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How to Create a Deck Concept Design

Oct 15, 2007
The deck concept design process is the time to basically get general spatial relationship down. This involves outdoor room sizes, circulation and connections between them and special design considerations such as the sequence and separation of public and private spaces.

The emphasis should be on how family members and guests will use and move around in the deck spaces. The same emphasis will apply to the general physical forms that the deck areas will assume.

There are numerous ways in which to develop a deck concept design. Most professional designers have their own techniques and there are no best splutions. However, there are many good solutions possible to suit any design problem. The degree by which the solution will be measured depends upon how well it serves a homeowner's requirements, how consistent and balanced it is and how flexible it will be in order to accomodate any changes in the future.

Assign preliminary dimensions to the different spaces or outdoor rooms that are desired. Think room size to come up with initial space allocations to avoid creating a deck that is too large to be comfortable and convenient. The idea is to examine the issue realisticly.

If a deck is to be built to entertain guests outdoors then the 2 questions to be answered would be how many people are normally entertained inside and how much space will they use outdoors?

Spend minimal time and energy in assigning these starting dimensions because in all probability they may well change as the deck concept plan evolves.

With 1 or more outdoor spaces roughly dimensioned sketch each as a space in scale on separate sheets of tracing paper and cut them out. Move these tracings around on top of each other to create different configurations. When one is found to be appealing, make a tracing of it. Continue the process to create other design possibilities.

Once several configurations have been developed, examine each one and determine if it accomplishes the design goals, fits the preliminary measurements of the spaces and seems to be practical with respect to serving the uses defined for these outdoor rooms.

It is important to keep in mind during the deck concept design process that spaces are being created for activities or quiet reflection or both. The connection that naturally or ideally exists between them must be considered such as easy access from the kitchen to the barbecue or from a hot tub to the family room or bedroom. Make certain that the concept designs allow for the uses needed.

Be very conscious of circulation issues such as where deck users will need to walk and where a space will be placed that is out of the traffic area. The effective use of any outdoor room will be limited if it becomes a corridor from one place to another.

An outdoor dining area situated between a family room and pool deck might be more successful if it were located off to one side of the direct route between the other 2 spaces.

Save only those deck design concepts that seem to have strong positive characteristics. Work freehand keeping possible spaces to scale but remaining conscious of the basic deck form and how well the various design ideas create space and answer functional needs.

Consider changing deck levels, wrapping a deck around the corner of the house, connecting deck levels with wide stairways, cantilevering beams and joists to disguise the deck framework, enclosing a tree, creating an in-deck flower garden or erecting an arbor, pergola or other shade structure.

Consider how the deck space will look from the interior of the house. Think about how existing conditions can be accomodated. Consider also what the orientaion of the outdoor space is to the angle of the sun, views available, noise types and prevailing wind patterns.

The deck concept design process is an important part in the planning, design and construction of an outdoor living space that ultimately will serve the needs and lifestyle of family members, guests and future owners for years to come.
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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