Deck Design – Considerations for Now & the Future

Your deck is an extension of your home and its design and functional characteristics can greatly enhance your enjoyment of this outdoor living space.

If you are thinking about building a new deck this season then it’s very important to think about both your immediate desires and budget but also plan for future expansion. Given that properly designed and installed decks can last decades; now is definitely the time to put a plan in place for how the deck can serve your needs in the future as well as right now. Your deck designer will ensure that your plans meet all zoning and by-law criteria and that your dream deck can be a reality. The considerations of knowing all the dos and don’ts can definitely be daunting but the deck design process can be greatly enhanced by finding the right deck company to help you along the way and heading off any costly mistakes.

Deck Considerations – Future Expansion Checklist:

  • Modular planning with future design layout
  • Zoning & by-law considerations
  • Landscape planting
  • Long-term accessibility
  • Design in space for pets
  • Eco-friendly designs to provide habitat
  • Bird-friendly designs to provide feeding stations
  • Cooking facilities improvements

Working with a deck designer can be very helpful at this point as the creation of a modular plan can allow landscaping that is beautiful now but does not have to be disturbed or ripped out in the future when you have the desire and the budget to expand your amenities in your yard. If you have a comprehensive deck design with future expansion already planned then that can save substantial costs. Things like ensuring that expensive landscape plants do not have to be moved or ripped out in the future to accommodate the new add-on pieces to your deck design can be very cost effective over the long run. Landscaping is a long-term commitment that can take decades to mature and you certainly don’t want to have to start from scratch just because you want to expand your outdoor deck living space or you need to add a wheel chair ramp or more outdoor entertaining space.

A creative designer will also bring ideas to the table that you just might not have envisioned and they will also have solutions to existing obstacles or features in your yard that may be very innovative and desirable. Deck designers keep up-to-date on the newest decking materials, designs and product innovations for things like pergolas, cooking & food preparation areas, seating zones, shade and sun exposures for various uses, etc.

One thing that has become a lot more prevalent is planning for hosting beneficial insects and birds. Feeding areas for the birds that are protected from predators like stray cats, and your own pets too, can be a source of a lot of additional outdoor enjoyment. Small songbirds have been on the decline throughout North America and that is partially due to habitat loss. Feeding these small creatures with a properly designed and planned feeding station can go a long ways to helping the bird populations recover in your area. Your deck designer can help you choose appropriate areas for a feeding station where you will not only be able to easily refill the feeders but will also be able to sit and watch the birds that come to feed. The placement of flowering plants and shrubs near your new deck can also be an enticement for various bird species and can prolong your enjoyment of their bird song long into the fall when berries ripen and beautiful birds like Cedar Waxwings come to feed. Choosing appropriate plants can also provide habitat and food for butterflies, honey bees and other pollinators that are very important to our environmental health.

One thing that you should consider now is accessibility of your deck should you or someone in your family develop mobility issues. A beautifully designed wheel chair accessible ramp can be used by everyone and can be laid out to allow the enjoyment of various levels of the deck to elderly family and friends. Given that new decking materials are so durable and can last 30 or 40 years, now is the time to plan for your retirement years and ensure that what you spend your money on now continues to serve your needs long into the future.

Outdoor cooking zones are becoming more and more elaborate as homeowners take advantage of innovations in outdoor appliances. According to recent stats more than 75% of households list an outdoor grill or smoker as part of their outdoor space. Many people want to entertain outdoors and a beautiful and functional outdoor kitchen is something that many people are now incorporating into their outdoor living spaces. It used to be that a rolling barbeque cart was the standard cooking surface but one look at all the phenomenal new kitchen work stations available and you might rethink that old standard as you design your new deck. These outdoor kitchens can include a sink, cutting surfaces, various cooking surfaces, pizza ovens, rotisseries and smokers and more. The trend is to incorporate flexibility, trendy colors and maximum seasonal usability and manufacturers have certainly taken up the gauntlet and responded with an enormous range of new outdoor kitchen designs. Having a deck designer add a very functional kitchen workspace outdoors can have numerous benefits including keeping your house cooler in the summer when you can cook and entertain outdoors on your beautiful deck. The beauty and functionality of these new spaces can also add to the value of your property. Your deck designer can also incorporate the plumbing and utilities to allow for future deck and outdoor kitchen expansion.

One of the hottest outdoor trends is pizza ovens. These can be incorporated into modern deck design and create an entertaining marvel that is the envy of your neighbourhood.

Homeowners are also taking the needs of their pets into consideration when designing their homes and decks. Adding a catio to your deck design can provide hours of secure bird watching and sunning for your precious cat. Now that most cities and towns require pet cats to be confined and licensed it is becoming more and more important that cats are confined to safe outdoor facilities if they are going to enjoy any outdoor time. This also goes for small dogs which can also be provided with a secure outdoor part of your deck that can increase their exercise but still protect them from the elements by allowing them to use a doggie door to go in and out onto the enclosed deck.

Due to the increased cost of heading to the lake every weekend, more and more people are deciding to add more functionality and beauty to their yards and enjoy that space as their sanctuary where they can still commune with nature and enjoy outdoor living. A new deck that offers a host of amenities is something that your deck designer can definitely help you achieve.

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