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Deck Planning: What You Need to Know


Building a deck is one of the best ways to boost your home’s curb appeal and value. According to some experts, this project can increase your property value more than adding a new bathroom or living room. Another reason homeowners invest in decks is that they can increase the square footage of the house. 

Here are tips for designing a beautiful and functional deck from a leading Alexandria, VA roofing expert.

What Makes a Good Deck Design?

A shouldn’t be just simply attached to fit an existing ledger board. It’s also not necessary to replace an exact copy of your deck. Keep in mind that you have a wide range of options when it comes to deck design. Since your entry or patio door will serve as the main access to your door, its position will determine the initial elevation of your deck. 

Decks that are low or less than 30” above grade don’t need guardrails. While the ground under the lower deck will be hidden, it can house small animals and insects. Make sure to consider ventilation since the more ventilated a low deck is, the more it can resist mold and mildew growth. 

In higher decks, guardrails and long stretches of stairs are often needed. They can help in accentuating scenic outdoor views. You can make the most of the space underneath by using it as storage during the rainy season. 

Consider what views you have and wish to emphasize. You observe your outdoor space at different times of the day to get an idea of what kind of lighting to expect. If you don’t have trees that provide shade, you may want to consider adding a shade feature. 

Many homeowners want to customize their own deck but often don’t know where to start. You can start your deck building project by looking at the bigger picture instead of the small details. What look and feel are you trying to achieve with your new deck? 

A well-designed deck will bring out the beautiful features of your space while a poorly-designed one will emphasize its flaws. Hiring an experienced deck contractor can help with the success of your project. At Orion Home Improvements LLC, we don’t only specialize in superior roofing services, we are also known for our exceptional decks. In all our projects, we work closely with our clients to understand their needs and preferences. 

Consider Traffic and Stairs

Take note of how foot traffic will flow across your deck. The placement of your furniture and appliances shouldn’t get in the way of the flow. Your stairs and door should be easy to see and access from any part of your deck. Guardrails typically define the boundaries of taller decks while benches or a short rail can help aid traffic for lower decks. If you wish to separate spaces, then consider changing the direction of your deck. 

Moreover, long sets of stairs can be wrapped around a deck or divided by a set of landings to make them look more seamless. As much as possible, don’t place stairs underneath a deck frame due to headroom problems. While different levels can make your deck look more interesting, they can be dangerous to walk in. Steps in irregular angles or hard to see may cause tripping.

Choose the Right Decking Type 

You have various options when it comes to decking material. If you prefer the look and feel of real wood, then you can go for cedar, exotic hardwoods, or redwood. Today, there are materials that resemble the look of natural wood but doesn’t require as much maintenance. Composite, PVC, and other manmade materials are low maintenance doesn’t cost as much as natural wood. They are often available in different colors and textures. Further, it would help to research on decking materials to help you make the right choice for your needs and lifestyle. 

Using fasteners will eliminate the need for screws and nails. For composite decking, it’s better to use reverse trim head composite screws than nails. They offer better holding power to avoid mushroomed screw holes. Keep in mind that wood decks require staining to prevent the material from cracking and warping. Stain colors come in various options like browns, grays, neutrals, and deep reds. 

Large, open decks can look one flat if it only has one color. What you can do is play with its contrast to give your space more dimension. A deck in diagonal or herringbone pattern can draw attention towards a certain space. Experts even recommend using a unique floor inlay to make the deck more distinct. 

Seek Inspiration and Plan for Your Lifestyle

You can get design ideas from home improvement websites online like Houzz and even Pinterest. Some websites even have a free deck designer feature, which lets you customize a yard that complements your house. It would also help to browse magazines and watch home improvement shows. 

When planning your deck, take note of how the addition can improve your life and daily tasks. Know what you’ll use it for. Do you want to create a space to host family dinners? An outdoor kitchen can be a great feature if you love to cook. Get your family involved in designing your new deck. Ask them what they want to see and have in your deck. 

Once you’ve decided on the features you want, the next step is to plan a deck that has sufficient space for the activities that you and your family enjoy. There should also be comfortable traffic pathways around them. Usually, they will only be visible once the furniture has been placed. Allocate specific areas for cooking, mingling, dining, and lounging. There should be enough room for dining tables and chairs as well as coffee or end tables next to plants and furniture. 

The Right Shape and Size

According to some, a deck shouldn’t be larger than 20 percent of your home’s square footage, so it doesn’t become visually overwhelming. However, when it’s carefully planned and clearly divided into different sections, a bigger deck can blend seamlessly with the house. None of these sections should be bigger than the largest room in your home. These decks may take time to build but the end result will be worth it. 

To get an idea of how your deck will look in real life and how big it is, you can layout the design at the location. You can lay a tape measure, garden hose or spray paint to layout the outline of the design. Doing so will let you see if the deck is of the right size. To help you visualize your space better, you can set up some furniture within the outline. See whether you have enough room to move effortlessly around the deck or if the space is too tight.  You don’t always have to stick to traditional deck shapes and sizes. 

Working with your designer to determine the best deck shape and size for your home. When you choose Orion Home Improvements LLC, you don’t have to worry about choosing the wrong products or getting misleading advice. We can render a three-dimensional design and modify the plan before the construction begins. Also, if you’re not completely happy with the result, we will refund your money. Whether you need help with your new deck or seamless gutter installation, you can count on our team. 

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