When preparing to add or renovate a deck it’s important to ask yourself some key questions: What does the perfect outdoor living space look like? What will be the primary purpose of the deck? Are you looking for a private getaway or a prime entertaining area? Perhaps both? To ensure a deck-building project meets your vision, make a wish list of amenities and then consider how you can transform them into reality.

Architectural Style

There is nothing wrong with building the standard platform on the back of your house. You can make even the simplest design interesting with attractive finish details or an additional tier. To make the new space appear as a harmonious extension to your home, extend details found in your home’s exteriors such as the slope of the roof, the style of pillars and railings, even lattice work. Choose materials in colors and finishes that complement your existing exterior.

Property Considerations


You’ll likely want to build your deck in order to maximize privacy, take advantage of the view or both. To improve your view and increase privacy, consider adding trellises and vines or tall bushes. Consider the placement of trees and structures for providing shade. If you don’t have any sun protection, you will likely want to create shade with a deep overhang, a retractable shade or a few strategically placed umbrellas.

Designing within a Budget

A manageable budget is often a compromise between your imagination and wallet. Review your wish list and separate the essentials from the splurges. Fancy staircases, elaborate railings and intricate decking patterns can double or triple the cost. However, being frugal doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. Choose a less expensive building material and add a pricier aluminum railing, build one tier this year and another next year, and always be sure to shop around for the best price.