We admit that outdoor living is the last thing on anyone’s mind in January. But if you’re thinking of building a deck in your backyard once the days begin to warm, it’s critical to start planning now. With Colorado’s notoriously short summers, you’ll want to be ready to begin the project as soon as the weather allows.
From choosing decking materials to figuring out how to make the deck attractive as well as functional, there is much to think about. When designing your dream deck, consider these tips from Better Homes and Gardens:
Detail the ways you will use the deck:
Will you use it to entertain large parties, or do you prefer a more intimate setting, just for family and a few friends? Do you want a sunny spot, or one that’s shaded? Do you hope to have room for grilling? Think of how you would like to live in this space. “The more precise your goals, the more satisfactory the results.”
Consider a design with different levels:
In addition to adding visual interest, a design with different levels allows you to adjust the setting for different kinds of gatherings. You can confine a small group to one level, for example, or expand to another level for larger get-togethers.
Think of electrical needs.
Will you be hooking up a stereo? Plugging in a laptop computer or lamps? Be sure you include enough electrical outlets in all the right places.
Trees add visual interest and offer natural cooling. “Having a large shade tree through the middle of a deck creates a delightful natural overhead shade structure for you new outdoor space,” notes Better Homes and Gardens. You will need to plan for the expense, however: a tree large enough to provide shade can cost as much as $500 to $1,000, the magazine warns.
Think of adding foliage to the overall design:
Fast-growing vines can add privacy, shade and bursts of colorful flowers. Think of where you can add a trellis for the vines to climb, and how to integrate it into the overall deck design. In addition, consider adding plants around the deck’s foundation. They can help disguise unsightly structural components and add beauty. When choosing plants, be sure to take into account how much sunlight the spot will receive.
Blend the design with your home’s exterior:
As you research the materials to use for your deck, think of ways to incorporate elements from your home, so that the patio seems a natural extension of the original house. If your home is brick, for example, consider surrounding the deck with a border of the same brick or tinting concrete match the brick color.
Beware of scale:
No matter how much you have in your budget, you don’t want to create something that overwhelms your house. Large homes can accommodate large decks. Small homes are better off with more intimate outdoor spaces.