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Consider These Features Before Building Your Outdoor Deck

Twenty or thirty years ago, designing and building an outdoor deck was a relatively simple task. For one thing, there weren’t all that many materials to choose from. Almost all decks were made from a few specific hardwoods, including Cedar and Redwood, with their natural insect-resistant and weather-resistant properties. Pressure Treated (PT) lumber was also in circulation back then—but generally speaking, options were fairly limited.

This was also true in terms of design. While a few people might have gone for sprawling, extravagant, or specialized outdoor deck designs, the rule of them was to keep it relatively simple. You had a main surface, a guard railing, some stairs, and of course a support structure to hold the deck in place.

Today’s homeowner is faced with a whole plethora of materials, options, and design features.

beautiful deck with a firepit with a beautiful view

This is obviously a good thing, as it gives you more control over your investment and your final results. It enables you to design and install the deck you want, and gives you a lot more room for creativity. On the other hand, it can lead to confusion and stress if you don’t know what to look for, or don’t have the guidance of a qualified outdoor deck builder to inform your design and give you valuable advice on which way to go.

Navigating this sea of options doesn’t have to be that difficult, however, if you know what to look for. For example, before you settle on a final design for your new outdoor deck, have you considered any of the following popular features?

  1. The built-in fire pit

It’s definitely possible to purchase a standalone fire pit from your local home store and set it on your deck. This allows greater freedom of movement, and in some cases might be a cheaper solution. On the other hand, it could present safety issues and does not have the classy, timeless feel of a built-in fire pit or fireplace. There are many designs to choose from, including “blocks” and “bowls,” or even a real brick fireplace. This provides a gathering point for your deck and gives you a useful amenity for cool nights.

  1. The “staggered” multi-level deck

We’re not talking about having multiple “floors” for your deck—unless you really want go all out. It is entirely possible, however (and fairly common) to built multiple levels or “tiers” into your deck. Homeowners are often surprised at how drastically this changes the appearance of the deck, giving it depth and making the design appear more dynamic and textured. It also allows you to separate different areas of the deck, for instance having one area for entertaining and another “tier” for exercise or pilates.

  1. Custom detailing

A skilled outdoor deck builder will be able to discuss many possibilities with you in terms of customization and special finishings. For example, your deck’s guard rails don’t have to be boring. Custom trim, woodworking, and interlocking designs can give it a creative flourish that will catch the attention of guests (and potential buyers, should you ever decide to sell). Built in storage and seating options can also add creative functionality to your design.

  1. Fountains and ponds

If you really want to class up your deck, consider adding a built-in water element, such as a fountain or pond. These features add a distinct feeling of luxury to your design, and can also be very soothing, whether you’re relaxing as a family or entertaining guests.

Taking it up a notch

Investing in an outdoor deck is no longer such a simple or limited endeavor. There are now an endless variety of options, and plenty of good contractors out there who can take care of your investment and finish your project to the highest standard. Finding one of these qualified companies is a great first step. After that, it’s all about working within your budget to create a design that reflects your tastes and looks beautiful as an addition to your home.