With the deck building business having gone through so many changes over the last 10-15 years, the amount of design choices you now have can be overwhelming! We've gone from having a simple wooden platform to enjoy breakfast and a cup of coffee while providing a transition from your house to your backyard and a place to put the barbeque, to having a deck as a full functional extension of your house. It's become a place to not only enjoy meals, but to help make the most of the warmer months of the year by providing space for family & friend get-togethers, a place to plant container gardens and herbs, a place to enjoy a hot tub, and with the right furniture, a place to spend a cozy afternoon reading a good book or watching the baseball game.
Whether you are planning a simple rebuild of an existing deck or an extensive makeover, there are design ideas that you can consider to not only bring your new deck up-to-date, but to make it more practical and useable, especially when you don't have to spend more time maintaining the deck than you do making good use of it.
Neutral Colors vs Trendy Colors
With the rise in popularity of no-maintenance (commonly referred to as "composite) decking, the color choices now seem endless. Along with choosing a decking brand, choosing a color will be your next most crucial decision. With no-maintenance decking, there are generally two color palettes to choose from: Browns and Grays. Whether you go with browns or grays, you will likely be considering the color of your home and this is where you will either be looking to integrate the deck color with the color of your home or you will be looking to contrast it.
With this in mind, you can either go with a neutral color or more of a "trendy" color. Neutral colors are colors that are muted and include grays, creams, and muted browns. Examples of muted colors are Deckorators Voyage Tundra and Vista Silverwood, TimberTech/AZEK Vintage Coastline, Landmark French White Oak and Edge Prime Coconut Husk .
Neutral colors provide a great canvas to build additional colors with furniture and accessories on your new deck . Given that no-maintenance decking will last 25 to 50 years, when you use neutral colors, all you will need to do in order to update your space is to update your furniture and accessories!
Neutral colors can have a great calming effect especially if you are not so much looking to make a statement but rather looking to create a peaceful space and when combined with colorful plants and flowers can really make your deck an inviting place.
You can also combine neutral colors with contrasting colors that can help define the space, provide contrast or simply make the space "pop".
The other option of "trendy" colors will give your new deck some spice! You can choose to go the opposite direction of neutral colors and add some flair with eye-catching colors and elevate your deck's esthetic appeal. This will make the deck itself become the focal point and will require more neutral colors for your furniture and accessories.
Some of the current popular trend-setting colors include Deckorators Voyage Sedona and TimberTech Legacy Tigerwood. These colors tend to be darker browns with streaks of contrasting hue to make the boards really stand out.
If you want to get more creative with your deck design and layout, consider alternative materials other than wood, especially if you are looking to eliminate long-term maintenance or if you are simply looking to change things up.
Today's no-maintenance decking options can be overwhelming. There are options out there that hit every price point and cover a wide range of colors. As we have already talked about color choices, just keep in mind that composite and PVC decking options are a great alternative to traditional wood decks.
No-maintenance decking can be used just like wood in order to create interesting design features whether it be flower and planter boxes, privacy walls, and benches. The added bonus of no-maintenance options is that, depending on the brand and collection, they come in multi-dimensional widths beyond the standard "1 x 6" deck board. This allows these different dimensions to be used not only for finishing details such as fascia and stair risers but also for the decking itself, giving you additional design and creative options.
Want to get away from traditional wood railings? Consider aluminum or glass railings, or a combination of both. Aluminum railings can add a nice touch without breaking the bank and if you really want to go the extra mile, especially if you have a great view from your deck, glass railings are ideal.
The main benefit of aluminum railings is not only their updated styling but they are maintenance free. They never rust, you never have to paint them, and they come in a variety of colors and styles to complement your decking and your home.
Glass railing options are now the biggest trend in deck railings with the main options being framed glass and frameless glass, with frameless glass offering an almost seamless look allowing you to enjoy an unobstructed view. They really open up the space especially on small decks.
The latest trend is glass railings with embedded lights like the Crystal Railings from Regal Ideas below. These railings are an outstanding way to not only add lighting to your space but they will make your deck stand out. They also create a great safety feature at night with the embedded lights in the glass providing a clear edge to your deck.
Want more privacy on your new deck? A privacy screen is another option that is moving away from traditional wood with aluminum once again becoming popular due to its maintenance free quality. And with the ability to customize, like those offered by Hideaway Screens, the options are almost endless.
Not only is aluminum an option for your next privacy screen, but so is maintenance-free decking which allows for boards in multiple dimensions to be installed vertically or horizontally, and also allow lights to be embedded in the boards for a beautiful effect.
Looking for some shade or the ability to enjoy your outside space even in the rain? Short of building a full roof over your deck, aluminum louvered pergolas are becoming ever more popular. They are available as kits or they can be customized thus allowing you to consider both design and function in a way that works with your layout.
Not only are aluminum louvered pergolas a great esthetic option, they offer practical benefits which include preventing heat buildup, control over wind and breeze, and rain protection, all of which helps you control your outdoor living environment providing you greater outdoor comfort.
Some aluminum pergolas like those offered by TimberTech Struxture provide both remote control and automatic controls using wind and rain sensors so all you have to do is sit back and relax.
And of course, being aluminum they are maintenance and rust free!
Deck lighting has come a long way in the last 10 years with in-lite Outdoor Lighting leading the way. The addition of lighting to your project can not only add fantastic esthetic appeal and ambiance, but it also adds an element of safety.
Admittedly, the lighting choices and options available for your new deck are almost overwhelming but a professional deck designer and builder can help you narrow down the possibilities.
Basically, the options can be narrowed down to recessed lights and non-recessed lights, and can be installed in the deck surface, on walls and privacy screens, and on stairs. But at the end of the day, your lighting choices are only limited by your imagination!
Not only does lighting add ambience and allow you to use your deck at night, but they also add an element of safety especially when installed on stair risers so that the treads of steps are illuminated.
Also, these lights are low-voltage lights that run off a transformer which is simply plugged into a standard socket. As low voltage lights, they are extremely energy efficient as they do not use nearly as much energy as a standard light bulb. The other great thing about low-voltage deck lighting is that they can now be run on "smart" technology allowing you to set up various lighting zones with individual schedules, all of which can be set and controlled by your smartphone.
Adding skirting is a great way to finish off your new deck and another way you can get creative. Skirting is basically the installation of a vertical covering between the top of the deck and the ground that covers the exposed underside of the deck. Traditionally, this was done with vertical deck boards. But the options now include:
Going horizontal using composite or PVC boards to match the decking.
Masonry veneer which includes stone and faux stone.
Decorative aluminum panels
If you really want to modernize the look of your new deck, go horizontal on the skirting! Vertical skirting tends to give a more "country" feel while horizontal skirting will give you a more modern, minimal and "clean" look.
Masonry veneer for skirting is also becoming popular as it is in a lot of home improvement applications. It adds great contrast and depth to your design and certainly adds a unique element.
Decking Layouts, Borders and Inlays
When planning your deck, even when considering simple rectangles, imagine rooms with each room having a purpose. Think carefully about how you wish to use your deck. Whether it's for morning meditation and yoga, playing poker with friends, sunbathing, meals, or entertaining, think about how you can break up the space to maximize these areas so as to get the most use out of your new deck.
Even when working with a simple rectangle, you can break up the space by using various techniques such as borders, inlays, changes in deck height, pergolas, walls, screens and benches.
Using borders and accent boards that are a contrasting color to the main deck, is the simplest way to break up the space into its separate functions. Another way is to incorporate deck patterns and inlays. Deck patterns involve installing deck boards at a 45 degree angle or in a herringbone pattern on certain sections of the deck, or placing a decorative inlay in different sections.
Other design elements that are becoming extremely popular in their own right, regardless of deck size and layout, are patterns and inlays. This is where you can get extremely creative! Whether they be simple or highly intricate, inlays can add an extremely personal touch to your new deck.
It's not hard to see how you can get creative with your next deck project. From the choosing of colors, to the use of alternative materials, to incorporating functionality, borders, patterns and inlays, you can create a space that is completely unique to you for years to come. Contact a deck design specialist in your area if you want to make the most out of incorporating these ideas into your new deck. Deco Decks offers a deck design service as part of their overall process, so if you are looking for design help, don't hesitate to reach out to us by clicking the red button below.