Designing Your Deck with Style
The style of your deck is important because it can affect your long-term enjoyment of it and all of the hard work you're going to put into it. If the style of your deck appeals to you and reflects your personality, you'll be likely to use it more often and enjoy it more.Finding your style
Look around your neighborhood and note things you like about the houses and yards. You may find more cohesiveness than you have noticed before. Make notes and sketches of things you like and file them in a manila folder. Clip photos from magazines for further inspiration.
When you're working on your final design, spread your notes and clippings on a table so you can see everything at once. Discard what doesn't appeal to you and keep the rest. You'll notice a general theme in the images left on the table. Use the elements of that style in your deck design.Style by theme
One of the best ways to come to terms with style is to organize your landscape plan around a theme, making the deck an integral part of that plan.
Perhaps you'll want a classic symmetrical look that features straight lines and right angles. If so, a ground-level deck with rectangular planting beds on each side might just be perfect. Augment the effect with a closely clipped border of shrubs.
If an informal design is more your style, your design can incorporate curves or framing that suggests them. You might lay small stones or wood chips on a path from the garage to the deck and curve the outlines of your planting beds to enhance this casual feeling and appearance.
Regional designs pick up the palette of local colors, climate, culture, and textures, so let what nature does in your local landscape lead you. Native plants and materials will look at home in their surroundings. Regional designs also make good budget sense -- local plants and materials are less expensive and generally require less care and maintenance.
Elements from different regions often mix well with one another. A single bonsai tree won't transform your deck into a Japanese garden, but it will provide a harmonious Oriental contrast to a Southwestern theme.Heritage
Go contemporary -- cool, serene, and comfortable -- with bold shapes and colors, sleek lines, and unusual combinations. Build your framing to support alternating sections of diamond and chevron decking patterns, and repeat the patterns in the siding of your outdoor kitchen. Zigzag your deck over a series of gentle slopes, and make the pattern even more dramatic with perimeter seating that matches the contours or angles.Create harmony
No matter what style you choose for your landscape -- even the most eclectic -- combine its elements into a unified whole.
Create a sense of continuity with your house by using similar materials, colors, shapes, and patterns in your deck design.
A ground-level platform deck whose length runs parallel to a one-story ranch home creates a harmony of horizontal lines. Place the length of the deck perpendicular to the house, and the harmony begins to unravel.
A deck full of angles will fit right in with a West Coast modular home. Those same angles might look jarring on the back of a three-story Victorian, ornate with filigree and bric-a-brac. On the other hand, they might work with an American foursquare, whose style is more neutral.
The lines of the house don't have to be the only determinants. Look for design clues in the curves, angles, and free-form shapes of property lines, swimming pools, garden beds, or slopes.
Your sense of harmony should extend to accents and furnishings. Use small, carefully placed elements to provide contrast of color, shape, and texture. Gardens, edgings, walls, colored concrete, stone, tiles, bricks, logs, gates, furnishings, lights, and decorative pieces all add pleasing and lively accents.
Select furnishings that support the dominant design. Fortunately there is a style of deck furniture to fit almost every taste and budget, from sleek, contemporary pieces to classic cedar, or charming, old-fashioned wicker.
If your deck is large or encompasses several smaller sections, position small groups of furnishings and decorative elements so they won't clutter your central area. Place your main deck furniture around focal points to give them greater definition.
How will you know when the design you've created is harmonious? It will look soothing, not jarring. It will present itself as a cohesive blend more than a clutter of parts, and its general impression will be inviting and comfortable.
- Deck Design Picture Gallery
- Deck Plans: Drawing Plans for Your Project
- Deck Building Tools & Materials
- Deck Building: Basic Skills & How Tos
- Building a Freestanding Deck
- Building a Deck On a Sloped Site
- Building a Multi Level Deck
- Custom Touches for Your Deck
- Deck Repair & Maintenance
- Deck Finishes: Sealers, Stains & Paint
- Deck Building Skills