Deck Design Ideas and Tips

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Design Concept

A deck is an extension of the architecture, look, and feel of your home. When you build one, you'll not only transform the functionality of your yard and outdoor space, but you will also increase your home's value.

There are many creative ways to incorporate a deck into your home's architecture, even if you don't have a yard. Because decks are custom-built, you have flexibility when it comes to picking a shape and design. Even though many traditional decks are built in square arrangements, you can also design a circle or half-circle if these designs work better for your yard.

If you have a two story home, you have the option to build a deck on the top floor, ground floor, or both. You can build a deck as an extension of your patio or balcony, regardless of whether you plan to construct large or small area.

You can use your deck in a way that fits with your interests and lifestyle. You can set up a freestanding hammock or a hammock that connects to sturdy beams. You can use your deck as a space to host barbecues, and you can set up a patio and table chairs for a place to share meals with your family. You can also install a few planter boxes if you'd like to maintain a small flower or vegetable garden.

In addition to the deck itself, make sure to pay attention to the smaller details including the trim, railings, and other features. Even these small elements can impact the cost and value of the final product. Keep in mind that you can create shade for your deck, or you can leave the space exposed to the sun.

Decorative Approaches

Your decorative approaches will depend on your architectural limitations, design objectives, and lifestyle. It should be obvious that your first goal is to stick with a design that is safe. You don't want a second-story deck that is too big and heavy for the space and support structure. Otherwise, the consequences can be extremely problematic.

Ultimately, you should plan to use your deck as a space for leisure, so follow a decorative approach that emphasizes comfort and relaxation. If you enjoy barbecues and outdoor meals, set up a patio chair and table. If you enjoy gardening, set up a few planter boxes. If you just want to lounge around, install a hammock or bench. You can even install a hot tub within or adjacent to the deck.

If you have children, make sure that you reinforce the message that a deck is not a play area. Set up your play structures elsewhere in a safer location such as a lawn. Make sure that your kids know not to leave their toys lying around. Nobody wants a scraped knee or broken arm.

Safety Tips

You should check with your city government to see if you need to submit any plans for approval. Usually, construction projects-even residential ones-must meet building certain building specifications. Otherwise, you may have trouble finishing your project or selling your home. You may end up paying a fine, or the city may require you to remove the project altogether.


The long-term attention that you need to give your deck depends on the weather in your area. If your area is rainy, then you should expect to refinish your deck at least once or twice a year. You should also consider covering your deck if this is the situation.

Excessive exposure to water may ultimately result in long-term water damage. If your deck does become damaged, you don't necessarily need to replace the whole thing. You could probably get away with just replacing a few floorboards.

Last Updated: July 22, 2011
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About Ritika Puri Based in California, Ritika Puri has worn a number of professional hats ranging from blogger to quantitative researcher, martial arts instructor, and cartographer. No matter what she does, she loves to write and specializes in topics related to home improvement, personal finance, and business. She writes regularly for's Financial Edge section, and her work has appeared on SF Gate, Yahoo! Finance, and The Chicago Sun Times Online. She holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and an M.A. in Demographic and Social Analysis from the University of California at Irvine.  

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