A deck is the gathering place and architectural element that is the focal point of most back yards. With the right planning and forethought the deck can be designed to accommodate the whole family and their lifestyle. Decks no longer have to be plain and are now, more than ever becoming an extension of the home by incorporating more living space and design elements.


1. Use existing deck designs

Instead of freestyling your own design, why not use the expertise of free designs on websites like decks.com. If you need a custom design due to an unconventional backyard you can use their design tools to create your own design too.Use existing deck designs


2. Think about how you will use the deck

How will you use the space: for entertaining, BBQ and kitchen, privacy and relaxation or will you need a fire pit. Think about all of the components you might want in a deck and how you will incorporate them.Think about how you will use the deck


3. Plan for use and traffic

While in the planning stages of your deck, plan what areas will have purpose and also ensure that traffic areas from the house and to the yard are also incorporated. You will want to be sure that there is enough space to move around so that the deck is not crowded or cluttered.Plan for use and traffic


4. Choose the materials wisely

When planning your deck the lifespan and purpose the materials you use will affect how many years you will get to enjoy what you’ve built. The popular choices are: composite decking, pressure treated wood and cedar. Budget will likely dictate which material you decide upon, as composite is by far the most expensive material on the market today, but it also has the best longevity.Choose the materials wisely


5. Think about shape and size

You do not want to overwhelm the house with a deck you will want it to be extension of the home. As a rule of thumb the deck should be no bigger than 20 per cent of the home’s square footage. The shape of the deck should also fit with the back of your home.Think about shape and size


6. Consider the views

When planning your deck think about how it will look from both from the house and on the deck looking out. If you have a view that you want to highlight then plan your deck to accentuate it and also ensure that you do not obscure any views from inside the home.Consider the views


7. Consider the transition

Consider how the deck transitions to the yard and consider transitional space that continues the flow into your garden. Often a good transition is a stone patio or interlock paving.Consider the transition


8. Choose the vertical elements

The vertical elements actually create the visual interest of the deck and will provide the safety and shade that you will need. Will there need to be a pagoda, a gazebo or privacy fence?Choose the vertical elements


9. Lighting and décor options

Your deck should include some elements of décor that make it comfortable and good to look at. Think hurricane lanterns, throw pillows and even some outdoor art if you have a good place to put it.