In Northeast Ohio, we never know what the weather will be like from one day to the next, so it’s important for us to take advantage of every nice moment we get. Whether you’re lounging back with a book trying to get a beach free tan or entertaining guests and grilling burgers, a deck is the perfect summer setting. But if your home has flaky wooden planks with nails sticking out of the boards, it might be the last place you want to be. Renovating your deck and tricking it out with the latest features has never been easier. Remember, adding in a built-in ramp gives a great look to your deck, and there’s the added bonus of making it accessible for everyone!
The important thing to keep in mind when doing any home modification is considering what you want to use it for. What will be the main activity you do on your deck?
If you’re looking for a casual place to play host to family and friends, maybe you want your deck to be an outdoor living room? You can structure everything around a great big table for dining or a fire pit for cozy evening ambience.
Lounge chairs could serve as the main seating and your railings could even provide additional spots to pull double duty if they’re low enough. Utilizing leftover deck boards are perfect to use for these. This seating can also be used for storage and can cleverly hide blankets, towels, grilling tools, or anything else you might need out there. Similarly, steps can also be used as secret cabinets and drawers.
If you’re a big foodie, the centerpiece of your deck could be your grill with a prep station and serving area. The perimeter seating and dining table could come in handy here, and string lights or lanterns hanging above can give your home an intimate and romantic restaurant feel.
Let’s say you’re designing to fit your dream garden? Your flowers could lead right up to your deck in a foliage filled path. It can either draw you out to explore and give you that chance to take a second to smell the roses, or give you some privacy. A plant wall can make sure no nosy neighbors see you, or if you’re short on space, the wall could even be your garden. The same tucked away feeling can be done with planter boxes or hanging planters. Don’t forget that these could also add a dash of color to liven up your railings.
Pergolas can shield against some strong rays from the sun that still lets some light in, and building beneath trees can also be great for reducing wind or rain. Be sure to think about the direction your deck is facing. Is it going to be in the path of the rising or setting sun? Facing the rain or snow? Wind screens might not be a bad idea to up the comfort level, protect against strong gusts, and allow you to get the most use of your deck despite the unpredictable Ohio weather.
If the deck is merely a platform for something else – like a toolshed, Jacuzzi, pool, kid’s playhouse, or small bar, it’s crucial to accommodate for the weight of the item. You don’t want to overload the deck or make it sag. Before breaking ground, mark any underground cables or pipes. Every locale has their own restrictions that might interfere with your desired design, so contact your municipality before starting anything. Local codes must be followed so you don’t have to make future additional renovations before you sell.
But let’s say there’s something in the way? A tree? A rock? It’s possible to design your deck’s structure around it to make a unique layout. You can even use two or more trees to serve as support for a freestanding pergola. This also allows your deck to expand further into your yard. Make sure you allow enough space for the tree to grow to its mature form before boxing it in. Placing your deck on a corner or even curving the shape will also make it stand out. If you’re able, we recommend creating a staggered, layering of levels to give the edges a striking, modern appearance. If you have steps, make sure you they’re properly illuminated so you don’t slip at night. Railing also need to be sturdy enough to lean on and wide enough for plates and drinks to sit.
A second floor deck can provide shade over a patio and give you access to a great view. It also allows you to build up instead of out to really make the most of what you’ve got. Beneath a single story deck is just as important as up top – you can use the space underneath as extra storage, or just section it off with lattice. Or, with a few simple hinge attachments, the lattice can open so you can achieve both.
Repurposing discarded items like old shutters or using cotton canvas tarps gives a modern feel to your deck. With metal clips or ties, you can hang something up to serve as an awning or even protect against the elements. Mixing things up with a wide variety of materials used in the construction can make your deck the difference between other homes.
Choosing a color or pattern to add visual interest can spice up an otherwise plain deck. Accented, angled, basketweave, herringbone, or nested squares can break up monotony of the floor.
Decks are perfect for homes of any size and people of all needs. If you’re concerned that your yard is too tiny, a smaller deck can actually make a space feel larger. And, if you’ve got a large property, a big deck is a great way to connect structures and increase your outdoor space all at the same time.