If you’re like our family, you’ve been stuck at home the last few months. Tony and I like to stay busy, and we always have ideas for different ways to improve our home. We had not planned to build a deck this year, but with most other vacation plans cancelled or postponed, we thought it would be a great time to increase our outdoor living area. Plus, having a large project to keep me busy keeps my mind off other things.
We are doing this deck project as part of the Spring 2020 One Room Challenge. Over the next few weeks I’m going to bring you through our deck build and explain how you can do it too. This will include a variety of topics such as:
- How to design a deck
- How to pour the footings and sonotubes
- How to install the posts and joists
- Installing the deck boards
- How to make a deck railing and stairs
- How to build an outdoor sectional
How to design a deck
Our current deck is a 180 square foot covered deck that we made when we built our house.
Two years ago we put up an above ground pool, and also built stairs off the back deck. Our plan all along was to extend the top deck to meet the pool, and create one cohesive space.
Our plan is to extend the top deck out another 10 feet, and widen it by two feet. There will be 12 foot long steps down to the lower deck around the pool, and then another set of stairs down to ground level. Here is the rough the design we have chosen for our deck build.
There are several thought processes we used for coming up with this deck design, including deck zones, size and shape, flow of traffic, and material choices.
Here are my tips for designing a deck, plus the plans we have for our own deck
The first step for designing a deck is to think about how you want to use your outdoor space. Will you be using your deck as an outdoor dining area? Do you want a comfy lounging space? Do you want to include an outdoor kitchen or cooking area?
Our main goal for our deck is to increase the area and extend the deck all the way to the pool. This will also provide a larger seating area for adults to supervise. We also wanted a separate area for dining, an area for lounging and maybe an outdoor nap, and a place for cooking. We worked all these elements into our design to maximize the usefulness of the space. Eventually we will add a hot tub, but that will not be this year.
Flow of traffic
You will want to think about how people will travel across the outdoor space. It’s best to have a clear path from the door to the backyard to keep your areas separate. Different levels of a deck can also be used to separate the spaces and continue the flow of traffic.
For our deck, we wanted to keep the centre section open so the kids can go from the back door, down to the lower pool deck, and out to the backyard. This flow of traffic does not go through the dining area, and the cooking area is still off to the side.
Size and shape
The size of your property may determine how large or small you can build your deck. Adding a foot or two to your deck will not add too much extra cost, but just make sure that the size will complement the functions you want to achieve from your deck. A square or rectangle is easier to build, but by adding angles you can increase the visual appeal of your deck.
Our deck will be a total of about 500 square feet, with 370 square feet on the upper deck, and 130 square feet on the lower deck.
There are several different options of materials for building your deck, including real wood or man made alternatives. The benefits of composite materials is that they are very low maintenance. However, they are more expensive. Solid wood is a beautiful choice, but is very expensive and still needs maintenance.
We opted for pressure treated lumber, because of the lower cost. Also we don’t mind the look. You can leave pressure treated lumber natural, or stain it to get a different color.
So there you go, those are my tips for how to design a deck. Once you have your rough deck design, you can get a professional to draw it up and get your permits and all that.
Over the next few posts I’ll share our progress with you. Next week I’ll explain how we dug the holes, and poured the footings and sonotubes. Make sure to sign up for email so you don’t miss out!
Check out more One Room Challenge room makeovers
That’s such a fun deck – i love that it’s completely shaded so you can enjoy it even on super hot days