A low-maintenance deck allows you to expand your living space and enjoy the outdoors without having to spend all of your time working to keep it looking and functioning at its best. 

But there are a lot of decisions to make before building a deck. For instance, you need to consider your budget, what layout would work best in your yard, and the design and color that would best complement your home. You also need to determine which type of low-maintenance decking will work best for your needs.

To help you plan, we’ve compiled a few of the details you should consider before you have your new deck built.

Set Your Budget

Your budget will affect everything from the size of your deck to the design and materials you choose. So before you begin planning your new deck, it’s important to set a budget. 

When setting your budget, make sure to include details like building permits and the cost of hiring a deck contractor. And don’t forget the extras you hope to add to your deck, such as deck lighting or built-in seating.

Think About How You’ll Use Your Deck

There are many reasons to build a deck, including outdoor dining and entertaining, hot tub or pool surround, or simply having a quiet place to lounge in the sunshine. What will you use your deck for? 

Determine what functions you want your deck to serve, then design it with the space and accessories needed for those activities.

For instance…

  • Want to enjoy family meals on your deck? Make sure there is enough space for a table and chairs to fit comfortably.
  • Planning to host BBQs or yard parties? You’ll need room for a grill and serving area. You may also want to add some built-in perimeter seating or handrails with a wide, flat cap for guests to set their drinks on.
  • Looking to add a hot tub to your deck? You may need additional supporting structure for the extra weight. 

Thinking about how you will use your deck will help you narrow down the options for deck design and choose the amenities that are most important to you.

Look at Different Layout Options

Take a look at the area where you’ll build your deck, and think about what sort of layout you want. When deciding on a layout, consider the following:

  • Size. Stake out a rough outline to see how much of the yard it will take up. Then, arrange your furniture within the space to see if there’s enough room for what you want.
  • Slope. If your yard is sloped, you may want to consider a multi-level deck to make the most use out of your space.
  • Sun Protection. If the area where a deck will best fit in your yard is in full sun, adding a pergola will help provide some shade.
  • Privacy. If the spot you’re building your deck is close to the neighbors, consider adding a privacy fence for added comfort.
  • Homeowners Association Rules. If you are part of a homeowners association, your deck size, design, and layout choices may be limited by the association’s rules. Be sure to check their guidelines before determining your layout and choosing materials, finishes, and accessories.

Consider Design and Accessories

When it comes to deck design, you have more options than simply picking out a color. A good deck designer can take you through all of your options, but to get your creative juices flowing, consider these ideas:

  • Pattern. Opt for a classic, single-color design aesthetic or go for something unique like a basketweave pattern or accent boards. 
  • Color. The color of your deck should complement your home’s siding and trim colors.
  • Safety. Safety features like handrails and stair lighting are important — and often overlooked — elements to consider.
  • Built-ins. Boost your deck’s functionality with built-in storage, benches for seating, or flower boxes.
  • Finishing touches. Round out your design with options like lattice skirts and post caps.

Even if you’re having your deck designed by a pro, it’s helpful to have an idea of what you want before you meet with them.

Choose a Low-Maintenance Decking Material

Last, but certainly not least, you’ll need to decide which decking material best suits your needs and budget. At Outdoor Solutions, we’ve found that composite or plastic lumber are the best choices for most of our customers.

Here’s a quick overview of the benefits of these low-maintenance decking materials:

  • Composite Decking is made of a combination of recycled plastic (such as PVC, polypropylene, or polyethylene) and wood fibers (like wood chips or sawdust). It is extremely weather- and stain-resistant, highly durable, and easy to care for. We offer both Trex and TimberTech composite decking.
  • Plastic Lumber Decking is made of a combination of recycled and virgin plastics. It is highly resistant to stains, decay, mold, mildew, and moisture, and, like composite, is easy to care for. We carry Azek plastic decking, which is engineered to imitate the beauty of wood.

Composite and plastic lumber decking tend to be more mid-priced and similar to one another in cost. To learn more about the different low-maintenance decking materials we offer, view this blog we wrote on the benefits of low-maintenance decking.

When you’re ready to talk about designing and building your new deck, contact the team at Outdoor Solutions Inc. We’re your local expert for decks, porches, and hardscapes, and we look forward to putting our expertise to work for you!