May 30, 2024

How To Plan and Build a Deck From Scratch

Build a Deck

You know you want to add a deck to your outdoor space but don’t know where to start. There are so many options, materials, and features to choose from! The process is daunting, at best, and usually intimidates homeowners from even trying.

Designing and building a deck is a huge undertaking you should approach with the utmost care and consideration. Because the worst thing you can do is make a significant investment into your outdoor living space only to be unsatisfied with the results.

The best way to build a deck to meet all your needs and expectations is to design it carefully with your lifestyle in mind. Think about your family members, what they like to do outside, and how you hope to enjoy the space together. Being mindful of these things is a great place to start.

But it’s just that, a start. And there’s a great deal of work to be done between dreaming how you’ll spend time on your deck and actually using it. So here’s how you can start to design and build a deck from scratch.

Research deck builders

Although many handy homeowners can build their own decks, your best bet is to hire a professional. Deck builders in Collegeville, PA know what they’re doing, have access to better materials, and can deliver a high-quality product with efficiency and speed.

Do your due diligence and visit the website of each builder you’re considering, read their Google reviews, and look at pictures of their work. You might also want to follow deck builders on social media to get a feel for their style and deliverables truly. Thoroughly vetting builders before you buy will ensure you get precisely what you expect from your outdoor space.

And if you don’t even know what to anticipate, most builders can help with that, too. Professional deck builders often assist homeowners throughout the design process, guiding them toward the products and features to meet their needs.

Consider the space

How do you want to use your deck? This question seems simple, but the answer could be more straightforward. Most people hope to use their decks in several ways. Most importantly, as a place to hang out outside. But dining areas and places to play games or enjoy a fire are popular, too.

The way you want to use your space should determine the design. For example, if you separate the living and dining areas, you must define those spaces. A great way to do that is by using a multi-level deck, with one spot for hanging out and another for eating. On the other hand, if you prefer to have all one level, consider covering half the deck with a roof and the other half with a pergola to create two distinct areas.

Something else people only think of once it’s too late is how they will access the deck. For example, if you plan to build it off a sliding back door, do you want to step down or onto your deck? Or would you prefer the deck to flush with your home’s floor? Usually, having a deck on the same level as our home is the more convenient option, but it’s not everyone’s first choice.

And speaking of stairs, you need to think about those, too. You could have monument stairs that wrap around the entire deck, or you could opt for a traditional staircase that goes down to the yard. But, again, this depends on your taste and what’s feasible on the property.

Identify features to meet your needs

After you know the general flow of the space, you need to start thinking about what, exactly, you’ll put in it. For example, if you plan to eat outside, chances are you hope to cook outdoors, too. So do you need a complete outdoor kitchen with a sink, a built-in grill, and a brick pizza oven? Or will a nook for a standard grill suit?

Many people like to host friends and family outside, so adding a bar to your outdoor space is another popular option. If you plan to add a bar, think about whether or not you want an ice maker or beverage refrigerator to entertain with ease.

Don’t forget the fire!

What’s an entertaining outdoor space without fire? There are many ways you can add fire elements to your deck. Of course, gas fireplaces are the most convenient and affordable, but there’s nothing quite like a wood fireplace.

Whatever option you choose, you’ll also need to select a mantle over your fireplace. Again, your builder can help you choose something to suit your style, but when in doubt, go for one to match any beams or woodwork on the deck.

If you’re building a wood fireplace, you’ll also want to create a space for wood storage. Some masons will design fireplaces with nooks on either side to stack wood, but you could also store it in bench seating so any night can be a fire night.

Add lighting

You may be surprised to learn that among every possible design element in a home. Eighty-seven percent of homebuyers want exterior lighting on their next home.

This is something you simply can’t ignore when designing your deck. Lighting adds to the aesthetics of your area while providing much-needed safety and security so you can enjoy your deck long after the sun goes down.

There are countless outdoor lighting options. Here are a few types to consider when designing your deck from scratch:

  • Floodlights
  • Motion lights
  • Pendants and sconces
  • Post lamps
  • Recessed lighting
  • Stair lights
  • Uplighting

If you like, you can add these and many other lighting features to smart home devices to really take your exterior lighting to the next level.

Incorporate privacy landscaping

Privacy is paramount. In fact, more than half of all home buyers admitted to being more likely to buy a home if it had a fenced-in backyard. You don’t want to invest in a beautiful deck just to have your neighbors stare while you’re using the space.

When designing your outdoor living space, consider areas where you might want to add some privacy screening. You can do this with tall evergreens, like boxwoods, holly trees, and arborvitae. You can also incorporate a living wall or frosted glass railings to shield your deck from others.

As fun as it is to think about these design elements, choices like these are always challenging. Carefully consider your space and how you want to use it to guide your design decisions. With these things in mind, you can have confidence in your ability to design and build a deck from scratch.

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