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5 Top Tips for Designing Your Perfect Deck

Trex Deck
Trex Deck

Posted on Friday, July 21, 2017
Categories: Decking & Railing

Many people get caught up in the intricate details of choosing their new deck components and end up missing the mark on the overall design to fit their lifestyle. Granted, it is important to make sure you have the correct hidden fasteners, color-matching screws, code-compliant hardware, railing color and style that matches your composite deck, complimentary low-voltage lighting, accent boarders, mitered corners, fascia, risers, etc. But don’t lose sight of the forest by focusing on the trees.

After you make those critical decisions, step back and remember that you are adding this new deck to increase the enjoyment and relaxation qualities of your outdoor living space and lifestyle. It is a place where you will spend countless hours with family and friends for years to come. Limitless memories will be made with your kids and their kids. Planning your deck size and layout with those important factors in mind is critical to improving those years of memory making.

Here are five top tips for designing your perfect deck.

Size Does Matter, and so Does Shape

Size Does Matter, and
so Does Shape 

Some conventional design wisdom directs that a home’s deck should not exceed 20% of the home’s square footage, so as not to overwhelm the visual balance. However, many people spend as much or more time on their decks than they do in their homes during the full swing of the season. If that’s you, and you share your outdoor space with a lot of people, a larger deck will be more comfortable.  If you think its Hip to Be Square, a simple rectangle is fine. But today’s composite decks and metal railings look awesome with curves and mitered angles that deliver the WOW factor, and significantly increase visual impact. Use your imagination.

Make Your Deck Reflect Your Lifestyle

Make Your Deck
Reflect Your Lifestyle 

What are the common things about your deck that will compliment and improve your outdoor living experience? What will you be using the deck for most often? People who love to party and be the envy of the neighborhood will require a much different deck layout, size, and functionality than family people who want to chill with a few close friends and relatives. For people who want to get away and wind down and be a recluse while reading a book or listening to music, an even different deck experience is best.

Make Your Deck Reflect Your Dining Style

Make Your Deck
Reflect Your Dining Style 

Another important consideration is your dining needs. For some, a simple spot to park your grill is all you need. You prefer to dine indoors in the bug-free AC. For the grilling experts, a great grilling station and maybe a smoker with more counter surface area for prep is the ticket. And for the real pros who have serious food game, a full-blown kitchen, built-in countertop seating, pergola roof cover, outdoor fireplace, wood-fired pizza oven, and more work best.

Consider Traffic Patterns

Consider Traffic

Walking pathways to the different designed areas of your deck should be comfortable and make sense. Designed areas such as cooking, dining, relaxing or reading, fire pits or fire tables, gaming areas, and more often won’t take full shape until all of your furniture and amenities are in place. Take advantage of free computer design for your deck ahead of time to better visualize these areas. Make certain that you allow ample room for chairs around your dining table, end tables or a coffee table in the lounging area, potted plants, children’s water tables or sand box in the play area, etc.

Blend Your Deck Into Your Landscape

Blend Your Deck Into
Your Landscape 

Your deck is the connecting bridge from the interior of your home to nature. Don’t stop your design ingenuity at the bottom of your deck steps. Your deck shouldn’t just dump your guests into your grass in the back yard. Flow the design into a complimentary and functional hardscape landing or full patio, maybe with a fire pit, and surrounded by attractive landscaping. A pergola, in addition to being attractive, provides shade and a great spot to hang plants to soften the area. Consider stepping off onto a large, beautiful slab of granite. From there, create a narrower path of stepping stones or concrete pavers leading to a garden, pavilion, or other backyard feature. Consider wide steps. A five or six-foot wide step is large enough to incorporate potted flowers or built-in plant boxes without impeding safe navigation.

[Photos: Trex Company

Tagged:decking, outdoor living

Add a Comment
Thanks for going over some different tips when it comes to designing a deck. I appreciate that you mentioned to make sure that there is enough area for chairs, tables, and other furniture. My sister has been thinking of installing a deck at her house, so this information may help her design it if does choose to get one.
Posted by Taylor Bishop on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 1:42 PM

I love the curb and landscape of the deck overlooking the trees. It shows the simplicity of the design which reflects my personality. It also gives that "environmental" feel. If I were to remodel my house, I would definitely consider putting a deck and pattern it with this one. Thanks for sharing.
Posted by Bobby Saint on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 7:37 PM

I like that you suggested using curved metal railings to make the deck more appealing. I have been looking for things to add to the deck in my backyard. I can see how it would be nice to add curved railings. That way I will be able to make my deck look more interesting.
Posted by Scott Adams on Monday, December 4, 2017, 5:01 PM

My wife and I are wanting to build a deck this year, so thanks for the helpful tips on choosing a design. I really like your point about blending your deck into your landscape. I agree the design shouldn't just stop when it reaches your steps. We'll definitely try adding it into the natural slope of our yard. 
Posted by Derek Dewitt on Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 9:49 AM

My wife and I are wanting to build a deck this summer, so thanks for sharing these tips. I like your point about building the deck into your landscape and surrounding it with nature. I'll have to see how we can get the flow of the design to match our garden.
Posted by Derek Dewitt on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, 12:21 PM

My husband I want to add a deck to our yard, but we aren't sure how you to go about this on our own. Your article had some great tips for designing a great deck, and I like how you said to keep the deck's usage in mind. We want to host parties with our friends, so we would probably need a larger and more open deck layout, and we'll keep this in mind when designing the best deck for our needs. 
Posted by Jocelyn McDonald on Friday, July 13, 2018, 8:51 AM

I want to build a deck this spring. I like your point about building the deck to compliment your living experience. I'll definitely build the deck in a way that we can host parties and social events easily.
Posted by Derek Dewitt on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 2:00 PM

Everything you need to know on deck building and design. Good tips, and a nice blog! 
Posted by Drew Blandini on Friday, July 24, 2020, 9:36 AM
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