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How to Create a Deck Style

Oct 12, 2007
Any deck design should extend beyond just being functional. Enjoyment of an outdoor living space increases when the style of the deck is appealing and reflects the personality of the homeowner. One of the fastest ways to develop an understanding of deck style is to divide the subject into 2 categories: formal and informal. The main difference between these 2 styles lies in how such things as lines, shapes, angles and materials are utilized.

1. Formal deck design employs straight lines, right angles, regular geometric shapes such as squares and rectangles and also includes decorative objects arranged in even numbers. A formal layout might center on a rectangular ground level deck surrounded by rectangular planting beds. Pairs of columns or classic urns might be used to enhance a deck in this style because formal designs involve symmetry. In many formal designs, a line drawn down the center of a deck will result in one side mirroring the other almost exactly.

2. Informal deck design is characterized by curved lines, irregular and often free flowing shapes and odd numbered groupings of objects. A casual and comfortable balance is the main goal as opposed to symmetry. A path from one point in the yard to the deck might employ loose material such as small stones or wood chips. On the other hand another informal design might employ brick and cut stone in curved layouts. Informal designs often use planter beds to enhance their casual feeling and appearance.

Style can be further categorized as: traditional or contemporary.

1. A traditional deck will create a feeling associated with a formal courtyard through the use of decorative items such as fountains, urns, columns and lush greenery. An approximate image of the meaning of traditional would be to think of Roman or Greek styles. Traditional decks generally are created with formal lines but informal styles can be done in a traditional manner as well. In a formal garden steps might be built with brick set with clean, orderly edges. In an informal traditional setting the same steps might be constructed of dry stacked stone.

2. Contemporary decks are comfortable, cool and serene. Bold shapes and colors, sleek lines and unusual combinations of materials would more likely be included in a contemporary deck. Any decorative items in this type of decking design tend to be abstract emphasizing texture, color and light instead of representational forms.

Some deck styles go beyond the categories of formality and informality. They have more to do with local climate, culture as well as native plants and materials. These regional styles act as design solutions for problems since they fit the surroundings so well.A regional design style also has the benefit of making sense budget wise. Local plants and building materials are generally more available and cheaper. The native plants require less maintenance and care than imported varieties. Regional elements have the ability to add interest to a deck design. Consider bringing in one or more unusual accents from faraway places which do not require extra cost and maintenance. One Bonsai tree can provide a harmonious contrast to a Southwest theme. Cacti and adobe pavers will add a touch of the Southwest to a Midwest design scheme.

It is not imperative to be constrained by rigid rules of deck style. Classic and modern styles can be combined to create a deck with old style charm and modern convenience. Different regional accents can be mixed in to spice up the outdoor space with surprising results.

A well designed deck will easily exude its own unique sense of style to all who are exposed to it and provide hours and hours of enjoyment for the the homeowner and family members who created it.
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 Style 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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