rest a summertime beverage on the railing as you relax in your hammock or porch swing.
5. Make it pop with color
Of course, check out all the composite decking and railing colors, or stain colors if you’re opting for wood, but don’t forget the accessories. An outdoor area rug can help your deck feel more like a room. Choose furnishings that complement your decorating theme and give shape and interest to your deck.
Install planters or plan for trees around the deck to bring the nature in a little closer. With blooming foliage in your containers around the deck, you can add seasonal color with a little effort.
If you’re considering a new deck in 2021, contact a builder sooner than later. According to Houzz, 2020 saw a nearly 60 percent spike in homeowners searching for home improvement professionals. Houzz states that professionals working on outdoor spaces have seen the greatest increase in demand; in fact, demand for landscape contractors, deck and patio professionals more than doubled.
Plan now for a deck that will increase your outdoor living in the new year — and for years to come!