Three Tips For The Perfect Deck

Every homeowner wants a beautiful outside sitting place. Whether you get three months of summer or year-round sunshine, having a good outdoor hangout means the perfect place to entertain guests, enjoy a cookout, savor a summer evening or read the paper on Sunday mornings. Decks, whether in bright pastels or classic wood finishes,fit the bill perfectly.

Where once the patio was the supreme outdoor hangout, decks have come back and become very popular. Decks offer a number of advantages over a patio or plain backyard. They can be elevated, which may mean a better view or just an easy way to deal with sloping ground. They make a clearly defined gathering space that feels cozy and comfortable, like a room or a porch. Decks can also be very attractive.

But we’ve seen our fair share of bad deck designs, and they aren’t pretty. If you want to build a deck on your home, it’s important to make it look and feel like and an attractive place to be – both for your own enjoyment and for your home’s value. Here are three tips to make sure your deck delivers.

Bigger: Not Always Better. Suburban homeowners tend to want to build things big. You’ve got a spacious yard and a good size house, so why not add a boat of a deck, right? Large decks can work, especially if they have a unique shape and you really make use of the space (potted plants anyone?). But they can also look more like monsters than the cozy gathering place you’re going for – especially if you start adding a bunch of multiple levels and staircases. As a general rule, aim for the size of a large porch or dining room, not a small landing strip.

Overhead. No, we don’t mean cost. What’s above your deck? Summer isn’t fun if you’re baking in direct sunlight. If your yard lacks shade trees, consider an open-slatted roof for partial shade, or trellises so that vines can grow up and over your deck. If you do want an open-air look, think about stringing lights overhead to add a cafe feel and help delineate the space.

A Smooth Finish. What you want in your beer is also what you want in your deck: a good finish. When you choose a finish for your deck, don’t just think of protecting the wood: think about style. While painted decks have become popular, for your money there’s nothing like a good wood finish. Hundreds of varieties of wood finishesare available, so find the one that looks right for your house.

Are you thinking of building a deck? Or have you added one already? Hit the comments and tell us how you made it stand out.

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Jake Alexander enjoys writing home improvement articles and blog posts. Follow him @JakeAlexander17.