Building a deck can be an exciting project. Before you put the first board in place, it’s important to think about the dimensions, style and layout of your deck. You need to consider important factors, like the shape, size and view of your deck, not to mention zoning codes. A little extra planning in the early stages can give you years of added enjoyment.
Decks don’t have to be rectangular. Some of the most effective deck designs use irregular shapes such as triangles, L-shapes or even circles. If your yard is unusually proportioned, you may get the most mileage out of an unconventional deck shape. Boards can be custom-cut and assembled into just about any configuration you need.
Consider the View
Most decks are raised several feet off the ground. Some decks extend over hillsides and give a very different view than you would see from ground level. Be sure to stand on a stepladder and try out the view from your proposed deck location. Remember that sight lines can change with additional elevation of even two or three feet.
A “better” view is not always a good thing. If you have a fence or a hedge installed for privacy, it may no longer be fully effective once you’re sitting on your new deck. However, if your view happens to be spectacular, cable railing is a great way to make that view as clear as possible.
Deciding on the Right Size
What size should your deck be? Think about how you’re likely to furnish it and use it. Remember that a table needs extra clearance for walking around, serving food, pushing back chairs and other everyday activities. You wouldn’t put an 8-foot-wide dining table in a 9-foot-wide room, but some people have made similar mistakes when planning a deck. When in doubt, a little more space can be a good idea. If your yard is small, though, be sure to reserve enough natural space around the deck to keep the rustic feeling of dining or relaxing outside.
Spend some time arranging the furniture you’d like to place on your deck. Bring it out onto the lawn and try different combinations. Use string or rope to outline the edges of different deck designs. Until you’ve started building, your choices are practically unlimited and your opinions might change.
Before you start to build, remember to check local building codes and zoning codes. Decks must always remain within property lines and may not exceed certain dimensions in some areas. Talking with your local authorities now can help you avoid trouble later on.
A deck can be a beautiful and valuable addition to a home. Just like your house, it deserves great care and planning. With these helpful tips, you can build the deck of your dreams.