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How to build a better deck: 7 strategies and ideas
Not surprisingly, we love decks. A deck is a great place to entertain guests on warm summer evenings or grill out during the spring and fall. However, if you don’t yet have a deck or aren’t satisfied with your current deck, it may be time for an upgrade. In this post, we suggest seven strategies that can help you build a better deck.
Create an elevated deck
An elevated deck might be three feet off the ground or thirteen. Elevated decks are visually dramatic and provide more usable space than ground-level decks. This design gives homeowners more room for entertaining friends and family in their outdoor living areas while also offering additional square footage for storing bikes, lawn equipment, and gardening supplies. An elevated deck should always include a railing (more on that below) to prevent children, pets, and inattentive guests from injury.
Build a floating deck
A floating deck is a deck that isn’t attached to a building, so they appear to “float” above the lawn. Floating decks are great for outdoor living spaces. They’re simple, attractive, and relatively easy to build, but they also require very little maintenance when they’re built with composite decking. Because they aren’t attached to your home or permanently set into the ground, the permitting process is often more straightforward. In many municipalities, a permit is not required for a floating deck. (HINT: always check with your city before you build. Here’s a great post on the topic.) Floating decks can provide a much-needed platform for outdoor dining, patio furniture, or a grilling area. Because it’s freestanding, a floating deck can be set at an angle or positioned near another outdoor feature, such as a shady maple tree or a secluded corner of your lot.
Build a deck that wraps around the house
So many homeowners have told us that they’ve always dreamed of adding a deck that wraps around the house and provides outdoor space on all four sides. A wraparound deck will give you more living space and allow you to enjoy the outdoors no matter what direction you are looking. A wraparound deck is visually appealing but requires careful planning to blend harmoniously with your home. Wraparound decks also require more labor, so the installation costs are often higher.
Use different colors of decking
When it comes to enhancing your living space, you may spend a lot of time thinking about the color of paint for your walls or how to choose the perfect furniture. However, when it comes to decks and patios, people often confine themselves to “Brown or gray?” Combining multiple colors is simple and adds a great deal of personality to your deck. For multi-level decks, try related colors on each level. Or, edge your deck with a contrasting color. For example, if you build your main deck area with Armadillo Coyote, use Smoke or Walnut around the edges.
Add a unique deck railing
One of the first things people notice when they see a deck is the railing, so we recommend selecting one that aligns with the architecture and style of your home. There are many types of railings available for purchase, from traditional rails to ornate patterns. Painted aluminum balustrades are affordable, simple to install, and look great. Stainless steel cable is becoming quite popular; it’s strong, wears well, and is so sleek that it’s almost unnoticeable.
For an even more finished look, use post sleeves, skirts, and caps that match the color of your deck.
When you add solar-powered or low-voltage LED lights to your railing posts, your deck looks even more dramatic when the sun goes down.
If you’re looking for a touch that will really stand out, consider adding metalwork elements such as urns or scrolls. These can be found at most hardware stores and come in various finishes like copper, bronze, or wrought iron. Once installed, these features will add an elegant decorative element and make it possible to create dramatic effects quickly and easily.
Build an outdoor kitchen on your deck
What are the benefits of having an outdoor kitchen on your deck? It can be a place for all of your family and friends to gather during warm-weather parties. Plus, it’s just another way to enjoy being outdoors! Outdoor kitchens are particularly well-suited to those who love outdoor entertaining. Ideally, your outdoor kitchen will feature a cooking area (with a large gas or propane grill), a refrigerator for cold drinks, fruits, vegetables, and a good-sized counter or island for serving.
Decorate with plants and flowers
Is your existing deck a bit of a “plain Jane?” Do you want to make it seem like you are living in the great outdoors? It’s time for some plants and flowers! Decking out (pun intended) your outdoor space can be super fun, but it also has many benefits. Plants not only add color and life to your deck they also improve air quality by cleaning up pollutants. They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen during photosynthesis, so we’re all breathing easier! Plus, adding greenery can help cool off an outdoor space on hot days. Because plants and flowers are living things, they require ongoing care (such as plant food, water, and protection from insects) to look their best. Talk to your local greenhouse or garden center about plants best suited to your geographic area and your lot. They’ll help you factor in the amount of sun, shade, and moisture to find the perfect plants to enhance your deck.
Summary: 7 strategies and ideas to build a better deck
- Build a floating deck
- Build a deck that wraps around the house
- Create an elevated deck
- Use different colors of wood
- Build an outdoor kitchen on your deck
- Add a unique deck railing
- Decorate with plants and flowers
The good news is that you don’t need a complicated project to enjoy spending time on your deck with family and friends! We hope these few tips give you some inspiration as you plan out how to spend more time outdoors on your composite deck.
If you are interested in learning more about building and outdoor living, be sure to check out our inspiration gallery with plenty of deck design ideas. You can also find all the information on materials needed, ideas for different decks, and much more on our website.
Which one of these ideas do you like best? Let us know on the Armadillo deck Facebook page!