With spring around the corner, wouldn't it be nice to have a deck for your home? Decks are a versatile addition providing livable outdoor space as well as adding to the value of your home. Decks can be built in a variety of sizes and styles and choosing which is going to be best for your home can be difficult. This is where we can help. Here are tips for designing a great deck for your home.
Plan for the Way You Live
Start with general ideas of what the deck can do to make life more enjoyable. How will you use the deck? Will it be for social gatherings or intimate dinners? If you love to grill, would you like it to include an outdoor kitchen? Make sure to ask family members what ideas they have for a deck to see if you have the same or different goals so most, if not all, of everyone's wants and needs can be considered.
Shape and Size
Some say that a deck should be no larger than 20 percent of your home's square footage, so as not to be out of proportion. But, this is not a hard fast rule. If you plan on spending a lot of time using your deck, and if it is sectioned out, even a larger deck can still feel just right. In terms of shape, you can never go wrong with the standard rectangle, but adding other angles or curves to the shape of your deck can make a nice deck really pop. If you want to take this approach, consider repeating those angles and curves at various places or in different sizes to the deck feels like it has a theme.
Connect the House and the Yard
When building a deck, you might opt to go with a style that blends with your house, or you might choose to make the deck stand out on its own, creating its own space. Either way, be sure to consider the transition from the deck to your yard. Will there be steps? Will you surround it with plants or maybe rocks? If the deck is low enough you might not be required to have a railing, and if that is an option, do you want a railing? Will the deck connect to a patio or other hardscape?
Plan for Traffic
Once you’ve figured out the priorities for your deck, plan for enough space to accommodate your activities and traffic of those coming and going. If you plan to add furniture to your deck, make sure what you purchase is in the proper scale for your deck's size. Keep in mind that pathways for traffic might not always become apparent until after you have furniture in place. For instance, if your deck is on the smaller size, you might not opt for the large covered patio set; perhaps a couple of open chairs and a side table would be a better fit.
What Do You See?
Wherever you plan to construct your deck, spend some time looking at what your view will be. Do you like what you see? If your deck is going to be overlooking a neighbor's yard, do you want some added privacy with a solid wall or railing? If you are going to have a gorgeous view of the sunset, maybe an open railing or glass panels would be great options. You could even step down the deck so railings will be below your sightline.
Typically when most people think about a deck, they envision a single, flat surface. But really, a deck is much more than that. Once you consider vertical elements like the railings, any coverings, and even how the deck is wrapped (the skirting), your deck can take on a whole new dimension. Take your time choosing each of these elements because your deck can gain a lot of personality through these choices.
Overheads and Planters
Being in Oregon, an important consideration for your deck is if you want the ability to enjoy your deck, rain or shine. If you only plan to use it in the dry months, a pergola can provide shade and a great place to showcase climbing plants. If you want protection from the rain, a solid covering is the way to go and there are a variety of materials that can be used including semi-transparent coverings, reclaimed materials, and traditional shingles.
In addition, planters make for great accents on decks, whether they are along railings or benches or surrounding the edge of your deck.
The Right Cooking and Noshing Spaces
If you love to cook outdoors and like interacting with people as you grill, why not add an outdoor kitchen with a counter and space for cooking appliances. You might even want to include an eating counter with stools just opposite the cooking area, so people can snack and socialize while you cook. If you’d rather keep food prep simple, you may want to make a small alcove off to the side, with just enough room for a grill.
Materials You Will Maintain and Enjoy
For the finish materials – the decking, railing, fascia and perhaps skirt – many people choose composites, PVC and other materials that are low maintenance. Others prefer to build with inexpensive treated or (somewhat less inexpensive) cedar. Wood surfaces often need to be pressure-washed and sealed once a year. But, if you prefer the natural look and don’t mind regular maintenance, it may be the right choice for you.
At Fort Rock Construction, we have helped homeowners add decks to their homes throughout Eugene, Springfield, Cottage Grove, and the surrounding areas. If you are thinking a deck would be right for your home, please give us a call at 541-767-1611. We would love to help you see the possibilities and create an outdoor space perfect for your home.
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