How To Design a Deck You’ll Love

Dreaming of Deck Time

Many people used the unexpected stay-at-home back in 2020 to take stock and dream about what they will do when life settles. If a deck is on your wishlist, keep these basic elements in mind as you gather ideas and start planning.

Thinking Through Design and Layout


Pay close attention to the location of where you would like to put the deck. For example, ask yourself: is there natural shade, lots of sun, a great view, or privacy? Which feature do you want to highlight for your deck? Do you want a shady place to read or a great place to watch the sunset?  Watch how the light changes during the day and throughout the season.


Imagine how you will use the deck on a daily basis, including the types of activities you like to do, from barbecuing to container gardening. And remember: larger isn’t necessarily better. Unless you frequently host large gatherings, your deck doesn’t have to accommodate 25+ people.


Many people think of a deck as a huge square platform, but it can be built in many shapes and on more than one level. Rounding or angling the corners can make a big difference in the appearance, and changing the decking size, pattern or direction can add interest and style.


Decks link the house and the yard, providing both circulation and access. Plot out how many doors will lead out the deck, and whether you will need stairs to reach the yard. Keep circulation patterns in mind as you determine how much room you’ll need for furniture without blocking the path.


Railings are a great place to add some pizzazz and character to your deck. Deck railings can be as simple as a 2×2 nailed to the side of the deck or as complex as a turned balustrade with custom newel posts. Post caps add a finishing detail that makes a difference between a standard deck and one that extends the design elements of your home.

Universal Design 

Consider adding universal design features to provide maximum accessibility for your family and guests. For example, add secure handrails for stairs, build low-rise steps and low-threshold doorways, and use levers instead of doorknobs.
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