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Stretch your living space out into the backyard with a deck. An ideal spot for relaxing, dining al fresco and enjoying the warmth of the season, a deck project adds a lot of value to your home and lifestyle. The perfect deck design contains certain essential elements that come together in a customized space.
Tip 1 — Build Around What You Have
While it is possible to alter the grading in your yard (most often with heavy machinery and a big budget), you're better off to design a deck that works with and compliments the existing lay of the land. Some minor excavation is usually required, but you can avoid major changes and end up with a more flowing landscape.
Tip 2 — Minimal Spaces
There is a general rule for deck and patio sizing that will provide enough room to be comfortable in and still allow you to appreciate your surroundings. In a seating area you will need to design for 10 feet by 10 feet at a minimum. That size will hold a standard sized patio set while still providing for traffic space around the table. For every area (or room) you should have at least that space.
Tip 3 — Counter Drainage Issues With Solutions
If there are drainage problems or potential issues building a deck provides a good time to apply solutions. At the very least, be sure not to add to any drainage issues. Consider laying landscape fabric and a layer of A gravel to help with water flow under your deck.
Tip 4 — Find Out Your Outdoor Personality
Not everyone enjoys the same atmosphere outside their home and your deck design should incorporate that. If you enjoy the order of a Japanese garden or the diversity of a more relaxed layout the best style of deck will reflect that. Play off the natural elements found in the surrounding area and watch the deck become a pat of your backyard instead of something that stands alone.
Tip 5 — Always Design for Traffic Flow
Not just a location to sit back and relax on, your deck often serves as a pathway into the backyard or onto the lawn. In your mind go over the paths of traffic and make sure the deck you build will cater to these. Add railings for better stability or wider steps to make traveling up and down easier.
Tip 6 — Cooking Outside is Heating Up
Consider the benefits of preparing meals outside. Not only does grilling save on cooling costs by keeping the heat out of the kitchen, it also allows you to create delicious taste sensations in your own backyard. Install an outdoor kitchen complete with built in stainless steel bbq, warming trays and even sinks with plumbing. The entire culinary experience tastes better on a well designed deck.
Tip 7 — Keep It Shady
Always be sure to provide a decent amount of shade on your deck. If that's not possible from a construction and location standpoint, plan to purchase an awning, gazebo or large patio umbrella. Mature trees can provide only a dappled shade. Keeping sun off part of the deck or for a certain time of day will also protect the decking material from fading and drying.
Deck design is a matter of considering your priorities and the lay of the existing property. Be sure to include essential elements like shade, good traffic flow, an outdoor kitchen and plenty of room. Take the time to think about the design and you're sure to end up with the ideal outdoor living space for your family.