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If you’re thinking of replacing or finally adding that deck to your home in time for summer it’s not too late. But the idea of creating the concept and designing the perfect deck for your home can be a little daunting. So we’ve put together this list to help make the process easier and help you get that much closer to sitting out on your deck and enjoying the summer season.

Consider Your Available Locations

It’s tempting to just pick the first space you see, or just replace what’s currently there. But like they say in real estate, “location, location, location.”

Take some time to consider your available views, where the sun is going to shine, where your footers are going to be installed, and if you’re doing anything with utilities for a fireplace, lighting, or outdoor kitchen you want to make sure you know how these are going to impact your build.

Make a List of Your Wants & Needs

We all have that mental image of what we’re going to do on our decks. But until you take the time to write them down and understand what they all are, and how they’re going to impact each other you’re going to be facing an uphill battle in creating a design that covers everything you want.

It’s a really simple concept but it’s just that important. So write it down.

Map Out Your Focal Points and Gathering Spaces

Now that you know what all you want to have happening and added to your deck it’s time to start a rough map of the different elements. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Right now it’s more important to just get a visual idea of how much space each piece is going to take.

Adding an Outdoor Kitchen?

If you’re looking to add some outdoor cooking space you have a couple different options. You can go for a super simple space to store your Weber grill, you can create a built-in grill, or you can go for the full scale outdoor kitchen with a sink, refrigerator, and kegerator.

Pro tip: if you’re adding a cooking space to your deck I recommend locating is somewhat close to your kitchen access. Limit how much walking you do from indoor and outdoor prep. It helps limit the chances for accidents.

Adding a Pergola or Covered Space?

Are you just looking for a gathering space that can provide a little extra shade from the sun or do you want a fully roofed covering that allows you to continue enjoying your outdoor space even when the rains start? And how big do you want this space to be? It could be just a small private gazebo off in the corner for a couple people to sit with some privacy. Or you could build a large enough space to enclose your outdoor kitchen and some seating.

Adding A Fire Feature?

A fire pit, or fireplace are an awesome addition for creating a gathering place for everyone. You can choose to keep it simple and purchase your basic portable fire pit. You can add a bar-top fire table that gives seating for everyone and gives us a little warmth once the sun goes down. Or go for the full outdoor fireplace for something more dramatic.

Consider Adding Different Levels

Again, the initial reaction is to create a single platform square deck. You can be much more imaginative though by adding different levels to your deck. This can help make the transition from the deck to the yard more subtle and also helps create different zones of the deck. One level for everyone to gather, one level for the grilling, one level for the hot tub, whatever works for you!

Map Out Your Traffic Flow

While you’re thinking about all these different elements of your deck and the fun things you’ll be able to do on it, don’t forget to think about how people are going to move around and on your deck. Create defined spaces for people to walk through and try to limit the dead-ends and choke points.

Make Sure You Design With The Railings in Mind

When you start thinking about the design and the colors, be sure to start thinking about the different options you have for the railings. You can keep it simple with wood railings made from the same material as the rest of the deck to blend everything together. This is perfect if you want your eyes to not linger on the railing and move up quickly to the views around. Or consider something more dramatic and contrasting like cables, or metal railings to give some more style to your deck.

Consider The Deck Material That Fits Your Lifestyle

Most people like to immediately go for the full hardwood deck option. And these can create absolutely stunning looking decks. But you have more options than this, and if you’re someone who isn’t looking to sand/stain and maintain your wood it might be worth looking at materials like poly lumber or vinyl. Especially as your deck design starts getting larger you’ll want to remember how the maintenance will come into play each year.

Think About How Your Deck Will Join Your House to the Backyard

Your deck is also often the bridge between your home and your yard, acting as your outdoor living room. So when designing the deck don’t forget about the immediate surroundings. What landscaping are you going to add around your deck? Will you build a pathway that leads from the deck stairs into the yard? If so, how far will the path go? Do you want the path to be pavers or a fully installed pathway?

Don’t Be Afraid of Unique Shapes

Again, think outside the rectangle. Sure, adding unique shapes and curves makes the build more difficult. But in general the benefits of a more beautifully realized deck is going to be worth it. Especially as you start adding in different levels and materials to your deck that serve different areas.

Don’t Forget To Imagine The Transition from Indoors to Outside

Just as the transition from the deck to the yard is important. The reveal when walking from inside the house to walking onto the deck is a powerful chance to make an impact. You can either keep to a simple door transition and try to create that doorway effect of walking into a different realm of the home. Or you can consider adding telescoping doors that can be opened up in good weather and brings more of the outdoors into your living room, in essence blurring that line between indoors and outdoors.

Talk with a Professional

There are limitless possibilities with your deck. That’s why it’s important to talk to a professional and get a better idea of what’s going to be your challenges, what are some hidden opportunities, and most importantly what can be feasibly done on your budget.

Give Klausmair Construction a call today to talk about your ideas and get a quote. We’ve been helping families create their ideal decks and outdoor living spaces for over 25 years.

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