For many years decks were built as simple rectangles located at the back door of a house. Today however, homeowners are spending more time and effort as well as imagination in designing decks that take special advantage of the shapes of their homes and the sizes of their yards.
There really is almost no limit as to the size, shape or style that can be created in a deck. All it takes is to allow the home to be the focal point for the deck design. A complex, heavily decorated deck would look gaudy on a simple bungalow but would look terrific attached to a Tudor 2 storey home. Similarly, a very small deck on a huge mansion would look ridiculous while a huge wraparound deck would make a small Cape Cod home appear unappealing.
The simple rectangular deck close to the ground is the easiest kind of deck to build and may be enough to sufficiently meet the basic needs of the family it serves. However, a flat lot is a natural choice for a wraparound deck which will work to enlarge the apparent size of the house as well as provide access from several areas of the home. A large lot, especially one with changes in elevation, can accomodate decks on different levels that are linked by steps, staircases or walkways. This type of design works extremely well when the outdoor space has to serve a variety of purposes such as barbecuing, dining and sunbathing.
Another reason to vary the deck design would be to avoid some kind of natural obstacle near the house such as a large rock or tree. The altered deck design could actually surround the tree and incorporate it into its design as a focal point. The same principle would apply to incorporating that large rock into the deck design. A few extra rocks of varying sizes along with some small shrubs and flowering plants could be used to create an interior deck garden and focal point that would add drama and color to the deck.
It might be necessary to alter the design to enable the solving of some kind of problem connected with the backyard area where the deck would be located. An elevated deck can be built in order to turn a steep slope into a useful part of the surrounding landscape. Multiple deck levels combined with steps can be used also to tie a deck into a sloping property. Multi-level decks can also be designed to avoid blocking views from the home.
The main reason to alter the design of the deck may just be in order to add some flair to this new outdoor space. These alterations could be as simple as turning boring 90 degree corners into dramatic 45 degree corners or adding a bumped out section to part of the deck tp provide some added interest to a humdrum section of deck space.
A well designed deck is sized to fit in well with both the home and the property on which both are situated. However, the deck still must relate in size to its intended function or uses. Generally, it is wise to allow 20 square feet of deck space for each person. A deck measuring 16 feet by 20 feet would be 320 square feet in size and could in theory accomodate 16 people at one time. However, more space would be neded if the deck also contained a barbecuse, benches, furniture, etc.
Atached directly to a house wall, a deck can serve as an extension of the interior space, becoming an outdoor room. The secret is to take the time and effort required to look at the size and shape of your home as well as the size and characteristics of your yard's landscape to design a deck that will become the quiet retreat or outdoor entertainment focal point that you have always dreamed of.
Richard Vande Sompel is a professional deck builder of 35 years and over 850
decks built and is the author of "How to Plan, Design and Build a Deck from
Start to Finish". To Discover More About
Deck Design and Claim your 2
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