Ahhhh, the deck. It's your escape from the great indoors. After a hard day's work in the cubicle with that ice cold A/C pumping, you want nothing more than to come home and find your little piece of paradise on that land yacht called the deck. It's where you teach your kids how to eat ribs hot off the grill, where deep conversations happen, lots of books are read and where ideas are conceived.
The deck is really an extension of your home into nature. It's your very own outdoor room. Here are five ways to turn a deck into a outdoor oasis.
Replace the Deck Boards
Most decks today are built with 1"x6" pressure treated SYP (Southern Yellow Pine) deck boards. Although SYP wood is great for framing and structural construction, it is not the best for finish carpentry, otherwise known as your decking/floors, trim, molding, etc. By choosing to use woods like cedar or black locust for your deck boards, fascia and trim work, you reap the benefits of a longer product lifespan and way less maintenance. This wood is not chemically treated like SYP because it has natural oils that are rot resistant. Also, these woods provide much richer color and interest that really makes a statement. The best part is that's it's very durable and the wood is so naturally tough that even if your tried to stain it, the stain would wash away in about 1-2 years. But that's actually a good thing, because wood like this is so pretty, it doesn't need a stain.
Create a Unique Handrail
I'm gonna getting on my designer soap box for a minute, so watch out. I truly can't stand the handrails that are made with your leftover lumber and deck boards, and tacky wood spindles. The handrail serves a purpose, we're all in agreement with that. But can we all agree that the wood spindles look was out a long time ago? There are actually a lot of options out there (other than the state-parky wood spindles) to use as a handrail system that won't blow your budget.
Go with a cable rail system. There are companies out there that create and ship the whole system including the handrail, posts and cable wire to your house that's custom to your deck. All you need to do is provide them with lengths, angles and heights of handrails. If you're a DIY type, there are ways to create a cable rail system all with parts found at your local home improvement store.
Keuka Studios is a handrail fabricator and has some really great handrail systems for sale. Click here to see their work.
Build a Pergola
We all know that as much as we like to be outside, when it's the middle of July and the sun is blazing, you're not going to last long. Adding a shade structure such as a pergola is a great way to be able to use the deck more during the middle of the day. If done right, it can be a really cool architectural piece for your home and add value to the property.
Here's some pergolas I really like.
And then here's what not to do.
Plant Trees In The Deck
Sounds crazy, right? This option won't be for everyone, but if you have the right conditions it could be a real head turner. If you've built or inherited a deck so big that it gives Noah's ark a run for the money, this might be for you. Or if your deck is south facing, fully exposed and 150 degrees in August, this could work. Planting trees in the middle of your deck provides shade, creates lots of interest, breaks up the deck into smaller 'rooms' and gives you a little more privacy.
Make the deck an extension of your home where you can gather your friends and family (or where you can escape from them).
Interested in creating an outdoor room at your home? We'd love to help. We'll design a space that'll make your neighbors jealous and your kids actually want to hang out with you. To get in touch, click here.