How to turn your new or old deck into an extension of your home

Phantom Screens / May 1, 2015

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Adding or redesigning an outdoor deck can be one of the biggest improvements you make to your home. By incorporating the right outdoor living designs, you can turn your deck into a centerpiece of your home environment, as well as a gathering, dining and entertainment mecca for your family and friends throughout the spring, summer, fall and even into the winter.

Taking stock of your surroundings

Before you proceed with building, adding onto or redesigning a deck, you’ll want to gain an intimate understanding of how a deck would fit onto your home and the topography of your property. Without proper placement and orientation, all the effort you put into creating a beautiful deck could be for naught.

First, figure out exactly how a new deck or an addition to an existing structure will be situated in relation to your home. You’ll want to take into account available access points – for instance, an existing sliding patio door – so you can situate your deck in a place where it is easy to reach.

You’ll also want to design the deck so that it fits in seamlessly with your home. That might include having to run the deck along parts of your house that are uneven or jut out in certain areas. And if there isn’t a way to attach it directly to part of your home, you may have to build farther out onto your property, creating a detached deck or even a gazebo-like structure.

Whether you’re attaching the deck to your home or building a new structure on your lawn, you’ll need to get an understanding of the landscape of your property. Small hills or swales could have a big impact on deck placement and construction. You’ll have to take those kinds of features into account as you endeavor to turn your deck into one the most comfortable outdoor living spaces imaginable.

Designing a deck

Once you have completed constructing your deck or an addition, the fun part begins. Now it’s your chance to design your deck in a style that will be eye-catching, comfortable and practical.

While attractive furnishings, weather-staining surfaces and adding adornment will all likely be part of your deck design, one of the first concerns has to be functionality. And since the summertime cookout is one of the great American traditions, that means finding a grill that will enable you to cook for whomever might be joining you and your family for meals, as well as setting up an area where everybody can enjoy that great food you’re sure to be serving up.

Once you’ve laid out your deck in a manner suitable for for the outdoor grilling experience, it’s time to start looking for amenities you can add that will heighten the overall visual appeal and comfort of your deck. Part of that process should involve protecting your deck from the elements.

Overwhelming natural light, wind and precipitation can all do a lot of damage to your deck surfaces and furnishings, as well as make your guests uncomfortable, so you’ll want to protect them with additions like retractable screen systems, weather-resistant staining products and coverings. Fortunately, all of those products can be both functional and lovely. If you find the right colors and decorative elements either on the items themselves, or in decorative additions to them, they can become part of your design strategy.

Finally, it’s time to look for the odds and ends that can make your deck truly attractive. Antiques, paints, flowers, plants, a small garden and works of art are just a few of the additions you may want to consider while laying out your deck. With the right planning, an understanding of how your deck will be used and some design inspiration, you can turn your deck into a year-round outdoor living environment.