Deck Planning & Design

painting exteriors

Decks have become a fixture in the American landscape -- and it's no wonder. A deck can make your home more spacious, more comfortable, and more valuable -- at a fraction of the cost of any other home addition. Decks let you expand your living space to the outdoors, providing a place for activities you might not otherwise be able to enjoy. A well-planned deck enhances the landscaping around your house and can even become the focus of a yard.

Projects in Planning

The word "deck" might make you think of a wooden platform at its most basic, about 8x10 feet, sticking out from the back of the house. This chapter will show you how that pallet-like platform, along with the bare, ground-level concrete-slab patio, is merely a starting point for today's outdoor living spaces. A deck today can certainly be as simple a structure as will meet your needs. It also can become an elaborate architectural creation that is as important a part of your home as the living room. What distinguishes the modern deck from its earlier counterparts is that it's not just a platform. Instead it is an expression of its owner's lifestyle and an extension of the landscape in which it stands. In short, today's deck has a purpose as well as a personality.

Achieving unity of design, livability, and harmony with the landscape is what this chapter is about. All deck planning starts with one question: How will you use your deck? Once you and your family have answered this question, decisions about where to place the deck, how large it needs to be, and how it should look will fall into place. Think about all the ways you might enjoy your deck, including new things you might want to try.

Whether you plan to use your deck for quiet dinners for two, family barbecues, outdoor parties, recreation, sitting and contemplating the landscape -- or all of these activities -- you'll enjoy each one more when the deck design takes that use into account.

Start with a good plan, then add the right materials, sound construction techniques, and basic carpentry skills, and you can build a deck that will become a beautiful addition to your home.

One Hour or Less

Three simple projects to cross off of your to-do list -- just print these instructions and begin!