Deck designs : Preliminary considerations in deck design
When do-it-yourselfers get the urge to flex their home improvement muscle, they almost invariably turn to building decks. Decks make a fabulous and practical addition to one’s home, and anyone who can use a hammer without hitting his thumb with it may find deck design and construction relatively easy. Many home improvement stores sell deck building kits that come bundled with deck designs, materials, and easy-to-follow instructions, and there are oodles of manuals and e-books on deck design and construction with enough information to get you started. But before you plunk down $5000 on a deck building kit, consider several factors that may affect your deck designs first.
Decks allow you to maximize outdoor living space by providing a relaxing setting for recreation and entertaining. Primarily, deck designs are influenced by two things: what you wish to do with your deck and how the deck would complement your property. Pondering these points first will help you make sound decisions on major details of deck design, such as deck location and size, and work your way around deck design restrictions.
Determining deck location in deck designs
For practical purposes, most deck designs call for decks to be attached to the back or the side of the house. Oftentimes, these decks serve to extend the dining and entertaining area, so deck designs place them just off the kitchen or dining room. Climate exerts a moderate influence on location in deck designs. Building a deck on the north side could reduce your exposure to direct sunlight, so sunbathing on the deck would be out of the question. Deck designs where a deck is built on the south side might allow you to enjoy the sunny outdoors, but would likely leave you hot and bothered by the extreme summer heat. You might lament the restrictions that climate imposes on your deck designs, but they are easily overcome with some clever landscaping. Trees, shrubs, walls, and fences can provide shade in the summer and act as windbreaks in the winter, thereby expanding your location options in deck designs. In addition, hardscapes and softscapes lend your deck designs a desired level of privacy while enhancing the beauty of your surroundings.
Considering deck size in deck design
Size in deck design is generally determined by three factors: the size of your house and yard, your construction budget, and local zoning laws. Your deck design should keep the deck in proportion to your house. An oversized deck will dwarf a small house, but a tiny deck may look awkward in an expansive yard. The amount of money you are willing to spend on your deck also influences size in deck design. A deck design for a multilevel cedar deck with elaborate fencing and pergola would never come to fruition if your wallet is not up to it. A good deck design strategy would be to build your deck and its accoutrements in phases, instead of completing it in one go. Lastly, you may only build a deck in the size you specified in your deck design if the law allows it. Zoning laws may dictate the size of your deck and its distance from your neighbors’ properties. Be sure to check with your local building department before embarking on major deck design and construction project.
Legal restrictions on deck designs
Deck designs and deck construction projects are subject to local building codes, zoning ordinances, and neighborhood development restrictions. Before starting a deck building project, you may need to get a building permit from your local building department and submit a copy of your deck design plans. Safety regulations prevent deck designs from locating a deck directly above an existing septic tank and drain field or building foundations on unstable soil. Additionally, the presence of underground utility lines and overhead cables may affect deck location and orientation in deck designs. Check with local utility companies to avoid accidentally hitting an underground water pipe while in the middle of implementing your deck designs. Finally, if you live in a planned residential area, your deck designs may be bound by aesthetic conditions imposed by the residents’ association. You may believe that your front-yard deck designs are just what your drab subdivision needs, but stipulations in the neighborhood covenant might not agree with you.