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Secrets to building great decks for your home

Why does it seem like so many decks either turn out looking like a runway or a box? Like an afterthought? We all know someone who got so carried away with lumber and their circular saw that his deck ended up making the house shrink. Then there's the puny deck at the neighbor's cabin down the lane that never has anything in the right place.

Remember when your friends came over last winter and complained about how far the hot tub was from the back door? Now they teasingly refer to your project at the local neighborhood meetings. Ed Watson wanted to avoid all those mistakes when he was looking to build his dream deck in O'Fallon, MO. Ed was very adamant considering the deck the most important "room'' at the house and wanted it to expand his living space just right.

So instead of having just any old deck slapped onto his home during construction, he took a year to become acquainted to the traffic patterns of his family, the appearance of his neighbors' deck designs, and finally finding a reputable deck builder who would pull all required permits, handle home owner association packets, and install quality deck with little or no hassle.

The biggest lesson Ed and his wife Ann learned about deck design is the same advice many professional deck builders find themselves giving over and over again in the early stages of planning: Be generous to yourself, think big. The fact of the matter is once that deck is built.

You want to be able to comfortably hang out, catch some rays, or invite a couple friends over. Additionally, make sure to consider that a home improvement project such as building a deck will dramatically increase the resale value of your home.

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creative deck specialists
creative deck specialists

Some Simple Rules to Keep in Mind When Building/Designing a Deck:

1) Skimping on size is the biggest mistake people make when they design a deck. Think of the deck as an extension of your home.

2) Plan sufficiently for evening cookouts, or parties with friends and relatives. Be sure there's enough room for adults and kids to separate for their own, often socially incompatible, pursuits.

3) Map out the layout of all your deck furniture; make sure there is ample room to get by tables, benches, grills, hot tub etc.

4) If you entertain a lot, design your deck with nooks and corners to encourage small groups of people to congregate or to provide romantic spots for couples.

5) Add a wide railing top around the deck to ensure people have a place to set their drinks or plates of food.

6) If your limited to space and need to make the most of a small deck, make sure to add railings around even if you aren't required to for height considerations. People tend to not use the outside two feet of deck if there is no railing.

7) Try your best to place your grill near the door that leads to the kitchen. And just as you would do indoors; put the dining table close to the kitchen.

Get Creative!


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