(Family Features) Timing can be everything, especially when it comes to planning an outdoor living space. By getting a jump-start on planning, you can afford yourself time to complete the process with maximum creativity and minimal stress.
Try these expert tips and tricks of the trade to help make your dream deck a reality.
Lay a Solid Foundation
Don’t skimp on the substructure. Often overlooked, the substructure can have tremendous impact on performance and appearance. For maximum strength and stability, opt for steel framing over wood in order to achieve a consistently flat decking surface. Wooden substructures can split, warp and shift over time, leading to an uneven surface in the deck boards. Dimensionally stable steel offers durability benefits over wood, plus greater design flexibility, sustainability, safety and fire resistance.
Get the Right Tools
In addition to magazines, TV shows and social platforms offer outdoor living ideas and inspiration. There are also a number of online tools designed to help guide you through the planning process, such as the Trex Deck Starter, which can help anyone at the outset of their deck building adventures. It provides a user-friendly way to experiment with various deck configurations and design combinations. In three simple steps, the tool can help you choose the right materials for your project and design a customized outdoor living space before ever raising a hammer.
Choose the Right Materials
When selecting materials, invest in decking that can hold up against the harshest weather and messiest cookouts. High-performance, low-maintenance composite decking offers superior durability and long-lasting looks. It can also outperform both wood and PVC alternatives over time. With a wood deck, the cost of regular sanding, staining and painting compound considerably over time. Over the life of a composite deck, the reduced maintenance costs of simple soap and water cleanings can add up to a greater return on investment – not to mention the value of all the time spent enjoying your deck rather than maintaining it.
Add Safety and Style with Railings
Railings can be one of the most visible parts of any deck so they should be considered at the same time as the deck boards. A good rule of thumb is to use the “three C’s,” which are: coordinate, contrast, customize. For example, crisp white posts and black aluminum balusters coordinate beautifully with gray deck boards, delivering an elegant look and feel. For a beachy vibe, opt for a contrasting look with all-white railings. Or go completely custom with sleek, black aluminum railings to create a space that’s both modern and inviting.
Incorporate Personal Touches with Accessories
Have fun exploring the many design elements that are available for customizing your deck. Things like built-in seating, planters and storage, as well as add-ons such as a pergola or outdoor furniture, which can add comfort, character and convenience to your outdoor living space. Further personalize your space with a variety of deck and landscape lighting fixtures. Set up path lights to brighten walkways and use spotlights to showcase trees and architectural features. Easy to install and energy efficient, an option like Trex Landscape Lighting can help keep your outdoor enjoyment going long after the sun goes down.
For more inspiration and tips for designing your dream deck, visit Trex.com.
Designing your outdoor space
Before any work can get done on the deck of your dreams, designing comes first. It’s important to have a plan in mind before diving in so that you have a vision of what you want your deck to become.
For example, you might envision your deck as a spacious place to host family and friends with room to mingle, while others may prefer a small, quiet space for reading a book or enjoying the peace of the outdoors. Different sizes, shapes, colors and other factors can all have an outsized impact on the final look of your deck, so take all factors into account before getting started.
Try these starting points for the ultimate deck design:
Choose a Deck Plan
From classic rectangle to beveled-edge to scenic overlook, an online tool like the Trex Deck Starter features a library of proven, ready-to-build deck designs. For a space that defies pre-made plans, you can also opt to create a custom deck plan to fit the layout of your home.
Choose Your Color
The right decking color can enhance your yard’s scenery, complement your home or make your deck stand out. Match your surroundings with natural tones, blend in with your home’s exterior by matching the trim or consider bold colors like a spicy red for a deck color that pops.
Frame Your Space
The right railings can pair with your decking to safely frame your space, enhance your view and open even more design possibilities. Based on your decking color, the experts at Trex can help make it easier by offering designer-curated decking and railing duos. You can also customize your railing, making the design your own from start to finish.