Good weather can be infectious, and we all like to sit by the garden and enjoy a cool breeze while sipping from a hot cup of coffee or enjoying a round of beers with friends. However, to make this experience even better requires that you get an outdoor deck that qualifies for a small get together or a personal time. If your home does not have an exciting outdoor space, it is surely missing something. Many people have started envisioning their homes with either a deck or a patio and need to know a thing or two before they go about the project.
There are so many things that include durable outdoor materials and accessories that complement an outdoor space. If you have been toying with the idea of getting a deck in your backyard, here are some design ideas and things that will help you put one together.
Why do you need a deck?
[Image – Fine Decks Inc]
Before you install a deck or a patio, the first thing you need to ask yourself is why you need it in the first place. If you want to extend your living room to the outdoor area, then perhaps it’s a good start. You would also have to decide if your house needs a deck, a patio or a combination of the two. However, before you decide between these two options, it is important to know what either of them means.
A deck is a hoisted platform that is essentially made of wooden decking boards. If you have a house that is built above the ground or you have a sloped backyard, then a deck serves as a good option. A patio, on the other hand, is built on a flat ground and is made of concrete, wood, flagstone or other such materials. If you want to get a patio on a slope, it can cost you a lot of money and can also be trickier. If you have a door that opens at the ground level, then patio is the right option for you.
What is the purpose of the deck?
[Image – Fine Decks Inc]
People, generally, want a deck for many reasons and not just one. It can be used for socializing, recreation, cooking or simply hanging out. However, it is really the question of your budget that what you would want your deck to serve as. You can explore several possibilities depending upon your ability to spend, which includes an outdoor tub or a TV. Your purpose for the deck will also determine many other things like what safety procedures you need to follow or what will be the size, etc. If you party a lot or host many kids in your deck, then the size will be a primary consideration. Another thing that needs serious thought is the privacy. You don’t want to enjoy your time with friends and family while neighbours peer over your party.
How will you reach the deck?
[Image – FJU Photography]
To add a door to your backyard if you don’t already have one can be an excess cost to the deck, especially if that door will be planned out of a load bearing wall. However, if you already have a door that opens up in the backyard, then you are in the clearing! If the deck is going to be used for dinners or other such purposes, then it should be located close to the kitchen for the ease of access.
How do you want it to look?
[Image – Clark Kitchens and Constructions]
The style and architecture of the house will play a huge role when it comes to designing a deck. The design should complement the overall interior décor and theme of the house. You should use a trained professional who would be able to make sound decisions regarding the material, colour, etc for your deck.
What will be your material options?
[Image – Holloway Company Inc]
Your deck can be either made of wood or composite boards. While wood decks are what have been used for many years, off lately, the composite boards are being used just as much. People prefer to use composite board because wood can start to look weary and ugly in absence of maintenance after 5-6 years.
Composite boards are engineered materials that are made by using wood and plastic fibres. Most of the material that is added to the composite board comes from recycled plastic bags. There are also companies that use the shredded carpets as wood fillers in the production of these boards. Even though, they are highly priced, composite boards come with a guarantee of 20-25 years and require very low maintenance as compared to wooden decks. It is also very easy to clean these decks. Just apply detergent and use a hose to clean the dirt off the surface.
[Image – SD Independent Construction]
Wood, on the other hand, is less expensive, but involves a high cost of maintenance and has a good chance of weathering over the years. If you don’t take proper care of the decks, they can crack, rot, splinter, dry out and even nails can pop out. If you choose to use the wood for deck, then, be sure to power wash and re-oil after the fall season as the leaves can be a source of bacteria that lead to rotting.
What other things to consider?
[Image – Fine Decks Inc]
Shade should be added to the outside deck for the days when it is too sunny or when it is raining. You would not be able to enjoy your outdoor space in extreme weathers, which can defeat the whole purpose. You can use anything from a retractable awning to large umbrellas and several other shade options that are available as per your budget. If you have a deck that is 8-9 feet high, then the space underneath the deck can also be used for storage, as well as entertainment purposes. You can check with a professional how to redo this space to suit your needs.
[Image – Studio Architectonic]
Lighting is crucial to set the right mood and accentuate the place. With good source of lighting, you would be able to use your deck for a longer period of time. You can consider ambient lighting for cooking or lounging in the deck area.
[Image – William Quarles Photography]
Cost is one of the biggest factors in deciding the design you want. Depending upon the additions that you would like to introduce to your deck, the cost will change accordingly. Since these installations need good investment, be prepared for a contingency budget in case your planned cost overshoots. However, the plus side is that if you ever want to sell your property, it would recover at least 80% of its cost.
Which professionals are best for the job?
[Image – Fine Decks Inc]
If you want a perfect job on the deck, then no one better than a professional deck designer will be able to do it for you. A pro would be able to understand what you require by talking to you and taking a full measurement of the site. Upon the site recon, they would also be able to make suggestions if you don’t already have a plan. Since they are well acquainted with the local building codes and laws, they will be able to give you a deck, which is 100% compliant with the local laws.
If you want to see what your deck will look like, the expert will be able to design a 3D rendition, which will give a clear picture of the furniture placement and ergonomics. However, be sure to find only those professionals that specialize in the decks only. Their extensive experience will go a long way in giving you the space that you have envisioned in your mind. Depending upon your requirements at the deck, you would need suitable experts like electrician for an outdoor TV or someone who can fix the gas lines and plumbing if you want a kitchen in the backyard.
Can I do it myself?
[Image – Meg Padgett]
Some homeowners who are cash strapped build their own decks. However, since these decks do not conform to the building codes, it can affect the value of the house if you put it up for sale. Despite these issues, the deck can be a great DIY project that you can take up if you are confident in your building abilities.
Permissions and codes: Depending upon the size or the height of your deck, you would require a permit to build them. Besides every country has its respective laws that need to be followed before you can install a deck in your backyard. A professional will be able to do all this for you as they understand the technicalities, which a homeowner may find it hard to accomplish. You would be required to create new construction plans, and then, submit for a permit and for this you require a professional’s service.
When should I start this project?
[Image – The Taunton Press, Inc]
When you want to start an outdoor project, make sure that the weather is good. You cannot only consider adding a deck to your backyard, but also go for a complete makeover by giving it other treatments such as landscaping, a swimming pool, etc. Involve the right experts to get the perfect guidance.
What would be the duration of the project?
[Image – American Deck & Patio]
For an average installation of a deck, it takes about a week or two. However, if you are also adding a porch or a gazebo, it can take an additional week to finish the job. A smaller deck can be installed in as little as three to four days, but that would also depend on where you live. There are cities in America that can take a long time to give you a permit if you have a professional doing the job for you, while there are some that can give you one in a couple of hours. There are other factors like if you are living in a flood zone or if you would require cutting trees in order to build a deck. In order to answer these questions, you would need a professional who can look over your site plan and provide you the technical answers.
To put a deck in your property can be an aesthetic addition, which has the ability to pay for itself in case you are selling a property. Do try to get an expert involved to get the perfect deck for that perfect evening.