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How to Create Multiple Uses for Decks

Oct 9, 2007
Any well designed deck can serve one purpose or several purposes. How the deck is designed will depend largely upon how it will be used. Successful deck designing requires an examination of lifestyle.

A small unused side yard might be the ideal location for a ground level deck for that private getaway refuge. A few screening plants, some built-in or movable seating, a table and a few decorative accents such as cushions, artwork or wind chimes can transform that space into a low maintenance private outdoor room. A well situated trellis added to the deck can allow for climbing plants or vines to provide something wonderful to look at while also creating a sense of enclosure and privacy.

If entertaining is a common activity that narrow side yard will not do the trick. A larger deck is an ideal addition to relieve congestion in the kitchen and convert an overflow group into a festive celebration. Larger gatherings require additional seating, grilling and dining areas. If teenagers are involved, a deck can provide them with an opportunity to do their thing while offering peace and solitude to other family members. Entertaining requires a fair amount of space. A dining area for 2 needs a space 8 feet in diameter. Dining space for 8 would require an area 8 feet by 12-14 feet in size. Count on 5 square feet for standing room in a deck design. Passageways from one area to another should be a minimum of 4 feet wide.

A deck can be a perfect solution for the play activities of children. A sandbox with a movable lid can be incorporated into the deck design and offer years of entertainment for small family members. Bench seating on one side or completely around the sandbox can offer a chance for quiet reading or play. Once the sandbox novelty wears off in later years it can be transformed into a firepit or water feature. And of course the seating is already there to accomodate quiet conversation and reflection. Build stairways extra wide or have a series of descending platforms linked by steps as possible imaginative play areas for the kids. Make sure to plan a spot for a comfortable chair to provide for a measure of unobstructed adult observation and supervision.

A raised platform or second level can act as the perfect setting for lounging by family sunworshippers. For those who prefer the shade an arbor or pergola would be an ideal choice. A pair of sturdy vertical posts of one of these overhead structures could be utilized for a hammock or a swinging chair.

Just plain sitting, relaxing and enjoying the view can be a great use of a deck. Orient the deck so that the garden, water feature, cluster of flowering trees or other unique feature of the yard can be easily viewed.

An inexpensive above ground pool gains a lot of class when it adjoins a deck. The same applies to a hot tub or spa. Bench seating can add an area of comfort and encourage conversation near all of these items. A wide set of steps linking the deck and these amenities can also provide seating as well as easy access.

A deck is an excellent location to do some container gardening. It's simply a matter of finding or creating containers or planter boxes that go well with the deck. A veritable herb garden can be created and requires very little work. With enough sun, tomatoes, peppers and all sorts of vegetables can do well on the deck while adding color and greenery to the whole look of this outdoor living space.

Of course no deck would be complete without some type of lighting for night time use. Whether the standard 120 volt system is used or a low voltage option, lighting can dramatically expand the possibilities for deck use once the sun goes down.

Careful use of a variety of design techniques can dramatically affect the way or ways in which a deck can be used by its owners and enhance their lifestyle.
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 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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