In our years of installing custom decks on every possible type of property, we’ve collected a few tried-and-true tips for designing the perfect deck to get the most out of your investment. We recommend that every homeowner takes these four steps before committing to a deck plan:
Step 1: Work with the contours of your yard. Evaluate the place where you want the deck installed. Is the ground level, or does it slope upwards or downwards? If your land has a unique curvature, you may want to consider adding deck stairs or even a multi-tiered deck design to best fit the terrain.
Step 2: Look at the bigger picture. Does your backyard have a fence, trees, or a tool shed? Surveying all of the other elements in your yard will help pick a design that is visually compatible. For example, if you don’t have any trees or foliage in your yard, consider including space for a patio table with an umbrella to provide some shade.
Step 3: Nail down the function. Identifying your deck’s main function ahead of time can be a great way to focus your ideas. If you plan to host outdoor parties, account for a space to park your grill, tables, and chairs. If you’d like your deck to be more of a family gathering place, focus your design to be more intimate—sometimes a cozy extended porch makes more sense than a huge deck that wraps around the back of your house. If you want to put a hot tub on your deck, knowing this ahead of time will let the contractors make sure the foundation is reinforced to hold its weight.
Step 4: Mind the Door. The most important factor in designing your deck is almost always overlooked: the door. The position of your backyard door dictates the height, flow, and positioning of your deck. For a quick way to visualize how your design will work, stand in your backyard doorway and imagine yourself stepping out onto your new deck. Any immediate concerns should jump out at you. Can you see over the fence into your neighbor’s yard? Does the gutter drain need to be relocated? Will there be enough room for the deck furniture you have in mind?
By following these four simple steps, you can design a custom deck that fits flawlessly into your backyard.