Designing Your New Deck

Cozy wood deck with table, chairs and outdoor fireplace.

Cozy wood deck with table, chairs and outdoor fireplace.

The first part of designing your new deck is dreaming about the deck you want. I think it is a good idea to get a pen and paper and write down all of the things you want in your new deck. Think about what you will do on your deck: entertaining, relaxing, cooking, etc.

Then review your list as you are designing developing the plans for your new deck. As you include an idea you can check it off your list. You will probably have to make some compromises, but at least you have reviewed everything that is important to you.

It is also good to have a list of what you want, because you can show it to your family, friends and contractor. The family is important to get their thoughts on the deck and agreement on your ideas. The contractor is important because they can recommendation on something you want or something that may not be a good idea that you did not think of.

Here’s our list as I remember it from a few years ago.

  • Second story deck that is in the same location as our existing deck. This is convenient because it is right off of our kitchen.
  • A much bigger deck so we have separate areas for cooking, eating and relaxing.
  • Wood or composite wood decking.
  • Waterproof deck so the space under the deck is dry and usable all year. We can get a lot of rain during the winter and early spring.
  • Spot for a hot tub under the deck.

In the end you may not get all of the things on your list and you may discover other things that are more important, but it’s good to have a list for reference as you are planning your deck.

What did we get that was on our list.

  • Second story deck that is a lot bigger than our old deck
  • Area for eating relaxing and cooking
  • Waterproof deck with dry area under it.
  • Nice spot for the hot tub, but still waiting to get the hot tub J

What we did not get that was on our list.

  • Deck floor is vinyl and not wood or composite material.
  • The cooking area was not as nice as I had originally planned.

What did we get that we did not plan for.

  • Stamp concrete pad on lower deck
  • Glass rails and finished main posts
  • Soffits with lighting for the lower deck

The vinyl deck floor and all of the extra items we based on talking with our contractor. To have a waterproof deck that was made of wood or composite decking material would have cost a lot more because we would have two decks. One to waterproof the floor and the second would be the wood deck on top of that.

Do a rough sketch for your new deck

When working on the design of your deck it is also a good idea to do a rough sketch of your deck. There will be more of this in the deck plan article, but it is good to get a rough idea now and try to incorporate everything in your list.

You should try and place your deck in sketch where you plan to have it. So include where it is located in relation to your house and your property line. Also, try and include the items from your list on your deck.

Get ideas from your friends

When you are looking for ideas for your deck it is a good idea to look at your friends and neighbours deck and see what you like and don’t like. Don’t be shy, if you have a question ask. Most people like to talk about their decks and different projects around their house. Ask them what they enjoy and more importantly what they wish they had or forgot to add. This is valuable information in your deck design process.

Another good place for inspiration is show homes. I love to visit show homes and see how they built the deck and what features they’ve added. Show homes are always new and they are using the latest ideas. They usually list the builders for the projects, so if you are looking for a contractor this is a good place to start to get a reference.

This is my second article in a series on building a new deck, for the first article please click on Steps to Build a Deck.

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