So You Want to Build a Deck?
You’ve always dreamed about creating the perfect backyard oasis. A place where you can gather with family and friends to share a meal or to just relax. An outdoor extension of your home. A place that inspires you and encourages you to spend more time outside. What better way to achieve this than with a custom deck? A well-designed deck can provide a substantial amount of additional square footage, increasing your home’s usable living space. It increases the area for people to gather and makes your outdoor living space more functional and usable year-round. It can greatly enhance your home by adding beauty, function and value.
It is important that an ample amount of planning goes into building a deck. First you need to establish a budget. Your budget will determine the size, design and materials. The size of the deck and the material you choose will largely determine the cost of building a deck. Add in the cost of permits and labour if you are going to use a professional, which is definitely recommended for larger and more complex projects.
Deck Material Options:
Wood is not the only option available when it comes to choosing decking material. Some options require much less maintenance than wood but are often more costly. There are pros and cons to each material. Traditional wooden decks are likely to be more budget friendly, but composite decks tend to add more value to your home.
- Pressure-treated woods: contain preservatives that make the wood more weather resistant. Some examples are pine, cedar and redwood.
- Premium hardwoods: some examples are teak and ipe, as well as other exotic species.
- Composite decking materials: composed of recycled wood fibres and plastics. These are very easy to maintain but tend to be more costly than wood.
- PVC: hold up well to harsh weather and climate extremes but are costly and tend to be hot underfoot.
- Aluminum decking: ideal in wet locations but also tends to be more costly.
Often times you only have one choice of location when it comes to where to actually build your deck. But sometimes you have can have more than one location option depending on the house and the surrounding property. One thing to remember is that you definitely want to maximize any scenic views! The style of your house will also influence the design of a deck – – a deck should compliment the existing style of your home. The deck also needs to be appropriately scaled to the size of the property. It is ideal to have a good balance between outdoor living space and the yard itself.
Another thing to consider is sun and shade and how the location will be impacted at different times of day. If the deck is to be situated in an area that gets a lot of full fun, you may want to incorporate an element of shade into your design. This can be achieved by adding a pergola, which creates shade and also adds interest to the overall design. If you desire more protection, you may also consider adding a gazebo or partial roof. This will provide additional protection from the sun as well as from wet weather.
You also need to think about any privacy issues that may arise from nearby neighbours. Make sure to take advantage of existing tall trees – – they are great at creating a sense of cover and privacy. Lush plantings around the deck can also provide additional privacy, especially evergreen varieties that will maintain the sense of separation year-round. You many also choose to add a trellis where vines can grow and trail during the warmer months.
If you more privacy is desired you may also choose to build a full or partial privacy rail or add a wall to your deck. Building a new deck can suddenly give you (and your neighbours!) an entirely new viewpoint, so you definitely want to maximize privacy when possible.