Deck Design Picture Gallery

painting exteriors

If you don't want to design your own deck or just want a simple design you can build quickly, you can take several approaches. You can buy a deck kit, complete with hardware and precut lumber, from one of several retail and Internet outlets. Or you can choose any of the three basic deck designs shown on the following pages. Any of these decks can go just about anywhere, and they'll give you a solid, aesthetically pleasing structure that will meet building code requirements in most localities (but check to make sure).

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Modifying a deck plan
Building a deck from a kit or published plans doesn't mean you have to end up with a cookie-cutter structure. You can customize any standard design with thoughtful landscaping, stylish furnishings, and carefully chosen decorations, details, and accents. Or you can go one step further and alter a predrawn plan to make it yours. Move the stairs, for example, to a location that better fits your site. Make 45-degree corners where the plan calls for squares. Or replace the railing with a custom design. If you alter a plan, however, keep safety and the structural integrity of your deck in mind.

Enlarging a plan will require longer joists, additional decking, and possibly additional posts and longer beams. All of these changes can result in increased spans, so be sure to recalculate the size of the new framing members where safety demands it.

Decreasing the size of a plan is less complicated. Shorten the joists, the beams, or both, and reduce the spacing between the posts. Decreasing the dimensions of a deck will generally result in shorter deck boards. You can usually stick with existing spans, unless the aesthetics of your site require a change.

Altering the shape of a deck is easiest if you think in terms of adding one rectangle to another, for example, creating an L- or T-shape structure from a basic boxed frame. Plan the main platform first, then the additional leg as a separate deck to be joined to it.

Raise or lower the height of a deck by changing the height of the posts, but be sure to check your local building codes. Taller posts may need to be 6x6s instead of 4x4s, for example. Bracing may be required beyond certain heights, and footings may need to meet certain specifications. Altering the spacing of posts to accommodate utility lines or variations in the terrain calls for careful attention to beam spans.

Other modifications -- skirting, railings, and decking patterns -- may require alteration of framing members also.


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