April, May, June… prime time for deck building. Most people jump into choosing a decking material, a color, and the size of deck they want. But the planning process really needs more structure than that.
Let’s think about the “What If” variables in deck planning:
What if you want to make your deck unique? You could using varying plank widths, alternating colors, a Herringbone pattern, a plank frame around the edge, a tile pattern, a contrasting inlay to anchor the table like an area rug… You could, if you knew all the variables available to you.
What if you want to take advantage of the patterns of sun and shade on your deck? You might want to design an irregularly shaped deck that is partially in sun and partially in shade at different times of day. You could, if you knew how to plan the structural elements.
What if your favorite shade tree is right where you want the deck? You could build the deck right around the tree, and then build in some benches around the circle cut for the trunk. You could, but you’d need to think about where the footings could be in relation to the tree trunk.
What if you want your parties stretch into the late evening hours of darkness? You’ll want to incorporate creative use of lighting into your plan. Lighted post caps and step lighting, of course, but clever use of on-deck features like stones or plant lighting have great impact. Of course, you’ll probably need to make them code-compliant, plus you’ll want access to an electrician.
What if the eating area you planned is far from the deck entry door and you have to make a hundred trips to serve and clean up? Is there a window nearby that could be configured into a passthrough window or even second doorway? You can, especially if your contractor also happens to be a door and window expert.
What if your deck area by the house is always in sun or the lawn’s grading makes building a deck a problem? You could install a stand-alone deck in a more shaded, wooded area or a shady space in your yard. You’ll want to position the deck and the plantings so the deck isn’t a flat wood space that nobody wants to bother walking to. Make it inviting by adding a fire pit or water feature, lots of tall and colorful potted plants. You could even add a parachute cover if you knew how to get a parachute cover.
So, the point of all of this is that there are answers to almost any “What Ifs” you come up with when thinking about the deck of your dreams. The best way to get those answers is to work with highly qualified, experienced deck planning and installing professionals, like ours at Ferris Home Improvements, who have done hundreds of decks and run up against all sorts of issues and opportunities.
Make sure you take advantage of all those years of learning, and don’t end with, “What if my deck is done and I don’t like it?”