Decks and porches both top the list of things that homeowners and homebuyers most want to see on a home. Decks help increase your enjoyment of your yard and landscaping, and increase your living space during the warmer months. Whether you entertain regularly, or the deck is just for personal use, adding one to your home can really help impact how much you use your outdoors space. Decks come in a wide range of styles, sizes, and materials as well, allowing you to build one to suit your particular needs. Determine your deck style before beginning to make most of the project.
Above all else, your deck needs to complement the rest of your home’s exterior. For example a sleek contemporary home will look better with a deck that has clean lines and a mixture of low-maintenance decking materials with steel cable railings than it will with a deck that has more traditional features.
Take a look at some of the features that your home already has. The shape, lines of the home, size of the exterior cladding, and its footprint should all go into your final deck decision, as well as where off your home the deck will be positioned. For example, having your deck wrap around one corner of the home might be beneficial if your property isn’t level, giving you multiple points of entry from several different areas. This type of deck matching should extend right to the color of the stain. Consider your siding, architectural shingles, shutters, and even front door to choose a color that will match or complement other accents already in place.
Your lifestyle and what you plan on using the deck for should also have a big impact on the ultimate style of your deck. For example, if you plan on using your deck for entertaining, then things like built-in benches, a hot tub, or a shaded pergola on one end can all be features that enhance the area. Or, if the deck will be mainly used for personal activities, having a privacy railing built that can allow you to relax out of sight of the neighbors may be a beneficial additional.
Take the time to think through the different ways you’ll use the deck, and the area below it. Do you need shade? A screened off area? Will the deck stairs meet a patio or garden below? How much seating will you need, and will it be built in or will you place it on the deck later? These are all considerations that should go into determining your ultimate deck style.
Decking materials should also be considered when you think about your lifestyle and its impact on the deck. For example, many composite materials become super-heated in the summer; if your deck connects to a pool area this may be inconvenient. On the other hand, if your deck is an area that sees a lot of sun, rain, and snow, then a maintenance-free deck material will be beneficial as it will help prevent you from needing to scrap and restain the deck regularly.
Many people choose to have the roofline of their home extended over a portion of their deck, and in some cases to also screen off this section, making the deck more accessible during very sunny, rainy, or insect-filled seasons. When you’re determining your deck style, think about how the addition of the deck may impact the roofline of your home if you choose to use the area this way. If you’re planning on a full home renovation with the addition of a deck, this is the best time to extend the roof, as it’s easier to match things like architectural roofing shingles when using a single lot than trying to match colors later.
Your deck style won’t be complete until you also consider any accessories you intend to add to the deck. These include those little things that aren’t necessary, but that enhance your enjoyment of the area, and include:
- Built in planters along the railing
- Slides off the deck for children
- Built in storage and seating
- Gates to secure the deck for children and pets
- Raised railings for easier removal of snow in the winter
While these items may not be big, they can impact the way that your deck ultimately looks and performs. Building them in from the beginning will give you a better aesthetic and help you match the style of your home better than attempting to add them later.
Create the Perfect Deck
Deck styles are nearly endless when you consider shapes, sizes, and materials available today, as well as the many different accessories and attributes you can include. Take the time to think hard about the effect the deck will have on the way the rest of your home and yard looks and performs to get the perfect deck for your use.