Choosing a Size for Your Deck
Start with a sketch of your deck and assign each activity to a different part of the deck. Allow ample space for the activity itself, traffic flow through and around the area, and outdoor furniture, which tends to be a little larger than indoor furniture.
If you find that your original plans aren't large enough, expand the deck or look for ways to make spaces do double duty. Perhaps one corner of the family dining space can function as a secluded retreat. Often just moving a chair can make a small part of a larger area feel more secluded.
Give areas with different functions their own identities. Separate them visually and physically with planters, trellises, benches, or a change in decking pattern. Structural changes make even stronger distinctions. A T-shape deck or tiers connected with stairs will allow spaces to be clearly identified for different activities.Fitting function to footage
Many decks have plenty of square footage but feel cramped. That's because they weren't planned with traffic and activity in mind. Use these general guidelines to avoid this problem.
- For a dining area for four people, you'll need about 10x10 feet. For six to eight, make it 12x12 feet.
- To accommodate a typical round table with six chairs, provide a circular area with a diameter of at least 9 feet.
- A rectangular table should have an area 5 to 6 feet wider and longer than the table.
- A simple cooking area with a grill and a small table usually needs an area about 6 feet square. Provide more room if there will be a counter, island, or large table.
- For a single reclining chair, allow an area 4x7 feet. For two reclining chairs, allow 7x7 feet.
- A conversation area for three to six people will require a 10x10-foot space.
- Pathways from the door to the stairs and between activity areas must be 3-1/2 to 4 feet wide at all points.
To find out if your proposed deck is large enough, rope off the area (or mark it with chalk or upside-down spray paint) and move in the furniture and equipment you'll have on the deck -- tables and chairs, barbecue grill, lounges and recliners.
If you haven't purchased the furniture yet, use interior furnishings and add about a foot more space for each item. Figure about 2 feet square for each outdoor chair, plus about a foot or two to push it back from a table.
Once you've decided that the deck is equal to its functions, step back and consider its scale. It should look proportionate to the house and grounds. Small decks usually do not pose a problem (they're less likely to be built next to a huge house). More common is the lavish deck that overpowers a modest home. Your budget and lot size may provide the most help in solving this problem. Start with a design that fits the uses you envision and then scale back to fit the limits of your budget and terrain. When you finalize the size of the deck, draw the plan on paper.
- 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