How to Decide What Kind of Deck You Need
Not only does a deck expand your living space, but it also adds value to your home. Use these important factors to pinpoint exactly what you want and need in a deck.
Know What’s Involved in the Project
Building a deck can be quite an investment — in time and money. After all, most deck designs require the services of experienced professionals. While a simple rectangular platform connected to the house can be done by almost any builder, more elaborate plans will need a designer or architect. Be sure to include the cost of materials, labor and any required permits when working out your budget.
Think About How You Want to Use the Space
If you plan to use your deck space for different types of activities, such as casual lounging, dining and as a quiet conversation spot, consider building a deck with different levels to accommodate each activity. Split-level decks are a great way to add interest and incorporate dimension.
For backyards that have a slope, figure out how and where the different levels should be created by following the topography. Position the levels so that they use the topography to best advantage — like providing the best views of the surrounding scenery.
Take Stock of Your Architectural Surroundings
The style of your home should influence the style of your deck. You can either go matchy-matchy so that your deck blends seamlessly with your home, or you can give your deck its own unique personality that stands apart. For example, if you’ve always liked the seaside, try giving your outdoor space a contemporary beachside style. Asian chic is also a popular choice, as is a more contemplative zen palette.
Regardless of what you choose, the two structures should work together to create a harmonious overall appearance. If you’re having trouble, remember the best way to figure out what your dream deck looks like is to gather inspiration (typically from magazines and websites), do your research, and most importantly take your time. Rushing through the planning stages never ends well.
Hiring a Deck Professional
Unless you have the design skills required, it’s best to bring on an expert to create your new deck design. That means you must find an architect or designer you trust. Referrals from neighbors and friends are a good resource for this, or you can go online and research qualified professionals in your area using websites specializing in deck construction, landscape design, remodeling or home building.
Once you put together a list of prospects and start making contact, be sure to get all your questions answered and get everything in writing before work begins. Always check an expert’s credentials and get references. If they will not provide access to past customers so that you can look at their previous work, consider it a big red flag and keep looking.