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How to Choose the Right Deck Design Software

Aug 21, 2007
Deck building has become a whole lot simpler with the advent of home improvement retail outlets. They offer how-to-do-it clinics, a wide variety of deck building materials and even free deck design consultations. In the course of these consultations the retail outlet person calls upon computer software to make the process simpler for the homeowner. And of course the nice thing about it all is that it's a free service.

So with so many homeowners having home computers why don't more people go out and purchase design software and use it to create their own deck design?

The difficulty is that there are so many different kinds of computer software out in the marketplace that homeowners find it difficult to make a choice. These programs vary in price and capabilities. The basic do-it-yourself types are priced in the $30.00 range. Another slightly more advanced type is in the $50.00-$100.00 range. Builders and contractors use commercial products that cost $1,000.00 and up in price.

Ideally, the one that you choose will allow you with the click of a mouse to create a design, change it from simple to complex, transform it from one level to multi-level and add features such as railings, posts, benches and skirting. However, much of the effectiveness of the software comes from the computer abilities and design capabilities of the person holding the mouse.

It is very important to compare the features and capabilities of deck design software before making a choice and purchase. A good version will provide you with a variety of sample deck styles that can be copied or modified to suit your particular home and backyard. The size and shape could be altered in a flash with ease. It would allow you to add such features as railings, steps, benches, level changes and angles with the click of a mouse. You would also be able to select the decking material, its direction (horizontal, vertical, diagonal, herringbone, etc.) and color and texture.

Good deck design software would also allow you to view your proposed outdoor living space design from a variety of viewpoints. Some of the newer versions now allow you to import actual photographs of your home into the program so that you can view your new virtual deck next to your own house. Another handy feature would be an editing toolbar that would permit deck features to be easily added or removed. Good deck design software would also allow you to enter custom dimensions for width, depth and height for your specific situation.

Another important feature would be the ability of the software to generate a materials list pertaining to the proposed deck. This would be vital in determining the budgetary information related to construction of the deck.

Finally, most good software programs allow you to generate printed plans to use during construction ot to use as a basis for discussion with a contractor.

Deck design software can be a useful tool for a homeowner contemplating the addition of a deck in the back yard. It can eliminate a great deal of guesswork in the process with a point, click and drag of the mouse so that in the end the ideal deck is designed to perfectly suit the tastes and needs of the person in front of the computer screen.
About the Author
Richard Vande Sompel is a professional deck builder of 35 years and over 850
decks built and is the author of "How to Plan, Design and Build a Deck from
Start to Finish". To Discover More About
Deck Design Software and Claim your 2
FREE Deck Plans, Insider Report, MP3 Audio and discover everything to know about
building a deck visit:
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