Tips for Planning Your New Deck

Winter is a great time to start planning for your outdoor living space. It’s a big decision and can be a big investment. You want to get as much as you can from your outdoor space and you want to be confident that you’ll love it when it’s complete.

Better planning will always deliver a better end result.

Planning details beforehand can save time and money in the long run, and it all starts with asking questions. It’s important to know what you’re looking for but there are plenty of things you might not have considered. Below are a few helpful hints to get you started on the right foot.

How Will You Use This Space?

“I want a bigger deck” doesn’t exactly answer any questions. Understanding how you want to use the space will help you get a clearer idea of what you might need.

  • Size of the space: would you love to have comfy furniture for lounging?
  • Landscaping: would you like built in planters that add visual interest or an herb garden close to the grilling area?
  • Dining area: would you love to host more dinner parties for your family and friends?
  • Seating and storage: have you thought about built-in benches storage underneath?
  • Outdoor cooking: would you grill every night if you could – would a built in kitchen area with prep space, storage, or running water, be helpful?
  • Nighttime use: would you like to enjoy your deck in the evenings? outdoor lighting provides safety and ambiance, screened in areas provides protection from flying nuisances, fire pits can be used all year long.

How Will External Factors Affect This Space?

Knowing your yard is important. Take some time to think about:

  • Topography: is it flat, sloped, rocky, etc? These factors can really affect the placement of your new project. They can also add interesting features such as multi levels to work with the slopes or leaving a rock or tree incorporated into the design.
  • Landscaping: are there gardens and trees you’d like to keep in place or would you like to start from scratch? Create low-maintenance shrub boarders or beautiful wild English gardens – the opportunities are as endless as your thumb is green.
  • Views: can you see the lake or rolling hills from a certain point in your yard? Sight-lines and views can greatly enhance the enjoyment of your outdoor space – thinking about rail systems like narrow balusters or glass panels can have a big impact.
  • Privacy: alternatively, do you want to get some privacy from your neighbours? Would a fence or landscaping help divide your space, hide unsightly oil tanks, or dull the noise of passing traffic?
  • Your existing home: how will it affect the light or airflow into your home? Will this new space change the traffic flow in and out of your home – would it make sense to relocate the existing patio door?
  • Sun / Shade: Which way does your property face? Does it get morning sun or is it sweltering in the afternoon? Structures like pergolas or porches can help with direct sunlight and can also be handy for grilling in the rain (or snow!).
  • Permits or Homeowners Association Regulations: there are rules to building, even for a small deck on your own property. Make sure you know what’s allowed – and what isn’t.
  • Future considerations: are you planning on having children or thinking of aging family members where lots of stairs might be an issue? Would you like an enclosed space for pets? Planning ahead can be helpful down the road when needs might change. Even if you don’t need a fence at the moment, it’s helpful to consider how one might fit with the design now.

Is Resale Value Important to Me?

Will adding an outdoor space add value to you home? You bet!

A quick internet search tells you that decks can increase your home’s value by about 80% of the project cost ($15,000 deck = about $12,000 back when you sell your home) if well maintained. It may not be your top concern at the moment, but it’s definitely something to consider during the planning stage.

Finally – The Look

You want to ensure that your personality and lifestyle shines through.

  • Gather Ideas: sites like HOUZZ or Pinterest or the project gallery on Archadeck Nova Scotia are a good place to gather ideas and determine your style.
  • Materials:
    • do you have strong feelings (one way or another) about specific materials?
    • do you prefer wood or composite; dark, earthy tones, or bright beachy hues; stone pavers or brick? The options are endless, but your style and location will help determine what works for you.
    • what materials can be used in this Nova Scotia climate, or what can be locally sourced?
    • what will those materials look like as they age?
    • what’s your tolerance for ongoing maintenance?
    • what fits within your budget

It’s important to consider all these facts before plans are drawn. Your deck design should provide solutions and consider all your wants and needs.

Archadeck of Nova Scotia offers full design and build projects. From getting the proper permits, knowing the suppliers and materials that work best in our maritime climate, to site cleanup and final landscaping – we look after everything – so you don’t have to.

We’re here to help – if you have questions on enhancing your backyard, or if you’d like to set up a free consultation, give us a call 902-444-DECK (3325) or email us at [email protected]

From our Outdoor Living Design Guide, here’s a list of things to consider adding to your space:

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