Every home buyer dreams of the perfect deck, and so do you. Builders know this, so they include a deck on new homes to give you a starting point. From here you can add your dream deck ideas, from built-in seating to planters and more, as people are spending more time outdoors.
Even if your first deck is an 8 by 10 pressure treated deck off the family room, you will begin to dream about deck ideas. The question is rarely if you'll have a deck but more about the size of the deck, the deck design and how it compliments your home as well as the materials used for the deck and railings.
With a builder deck, it's common to extend the deck on the same level or sometimes a second deck at a different level which adds interest. Regardless of the deck you start with, the deck design is your first priority, followed by picking materials.
Decks Ideas Begin with How You'll Use Your Deck
When you start planning your deck, it's common to get confused between what looks good and the activities or functional requirements you have so your family will use the deck more in their day-to-day lives. A good way to make sure you don't overlook things is create a list of the activities you'll use your deck for. The idea is to identify how much space you need, and other features like a grill for meal preparation.
This exercise will help you visualize how your family will use the deck. You'll begin to see that you need more room to use the grill and set the dinner table at the same time, or you'll consider how many neighbors will gather at your home. There's a big difference between a deck suitable for a family of 4 and frequent gatherings for 20 or more.
|# Minutes per Week|
|Children's play dates||1||90|
Deck Designs that Support Your Family Activities
The fun begins as you consider how many different activity spaces you want your deck to provide. Most homeowners will start with a cooking corner and a comfortable area for family dining, which might be placed around the corner of the house to take advantage of a great view. There are thousands of deck plans to peruse to give you ideas for arranging your deck.
Play space for small children needs to be close to the door, as parents must keep an eye on elementary school children who can play independently. Older children prefer their own space so a multi-tier deck can provide needed separation while keeping youngsters within shouting distance.
Decks will also need to accommodate other backyard features like a spa or pool. As these activities won't occur as frequently as cooking and eating outdoors, the decks surrounding these features can be further from your access door(s).
Deck Materials to Match Your Home and Budget
Once you've decided on the design for your deck, it's time to pick materials. Traditionally decks have been built of wood which offers lots of flexibility in adding built-in features like seating, storage and flower boxes. As wood requires ongoing maintenance (cleaning, staining and sealing), new composite and vinyl components have become more popular.
When picking your deck materials, factor in the initial material and installation costs plus ongoing maintenance. You'll quickly see that after several years, a composite deck might actually cost less. You can also use different materials for the deck flooring and railings, so one way to balance the budget is to use wood flooring which is easier to stain and a composite or vinyl for the railings. It's hard to explain to my handyman customers that the labor cost in cleaning and staining their deck is in the railings as they have 4 sides times a very large number of balusters.