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How to Choose a Deck Location

Oct 12, 2007
Selecting a site for the deck location is an extremely important step in the deck building process. However, it is surprising that many homeowners neglect to spend much time in determining whether the site is truly the best place to construct the deck. There are a number of factors that need to be considered in making a determination about the final placement of this outdoor living space.

If a raised deck is being considered it is important to make sure that the views are examined from the same position and eye level that would be occupied on the deck. Looking out a door or window that opens onto the potential deck site is an ideal way to get a good idea of this. However, if partially hidden views are being considered then a ladder or scaffold will be needed to verify the best site for capturing those views. At the same time it might happen that an eyesore might be discovered and would need to be screened out.

A raised deck can create some privacy issues. A deck 3 feet or more off the ground may put a homeowner on display for the neighborhood to see. Fencing required to alleviate this situation would probably exceed height restrictions along property lines. The strategic placement of tall shrubs or dense trees can do something to partially solve the problem. Another solution would be to add a privacy screen or barrier along one or more sides of the deck.

A design problem for many decks is how to resolve the height difference between floor level and ground level. The most inviting doorway transition is no change in levels at all which is easily done if building a deck at floor level. If the deck is to be built lower to facilitate privacy, then stairs or a descending series of platforms would be needed. Avoid stairs at the door if possible. Instead plan a landing that is a minimum of 3 feet deep and at least as wide as the door being served. Where possible plan the landing as large as possible so that anyone can linger without creating congestion. A practical minimum size would be 6 by 6 feet.

Make a point to consider access to other parts of the yard. Ground level decks offer unlimited possibilities. However, a raised deck would required careful planning. Consider providing access points to reach the garden, side yard or garage. Think about the fact that stair locations have an impact upon the placement of furniture and areas for various activities. Outdoor stairs need to be broader, wider and less steep that indoor stairs to take advantage of the wide open spaces and more relaxed pace of life outside.

Plan the location of the deck with the various seasons in mind. Choose a location where the deck enjoyment can be increased by adjusting the site to sun and shade patterns for the various seasons. A deck built on the south side of a home can capture enough winter sun to extend the outdoor living season. A raised deck exposed to prevailing winds may be undesirable on certain sides of the house.

A deck can be designed for almost any slope no matter how steep it is. In some cases it may require an engineered structural system to do it. Look for suspicious soil conditions such as non-compacted fill or persistent seepage. The important thing with a deck is that the ground at deck site should slope away from the house. If not then the site must be regraded to prevent future problems from occurring.

The amount of available space within the yard is an important consideration. Setbacks, easements, septic tank clearances, traffic paths, buried utilities and other obstacles impact the yard and limit potential deck locations. Many of these restrictions do not necessarily apply to a ground hugging deck although total lot coverage might be an issue.

It is vital that the proposed deck location site is accessible. Materials must find their way to the job site. A backhoe, or concrete truck might need to navigate its way to the area at some point. In some cases fence panels might have to be removed from a fence with a neighbor's permission to facilitate this. Difficult access to the building site will result in possible work slowdowns and extra expenses.

The end result is a deck location that is perfectly suited to the needs, tastes and style of the homeowner and family members.
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 Location 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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