Getting your Deck Ready for Cold Weather

These tips can help you prep your deck for winter and maintain it correctly. This ensures that your deck will be in tip top shape for next summer!

Start with the Design

When you’re looking to create a deck design that will last throughout all of the seasons, it really start with the design choices you make at the beginning. From material choices to design features, there are things you can implement at create a low maintenance deck. Preventative maintenance is one of the best ways to make your deck’s transition into colder weather a breeze. This will mainly come into play with your material choices. Durable materials will help your deck and all of its attached features to stand the test of time in your backyard. There are three major materials for outdoor use that are made to last through the winter season: composite decking material, aluminum, and galvanized steel. While pressure treated lumber is a popular choice for deck structures, you’ll run into problems trying to maintain it through harsh weather conditions. Low maintenance deck ideas are going to manifest themselves in the material choices. Deck Structure Designs Composite decking material is made from a mixture of wood particles and plastic. This makes a maintenance free material that gives off the appearance of wood. This is ideal for decks in climates that experience heavy snowfall in the winter. Whether you choose composite decking material or the traditional pressure treated lumber, you should use galvanized steel hardware in the structure of your deck. Galvanized steel is weather proof and will not corrode over time. This ensures that your deck is structurally sound no matter what weather conditions it is exposed to.
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Photo by: Angie’s List

Prep Your Deck

No matter how many preventative measure you take in the design phase of your deck, you’re going to have to do some prep work for your deck going into cold weather seasons. The perfect time to start prepping your deck for winter is mid to late fall. Get as much outdoor entertainment time as you can out of your space! Clear the Deck The first step to prepping your deck is always going to be clear it of any items that could be damaged or cause damage in the winter. You can leave metal furniture outdoors during winter, but it will take so extra precautions. If you have aluminum furniture, it’s most likely powder coated and simply needs a coat of automotive wax as another layer of protection. Iron furniture can be left outdoors, but will rust. If you decide to leave them outdoors, you will need to remove rust at the end of the season and coat with the proper paint. Plastic furniture should come indoors during the winter months. When it freezes, it will become very brittle. You will also want to remove anything that may catch and hold water on the decks surface, such as planters or pots that have drainage holes in the bottom. With standing water comes the potential of rotting wood at the end of the season. If you’re looking for a place to store your deck furnishings during the winter, storage sheds are a great solution. They don’t take away from other space in your home, such as the garage or basement, and allows you to keep all of your furniture together close to the deck. One popular location for these sheds is underneath your deck. An under deck storage shed helps you to maximize the space in your backyard, while still providing a usable space.
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Photo by: Tom Saint Painting
Restore the Deck After you’ve cleared the deck, you’re going to want to go through the three step deck restoration process. By restoring your deck at the beginning of winter, you’re saving yourself some grief in the spring. Fixing any hazards now will keep the problems from getting worse during in the off season. You fist want to clean your deck and remove any mold or mildew that may be living on the surface of your deck and in between the boards. While a power washer is probably the first tool that comes to mind, this can often do more harm than good. A scrub brush and deck cleaning solution will be so much better for your deck boards. Once the deck is clean, you’ll want to repair any damaged boards on your structure. This is particularly important if your area gets a lot of snowfall. The extra weight can cause further damage and compromise the structural integrity of your deck. You will also want to replace any board that show signs of rotting. This will only get worse during the winter months. The last step to this pre winter restoration process is going to be finishing your deck. The key is to reduce the chance of water absorption. This is what’s going to break down the deck boards and compromise the structure. Applying a sealant to your newly restored deck will help to keep excess moisture out of your deck boards. For extra protection, some homeowners simply secure a tarp over their deck. This is definitely one way to keep snow from sitting directly on your deck. Be sure there are no places that water may leak through on the edges. Because it won’t be exposed to the sun, it won’t dry out and will increase the risk of mold and mildew in your deck boards.
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Photo by: Design Builders MD

Maintaining in the Winter

There will be some work that needs to be done during the winter months. This will help to minimize the work at the end of the season when you’re getting ready for a new outdoor entertaining season. One of the biggest ways that homeowners damage their decks in the winter is by over shoveling their deck. If there’s a particularly heavy snowfall, this poses no more of a higher risk than a regular amount of precipitation. Over shoveling doesn’t benefit your deck any more, but rather gives more chances to damage your deck. The first way to avoid damaging your deck while clearing snow is to use a broom rather than a shovel. If the precipitation is light enough, you can easily sweep the snow from your deck’s surface. This will cut down on any extra scraping that may occur while you’re shoveling. If you decide that a shovel is the best tool to clear your deck, you’ll want to choose a plastic shovel rather than a metal one. Plastic shovels are more likely have more give and not scrape against the wood. Metal shovels will scrape the wood open up the wood’s pore to absorb more moisture. You still have to take a few precautions when shoveling your deck. The first is to shovel parallel to your deck boards. This significantly lowers the chance that your shovel will catch the edge of your deck board and cause extra scratches and marks. The last snow removal tip for your deck is to never try and chip ice off of your deck. Use salt or family friendly chemicals. Chipping at the ice will almost guarantee extra damage to your deck. These tips are here to help with your deck being at its best going into winter! If a low maintenance spiral stair is the right addition for your deck, call one of our consultative designers today. They can help you find the right maintenance free stair option for your backyard.

3 Steps to Owning an Eco Friendly Deck

Eco friendly ideas have been making their way into every industry in recent years. Whether it’s clothing design or cleaning supplies, everyone wants to reduce their impact on the environment. Home design has stepped into this trend with things like tiny homes and eco friendly home designs. All of the same principles can be applied to your outdoor space.
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Photo by: Improve Net

Eco Friendly Deck Materials

When deciding to build a deck, there are several different material options. They all of their own pros and cons for building. They also all have different benefits for the environment. Natural Wood When considering an eco friendly material option for your deck, natural wood may seem like an obvious choice. The all organic material fits well into an environmentally conscious designs you may have and it can be found in just about any climate. Just like any other building material, natural wood has its pros and cons. It’s a renewable resource and can easily be recycled after use. Several homeowners also decide to use recycled wood as their decking material. The one factor to be conscious of when choosing recycled wood is to be sure that it can stand up to heavy foot traffic and weather conditions that come with being outdoors. Natural wood also hasn’t been pressure treated to withstand any extra moisture or insects. While this make your wood nontoxic and easier to recycle afterwards, this also depletes your wooden decks lifespan immensely. Without the added precautions of pressure treating the wood, you leave it susceptible to termites, rot, and other hazards that can eat away at the structure. If you want a natural wood deck structure that will hold up to the elements without the added chemicals of treated lumber, hardwoods are a great option. They are naturally rot resistant meaning that you can use an all organic material without any added chemicals. However, there are some drawbacks to using these materials. Natural hardwood resources are becoming more and more limited. While their use may be an eco friendly idea for your deck, it may not be environmentally responsible. Be sure to find lumber that is responsibly harvested and considered forest friendly. Look for wood that’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to ensure that it’s from a sustainable forest and will not have a negative impact on the environment. Pressure Treated Lumber Pressure treated lumber is probably the most popular decking material on the market. You can purchase it at any home improvement store. It’s not only great for decks, but also any other DIY projects that you may have around the home. It seems like the benefits to using pressure treated lumber are endless. While naturally rot-resistant wood may be expensive or hard to find, pressure treated lumber is easy to find and cost effective. It is treated to resist rot and insects that helps the deck last longer than if you were to use untreated wood. While pressure treated lumber is a sustainable resource, it can be very harmful to the environment around it. The lumber is treated with toxic preservatives that can become very harmful if they come into direct contact with you or your pets. What gives the soft wood its immense benefits, also makes it a major hazard. If you plan to use the pressure treated lumber and install it directly into the soil, it can cause problems for the surround soil and plants. The toxins can spread in a process that is also known as toxin leeching. Once the moisture in the soil begins to permeate the wood, the chemicals can then easily spread to the soil and roots of any nearby plants. These chemicals also make it difficult to recycle this wood. Unlike natural wood, you cannot burn any leftover pressure treated lumber. When you burn it, the preservatives become airborne and highly hazardous to its surroundings. If you want to get rid of some pressure treated lumber, your local municipality can dispose small quantities for you. Larger amounts of pressure treated lumber may have be disposed of by a third party waste disposal company. Composite Deck Material Composite decking material has grown in popularity in recent years due to its low maintenance features. Composite deck boards are made from a mixture of recycled wood particles and plastic. It also requires little to no maintenance. The addition of plastic into the boards takes away the risk of rot. These boards also hold up to weather and heavy foot traffic much better than wood. The fact that composite decking material is made up of other recycled materials makes it seemingly fit in eco friendly deck ideas. This economic product does have its drawbacks. While it is resistant to rot and organic breakdown, this can also complicate the disposal. You must be cautious if you plan to cut your own composite boards for your eco friendly deck design. While small amounts of the saw dust may not be harmful, large deposits of the dust can be hazardous to breathe in. To cut down on the amount of sawdust, use precise measurements before you cut the boards. The blend of organic and nonorganic materials that make up the composite deck material makes it seemingly impossible to recycle. Because it is so finely blended, there is no way to separate the two categories of products. This means that any extra pieces cannot be recycled and will end up in a landfill. While the manufacturing of composite decking material is environmentally friendly, the disposal is not.
eco friendly deck designs
Photo by: Colorful Thing

Eco Friendly Deck Designs

No matter what eco friendly building material you decide to use for your deck, there are some design features that you can use. These eco friendly ideas are great whether you have a eco friendly house design or just want to shrink your home’s footprint. The first thing to consider is how you plan to actually build the deck When building the deck, some homeowners dig a large enough hole for the foundation to match the actual size of your platform and fill it in around the supports later. This isn’t necessary. Mark the points where you want to install the vertical supports and dig singular holes rather than a large pit. This keeps the deck’s overall footprint to a minimum as well. The direction of your deck is something to take into consideration, but it may be limited depending upon your home’s location. However, if you do have some flexibility, consider building your deck to face south of where your home is located. This will help to cut down on excess heat during the summer. This will make your deck more comfortable to use in the hot weather months. If you want some added shade to your deck, incorporate your backyard into the design. Build your structure around any large trees to provide shade without having to build any other structures. This also keeps your home’s carbon footprint to a minimum. Incorporating the natural features of your backyard can also give your deck a one of a kind design. Once the deck is built, continue to be eco friendly by choosing the right décor. Deciding to update old deck furniture rather than throwing it out keeps it out of a landfill and gives your deck a unique design style. Another way to use environmentally friendly design is to use reclaimed wood and spend some afternoons creating your own deck furniture. There is also a variety of design lines that exclusively use recycled materials to create deck and patio décor. Lights are another important factor of deck décor. There are lots of outdoor solar powered lights that can fit a large range of deck design styles. Not only does this make lighting your deck easier without the hassle of the extra electrical work that come with wiring, but it also reduces cost and carbon impact of other deck light options. Don’t be afraid to decorate your eco friendly deck with plants either. Green decks are particularly popular in cities where their outdoor spaces are limited to rooftop decks. This eco friendly idea will work just as well in your suburban backyard. The most important point is to find plants that will do well in your environment and climate.
eco friendly deck maintenance
Photo by: Renew Crew Clean

Eco Friendly Deck Maintenance

After you’ve gone through all the hard work of designing and building your deck with environmental consciousness, you don’t want to ruin it by cleaning your deck with heavy chemicals that can harm the surrounding environment. One of the most common ways that homeowners decide to clean their decks is to use a power washer. If you want your cleaning process to be completely eco friendly, this may not be the solution for you. While a power washer expedites the deck cleaning process, it can have effects on the environment. For an eco friendly solution, oxygen bleach is a common and safe way to make your deck look like new. Unlike chlorine bleach, it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that are common in deck cleaners. It’s usually sold in a powder form and can be mixed with water to create an environmentally safe cleaner that won’t harm you or your surround plants. Instead of a power washer, you scrub this mixture into your deck so the oxygen can permeate the dry wood and break up any building algae or mildew. Eco friendly deck designs are a popular way to reduce you and your family’s carbon footprint while still enjoying a dynamic home design. Whether it’s a first floor patio or a second floor deck, remember to use economically responsible materials and keep the footprint small. A smaller footprint calls for a clever design and unique pieces to maximize the space in your eco friendly deck design.

13 Tips for a Successful Summer Party

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1. Organization is key.

One of the best ways to ensure a successful summer party is to organize your space. This regulate the flow of traffic throughout the party and keeps people from standing in position which can make the space feel cramped. Strategic placement of food and furniture can help your space feel more open and the guests more comfortable. You can also organize your furniture my function. All dining furniture should be kept together while all casual lounge seating is in another section. This keeps things uncluttered and has an efficient flow of traffic.

2.Provide shade for your guests.

This summer party tip is particularly important when it comes to guests’ comfort. With summer parties comes lots of sun. Not only can an awning of some kind give you and your guests’ eyes some relief, but it can also help to cut down on the heat that comes with sitting in direct sunlight. There are several different designs that can provide shade on your deck or in your backyard. The easiest is going to be your standard umbrella that attaches to your table. Pergolas are a basic frame that you can attach curtains or the right climbing plants to create a shady spot.

3. Lighting will define your space.

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of any space’s design. It can put the finishing touches on any space and create an ambiance. Outdoor lights come in a wide variety of styles and designs. The most versatile are rope lights. Rope lights are string lights that are in a flexible plastic casing. This shell is a weather proof barrier between the lights and the elements. They can be installed just about anywhere in your space. If you have an outdoor dining area, café lights are a popular design option. These bulbs are clear Edison style bulb mixed with the string light design. They can be strung across open areas to create a false ceiling feeling. It encloses your space makes more a room like space outside.

4. Use outdoor friendly materials.

One of the easiest ways to make sure your outdoor summer party runs smoothly is to use outdoor friendly materials. From your table settings to your cushions, the right materials make outdoor entertaining easy. Starting with the table settings, durable plastic tableware comes in a wide range of colors and designs. You can create a formal dining room setting outdoors with chic white plates and gold accents. If you want to add a pop of color to your outdoor party, these unbreakable items come in a large variety of bright colors and fun designs. Apply these same design principles to your serving dishes. They make for easy clean up and stress free dinner parties. This durability should also be applied to your outdoor textiles. Between the elements and the more casual nature of outdoor summer parties, your outdoor fabrics are subject to a lot more wear and tear. Thicker fabrics, like canvas and vinyl, are perfect for standing up to the elements. A cotton canvas will be more comfortable when it comes to seating, while vinyl is good for furniture covers while the pieces are not in use. If you can’t find the perfect color or fabric for your outdoor space, you can easily paint your own pieces and create unique designs.

5. Maximize the space you have.

Don’t feel like your space limits your outdoor entertaining possibilities. Take inventory of your available space and maximize it! Whether you have a ground level patio or a multi level deck, you can create a dynamic space that is perfect for your summer parties. Going back to the first summer party tip of organization, have defined areas in your outdoor entertaining space. While it may be easier to define and separate areas with different levels or under deck patios, you can still achieve this layout with a single level deck or patio. Another way to maximize your space is to have proportionate furniture. While it may be tempting to fit as many pieces as you can into your space, use larger but fewer pieces. This fills your space without overcrowding it, which can actually make it feel bigger!

6. Landscaping is like tidying your backyard.

If you were having entertaining in your home, you wouldn’t want visible stains on your carpet or unfinished paint jobs on the walls. This same principle should be applied to your outdoor space. Finishing a walkway in your backyard is an easy way to add polish to your landscaping. You may want to complete a brand new paved walkway. However, there are several easy walkways that you can lay in an afternoon to get your backyard summer party ready. The materials used can range from stamped concrete to loose gravel and pebbles. It all depends on the design aesthetic that you are looking for in your backyard. Flower choices are also a large part of your landscaping efforts. If you’ve created a color story on your deck or patio with your décor, you can continue it with the right flowers. They also provide great coverage to hide some eyesores in your backyard. This could range from an old fence that needs updating to your vertical deck supports.

7. Storage helps with the next party.

While this is a pre and post party tip, it’s essential to having a successful summer party. Great outdoor storage makes set up and clean up a breeze. By taking the stress out of these steps, you’re able to enjoy the party. There are plenty of outdoor storage options that are convenient, but don’t interrupt the design of your backyard. One of the most popular ways to incorporate storage into your deck is to use multifunctional built in pieces. Benches are a popular addition to any deck design. Not only does it provide additional seating, but you can also design the seat to lift up and open up the space in the bench itself. Sheds are another popular way to incorporate storage into your backyard. If you don’t have the space for a stand-alone structure, find open space in the current deck design. An under deck patio is the perfect place to build a storage shed. It already has a frame in place and is ready to be finished for your storage space.

8. Safety should always be a top concern.

No matter what, you’ll want to make sure that you and your guests are safe during your summer party. There are some safety measures that can be taken from the beginning of your deck design and some features that you can add after the fact. Your deck railing is the most important part of any deck design. When you have a raised deck design, you must have a railing around the platform to meet building code. Deck stairs are always brought up when deck safety is a topic. With the addition of the elements, deck stairs can quickly become slippery and breakdown faster than a standard indoor stair. Material choice can ensure that your deck stair is structurally sound and will hold up to the heavy traffic of summer party season. Between the Powder Coated Aluminum spiral stair and the Exterior Galvanized spiral stair, there is a design that will fit your deck design. Both designs have a weather proof finish that means your first cost is your only cost. While metal holds up to the elements, it can also become very slippery when wet. Whether it’s in a backyard with a pool or in a climate that’s prone to summer storms, you want to make sure that your deck stairs can be used safely. Designing your stairs with textured steps is a great solution. Whether it’s the diamond plate or a grated design, it’s much safer than a smooth metal surface. If you want to texturize your steps after the fact, there are lots of products available, such as tapes and edges that can be added to your stairs. A safety gate is another great design feature that ensures you and your guests are safe. This is particularly important if you have small children around. Just like the railings, there are several designs, many of which match your deck stair design.

9. Everyone should have a comfortable place to sit.

Having plenty of seating is an important part of any party. By providing ample seating options in different areas, you’re catering to each guest’s interests. Finding plenty of seating can be a challenge, particularly in small backyards. However, with the right organization and strategic placement, it’s possible. Built-in benches are a great way to add seating without taking too much space away from your deck or patio. Benches are a great seating option for casual outdoor dinner parties. While you don’t want to overcrowd the table, benches are more flexible when it comes to capacity than individual chairs. Not only do you want lots of seating, but you also want it to be comfortable. There are a ton of outdoor cushion designs out there that range in size and shape to fit whatever furniture frame you might have. If you can’t find one that matches your ideal design, it’s easy to create your own! A lot of craft stores have outdoor fabric that you can use. If you can’t find a fabric that fits into your color story, outdoor textiles are perfect for painting your own patterns. The right paint and sealer can give you a one of a kind design.

10. Have a centerpiece to your summer party.

Every entertaining space should have a central focus. It may be a pool or a dining table, but there should be one piece that people can gather around. This creates the sense of community within your get together and organization. A popular option for the center of your communal area is a fire pit. It’s perfect for get together with guests of all ages and can be used well into the fall, rather than just the summer. It also helps to create an outdoor living room. The fire pit takes the place of a traditional fire place and provides a cozy place to gather with friends and family. Pic 1

11. Zone your backyard.

When you have a large age range with your guests, it may be a good idea to give everyone their own small space in the backyard. Summer parties are often filled with families that include children, teens, and adults. While small children may not mind sharing a space with their parents, teenagers might appreciate their own area. This doesn’t mean being completely separate. With the right organization and zoning, you can easily create separate spaces for each group. Another way to separate the space based on interests would be to have a small game area away from the deck seating. Under deck patios can hold an outdoor game room with a ping pong table and comfortable seating.

12. Backyard entertainment is essential.

To continue from the previous tip, there are a few unique backyard ideas to make your summer parties fun and enjoyable for all of your guests. A fun outdoor twist on classic board games is to make your own oversized versions. Giant Jenga is a popular supersized board game that you can make with some lumber and paint. Yard checkers is another popular game. You can make an easy DIY game board with paint and wood or you can lay stone tiles that have different tones. In a checkerboard pattern. The game pieces are fairly easy to make yourself with wood and paint. A more involved form of backyard entertainment is an outdoor movie theatre with an inflatable screen. This should be kept to larger backyards that can fit the extra seating at a safe distance from the screen.

13. Embrace theme parties.

Themed parties sometimes get labeled as cheesy and too cliché, but summer is the perfect time for them! Themes essentially do the decorating for you and don’t have to be cheesy if you keep the accents from being too overwhelming. Between Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day, there’s no shortage of reasons to deck out your backyard in red, white, and blue décor. Luaus are another popular summer party theme. The bright colors and big flowers that are traditional with a luau are perfect for summer outdoor entertaining.   Summer is a great season for outdoor entertaining and getting friends and family together. Any home party can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! These 13 tips can help you to throw a success summer party without added stress. If you want to find more information on the extra safety features, a quick call to one of our consultative designers can answer any of  your questions!

Create Outdoor Living Spaces on a Budget

With summer comes the outdoor entertaining season and the need for a beautiful space. Outdoor living spaces have become more detailed and extravagant recently with everything from fountains to ceiling fans. However, you don’t need to pour your life’s savings into your backyard to create the perfect space for outdoor entertaining.

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Creating the Space

No matter what plan you have for your budget friendly outdoor living space, you need a beautiful finished area as a foundation. These are typically either a deck or a patio. While refinishing or building a completely new structure may sound like an expensive project, there are plenty of design options that can fit into any budget. If you have an existing structure, you can update them without breaking the bank. Simple repairing any broken or rotting boards can make your deck look brand new. If there are no extra repairs to be done, you can update the aesthetic of your deck or patio. A new stain can bring out natural tones of your wood and bring new life to the wood grain. Depending on the opacity of your stain, it will bring out different natural tones in your wood. They range from transparent which allows the natural beauty of the wood in its entirety to shine through all the way to solid which acts more like a paint. If you want a custom color or a unique pattern on your deck or patio, paint is a great option. You will have to be sure to sand the wood down to ensure that the color permeates the grain. Building a new deck or patio may sound like an expensive project. However, there are plenty of budget friendly plans and materials available to create your new outdoor living space. If you want a classic all wood design, reclaimed wood is a great option. You can refinish the wood to fit into a clean and classic deck design or leave it in its natural state for a more rustic look to your backyard. All of these ideas also apply to a deck or patio extensions. Adding a few more feet to your surface can add an unlimited number of possibilities. Simple updates to the design can give your outdoor living space new life. If you have a raised deck, consider pouring a simple concrete patio underneath. Under deck patios are perfect for maximizing your outdoor living space. By building one structure, you now have two different areas to entertain in your backyard. Your deck and patio structures aren’t limited to all wood designs. Stamped concrete is becoming an increasingly popular option for patios. Stamped concrete is when the contractor or homeowner pours the concrete and lays a stencil over it while it’s still wet. This usually leaves the shape of individual stones, normally bricks, on the surface of the patio. Their popularity comes from their durability and low cost compared to individually laying bricks. If you want to use individual pavers, but want a cheaper design, consider using gravel as filler between the flagstones.

Furnishing Your Outdoor Living Space

Backyard home design has come a long way from picnic tables and lawn chairs. Outdoor living space ideas aren’t limited to a simple grill and old table. One of the latest trends in backyard home design is bringing the indoors outside. These spaces take inspiration from different rooms in your home to create a unique place for your outdoor entertaining needs without breaking the bank.
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Photo by: Mom Favorites
Outdoor Living Rooms One of the most popular ways to decorate your newly finished space is to create an outdoor living room. This allows you to extend the warmth of your home to your outdoor space and make the most of outdoor entertaining. When it comes to your outdoor spaces design styles, you can choose to use a similar style to your home’s interior or design a completely different space. This can help to create the feeling of a getaway in your own backyard. One unique thing about an outdoor living room, as opposed to other spaces is the idea of bringing traditional indoor elements outside. While some homeowners choose to employ a traditional wicker furniture set, others use a more modern design style with metal frame furniture. These range from couches to armchairs. No matter what style you choose, you need to have comfortable cushions. These are an easy and budget friendly DIY project. Canvas is cost effective and perfect for outdoor applications. It’s durable and can be painted to fit into any design style or color story. Fire pits are the perfect focal point for any outdoor living space. One of the major benefits to a fire pit over other wow factor pieces is the fact that you can use it throughout the year. Unlike a water feature, a fire pit is the perfect centerpiece for a summer campfire or a cool night in early fall. They also add a sense of coziness to your outdoor living room, much like an indoor fireplace. Design accents can help finish out your outdoor living room design. Outdoor rugs are another indoor element that is making their way outdoors. Some may think they’re durable fabrics make the designs bulky and unattractive. However, there is a wide range of designs available to fit your space. If you can’t find your dream rug in your budget, you can always paint one! Just like creating your own textile for the cushions, you can paint a plain outdoor rug to fit into your space. Lighting is also an integral part to enjoying your outdoor living space. Because you want to be able to use your space no matter what time of day, you need effective lighting that won’t be out of budget. One of the best outdoor lighting solutions are rope lights. These string lights are encased in a durable clear plastic tube making them perfect for any outdoor application. The tube is flexible and can be wrapped around a deck railing or the vertical supports of a pergola. No matter what structural design you choose, rope lights will fit into your space.
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Photo by: DIY Network
Outdoor Kitchens & Dining Areas One of the most popular backyard activities is to grill and enjoy the weather while you’re eating. Outdoor dinner parties have been a staple in summer entertaining for as long as people have lived in the suburbs. It’s the perfect way to take advantage of warm weather and spend time with family and friends. While you don’t need to have both an outdoor kitchen and dining area, they usually go hand in hand. Outdoor kitchen designs range in price and extravagance. If you want to keep it simple and within a lower budget, you can easily add extra counter space. A popular backyard DIY project is to create a built in piece around your grill. You can achieve the look of a custom outdoor kitchen on your back deck or patio without the high price. The frames are easily made with lumber that you can get from any home improvement store. By building your own frame, you can add as much counter space and cabinets as you need. If you have a larger budget, you can install a mini fridge for the ultimate kitchen feel. Outdoor dining areas are one of the most simple backyard designs for an outdoor living space. When homeowners install a deck or patio, their first thought is to get a table and chairs for their space. Not only is it traditional, but it’s also one of the most budget friendly options. Depending upon the design you choose, there is a wide range of prices. Many homeowners choose to purchase an outdoor dining set that includes a table and matching chairs. You can easily find a wicker set that fits into a traditional deck design and has a range of sizes and shapes. There are also plenty of more modern metal frame tables and chairs. The tables are usually finished with a stone table top and the chairs have cushions that provide a pop of color. For a more eclectic and personality driven space, mismatched furniture that coordinates is a great choice. Thrifted pieces are perfect for budget friendly deck designs. You can refinish the pieces with the right spray paint to create a completely custom piece. For a DIY dining table, use reclaimed wood to build a farm table. If you have enough of the wood, you can build matching benches. These are perfect for large gatherings that require a lot of seating. If you can’t find reclaimed wood, you can use new lumber from a home improvement store. There are wood aging processes that can give your new table the rustic look that you’re looking for. Lighting is a very important part of any outdoor kitchen. You’ll want bright lights that allow for clear visibility at night. This is important for safety reasons around a hot grill and potentially sharp knives. If you decide to separate your kitchen and dining area with a multi level deck design, as many homeowners do, you can have more aesthetically pleasing lights in other areas. Café lights are a very popular design option for dining areas. Café lights are a mix of trendy Edison bulbs and string lights. They are a little dimmer than the bright task lights of the kitchen area, but still fill the space with mood lighting. It adds a finishing touch to your outdoor dining area.
outdoor living space landscaping
Photo by: Create Blog
Landscaping While it may be forgotten sometimes, landscaping and your plant choices are just as important as your furnishings! With the right landscaping, you can create a brand new space that’s unrecognizable. It’s like changing your interior floor from carpet to hardwood, it redefines your backyard. Designing and planting a new garden can be expensive, but there are plenty of flower options that can help to fill your space. Perennials, or plants that will bloom year after year, are a great budget friendly landscaping option. Not only are the full of color, but they have one up front cost for the plant. The color stories for your garden can range from monochromatic to a colorful arrangement of different shapes and colors. If you want to add some polish to your deck design, use large plants to cover deck supports. This gives your deck a more expensive look by hiding vertical beams and can add color to your backyard! Don’t be afraid to incorporate potted plants into a finished space. Different sizes and shapes of planters in your space create a dynamic design and can add color to your outdoor living space. You can use them as accents just like you would in an indoor space. Backyards have started to become an addition living room! While many of these designs can be extravagant, you don’t have to break the bank to have a beautiful outdoor living space. These budget friendly design ideas can help you to create your ideal backyard. No matter what design style you decide to incorporate, you can easily create a unique outdoor living space that you and your friends and family can enjoy.

Remodeling Your Deck for Entertaining

Prepping Your Deck

When you decide to remodel any part of your house, you want to make sure any remaining part of the design is structurally sound and will support the renovation. Creating a blank canvas that can fit into the new deck design is the first step to remodeling your deck. This could mean completely removing all of your decking material including railings and boards. If you want to keep the existing boards in place, be sure to replace any damaged boards that may become a safety hazard. To extend the deck, you will have to remove the railing and add extra supports to the frame. You will also want to strip your deck of any current design features, such as remaining stain and paint.
deck-restoration
Photo by: Post Construction

Simple Updates

Remodeling your deck doesn’t have to mean a major construction project. You can create a new outdoor entertaining space with simple updates to your existing deck. If you want to create a new design without altering your deck frame, consider replacing your deck boards with a new material. Composite decking is a great option for outdoor entertaining spaces. It holds up well to heavy foot traffic and won’t splinter or fade like wood does. There is a range of colors available to fit into whatever design style you’re looking for. If you don’t want to replace your deck boards, you update your existing wooden boards. After stripping the wood of the previously applied stain or paint, you can refinish the wood. There are different types of stains that create a different look for your wood. All of them highlight the natural beauty of the wood grain and seal your deck to protect it from weather conditions. If you want a unique color, you can also paint your deck. This would require some extra finishing measures to ensure that the paint will last on your deck. The last simple update to your deck design that can transform your space is to install a new deck railing. Changing out your deck railing is similar to paint an interior wall. It will change the look and feel of your space in the matter of an afternoon. Deck railing designs range from a rustic lattice panel to a sleek and modern glass walls.

Alum PC Custom 2

Deck Additions

Your deck renovation may be a little more in depth than a simple update to your materials. If you want to create a larger space for outdoor entertaining, you can extend your deck. This includes installing extra vertical and lateral supports. These can be a standard extension or an addition of bump outs to create smaller separated sections. These spaces are great for larger parties that can cater to different interests. If you have a smaller backyard and don’t have the space to extend your deck out, you can build up your outdoor entertaining space vertically. A raised deck leaves an open space underneath that is perfect for a finished patio. Under deck patios are a very flexible space that is ideal for outdoor entertaining. Because it has a built in roof, a simple drainage system can create a covered patio that can be used in almost any weather condition. You can also use the vertical supports of the deck above as the frame for a screened in porch. The screens create another form of protection from outdoor pests.

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Deck Stairs

If you want to connect your deck and patio, or just want a new way to reach your backyard from your raised deck, update your deck stairs. There are several deck stair options that fit into different deck designs. The most common design is a traditional staircase. These are typically an all wood design and are a straight staircase like you would find in most homes’ interiors. These fit well with a traditional or rustic home. However, they take up a lot of room and can be bulky in design. In order to ensure the safety of those using the staircase, the individual steps must be a certain depth which creates a very long frame. Another safety concern with these all wood designs is the durability of the material. Wood is an organic material and will break down over time. You will need to go through a deck restoration process every so often to ensure that your stair is structurally sound. Another deck stair option is a spiral staircase leading from your deck the lower level. A spiral stair’s footprint is kept to a small circle in your backyard and maximizes your outdoor space. The first of two designs for your outdoor spiral stair is an Aluminum Powder Coated spiral stair. The already rust prohibitive aluminum staircase goes through a powder coating process that gives it a maintenance free finish. This long lasting design also has the option of being finished with a custom color, giving you a one of a kind design that can fit into any backyard. The second outdoor spiral stair option is a Galvanized Steel spiral stair. This is a cost effective and durable design that is perfect for a small backyard. The steel frame goes through a hot dipped galvanizing process that coats every part of the stair down to the connections of the spindles and handrail. This weather proof finish ensures that your stair will last and stand up to rust which can compromise the safety of your stair.

Using Your Deck

Once you’re done remodeling your deck’s structure, you can fill it with furnishings and give the space a purpose. Outdoor entertaining is one of the number one reasons to remodel your deck. This doesn’t have to be limited to a grill on the side. There are plenty of different ways to decorate your deck to cater to summer parties. The most important thing to remember is to design the deck to fit into your lifestyle. Be sure to fill it with furnishings that you will actually use. Give your space personality through design, just like you would if you were to remodel an interior space. No matter what you decide to use your newly remodeled deck for, there are some materials that will be standard. When looking for outdoor furniture, you want pieces that will last outdoors and still be beautiful. There are several options when it comes to choosing an outdoor fabric. The uses of the fabric range from cushions to curtains that provide shade. The first and most popular is a cotton canvas. This heavy duty fabric is made to last outdoors. A great benefit to this material is that it can easily be dyed or painted to fit your design aesthetic. Another popular fabric is vinyl because of its low maintenance nature. However, it can feel a lot like plastic and can quickly become uncomfortable if used in excess. The frames of outdoor furniture also has a wide range from wicker to wrought iron. Depending on the type of furniture, some materials may work better than others. Paint is always a great solution to customize a previously thrifted piece of furniture. You can refinish an old table or wicker chair and make it look brand new. outdoor-entertaining-furniture Outdoor Dining Area & Kitchens One of the most popular uses for an outdoor space is an outdoor dining area. These spaces are perfect for summer holidays and dinner parties. The most important furnishings for your outdoor dining area are going to be your table and seating options. The proportion of the table and chairs should fill the space without being too large. If your table is too small, it will make the space feel empty and under designed, no matter how much work was put into it. There are plenty of outdoor table and chair sets with matching pieces. They fit will into traditional design aesthetics that feature symmetry and classic styles. Many of these tables have metal frames and stone tops for a clean finish. The chairs have a matching metal frame and a woven seat. If you want a table and chairs set that fits more into a quaint country charm aesthetic, there are lots of wicker sets on the market. For a design aesthetic highlights eclectic style, you can find coordinating, but not matching, sets. These can be compiled of thrift store finds that are refinished to fit into the same set. If you have chairs that don’t have cushions with them, you can easily make your own with the outdoor fabrics that were previously mentioned. One of the most popular DIY deck and patio projects is to use reclaimed wood to create a farm table that will last outside. These giant tables are the perfect pieces for large gatherings. They are paired with matching benches that provide ample seating. Outdoor kitchens have a few different furnishings than the dining areas. While many people may just have a grill on the side of their deck, an outdoor kitchen features counter space, food storage, and sometimes even a full oven. The lights need to be a little bit brighter than other outdoor applications because of the extra hazards that come with a kitchen. If you want both of these applications to be used in one deck design, under deck patios are great way to separate them. It keeps any excess smoke away from guests’ conversations while still keeping the host or hostess outdoors with their party. outdoor-living-room Outdoor Living Room An outdoor living room has been growing in popularity recently. This deck design idea takes the standard furnishings from interior design and alters them to fit into your outdoor space. This communal area is perfect for a relaxing night with friends on your newly remodeled deck. Because of the nature of an outdoor living room, you want to make sure comfortable seating is always available for your guests. Outdoor couches and armchairs with cushions are a must for this deck design. The same frames that were used for outdoor dining tables and chairs would apply to these as well. You want something that is going to last outdoors without having to be replaced every summer. Built in pieces are also popular when it comes to creating a unique communal area on your deck. It’s a completely unique piece that you can also design as storage. Many built in pieces have a lift top bench that opens to a storage space for extra cushions or toys. For a true living room feel, you can use a coffee table as the central focus. This not only gives you and your guests a solid and flat surface to use, but also a center point to angle your furniture toward. If you want a more unique centerpiece to your outdoor living room, use an outdoor fire pit in place of a classic fireplace. If you want the coziness of a fire but also the benefits of a table, there are table top fire pits available. A backyard deck is the perfect place for outdoor entertaining in the summer months. You may need to update your deck design to maximize space and have the best outdoor entertaining space possible. Whether you’re replacing boards or building a deck addition, remodeling your deck can recreate the entire space. If a multi level deck or finished under deck patio is the right design for you, consider a stylish spiral stair to move from floor to floor. You can further your renovation by replacing your deck railing with a matching railing to your stair. A quick call to one of our consultative designers can get you pricing in five minutes or less!

How To Maximize A Small Deck Design

Homeowners have been moving to smaller and smaller homes to simplify their lifestyles. These smaller plots mean that people are having to get more creative in their home design. This doesn’t just apply to the interior, but the outdoor spaces as well. You can fill them with design and create a beautiful area for relaxation and outdoor entertaining. 10497891_815666595131667_4184620775929351299_o

Small Deck Designs

One of the best ways to ensure that you’re making the most of your small deck is to have the proper design. The way the deck is design will begin to outline the efficiency of your small deck design. There are several small deck ideas that incorporate different shapes into the build of the deck. The most traditional shape is always going to be square. The shape lends itself to a grid like system and it’s the easiest shape to separate into different areas. If you want a more unique home design, a circular deck could be the best fit for your backyard. The semicircular shape can fit into a smaller area and accommodate the lifestyles that don’t call for a lot of outdoor entertaining. Depending on the proportions used, you can also maximize your existing backyard space. If you have irregular space in your backyard, consider a deck with bump outs. This design can be all angular or a combination of circular spaces and square designs. The beauty of a deck with bump outs in the design is that you can add extra square footage in areas that have the extra space. This can compensate for other areas that cannot accommodate a larger deck. This deck design can also create visual interest in the design and provide a natural organization to your deck design. These small isolated areas are perfect to accommodate small sitting areas or a separate area for your outdoor kitchen. No matter which small deck idea you choose, you will want to be sure that it fits well into your space. Take into consideration the shape of your home and how the deck will fit into the backyard. You don’t want your deck to look out of place in your backyard. Foliage can help your deck design to flow into the backyard naturally. You can help to hide any deck supports with tall plants and large bushes. Just like you would create a color story in your home, you can create a foliage story in your backyard. By using complimentary plants consistently in your outdoor space, you can connect the different areas easily. You can also add visual interest into your deck design through the finishing touches. A multi-color deck can be achieved through using different color composite decking boards or different stains on an all wood deck. The composite decking material comes in a range of colors and can be installed in a decorative pattern to create a focal point in the deck floor. If you choose to use an all wood deck design, you can use different stains or paint to create a pattern on the deck itself. You can create a two tone effect if you use two different stains on the wood boards. Stain them before you install the boards to keep the separation of color crisp and neat. You can paint a design on the deck as well. This is a popular option for those that want a customer area rug design, but don’t want the hassle of having a loose rug. The last deck design element that can add visual interest to your space is going to be your deck railing. Different deck railing designs can create a different style for your deck. By adding the focal points into the deck itself, you can keep furnishings simple without your deck feeling too empty.
small deck furnishings
Photo by: Hmm Deck Furniture

Small Deck Decorating

The first obstacle when you’re furnishing a small space is to find furniture that meets all of the requirements. Not only does it have to fit into the space, but also into the home design style that you’ve used in the rest of your home. Small deck ideas aren’t limited to spaces that are overcrowded with lots of small pieces. You can actually make your space look bigger by filling the space with bigger pieces of furniture. By keeping the pieces you do have on the larger side, you can keep the actual number of pieces to a minimum. This keeps the space simple and uncluttered. Because you’ll be using fewer pieces of furniture, be sure to keep the focus on your lifestyle. Prioritize the furniture that lends itself to the activities that you enjoy most. For instance, if you like to have alone time and privacy outside, you may decide on a few lounge chairs over a large dining table. No matter what you decide to use your small deck for, there are plenty of different options that fit in your home’s design style. Furniture Depending on what you plan to use your deck for, there are plenty of furniture options to fit your space and its function. Seating is almost always necessary on a deck. A popular option for deck seating is an outdoor couch. This can range in size from a small two cushion love seat, but also be as wide as an outdoor sectional with ample seating. If outdoor dinner parties are a goal, there are plenty of outdoor dining chair sets. Many of them have metal frames with either a woven seat or an outdoor cushion. Outdoor cushions are the most important part of your deck seating. You want all of your guests, as well as yourself, to be comfortable while enjoying time on the deck. There’s a wide range of designs and prices when it comes to cushions to complete your small deck design. If you can’t find a set that you like, you can easily paint your own canvas to create an outdoor friendly fabric that’s ready to be made into cushions. Another small deck idea that has a large focus on comfortable seating is to install a conversation pit. Create a central focus point with either a firepit or a small table and angle your seating around this central point. With this design, your deck becomes a natural gathering place and communal area. Tables are another staple in small deck decorating. Having a stable flat surface can go a long way when your entertaining outdoors. Obviously if you plan to hold dinner parties, a large dining table is necessary. Large farm tables are a great option for those that are looking to use a rustic home décor style. These tables are usually paired with benches which provides plenty of seating. If you can’t find the farm table of your dreams, you it’s a simple weekend DIY project using either new lumber that can be aged or reclaimed lumber. Design accents can go a long way in small deck ideas. When you’re working in small spaces, the details aren’t just finishing touches, but the design itself. Area rugs can help to center and focus a furniture layout. If you can’t find the right outdoor rug for your deck, you can easily paint a plain one, like the canvas cushions. Another alternative to a rug is to paint and seal the design directly on your deck. This will require some deck restoration after some time, but it will definitely be a one of a kind design. Don’t be afraid to take interior décor details outdoors! Mirrors can expand your space with strategic placement just like an interior mirror. Lighting Lighting on your deck is especially important if you plan to use your deck for outdoor entertaining. There are several light fixture designs that can help you to define your space while still standing up to the elements. Rope lights are a popular option for their flexibility and weather resistant casing. The design is made up of string lights that are in a plastic tube that can be bent to wind around deck railings or simple work around the edge of your platform. For a lighting option that takes up no extra space, you can install lights directly into your deck posts. Solar lights can be installed for a low maintenance light solution. Schicketanz

Small Multi Level Decks

One of the best ways to maximize your small deck is to create a multi level deck design. By building vertically, you don’t have to worry about take up too much of your already limited square footage in the backyard. To keep your backyard below completely open, you can finish your roof to create a rooftop deck with stairs leading to a lower level. You can easily connect this modern and space efficient deck to a smaller second floor deck. These two decks create square footage by using space that wasn’t previously used. You can also utilize the space below a raised deck design by pouring a concrete patio platform underneath it. Under deck patios have several different applications that can vary based on your lifestyle and the vision you have for your outdoor space. The beauty of an under deck patio is that it’s a covered area, giving you an outdoor entertaining area no matter what the area is. You can easily install a drainage system as part of the ceiling to make your space waterproof. There are several different ways to use multiple levels of outdoor entertaining space. One of the most popular applications is to have separate dining areas and outdoor kitchens. By separating the two, you can keep your dining area and the lounge area for your guests free from smoke. If you choose to use an under deck patio design, you can use the pre-existing supports of the deck as a frame for a screened in porch. This gives you a beautiful three season room that protects you from inclement weather and other pests, such as insects. No matter what kind of multi level deck design you decide to have in your backyard, you will need a way to move from one level to the next. Deck stairs come in several different designs depending upon the application. The most popular design is a traditional deck stair. This straight staircase is the most common deck stair design found in homes. They fit well with traditional home styles. However, they take up a large amount of space. To safely use the staircase, you will need each step to be wide and short enough to accommodate the majority of people. This creates a staircase with a large footprint. The whole point of designing a deck with stairs is to open up square footage. A traditional deck stair can take away a good portion of that space. A small footprint solution is an outdoor spiral stair. The spiral design keeps the staircase’s footprint to a small circle in your backyard, allowing you to keep the maximum amount of space available for outdoor entertaining. Spiral stairs can also enhance your deck design and are much more aesthetically pleasing than a standard all wood deck stair. There are two standard options for your outdoor spiral stair, a Powder Coated Aluminum spiral stair and a Galvanized Steel spiral stair. The Powder Coated Aluminum stair is ideal for backyard spaces that have a high design focus. This design takes the already rust prohibitive aluminum and powder coats it to give your stair a maintenance free finish. You also have the flexibility of a custom color on your stair. The Galvanized Steel spiral stair is a cost effective and durable option for a multi level deck. This design consists of a carbon steel stair that goes through a hot dipped galvanizing process that coats the entire stair in the rust prohibitive metallic silver finish. Both designs have the option of a diamond plate tread design. This non-skid surface is ideal for outdoor applications. Another added safety feature are safety gates that can be designed to match your stair and deck railing. Homes are getting smaller and smaller and their outdoor spaces are doing the same. A small backyard doesn’t mean that you can’t have a beautiful deck. Clever design and the right additions to your deck can help you to maximize your small deck design. If you want to learn more about a spiral stair design for your small deck, a call to one of our consultative designers can get you pricing in five minutes or less.

5 Types of Decorative Deck Railings

Just like you carefully choose your paint colors to compliment your home, your deck railing designs are the “walls” of your deck. Not only does the railing provide a necessary safety measure, but it also defines the space, giving it a definitive frame. You can use different materials to create different aesthetics that match your home. Sometimes the same base material can provide completely different looks depending on finish and design. This guide to deck railing ideas will help you wade through the options and find the right one for your deck!
composite deck railing
Photo by: Decks.com

Composite Deck Railing

Composite decking material is one of the most popular materials for outdoor uses because of its major benefits. The material’s composition and durability make it a low maintenance option that holds up in any climate. It’s made from a combination of wood particles, such as sawdust and mulch, and plastic. They are combined into a set of boards to create a weather resistant and maintenance free decking material. These boards give homeowners a zero maintenance product that has the look of real wood. The textured wood grain is part of each board for a durable, but beautiful end result. It holds up to heavy foot traffic and harsh weather conditions. This seemingly perfect product does have a few drawbacks. When composite decking material is damaged, you cannot spot restore or repair like you would with traditional wood. You will have to replace the entire composite board. You may also be limited in colors. They can be a little more solid and paint like in finish than a natural wood and stain finish. However, as they grow in popularity, companies are providing more colors that imitate the natural wood tones. Just like a composite deck, you would use these boards for your railing in the same way you would use traditional wood. These designs are a simple top and bottom railing with spindles connecting the two. They typically come in kits that are an easy afternoon project. The kits are very easily installed yourself in an afternoon with all the pieces fitting together like an erector set. The average price for a composite deck railing starts at $150 for 6’ of railing.

Wood Deck Railing

Wood is the most traditional material for decks and deck railing designs. It is one of the most customizable materials available for your deck designs. By using different finishes paired with different wood species, you can create a complete different design. All of these different combinations will vary in cost and add a new element to your deck. Given the blank canvas aspect of wood railings, they are easily the most versatile of the designs listed here. Pressure Treated Lumber Pressure treated lumber is the most common material used for outdoor wood projects. It’s treated specifically for these projects and to hold up to the extra moisture that comes with constant exposure. It’s easily accessible and can be found at any home improvement store. It is the most budget friendly material included in this post. These two benefits make it a top choice for homeowners looking to make their deck railing a weekend DIY project. Pressure treated lumber can be stained, painted, or shaped to fit any design you want. This wood product is more porous than other hardwoods making it easy to refinish to match the rest of your deck. It usually costs between $15 and $25 per square foot, making it budget friendly. It will need to go through a deck restoration process every year or so to ensure that your railing is structurally sound. Cedar Cedar is one of the most popular decking material options because of its natural durability. If you’re looking to keep the beauty of a natural wood grain at the forefront of your deck railing design, this may be the right material choice for you. This hardwood is naturally rot and pest resistant, meaning you can keep it in its natural state without too much concern. Of course, you can still stain or seal you cedar deck railing. They’re not completely maintenance free. Your cedar railing will need to be treated every two years. It’s not quite as low maintenance as a composite railing, but it definitely will hold up longer than a typical pressure treated wood deck. Mahogany Mahogany is most recognizable by its natural rich color. However, it’s also very durable making it ideal for outdoor projects. There are several different species within the category of mahogany wood. Depending upon which one you choose, it will be naturally rot resistant. This paired with the rich color gives you a traditional looking deck. The darker and richer the color, the more resistant to decay it will be. If you want an added layer of protection, but love the rich warm tone of mahogany, use a clear sealant to keep it from greying over time. This way you aren’t losing any of the natural beauty of the mahogany, but you’re lengthening the life of your railing. Because mahogany isn’t locally sourced, it will be more expensive with an average cost of $28 per square foot. Redwood Redwood lumber is ideal for outdoor applications because of its durability. It is naturally insect resistant and stands up well to UV rays. Many wood species grey over time in constant sun exposure. Redwood will keeps its luxurious red color and can be sealed with a clear sealant as an added protective measure. These benefits do make redwood a more expensive option for your deck railing. With average costs around $35 per square foot, you are paying for the low maintenance nature of the material. Wood Deck Railing Design Options No matter which wood species you choose, there are several different deck railing designs that you can use. While some of the materials may stand up to weather better than others, they all can be used to create these unique and beautiful pieces. They take the rustic and traditional material of natural wood and combine it with creative designs. All of these projects can be a custom design by a deck contractor or an easy weekend DIY project!
traditional wood deck railing
Photo by: Houzz
Traditional Deck Railing You can’t talk about deck railings without first considering a traditional straight post deck railing. This design is what you’ll find on most homes and is complimentary to all home styles. The classic deck railing may be unappealing to those looking for a trendier option for their home, but this deck railing design can be customized and altered to fit your vision. Through different wood species, paints, and stains, you can create a traditional deck railing that is still unique to your home design.
interlocking wood deck railing
Photo by: A Wood Railing
Interlocking Patterns Don’t think that you’re limited to straight posts because you’re using a traditional material. You can install and secure your wood railing to create a dynamic and interesting pattern that also provides enough coverage for safety purposes. There are several different designs that utilize flat boards over typical square spindles. By flattening them, you are able to create diagonals that seem to connect together in complex patterns and add visual interest to an otherwise standard piece of architecture. Lay out your board in your pattern on the ground first to be sure that you’re happy with it. Don’t be afraid to play around with different shapes to find the perfect accent to your deck.
sunburst deck railing
Photo by: Santa Cruz Leisure Woods
Sunburst Design Take your diagonal spindles a step further and create a sunburst design in your deck railing. There’s flexibility within this general design style as well. You can use as many spindles as you like in your sunburst to create more or less coverage in your railing. The diagonal spindles themselves are an interesting visual element, but you can also add a solid semicircle at the bottom of your panel for a true sunburst design. The best way to install a sunburst deck railing design is to build the panels containing the diagonal spindles separately and install the entire piece as one. This ensures that all of your angles will be equal.
deck railing built in seating
Photo by: Gzanpai
Built In Seating Take the idea of multifunctional furniture and move it outdoors! Use your deck railing as the back of built in seating. By incorporating built in benches into your deck, you’re creating a completely custom design for you and your home. Your deck is the perfect place for outdoor entertaining, and adding seating makes it even better. You can also use your built in benches as storage benches for different backyard toys and seating cushions.
lattice panel deck railing
Photo by: Custom Decks Plus
Lattice Panels If you want a full wall rather than just a railing design, use lattice panels in place of the wooden spindles. This classic piece of home design is usually used as a deck skirting, but why not move it up to a part of your railing system. Lattice panels come in a variety of materials and finishes to give you the perfect piece for your deck design. If you want to add some green to your lattice, climbing plants are a common addition.

Metal Deck Railing

Some homeowners want to go in a completely different direction with their deck railing ideas. Metal railing surrounding decks and balconies have become more popular in modern and industrial style homes. While those are the most common aesthetics that use metal railings, this durable option fits into a traditional Victorian style or a farmhouse conversion just as well. While the wood species were essentially interchangeable in their designs, different metals won’t fit very design. Steel While steel is one the most common building materials, it’s not the most used deck railing metal. It does have the durability that you would expect with metal, but is susceptible to rusting with constant outdoor exposure. This can compromise the structural integrity and design aesthetic of your deck. If you still want to use steel, there are a few ways to help ward off rust. The two rust prohibitive finishes are galvanized steel and powder coated steel. Both coat your deck railing in a protective barrier that can prolong the life of your steel railing. Aluminum When compared to steel, aluminum is a much better fit for your outdoor applications. Aluminum deck railing is naturally rust prohibitive and can stand up to harsh weather conditions with minimal upkeep. A common finish for aluminum railing is powder coat. This process gives the already low maintenance material a weather proof finish and can be done in custom colors. Whether you want a subtle complementary color or a bright centerpiece, you can achieve it. Wrought Iron Wrought iron railings are the perfect complement to a Victorian home. They often feature ornate spindles that have designs molded into each one. While they’re beautiful, they do have some of the same maintenance issues as steel deck railing. There aren’t many, if any, protective finishes for your wrought iron railing. This can make it nearly impossible to avoid rusting with constant exposure to the elements. They are not galvanized and are therefore more susceptible to rust and corrosion. Metal Deck Railing Design Options Because metal is a more distinctive material than wood that can be refinished, you may feel like you don’t have as much flexibility. However, you can create different designs that match a wide range of home design aesthetics. Different materials can help you to create different looks to match your home’s personality.
arched balusters deck railing
Photo by: Contractor Talk
Arched Balusters This design is simple, but adds a unique visual interest that you wouldn’t find with standard wooden spindles. The curve is subtle enough to support but not distract from the rest of your deck. This European design can fit into a Victorian home or as an interesting design element on a contemporary home. They are typically aluminum railings, but you can use steel or iron with the right maintenance. Arched balusters give your deck railing design a custom look but they can be easy to install. These designs come in kits with predrilled holes for easy DIY installation. They range in price from $80 to $120.
cable railing deck railing
Photo by: Crystal Iteinc
Cable Railing Cable railing is a trendy option got homeowners that want uninterrupted views from their backyard deck. These stainless steel cables fit well into modern and minimalist home designs. The thin cables provide maximum safety and coverage without blocking your view. This design can still be customized with your option of vertical or horizontal cables for your railing. There’s not benefit to having one of the other, it’s your own personal preference. You can buy kits for a DIY weekend project to update your deck design. Cable railing systems range from $50 to $200 depending upon your retailer and how much railing your deck will need. iron deck railing twist cage Scroll Railing Designs This is the classic design that you think of when you picture wrought iron railings. It has the smaller ornate details that you’ll find in the railings of historical houses. It’s not limited to front gates of old buildings. While typically found on smaller balconies, these designs bring elegance to your deck design. They can get pricey depending upon your specific design. If you want the Victorian style, but not the amount of detail that comes with a scroll, consider a twisted baluster design or a twisted cage. These feature small details that can go a long way for your deck railing design. The most decorative railing panels are usually from a contractor and can start at $150 for one panel. glass-panel-deck-railing

Glass Deck Railing

Tempered glass walls are the perfect addition to any modern or minimalist deck design. With small metal top rails, a glass wall railing takes the transparency of the cable railing to a new level. This is truly an uninterrupted view for your deck. The sleekness of a clear glass wall can’t be matched with any solid railing and is perfect for those than want an invisible barrier between them and their backyard. Tempered glass walls typically start at $65 per panel.
stained glass
Photo by: A Wood Railing
Tempered glass walls are the perfect addition to any modern or minimalist deck design. With small metal top rails, a glass wall railing takes the transparency of the cable railing to a new level. Your glass panels provide a truly uninterrupted view for your deck. The sleekness of a clear glass wall can’t be matched with any solid railing and is perfect for those than want an invisible barrier between them and their backyard. Tempered glass walls typically start at $65 per panel. If you want to take your glass wall deck railing to the next level, consider using stained glass. While this would defeat the purpose of using glass for its transparency, it would give your deck a unique look that you won’t find anywhere else. You can have the panels custom made or buy stained glass panels that you love. When the sunlight hits the stained glass, your deck will look magical. This price range is hard to estimate as they are completely custom pieces. There a million ways to add a finishing touch to your deck. After you’ve worked so hard to create a beautiful outdoor entertaining space, don’t muddy it with a subpar railing design. Salter Spiral Stair provides wood, steel, iron, and aluminum railing for your raised deck! This is an excellent option if you already have a spiral stair. It creates a cohesive design for your outdoor space. Call one of our consultative designers for quick pricing!

Five Weekend DIY Deck Projects

Alum PC Custom 2 Each of these steps to having an incredible outdoor entertaining area have been broken down into five easy DIY projects. Each of these projects can be completed in a weekend to create the backyard deck of your dreams! You can jump down to your desired project using these links:

Table of Contents DIY Deck Frames DIY Deck Stairs DIY Deck Restoration DIY Deck Awnings DIY Deck Railings

DIY Deck Frames

Design Square A raised deck has several different design options. There are a few different shapes that can help to define your home’s exterior style. The traditional deck design features a square or rectangular frame. The clean lines fits well with a traditional home style. This is the most commonly used deck shape for DIY projects. They are pretty straight forward and consist of a box frame that is attached to supports and secured to the house. You then install lateral supports and secure the frame before your lay your decking material for the floor. When laying your floor boards, be sure to space them evenly for aesthetic, safety, and draining purposes. Not only does even spacing look much nicer than the alternative, but it also creates a flat surface for you and your guests to walk on. Leave just enough space for some draining through your floor boards. This will help the wood to dry out faster and reduce some of the risk of rot and damage. If you plan to create an under deck patio, you can add a draining ceiling underneath the floor of your deck to keep that space dry. Circular Circular and octagonal deck frames have become grown in popularity recently. They add a unique design feature to your home. Depending upon the materials and décor used, your curved deck can be a rustic gazebo or a modern observation deck. The beginning of a circular or octagonal do it yourself deck will be similar. Both DIY deck projects begin with supports and attaching your frame to your house. However, the frame itself will be very different. If you want a unique shape to your deck, octagonal may be an easier DIY project than circular. You can keep the straight edges of the materials and won’t need to do as much prep work. If you want the smooth rounded edges, the difficulty of rounding your decking materials will vary depending upon what material you choose. Pressure treated lumber can be soaked in water to increase flexibility. Composite decking material is naturally flexible, but will become more so on a hot day. Your lateral supports will be more concentrated in the areas that must support the curve. They should be placed diagonally in close proximity to support the irregular shape of your curve. Octagonal decks will have a sunburst type pattern of lateral supports that will then be supplements by beams connecting each diagonal beam. Your flooring will have to be cut to fit the angles created by the frame. Supports The most important part of building your own raised deck is to make sure your vertical supports are secure and stable. This is what will keep your deck standing under heavy foot traffic and bad weather. Vertical deck supports, or posts, consist of the column and a concrete footer that is poured underground for extra stability. First, you must plan and mark where your posts will be going based on the size and shape of your new deck. Call your local municipality for any building code requirements in terms of how deep your footer must be placed and how much space there is in between the different posts. Once you’re happy with the placement, pour the concrete and ensure that it has a flat surface that can support the posts. Once the concrete has cured, you can start to place your posts in the ground. It’s important to choose pressure treated lumber that is also rated for ground contact. This means that the wood is treated to stand up to being buried into the ground. Make the notches for your lateral supports and frames before you secure the posts. When placing the posts you want them to be square and level with the house and each other. When you’re filling the holes back with dirt, make sure you don’t move the posts at all. This would require all new measurements to be made. Materials When deciding on your decking material, the two most popular options are lumber and composite decking material. They both have their benefits and drawbacks. Pressure treated lumber gives you the classic all wood design that many are looking for when they choose to add a raised deck to their home design. They have a lot of versatility when it comes to finishes and are usually the most cost effective options. However, they will require a refinishing and restoration process every one to two years. You may not need to full replace the wood, but rather just refinish it and repair individual boards. Composite decking material was made with durability in mind. The boards are made of a combination of wood particles and plastic to create a weather resistant and long lasting material. Most composite products have the look of wood and can easily be installed yourself. There are some drawbacks to composite decking material. Your finish colors will be limited to the color of the composite materials offered. Stains and paints will not adhere to composite materials like they would with lumber. You also cannot repair the surface of composite materials. Once they are scratched or broken, you must replace them to have the same finish as the rest of your deck. Cost The cost of your DIY deck project will entirely depend on your chosen materials. In most cases, pressure treated lumber will be the cheapest option with an average cost between $15 and $25 per square foot. Composite decking materials will usually cost between $35 and $45 per square foot. While composite decking materials are more expensive, you will have little to no maintenance cost. Installation DIY deck projects usually take about a week or two weekends. There is a lot of prep work that must go into your deck design before you actually begin constructing the deck. If you plan on having a curved deck design, the prep work will take even longer as you will need to shape your materials. Your finishing process will also affect your building and installation time.

DIY Deck Stairs

Design Traditional Traditional deck stairs are the classic all wood straight stair that are usually found on raised decks. The design usually matches the material used for the rest of your deck design. This means using all wood or composite decking materials for your staircase. The same benefits and drawbacks apply to these materials. Composite decking material may be a better fit for stairs as it holds up better to heavy foot traffic. If you’re looking to build your own deck stairs, this DIY deck stair design has a few measurements that are needed before you start building. Your measurements are probably best and most easily found after your deck has been built. This gives you the exact height of your deck. The first deck stair measurement you will need is the total height, or rise, of your staircase. This can be found by measuring from the ground to the top of your deck floor. This means measuring past any of the lateral supports and to the top of your floor board. Once you have the height, you can find the number of steps needed to reach your deck. You simply divide your total rise by the height of each individual step. For example, say your total rise is 7’ or 84”. Divide this by 7”, an average height for each stair. You will get 12 steps. The last step will be the deck itself, so you really only have to install 11 steps and 12 risers. To find the length of your staircase, or total run, you will also need your stair’s tread depth, or the width of each step. An average tread depth is 10”. Multiply the number of steps, 11, by the tread depth, 10”, to find the total run of 110” or 9.12’. This large footprint is a defining feature of the traditional staircase. Spiral Stairs If you’re looking for a deck stair solution that features a small footprint, a spiral stair may be the best option for you. Because of the spiral design, the stair’s footprint is kept to a small circle in your backyard. This is a great option if you want to maximize space for an under deck patio. There are two popular outdoor spiral stair options that are both design to stand up to the elements. The first is an Aluminum Powder Coated spiral stair. This design takes the naturally rust prohibitive aluminum stair and treats it with a powder coating process that gives the stair a maintenance free barrier. While many leave the stair a classic black or white color, custom colors are available upon request. If you want to add a traditional touch to your Aluminum Powder Coated stair, you can choose to have solid wood treads and a solid wood handrail added to your design. These pieces are shipped unfinished so you can match them to your deck stain. The second outdoor spiral stair is a Galvanized Exterior spiral stair. This durable stair is a steel frame that has been through a hot dipped galvanizing process that coats each part of the stair in a weather resistant finish. This protective barrier makes the Galvanized Exterior design perfect for coastal areas. Both of these metal designs are made to stand up to the elements and last for a long time without losing any of their structural integrity. The design process may seem intimidating, but our consultative designers take you through each measurement and design choice to create a unique spiral stair design for your backyard. Cost As with any home DIY project, your cost will vary depending upon your materials and the scale of your project. Traditional stairs have a wide range from $500 to $10,000. Because it’s a DIY project, you can choose materials that are cheapest and combine them to build your deck stair. The least expensive DIY deck stair will be a traditional stair made with scrap wood that you have pieced together. This may not be the most stable or aesthetically pleasing design. If you choose standard pressure treated lumber from a home improvement store and your stair is a standard height, your cost will be around $2,500. If you choose to use composite decking material, your stair will be more expensive. An outdoor spiral stair will start around $3,000. While the average cost of a spiral stair is higher than a traditional stair, you will have virtually no maintenance costs. Both the Aluminum Powder Coated and Exterior Galvanized spiral stairs have maintenance free finishes meaning that your first cost is your only cost. Installation Installation of traditional stairs can be completed in a day or two. Because of the vast amount of measurements, it may take longer. If any measurements are off, you will need to interrupt the installation in order to fix the problem. The most important part of your DIY deck stair installation is to ensure the stability of your staircase. Spiral stairs have an easy installation that you can complete in a day with the help of a spouse, friend, or neighbor. Spiral stairs are shipped broken down in a kit form with each piece being individually wrapped. Each of these pieces fit together like a big erector set and can be secured with nuts and bolts.
diy deck project restoration
Photo by: Decks.com

DIY Deck Restoration

Process Repair Before you decide to clean and refinish your deck, you must repair any parts of your deck that are unstable or broken. This includes loose floorboards, splintering railings, and any rotting wood. This process really only applies to all wood decks, as composite decking material will not splinter or crack. If you want to replace any scratched composite boards, you would do this now. If you want to replace only part of a floor board, use a jigsaw to cut this specific section from the deck. You can then cut an identical piece from your new lumber to fit the hole in the deck. To create a tighter fit and ensure the stability of the new board, cut your boards on an angle. If there are any loose nails, use a larger nail size to replace them. This creates a new larger hole that will be a tighter fit. Clean The first step in this DIY deck project is to clean your deck. This is essential to restoring your deck as any new stains and paints will adhere much better to clean wood. There are two different products to clean your deck: deck cleaner and deck stain stripper. The first can be used with a power washer to clean a deck that has simply gotten dirty over time. A deck stain stripper is used with a scrub brush and takes any remaining stain off your deck, leaving you with plain wood. This is the best choice for those who want to restain their deck for a new look. Finish If you plan to refinish your deck, you should sand your deck after the cleaning process. This gives the stain or paint a completely new and porous surface to adhere to. By taking off the dull surface layer of the wood, you are giving the stain a better chance to permeate the wood grain and create a long lasting finish. Depending upon the design you’re going for, you can choose several different finishing materials from the list below to have the DIY deck of your dreams. Materials Stains Stains allow the natural beauty of your all wood deck to shine through. One of the benefits to using lumber is that it has warm tones that cater themselves to homey designs. This is perfect for homes that want a rustic or traditional design aesthetic for their deck. You can choose either an oil based or water based stain. Water based stains are the more popular option as they are easier to clean and are kinder to any plants around your deck. There are three different kinds of stains for your deck: transparent, semitransparent, and solid. Transparent stains are clear and allow the natural color of your wood to shine through. The one drawback to this stain is that the lack of pigment also means a lack of UV protection for your deck. This causes your lumber to grey more quickly than using a stain with pigment. Semitransparent stains are the next level of protection. They still allow the wood grain to show through, but there is a small amount of tint. The most protection to you can get from a stain will be from a solid deck stain. This product is completely opaque and allows no direct UV rays to reach the wood of your deck. It will peel and flake off of your deck over time and will need to be restored more frequently than your other options. Paint If you want a wider color range than the natural tones of wood, you’ll want to use a paint that is made for outdoor applications. You can either use an oil based paint product or an acrylic based product. They both have their pros and cons. Oil based paints provide a durable base, but doesn’t react well to the expanding and contracting nature of lumber. Acrylic based paints are more flexible and are a better option for decks in wet climates. Cost The cost of restoring your deck will vary depending upon how much really needs to be done. If you need to replace any lumber or composite materials, the same price mentioned in the deck structure section applies. Pressure treated lumber has an average cost between $15 and $25 per square foot. Composite decking materials will usually cost between $35 and $45 per square foot. Time for Restoration Unless there is a lot of intensive repairs that need to be done, DIY deck restoration can be completed in a weekend. Replacing boards and nails can be done in an afternoon. The time consuming part of a deck restoration will be the cleaning and refinishing process. If you can, clean the deck in the morning before the afternoon. This allows it to dry as the sun becomes hotter throughout the day. You want the lumber to be completely dry before staining or painting the deck. This allows the product to fully permeate the wood grain.

DIY Deck Awnings

Designs Adding shade to your raised deck is a common DIY deck project. While you love to soak up the sun in nice weather, you also want some shelter for either the rain or a particularly hot day. This shaded area can take on a few different designs. One easy DIY project is a pergola. It’s all wood frame makes it an easy project to put together. It’s made from a simple box frame with lattice walls and a grid like roof. The lateral beams can hold a few different options for shade. The most common shade solution with a pergola is to add curtains. They can be strung across the roof of your small structure on cables to create a retractable awning design. If you want to add more green space to your deck, you can use climbing plants to create a living wall style of awning. Materials Most pergolas are made from naturally rot resistant wood types. Because they are used to protect your deck from poor weather, you want it to stand up to the elements. You may still need to restore them every so often, but by using a rot resistant wood, your maintenance will be cut down drastically. Teak is a common choice for DIY pergola projects because of its durability and water resistance. It has a naturally lighter color but it can be stained to match a darker deck. Another durable and rot resistant wood choice is California redwood. This wood is becoming more and more exclusive as it can only be found in California and some western states. It has a richer natural finish than teak, but is also a lot harder to find. Cost Rot resistant wood is going to be much more expensive than your standard pressure treated lumber. Because of their exclusivity, you will most likely have to go through a lumber yard to get your pergola wood. Depending upon your location and the amount of wood you’re looking for, the cost of lumber could range from $20 per board to $40 per board. While this may seem like an outrageous cost, your maintenance costs will be much lower. Installation This simple frame can be constructed and installed on your deck in a weekend. Hardwoods that are rot resistant, such as teak and California redwood, tend to be more difficult to cut. Factor this into your timeline and leave a day for simply cutting your boards.
railing
Photo by: Houzz

DIY Deck Railing

Design Your deck railing is a standard design choice when it comes to designing and building your raised deck. If your deck is more than 30”, or 2.5’, off the ground, you must have a railing along the perimeter of your deck to meet building code. Building code is a collection of safety standards that all building must meet if they want to pass inspection. Not only is it required if you plan to sell or rent out the property, but it also ensure the safety of you and your guests. Most deck railings are a traditional all wood design to match the deck. This consists of square spindles and a top banister that connects them all. More modern homes may feature cable railing or glass panels to close off their deck. Materials If you choose to have an all wood deck railing to match your deck, you can use pressure treated lumber to match the rest of your deck design. You can stain it or paint it to match your exact deck color as well. If you have a composite deck, there are several different composite deck railing systems. You can find a system that matches the color of your deck floor boards. If you want a no maintenance railing system that has a traditional look, white PVC railing is a popular choice. Cost Once again, the cost will depend on your material choice and how large your deck is. Pressure treated lumber will be the same price as the lumber you used for your deck. Composite railing kits range between $50 and $100 depending upon the company, color, and how many feet of railing is provided in the kit. PVC railing kits will have about the same range as composite railing systems. Installation Your deck railing is a simple installation that can be completed in an afternoon. If you choose the all wood design, you can build it into the deck frame itself. Install your vertical posts, these are usually at the corners of your deck and then in equal intervals throughout the sides of the deck. Once the posts are in place, you build the middle sections of the deck railing from bottom to top. First install the bottom railing. From there you’ll install the spindles, or balusters. You want these to be evenly spaced for a uniform and polished look. Once those are all in place, you add your top railing. This is the final piece of your deck railing and keeps your balusters in place and secures the entire railing system. If you choose a composite or PVC deck railing system, installation is very simple. There are sleeves that fit over the wooden deck posts and are attached with brackets. These have notches and spaces for the bottom and top rail to fit into. Once the bottom rail is in place, you can insert the balusters into the bottom rail. The top rail then fits over all of the balusters and into a pocket in the post.   Deck updates can seem intimidating, but with these quick projects you can have your deck summer ready in a few weekends! All of these projects take less than a weekend to complete and are the perfect way to add small updates to your backyard deck. If a new railing or deck stair is the right deck project for you, call one of our consultative designers to get pricing in five minutes or less!

A Complete Raised Deck Design Guide

If you live in a place with beautiful weather during the summer or a mild climate all year round, you want a place to enjoy the outdoors. Raised decks add an interesting design element to the back of your home, while keeping your backyard open and add space for a patio. These raised deck ideas can help you to design your deck from beginning to end.

Raised Deck Frame

Just like a house, the foundation of your deck will define all of your subsequent deck design choices. While it may seem like a deck frame is a basic design, there are several options that will affect the look and feel of your finished deck. You want to choose designs that will fit well with your overall home design. This includes your deck shape and your deck’s supports. Rectangular Raised Decks A square deck frame is the most traditional design for a raised deck. It extends straight out from the back of your home and creates a large rectangular platform. This frame has the most flexibility in terms of style. Because it’s a common shape, it can take on whatever aesthetic you choose for your materials and furnishings. It also creates a standard shaped under deck patio area. A rectangular raised deck design typically gives you more space to work with than the circular deck design mentioned below. Circular Raised Decks If you want a more unique deck design, consider creating a circular or octagonal shaped deck. These decks have a more compact design because of the rounded or angled edges. These shapes are great for homes that have smaller backyard spaces. They typically are matched with modern or contemporary home designs. However, a circular deck can take on a traditional gazebo design with the addition of a roof. Some decks have a rectangular base but have a circular section of the deck jut out in a corner for a communal area. The shape allows the homeowner to create a space with lots of seating that faces each other and a centerpiece, such as a fire pit. small-backyard-decks

Raised Deck Supports

Choosing the right deck supports is important for two reasons. The first is the obvious safety considerations. You want your deck to be structurally sound and safe for you and your guests to walk on. The second is to continue a cohesive design through every aspect of your deck. Your deck should have its own supports, rather than relying on the strength of your home. Decks rely on both vertical and lateral supports. The lateral supports are the actual outline of the deck that are commonly seen in the construction phase. This is secured to the house, but it’s also supported by the vertical supports. The vertical supports are columns that go from the ground up to your raised deck. Many contractors or DIY homeowners anchor these columns to the ground with a cement footing. The cement base is under ground and provides the most stability. When you connect your frame to your posts, use galvanized hardware to ensure that it is durable. When considering material options, think about the design that you want to achieve for your deck. These supports will also create a frame for your under deck patio. The most common material used is wood. It matches the rest of the deck and can be stained and treated to last outdoors. If you want wood supports, but want a more polished look, you can use stone column covers that slide over the posts. You will have to install these before you finish your deck frame. Brick and stone deck supports are typically found with traditional style homes that have the same material in their facades. If you want a mixture of the two, you can anchor your wood post to the ground with a large stone base. This is both secure and finishes your column with a traditional touch.

Raised Deck Materials

After your frame is in place, the next design choice will be your decking materials. There are a few different options depending on what you’re looking for from a design standpoint. They range from rustic all wood deck designs to modern designs that are chic and simplistic. These decking materials have different costs and maintenance levels. Wood All wood deck designs have the most flexibility of design. If you’re not sure what you want to use your space for or what design aesthetic you want right away, wood gives you the flexibility to change it up. It is the most common and cheapest decking material option. Depending upon the wood species you choose, there are different finishing options. Stains and sealants can help to lengthen your wooden deck’s life. No matter what kind of preventative maintenance you put into your deck, you will need to go through a deck restoration process every few years. This not only enhances the look of your deck, but also ensures that your deck is still structurally sound. Any rotting wood should be removed and replaced as soon as the problem is noticed. There are some rot resistant wood species, such as teak and California redwood, which can put off the restoration for a little longer. However, you will still need to repair and restore the deck every so often. Composite Composite decking material has grown in popularity in recent years. Composite decking material is made up of a mixture of wood particles and plastic. This combination creates a weather resistant and long lasting deck. It is typically more expensive than lumber, but your maintenance costs will be much smaller. You won’t have to restore your deck in the same way that you would an all wood design. However, you can’t repair a composite deck board. Once the material is scratched or broken, you must replace it. While the low maintenance costs are appealing, you won’t have as much customization opportunity with composite decking materials. Because of the plastic in the material, stains and paints will not permeate the boards. This means that you will have to use whatever colors are offered. Some people choose to create a decorative floor on their deck with two tone composite board patterns.

raised-deck-spiral-stairsRaised Deck Stairs

A major benefit to having a raised deck is opening up the space below. You can keep the space as part of your backyard. Another option is to finish your under deck patio area for an additional outdoor entertaining space. No matter what you plan on doing with the space, connecting your raised deck and the rest of your backyard creates a cohesive and efficient backyard design. Traditional Deck Stairs When you think of deck stairs, you probably see an all wood straight staircase coming off of a raised deck. This classic design is a great complement to traditional and craftsman style homes that feature exposed wooden elements and clean lines. Traditional deck stairs are typically made from all wood or composite decking materials. The benefits and drawbacks for these materials being used in a staircase is the same as a full deck design. You want materials that will hold up to heavy foot traffic. As with a full deck, you’ll want to restore all wood stairs every few years and replace composite steps as needed. A full straight stair will take up a large footprint. This could be problematic if you want to have more of your backyard open. Spiral Stairs One of the biggest benefits to having a spiral stair attached to your deck is the small footprint. Because of its spiral design, the footprint is kept to a small circle in your backyard. This allows you to connect your raised deck to your backyard or patio underneath without losing too much green space. Not only is it a functional piece, but it creates a beautiful centerpiece for any backyard. Spiral stair designs can be customized to match any home design you choose. The Aluminum Powder Coated spiral stair has a maintenance free coating on the already rust prohibitive aluminum frame to ensure that your first cost is the only cost. If you want a subtly accent piece to your home, you can choose to keep your stair a classic black or white color. However, if you want a standout piece, the aluminum stairs can be powder coated a custom color upon request. If you want a more industrial or modern feel to your deck stair, the Galvanized Exterior spiral stair is the perfect solution. Our steel stairs go through a hot dipped galvanizing process that coats the stair in a protective barrier that prevents it from rusting. As a result, the stair has an industrial metallic finish that weathers over time to take on a battleship grey color. If you want a custom color for your Galvanized Exterior stair, you can paint your stair after about six months with the proper pain and primers. Both of these spiral stair designs can have additional safety features, such as the diamond plate treads. These come standard on the metal stairs and provide a non-skid surface that is perfect for outdoor stairs that are exposed to the elements.
pergol
Photo by: Houzz

Shading your Raised Deck

Raised decks are the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors and relax during the spring and summer. However, on days when the sun seems to be particularly hot, you may want a place to relax outside with some shade. Just because your deck is on a second floor doesn’t mean that you have to go without some extra sun protection! These raised deck ideas for some shade can help you find that little piece of shaded solace on your deck. Pergola Pergolas are a type of awning that are usually found in gardens and are made from all wood designs. They can be large enough that they extend out from the house and shade your entire deck, or small enough to cover one corner. The basic design of a pergola has an open roof that can support climbing plants and vines. This is one way to incorporate green space into your deck while still having the shaded protection you’re looking for. If you want more coverage, you can add a lattice wall to the outside of your pergola. Incorporate your climbing plants into the lattice panels to create a privacy screen for your deck. If you don’t have as much of a green thumb, you can attach curtains to the lateral beams that make up the open roof of your pergola. This can give you protection from direct sunlight and is an easy DIY project for any homeowner. Retractable Awnings Retractable awnings are a popular way to add shade to your deck without the permanency of adding a roof. There are two ways to incorporate this raised deck idea into your home design. If you want to have someone install the awning for you, you can get a remote controlled retractable awning that extends out from your home. These are obviously going to be a little pricier than other options, but they usually come with warranties. The awning is completely hidden when not in use with the curtain and framework being contained to a small box that also holds the motor to extend it. The design options will vary depending upon the brand you choose. If you want a budget friendly version of a retractable awning, you can construct an open frame, much like a pergola, and attach it to your deck. Create small tracks in the lateral beams and install hardware that supports a curtain that can be slid out and back as you need it. Another DIY version of the retractable awning is to attach cables from your home’s exterior wall to a beam on the opposite side of your deck that can hold hooks which support your curtain. The most important part of a DIY curtain awning is to ensure that the fabric will stand up to the elements. There are several different types of outdoor fabrics that come in a variety of colors and designs. If you can’t find the right curtain for you, you can always paint your own and seal it with a protectant coat!

Lighting your Raised Deck

Not only is lighting a definitive part of any home décor, but it also creates a safer environment for you and your guests. By adding sufficient lights to your outdoor space, you are able to clearly see any obstructions in your walking path or steps from one level to the next. You aren’t limited to bulky porch lights when choosing lighting for your raised deck. These lighting options can complement any other raised deck idea you decide to use. Rope Lights Rope lights are a popular option for any outdoor lighting application because of its durability. They are made up of string lights that are encased in a weather proof and UV protectant tube that is flexible and can fit into a number of spaces. A popular application for rope lights is to wrap them around deck railings or around the handrail of your deck stairs. They come in a variety of colors and lengths so that you can find the set that works best for your raised deck design.
lanterns
Photo by: Blogspot
Torches Tiki torches are a classic lighting option for any deck. They’re often cheap and can be found at almost any store that sells outdoor décor. They typically have a bamboo frame and have a wick that is attached to an internal container of lighter fluid. One major benefit to these torches is that there are plenty of design options that include citronella products. These can be lit to keep any unwanted bugs away from your deck and your guests comfortable. Lanterns Deck lanterns can come in just about any shape or size you can think of. The same can be said for their design materials. These light fixtures can be designed to match any home design, from traditional to eclectic. They also come with a variety of light source options. The two most common are candles and light bulbs. Candles will give you a softer light, while light bulbs will fill your entire space. If you want to create a casual area, you can use oversized lanterns made out of bamboo and wicker baskets. The most important thing to remember with these designs is to seal the inside and place a glass votive to hold the candle. If you want a more traditional lantern, you a metal frame with glass panes. These can be hung around your space, used as table lights, or attached to the exterior wall of your home.
seating
Photo by: Houzz

Furnishing your Raised Deck

Once you’re deck is built, shaded, and lit, it’s time to add furniture to complete your raised deck design! There are a million different raised deck ideas as to how to use your space. Your deck is an extension of your home and should reflect your personality as a homeowner. If you’re looking for some inspiration, these are a few popular raised deck designs. Dining & Kitchen Areas If you plan on doing a lot of outdoor entertaining , you can create an outdoor kitchen and dining area on your deck. Your outdoor kitchen can be as simple as a backyard grill or it can be a full kitchen, including a fridge, counter space, and stove top. This keeps your event completely outside and you can stay outside with your guests the whole time. If you want to keep any excess smoke away from your dining area, consider zoning your spaces. Use your under deck patio as a dining area. A deck stair allows you to move from floor to floor with ease and efficiency. Seating Areas Seating areas are one of the most popular designs for a residential deck. It gives you the flexibility to relax on your deck alone and enjoy the outdoors, or gives you plenty of space for outdoor entertaining. There are plenty of outdoor furniture options that feature comfortable cushions and frames to match your deck design. Built in seating is a great option for a completely unique deck design. If you want an interesting and unique feature to your deck, a conversation pit is the design for you. You can sink the seating into the deck floor itself for a cozy place to catch up with friends. Raised decks are a great addition to a home that plans on outdoor entertaining often. It has a large range of design options, including the materials and function of the space. It also opens up your backyard for multiple uses. If you want to be able to access your backyard from your raised deck and a spiral stair seems to be the right fit, give one of our consultative designers a call!  

How to Use Your Under Deck Patio

Raised decks are a great way to maximize the space in your backyard, particularly if you’re in a neighborhood with small plots. By building a raised deck, you’re doubling your outdoor space, take advantage of it. From storage to entertaining, the possibilities are endless. Here are some of the most popular under deck patio ideas.

Under Deck Storage Shed

The search for storage space is a never ending one, particularly if you have limited space. Garages are popular options for storage out of the common living space. However, some homeowners don’t want to give up their car’s parking spot or their garage is already full! A backyard shed is another common solution. If you have limited yard space, you don’t have to sacrifice your green space for more storage. The open area under a raised deck is the perfect place for a storage shed. It’s also a great option for those who want a shed, but have Homeowner’s Association regulations limiting any extra structures on their property. This under deck area is unused space that has a pre-existing frame for a shed. under deck storage shed

Storage Shed Wall Ideas

When it comes to building walls around your under deck area, there are two designs that depend on your deck height. If your deck is only tall enough for a crawl space, you can skirt your deck. This is a shorter wall and can look like a raised foundation depending on the material you use. The other design is a standard wall. This can be used for decks that are on the second floor or above. These two designs share the same material options that can complement your home style.
Lattice
Lattice panels are a traditional outdoor material for walls and privacy screens. Because of the open design, it’s not always an ideal choice for full shed walls. However, it is a common material for skirting a deck. Lattice gives the home a traditional look that is reminiscent of a white picket fence. It’s best used in drier climates where you won’t risk extra moisture getting into your storage space.
Vinyl Siding
If you want to create a seamless look between the rest of your house and your shed, vinyl siding that matches the home is the answer. Garages and sheds typically have siding that matches the main house to create a cohesive design. There are several benefits that come with choosing vinyl siding. Not only is it durable, but it’s also very affordable. It will hold up to weather conditions in any climate and will have low maintenance costs.
Wood Paneling
If you have a modern or contemporary home design, wood paneling is a simple and beautiful way to close off your under deck shed. Look for rot resistant woods that also have naturally warm tones, such as teak and California red wood, to create your panels for the walls. These will ensure the structural integrity of your shed. Rich wood tones help you achieve a more expensive look at a lower price.

Storage Shed Lighting Ideas

If you add walls to your under deck area, you’re shutting out most, if not all, of the natural light that would normally fill the space. It’s important to have a lighting solution that will last outdoors. Although your shed is enclosed, the lights will still be subjected to more elements than those inside your main house.
Solar Powered Lights
Solar powered lights are a great option for those who don’t want to rewire for a single light in their shed. Most solar powered shed lights come with a solar panel that you mount outside of your shed and a thing cord that runs into the shed to the light itself. The light is completely self-sufficient and requires no extra wiring. It’s a single light that can easily fill your shed with light at night or in the early morning.
Recessed Ceiling Lights
If you want a more polished look to your shed’s interior, recessed ceiling lights are built into your ceiling and are easily turned on with the flip of a switch. You can add as many as you want around your shed to make sure the entire structure is filled with light. This lighting option would require some rewiring, but it provides the most light to your space.

Storage Shed Furnishings

While you may not be putting couches and tables in your shed, the furnishings are just as important. Depending upon what you’re storing, your furnishings will change. However, organization is always an important part of maximizing your storage shed. You can avoid clutter and create an organized space through your shed’s furnishings.
Shelves
This is the easiest and most common way to organize a storage space. Things on shelves are easily viewed and accessible. You can have shelves built into the walls of your shed for maximum use of your space. You can also build a free standing shelf and use that instead. Once the shelves are installed, you can organize them in whatever way makes sense for your lifestyle. No matter how you organize them, you’ll save yourself the hassle of looking for things in a chaotic space later.
Hooks
Many people like to use hooks to organize their tools in their shed or garage. By keeping them out in the open, you know where everything is and what’s out of place. Pegboards are the perfect place to install a large quantity of hooks. Not only does it give a large area to hang things, but it also frees up any floor space that was previously taken up. This is great for those who want to store a tractor or lawn mower, but also have storage space for their gardening or power tools.

Storage Shed DIY

Turning your under deck area into a storage shed can easily be a weekend DIY project. The first question about any area under your deck is, “What if it rains?” There are two steps you need to take to ensure the safety of your items from water damage. The first is to create a drainage system between the floor of your deck and the ceiling of your shed. By creating a waterproof under deck roof, you are ensuring the longevity of your shed design. You can install a under deck roof in an afternoon as an easy DIY project. Many homeowners use rust prohibitive aluminum panels that feature small troughs that catches the water and drains it to the gutter lining the side of your shed. The visible side is an aesthetically pleasing beadboard design while the top is an effective drainage system. The next step is to lay a floor. Many people pour concrete if there isn’t a patio already in place. This is a durable and cheap way to keep your items dry and safe from the elements. The last piece of the structure is the walls. Because you’re creating a room out of an underdeck area, the frame is already by your deck’s supports. Using these are your guide, you can install your wall material of choice and any interior support you may need.

Under Deck Screened in Porch

Screened in porches are a great option for those that want to have flexibility with their outdoor space. Commonly called three season rooms, they are a porch that is closed off from the rest of the backyard with screens. By using screens and not full walls, you’re still allowing the breeze into your room, but have protection from rain and bugs. Depending on the screen, it can be an added privacy measure as well. Screened in porches are an extension of your indoor living space. These indoor/outdoor rooms can be enjoyed three seasons of the year in mild climates and left open all year around in warmer areas. By choosing to screen in the space underneath your completely open deck, you are able to keep the best of both worlds.

Screened in Porch Wall Ideas

While your screened in porch won’t have solid walls, it will have screens closing them off from the rest of the backyard. Depending upon your budget and how much flexibility you want from your porch, there are two different screen options. They both create different experiences in your space. If you’re still concerned with extra moisture in your space, you can install waterproof curtains that can roll down over the screens.
Permanent Screens
This is the most common screened in porch design is one that features permanent screens as walls. This means that the screens are built into your frame and cannot be easily removed to open up the space. These screens are significantly cheaper than the second option, making them the more popular choice. By keeping the screens permanently in place, you are creating a sunroom that is completely separate from the rest of your backyard.
Retractable Screens
Retractable screens give you the flexibility of having a screened in room or an open porch. Retractable screens are installed with a motor that pulls the screens up into a track when they are not in use. By allowing you to choose between screens and open air, you can create a new space. If you want to separate your room or just want some extra protection from the sun, you can pull down the screens. If you’re having an outdoor party, you can open the room to create a larger entertaining space.

Screened In Porch Lighting

When you’re creating a screened in porch, you want to have the right ambiance for your space. Lighting helps you to create the environment that you want to spend your time in. You want a light that can stand up to the outdoors, especially if you have retractable screens, but you don’t want to sacrifice any design aesthetic. Many light fixtures that are attached to the ceiling, such as chandeliers and recessed lights will not meet building code due to the close proximity to nature. However, there are a few aesthetically pleasing, but durable lighting options for your screened in porch.
Rope Lights
Rope lights are the perfect way to subtly add light to your screened in porch. They are string lights that are enclosed in a clear heavy duty PVC case that is both waterproof and UV resistant to protect your lights. Even though they are made to stand up to the elements, they are still flexible enough to be wrapped around a railing. One way to incorporate rope lights into your screened in porch is to line them around you’re the edge of your under deck ceiling. This gives your space some light without direct exposure to the lights.
Wall Sconces
If you want a more decorative way to achieve indirect light, you can use wall sconces. These light fixtures come in a wide variety of styles that can fit into any home décor. While this may seem like an interior only option, a screened in porch provides enough shelter that you won’t have to worry about them being exposed to the elements. The wall sconces would be attached to the exterior wall of the house in the screened in porch. This is not only the most stable option, but also keeps all wiring in the house itself.

Screened in Porch Furnishings

As with any indoor space, your under deck screened in porch can be defined by the furniture and décor that you put in it. You can create an exotic getaway or a calming retreat just with your furnishings. Many people choose to create a small living room in their screened in porch. Here are some ideas of what to put in your three seasons room.
Seating
If you plan on creating a second living room in your screened in porch, seating will be the most important piece of furniture. You want a comfortable place to sit and enjoy your room. If you want a traditional porch style, wicker furniture is the obvious choice. It has a rustic charm to it that you can’t find with other outdoor chairs and couches. It can be easily painted to become a one of a kind piece that matches your home décor. Different combinations of couches, chairs, and cushions can be used to create the best seating situation for whatever you want to use your room for.
Tables
Where you have seating, you should have some kind of table. This is especially true if you plan on doing any kind of entertaining in your space. If you want to keep the living room aesthetic, coffee tables are a great centerpiece. They give you and your guests a gathering place and the room a central focus. You can add extra surfaces with accenting end tables. There are wicker table designs that would fit perfectly in a quaint design aesthetic or wrought iron designs for a Victorian look.

Screened in Porch DIY

To build your own screened in porch, you will need some building experience. While it’s not as complicated as building a suspended deck, there is some intermediate construction needed. You will need to install the bottom frames, railings, and balusters. After you’ve constructed the frame, you can install the screens. Permanent screens are much easier to install, as you don’t have to install any of the motor track that comes with a retractable screen.

Under Deck Dining Area

Many people who decide to finish their under deck area want to use it for outdoor entertaining. One popular under deck patio idea is to create an outdoor dining area for you and your guests. While you can create this space on your deck, an under deck dining area gives you protection from the elements. One way to make the most of the two spaces is to create an outdoor kitchen area on your deck with food prep areas and your grill. You can connect the two spaces with deck stairs. If you want to keep the footprint small, you can use a spiral staircase for a unique and compact way to access your patio under the deck. This keeps all of your entertaining outdoors and keeps too much foot traffic from going in and out of the house.
under deck dining area
Photo by: HGTV

Dining Area Lighting

Part of any dining area is the ambiance that is created in the space. A huge part of the experience is the lighting. Depending upon what lighting option you choose, you can change the tone and overall décor of your space. You can go as simple or as decorative as you’d like with your light fixtures. The aesthetic of your space can also change depending upon how you decide to incorporate the lights into your under deck area.
Bistro Lights
Bistro lights are a popular option for outdoor dining areas because of their restaurant like aesthetic. Bistro lights are string lights that have larger clear bulbs so you can see the internal wiring of the bulb. Think of them as a trendier alternative to basic white lights. They can be hung across the ceiling to create a draped effect. Bistro lights can also be taken down and replaced with other lighting fixtures if you decide to change up your space. When the weather is nice and you’re eating outside with guests under your own awning of lights, you’ll feel like you’re in your own personal restaurant.
Hanging Lanterns
Hanging lanterns are a more traditional approach to your outdoor lighting. They come in a variety of designs, but they are typically made out of a metal frame with glass panes that allow the light to pass through. They can either be hung by a handle attached to the top of the lantern or mounted to the wall, much like the previously mentioned wall sconce. They complement traditional or rustic home designs and are similar to old Colonial designs. If you want a more eclectic look to your under deck dining area, you can look for lanterns that have stained glass. These help create an exotic aesthetic in your own backyard. You can change the light source in the lantern to create a different atmosphere in your space. There are several different kinds of lanterns that have lightbulbs and can be wired to turn on with the flip of a switch. If you want a softer lighting option, there are still several designs that are made for candles that you would have to light each time you want to use them.
Table Lighting
If you want to keep the light concentrated to the table and seating area, you can use table top lights just as you would indoors. Obviously the designs themselves would be made for outdoor applications. Table top lanterns are a great option for a softer light option. You don’t want to harsh of a light source in the center of the table. By using lanterns that have translucent sides, you are able to have some light shine through, but no one feels like they have a spotlight on them. Another popular light option that doubles as a centerpiece is a candle in a large votive. You can anchor the candle with seasonal decorations, such as seashells, or with small decorative pebbles for a year round design. While the sides are completely clear glass, the candle isn’t as harsh as a standard lightbulb. If you want to create a multifunctional table top light source, you can use a citronella candle that not only illuminates the space, but helps to keep pesky bugs away from you and your guests.
Rope Lights
The previously mentioned rope lights are a great lighting option for your outdoor dining space. Their weather resistant case make them ideal for your outdoor space and they have a lot of versatility. You can get them in a classic white or if you want to create a more unique space, there are plenty of colored lights available. They can also be wrapped around and deck support columns that frame your dining area, or around the handrail of your deck stairs that connect your different outdoor spaces.

Dining Area Furnishings

Once you’ve defined your space and decided on your design aesthetic, you can create your ideal dining area by choosing your furnishings. The obvious furniture needed for an outdoor dining area are a table and chairs. This may seem simple but there are so many different options out there that cater to different design aesthetics.
Outdoor Tables
Depending on your desired style of your under deck dining area, you have a few different material options for your outdoor dining table. All wood tables give a very rustic and charming feel to the space. Large farm tables are perfect for outdoor entertaining. They are designed to cater to a large group of people. They also fill your space which can make your under deck area feel larger. The other common outdoor dining table option is a metal frame with a slate or stone top. If you’re looking for a metal frame table, aluminum frames are going to be the most durable as they are naturally rust prohibitive. There are a few different options for the table top of a metal frame table. Slate tile outdoor tables are usually removable and give a simplistic design. If you want a more decorative table top, stone mosaics can make your table both a decorative and functional piece. A smaller dining area can feature a small round wrought iron café style table. This creates a more intimate dining experience and allows you to use your space for multiple purposes. These tables normally seat two to three people.
Seating
Depending on your table choice, you can choose your seating design to match the décor. All wood farm tables are often paired with all wood benches that create the communal style that comes with an oversized farm table. If you decided on a more formal metal frame and stone table, you can usually find a chair set that matches the frame. There are several dining sets that include both the table and chairs. If you decide on the café tables, mismatched chairs that complement each other add to the quirky style.

Dining Area DIY

There are several DIY projects that can be used in your outdoor space. Large farm tables and benches are often expensive as they are custom pieces. You can create your own rustic table and benches by using reclaimed wood. The homemade pieces add another touch of rustic charm to your space. If you have metal frame chairs but want to add a level of comfort, DIY outdoor cushions are an easy afternoon project. You can find outdoor fabrics that fit into your space and make cushions that are one of a kind and completely unique to your space.

Under Deck Conversation Pit

Another common application of outdoor entertaining spaces is to create an outdoor living room. This space is ideal for casual entertaining or just relaxing on a day to day basis. You can create an even more casual and comfortable space by channeling the recent trend of conversation pits. A conversation pit is a large couch or comfortable oversized cushions that are arranged in a square or circle around a central point. It is a communal area where you and your guests can relax and catch up. conversation pit 2

Conversation Pit Lighting

With the casual environment of a conversation pit, you want lighting options that aren’t too harsh. Softer lights allow people to feel more at ease, while harsh lights are too severe for the cozy nature of the conversation pit. Lights define your space before you even put the furniture in the under deck area. Depending on the light fixtures that you choose, you can change the space dramatically. These lighting options help you to create two different spaces with the same purpose.
Oversized Lanterns
Oversized lanterns are a trendy lighting option that provide soft light to your conversation pit. These lanterns are the same basic design as the hanging lanterns mentioned above, but on a larger scale. These can be placed on small end tables or the ground surround the conversation pit. By using candles in the lanterns, you are able to have a softer light. If you want a more unique design, skip the square lanterns and replace it with an orb lantern. The sphere is a more interesting design that achieves the same effect.
String Lights
String lights have a whimsical nature in their design. They can be strung across the ceiling to create a night sky effect. It provides overhead light that isn’t harsh like standard ceiling lights. You can choose white lights that have a warmer tone to them to add to the ambiance of the space. The strings can easily be wrapped around railings and columns, much like rope lights for more light in the surrounding area. They are easily removed and replaced to change your space’s design.

Conversation Pit Furnishings

Furnishings are the most important part of your conversation pit. While you want to create the right setting, comfortable seating is what will make your conversation pit. It’s what will define your under deck space. You also want an interesting centerpiece to your conversation pit. A communal area should have large seating areas positioned around a central point, often a conversation piece or something with entertainment value.
Wrap Around Seating
Wrap around seating is a defining feature of your conversation pit. Wrap around couches have a communal nature built into them. They cater to large groups and wrap around so your guests can face each other while sitting comfortably. If you think you may want to change your space around later, you can keep your conversation pit above ground. This consists of a regular outdoor wrap around couch. If you want a permanent design, a unique under deck patio idea is to build your seating into the floor. This includes small stairs leads down into your conversation pit and a sunken couch.
Centerpieces
You want an interesting centerpiece to your conversation pit for everyone to gather around. While open fire pits won’t meet building code, table top fire pits are the perfectly safe for your under deck area. Not only do they give off warmth and light, but they also have the table top around the fire for convenience. For an extra safety measure, you can get table top fire pit designs that have glass walls around the fire. This creates a cozy atmosphere just like a living room.

Conversation Pit DIY

There are several different DIY projects for outdoor seating. If you want a particularly deep couch, pallet furniture is a great option. The pallets are wide enough to create a large surface and you can alter the design to be as long as you want. DIY outdoor cushions are another popular project. You can choose whatever outdoor fabric would best match your design aesthetic and make oversized cushions for extra comfort.

Under Deck Kid’s Play Area

You may have limited green space behind your house, but have a great deck. Take advantage of your under deck space by creating at kid’s play area. If you have plenty of backyard, this play area is a great place for the kids to play on particularly hot days. The deck above the play area provides shade. This under deck patio idea is perfect for climate with particularly hot summers. If you want to contain the space even more, you can add railings and a gate to keep it completely closed off from the rest of the backyard. play area

Kid’s Play Area Lighting

Lighting in a play area is more for a functional purpose than adding to the design aesthetic. The main focus is being able to see your children clearly if it’s dark outside. This means brighter lights than if you were creating a cozy outdoor entertaining space.
Wall Lanterns
Wall lanterns are the perfect option for a kid’s play area because of their versatility. Whether you want a simple light that will get the job done or you want to match your exterior home style, you can find a lantern to meet your needs. Instead of using candles, you can use lanterns that use lightbulbs for a brighter light option. This will emit enough light to fill your space.
Rope Lights
These multi-application lights make another appearance in this guide. It’s clear that their possibilities are endless. If you want overhead lights rather than wall lights, use rope lights. As you saw in the screened in porch section, you can line the ceiling’s perimeter with rope lights. But you can also use them across the entire ceiling. If you leave deep grooves in your under deck ceiling, you can secure the rope lights into these recessed spaces. Their weatherproof casing makes them ideal for this application and a better option than other ceiling lights. They will be protected from any excess moisture than may come through the deck floor above.

Kid’s Play Area Furnishings

The furnishings in your under deck play area will be a little different from other under deck design ideas. You won’t have as much furniture in your design as built in activities for the kids. Have some fun when choosing your additions. The possibilities are endless and will depend on your child. Here are a few design ideas to create a fun space for you and your kids.
Built-In Play House
Use some of the same design from the under deck shed design and create a play house underneath your deck. This can be as large as the entire under deck patio or can just be a section. If you live in an area that tends to get a lot of rain, this gives the kids somewhere to play even when poor weather hits. You can add a small table and chairs inside the play house to complete the design.
Sandbox
You can incorporate this classic backyard feature into your under deck. One benefit to keeping your sandbox under your deck is that it won’t heat up quite as quickly on sunny days. This makes it more comfortable for the kids to play in. Some homeowners decide to create a sunken space in the patio for an in-ground sandbox. If your patio features wood flooring, you can use removable floor boards to cover up the space when it’s not in use.
Seating
While most of the furnishings in this under deck play area are fun and kid-centric, a table and chairs can easily be incorporated as a place for parents to sit while they watch their kids. This can be as simple as a picnic table and benches. You’ll probably want to keep the size of your table and chairs smaller to provide more space for the play area.

Kid’s Play Area DIY

All of the furnishings listed above have several different DIY project plans. If you set your mind to it and have nice weather, you could complete your child’s play area in a weekend! If you plan to use the in-ground sandbox design, it will take a little more planning as you will have to dig underneath your under deck patio to create the space for it.

Under Deck Dog Kennels

dog kennel There are several benefits to dog kennels in general. It provides an open space for your dog to exercise freely. It also keeps your dog away from problematic areas, such as flower beds they might dig up and or inadequate fences. Your under deck area seems like a natural place to build your dog kennel. It has an existing frame and has a built in roof to shelter your dog from bad weather.

Dog Kennel Walls

Your dog kennel will have the same basic structure as a under deck shed. You will need to enclose the space using your deck support columns as the basic frame. Your materials will be much different than a shed, as you will want to have open walls that allow airflow in the space.
Fences
Fences are the most economical wall option for your under deck dog kennel. Because of its low price, it’s the most commonly used material to close off your space. The most important thing to keep in mind when you install a fence for a dog kennel is to secure the bottom. If you have a small to medium sized dog that likes to dig, there’s a chance that they will manage to get out of the kennel underneath the fence. You can secure the bottom by installing rebar every few feet of the fence.
Screens
Using screens as walls for your under deck dog kennel is a little different from a screened in porch. There would be virtually no reason to use retractable screens, as that defeats the purpose of closing the space for your dog. While screens are a little more expensive than the previously mentioned fences, they provide extra shelter for your dog. It keeps out any bugs and provides a little more coverage from rain than a completely open fence. It will also give more shade for any sun coming in at an angle.

Dog Kennel Lighting

The lighting options will be very similar to those used in the kids play area. The purpose of the light is not to create an ambiance, but rather provide enough light for you and your dog at night. You have a few more options for lighting as you can attach it to the exterior fence. The other benefit you will find is that all lights that are meant for dog kennels will be weather proof and ready for outdoor use.
Wireless Dog Kennel Lights
Wireless lights are popular for the obvious reason of not having to rewire any of your electric system to have a light outdoors. Most dog kennel lights come with the hardware and design to be hooked on to a fence. Wireless lights are powered by batteries and come with a remote control. The batteries will have to be replaced every so often.
Motion Sensor Dog Kennel Lights
Some dog kennel lights come with motion sensor built into the light fixture. You will be able to choose how long the light stays on after the motion is detected based on the light fixture model and the predetermined settings. Some models do come with a remote as well. This gives you the ability to turn the light on and off whenever you choose.

Dog Kennel Furnishings

Not only do you want your dog to be safe, but you also want them to be comfortable and happy. This will all depend on the homeowner and their dog. While some homeowners may go much more extravagant with their dog kennels, others may keep it simple. Here a few ideas for all homeowners on what to put in your dog kennel to keep your dog happy.
Water Bowls
One of the most important things to have in your dog kennel is a water bowl. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, this is essential, especially during warmer weather. While you can just put a water bowl outside and call it a day, there are a few different options for those who want some creativity. To create a spill proof water bowl, take an old tire on the smaller side and paint it however you want. When it’s dry, fit your dog’s water bowl in the center. This raises the water bowl off the ground and keeps it from being knocked over. This ensures that your dog will always have water. For a more extravagant water bowl, use an outdoor dog water fountain. These operate the same way as a garden water feature. It has constantly running water and recycles any of the over flow in the bottom basin.
Dog Beds
If your dog will be spending a lot of time in their kennel, consider putting a dog bed in the space for them. While you may not want to put an expensive indoor cushion outside, there are plenty of outdoor friendly dog bed options. The easiest and simplest option is a large outdoor cushion. By covering the cushion with outdoor fabric, you can ensure that it will stand up to the elements. If you want to raise the bed off of the ground, you can use a wooden frame that has been treated and sealed to last outdoors.

Dog Kennel DIY

All of the design options listed above are DIY friendly. Because most lights are made for outdoors and require little to no rewiring, you can install them yourself. The elevated water bowl project can be finished in an afternoon. If you want to create a dog bed frame rather than buy one, you can easily make one out of reclaimed pallets. You don’t have to put a ton of finances into making your space perfect for

Under Deck Kitchen Area

Outdoor kitchen areas have evolved far past a grill on the deck. Some outdoor kitchens now include mini fridges, ice boxes, and counter space. With all of these new additions, it’ll need its own space. That’s where an under deck kitchen area comes in. This takes the same concept that was mentioned in the dining area section and reverses it. By keeping your deck and patio in zones, you’re creating a more efficient outdoor entertaining experience. Connect the two areas with a spiral stair to keep the footprint small but still aesthetically pleasing. outdoor-kitchen

Kitchen Area Lighting

If you plan on cooking outside, you’ll need good lighting for safety reasons. Bright lights will help you see exactly what you’re doing. Under deck ceiling lights very rarely meet building code because of the large possibility of extra moisture reaching the wiring. However, there are a few alternatives to create a well-lit space.
Counter Lights
Installing lights into the counter space of your under deck kitchen is one way to ensure that your food prep space is well lit. The wiring is all inside of the counter protecting it from the elements. If you want a more economical way to add lights to your outdoor counters, use the trusty rope lights. They can be secured to any surface you choose with hooks and zip ties and can stand up to weather.
Outdoor Task Lighting
One of the benefits of task lighting is that it provides pure white light. This allows you to have a bright work space and clearly see the food. If you plan on having the dining area separate, this bright light won’t be bothersome to any guests.

Kitchen Area Furnishings

Think of your outdoor kitchen like you would your traditional indoor kitchen. Depending upon how you want to use your kitchen, your furnishings will change. If you like to entertain outdoors often, this will be a heavily used space and you should love the hub of your backyard space! There are a wide range of possibilities of furnishings for your outdoor kitchen depending on your expected use and home style.
Kitchen Appliances
The recent trend of outdoor kitchens has seen a wide range of appliances outside. It can be as simple as a standard grill. The most extreme outdoor kitchens have extra counter space, a stovetop, and a mini fridge. Obviously you will want to use appliances that will stand up to the elements and last outdoors. Some homeowners even have a dishwasher installed into their outdoor kitchen to truly keep the entire process, beginning to end, outside.
Seating
While you may want to keep the primary dining space on the upper level of your backyard space, you can incorporate a small seating area into your outdoor kitchen. If you have a counter, bar stools are a popular option. This keeps the seating area to a minimum and uses the surfaces that are already build into your kitchen area. You can add a dining table and chairs to the other side of your under deck patio if you have the space.

Under Deck Game Area

If you entertain outdoors often, you’ll know the importance of variety in activities. By using your deck and under deck area, you are create lots of space for your guests to entertain themselves. You can use deck stairs to move from one level to another to keep most foot traffic outside of the home. Depending upon what you choose to put in your game area, it can easily be changed around. game area

Game Area Lighting

The lighting in your game area should be bright but not abrasive. This allows you and your guests to enjoy your game area no matter what time of day it is. You want to avoid harsh lights for the comfort of your guests. As with most outdoor entertaining spaces, you want to avoid the spotlight aesthetic.
Lanterns
There are a wide variety of lanterns that you can use in an outdoor game area. The previously mentioned wall lanterns are a great option for lighting that fills the space but is out of the way. Another option are hanging paper lanterns. These are a great option for a fun party space. They come in a wide variety of colors and can be found at low prices.
String Lights
You can use string lights for your game area in the same way you would use them for any of the other applications. You can string them across the ceiling to completely light up the space without adding harsh true white light. You can find different color lights or a multicolor set depending upon the design you want for your under deck area.

Game Area Furnishings

There are several things you can put into your under deck game area. Whether it be comfortable seating or outdoor entertainment, there’s a wide variety based on what you plan on using the area for. They can easily be changed around when you want something a little different in your space.
Oversized Backyard Games
Oversized backyard games are a popular outdoor entertaining idea. Not only are they easily put together, but they can be put away when they’re not in use. Some examples of popular oversized games are Giant Jenga and backyard checkers. These large scale board games are fun for kids and adults.
Multifunctional Table
If you want a few different possibilities for your under deck game area, a multifunctional table may be the answer. There are several table designs that change their purpose by changing around the table top. With this piece of furniture, you are able to play ping pong, pool, and air hockey on the same table. A space maximizing under deck patio idea is to use multifunctional furniture.
Comfortable Seating
While you want your guests to have fun, you also want them to be comfortable. Keep the seating casual to match the environment. Oversized outdoor cushions in bright colors are a great way to provide seating without the formality of the outdoor dining chairs mentioned above. They can easily be moved around the space and can be cleaned when needed. Outdoor fabrics are made to last through harsh weather.

Game Area DIY

There are several features of your under deck game area that you can make into a DIY project. Many oversized backyard games are easily made in an afternoon. Giant Jenga can be made from lumber and different color paint in a few hours. You lay tiles down on your patio floor to create a checkers board and use pained wood as your game pieces. Your outdoor cushions are a simple sewing project. If you can’t find an outdoor fabric that you like, you can always paint one! Find a plain white outdoor fabric and hand paint it with the pattern and colors you want and seal it with a waterproof coat. When you add a raised deck to your home, you create more square footage that can not only add value to your home, but also make your outdoor space more enjoyable. This post gave you plenty of ideas when it comes to how to use your space. When you choose a way to access the patio under your deck, a spiral stair can help you safely move between the levels without the large footprint of a traditional deck stair. For accurate and quick pricing, call our consultative designers at 1-800-368-8280. They can help you with everything from the width of your stair to which way it should rotate!

12 Breathtaking Deck Design Ideas

  multi-level-deck This first deck design idea features a spiral stair that connects several decks. Multi level deck designs are great for homes that are looking to make the most of their outdoor space without building out. Each level of the deck gains a level of protection from the elements, allowing the homeowner to enjoy their decks during any season. This particular stair is an aluminum powder coated spiral stair. The naturally rust prohibitive spiral stair is finished with a powder coating process that gives the stair a maintenance free barrier. The homeowner chose to add matching deck railing and diamond plate treads for added safety in all weather conditions. By keeping the width of the stair small, they were able to make the most of all three levels to their deck.
composite-deck-plan
Photo by: Decks.com
This deck has a classic design that utilizes modern elements to create a unique deck for this home. Instead of using lumber, which will become damaged and decay over time, the builder used a natural color composite. Unlike lumber, composite is maintenance free and does not need to be sealed to ensure your deck’s longevity. The deck has as darker color composite around the perimeter to create a finished look. The cable railing gives a modern touch to the otherwise classic deck design. The deck is split into two areas by the pagoda on the far side. That sections off the outdoor dining area, while there is a small casual seating area with an umbrella. The canopy can be closed off in case of bad weather. The casual chairs are wicker with outdoor fabric and the dining table and chairs are slate and metal frames for durability in the outdoors. This is a classic second floor deck design that has endless possibilities. You can change out the furniture for a completely new look and purpose for your deck.
Photo by: Houzz
This rustic deck design is the perfect addition to a Traditional style home. The all wood deck matches the colors of the home, with warm wood and muted cedar green. This creates a seamless transition from home to deck, which is something many homeowners look for. You want your deck to be an extension of the warmth of your home. This deck gets the best of both worlds by adding skylights to the ceiling of their covered deck. They have protection from the rain, but the skylights allow for plenty of sun to pass through. The installed lights also create an outdoor living room for the homeowners and their guests to enjoy in nicer weather months. This deck features a two level stone fireplace, furthering the indoor outdoor motif.
deck design ideas
Photo by: Houzz
This deck design combines a rooftop deck and patio to create a dynamic outdoor entertaining space. This homeowner decided to utilize previously unused space by converting the roof of their home into a small deck. They decided to put the grill on the rooftop deck , creating zones for more successful outdoor entertaining. This keeps the host or hostess involved in the outdoor party, but the smoke away from guests’ conversations. This is the perfect application for a spiral stair. The homeowner didn’t want to take up a lot of room, as space was limited. This aluminum powder coated spiral stair takes up a small circle of the deck. By bumping out the spiral past the railing, they were able to save even more space.
outdoor-deck-lighting
Photo by: Lights & Design by Dan
This covered porch gives the homeowners a rustic cabin getaway right in their backyard! An all wood design adds warmth to the otherwise all stucco house. This deck features indoor and outdoor sections that give the homeowners options to enjoy their backyard. A screened in covered porch gives them a three season room for rainy days and a place to relax away from the bugs. The lighting ties together the space by adding an extra layer of design and warmth to the already unique deck. rooftop-deck-dining This is another residential rooftop deck connected to another common level deck. This house features a very modern deck. The house itself is clearly simplistic in style and design with sleek lines and geometric shapes. The combination of metal and wood add an industrial flair to the outdoor space. The use of cable railing adds a minimalist design element. Once again, this is a great use of a spiral stair. The homeowner chose a Galvanized Exterior spiral stair to match the industrial design of the deck. Not only does it have a metallic silver finish, but it’s also maintenance free. The galvanizing process weather proofs the stair making is a great option for outdoor applications. The diamond plate treads add an element of safety with a non-skid surface.
modern-deck-design
Photo by: Connor Jennings
This deck is more of an outdoor living room, complete with couches, arm chairs, and a coffee table. The homeowner decided to take advantage of their home’s amazing views and create a place to enjoy their surroundings, either alone or with guests. The deck combines minimalist and utilitarian design styles. The deck itself was constructed with composite decking materials, meaning it is maintenance free. The cable railings leave the views uninterrupted no matter what angle you’re sitting at on the deck. The colors are kept relatively simple, with muted greys and blacks. The chairs and couches are simple designs with basic metal frames. Pops of color are pulled in with oversized floor cushions. Overall, this deck is a trendy spot to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. outdoor-living-room This deck is one part of a multi level deck design. Because it’s the lower part, this deck has a bead board ceiling which gives the entire deck a traditional feel. The homeowner keeps as much open space as possible by using a spiral stair. Not only does the Aluminum Powder Coated spiral stair have a small footprint, but the white color ties the stair into the rest of the deck design. The stair matches the deck railing, making it one cohesive design. The furnishing on the deck have been kept relatively simple with basic seating designs. The design features classic colors of greys with beige undertones and whites that are accented with teals and greens. This outdoor living room is tied together by a rug at the center of the space.
rooftop-outdoor-entertaining
Photo by: DesignRulz
This rooftop deck went one step further by adding a second level above the rooftop! This modern deck takes advantage of the urban views by utilizing cable railings. Not only are red walls are a trendy and bold design choice, they pull out the warm tones of the wood decking. The lower level has a cozy seating area. The built in bench wraps around the table top fire pit. To the left of the seating area is an outdoor kitchen complete with a grill, small refrigerator, and a sink. This keeps the full party outdoors and the host or hostess involved! The door way is all glass adding another modern touch to the rooftop deck.
Photo by: Houzz
This deck is truly a breathtaking addition to any home. The homeowners designed a deck that fit perfectly into the surroundings. The color choices allow the deck to blend seamlessly into the surrounding nature. The railing is made from thick branches that are crossed to create a lattice pattern. This adds safety and ties the trees into the deck itself. The lanterns on the corners are subtle and perfect for the rustic décor that the rest of the deck features. The stained lumber used for the chairs and tables are accented by natural decorations, such as flowers and apples. This deck is the perfect place to sit back and take in the amazing views. beach-house-deck-stair This is another beach house that wanted to take advantage of all of their possible outdoor space. The top floor is a small balcony that leads down to a wraparound deck at the middle of the house. The bottom floor is the standard porch that is also a part of the dock. Because beach houses are often built very close to one another, building up is the best way to create new space. This multi level deck design is tied together by a Galvanized Exterior spiral stair. Not only does the spiral stair save space, but galvanized steel is perfect for coastal areas. The carbon steel frame is hot dipped to create a maintenance free and weather proof finish on the stair. This keeps the first cost your only cost.
rooftop-garden-dining
Photo by: Houzz
This coastal rooftop deck is the ideal spot to relax and take in a summer breeze and watch the boats come in. This deck uses plants as dividers keeping the space from feeling too urban and industrial. The cement floors are paired with wood paneling on the walls to keep the space simple. The deck zones itself with a dining area and a seating area with a coffee table. All of the furniture is low maintenance outdoor furniture with weaving and wood. The couch has cushions and pillows that are made from outdoor fabric. These deck designs show a wide range of styles and materials used to create the ideal outdoor spaces. No matter where you plan to build your deck or what climate it’s in, you can have a beautiful space. Use this list as inspiration to create a unique deck in your backyard!

The Complete Multi Level Deck Guide

multi level deck with spiral stair

Choosing Your Deck

Add Value to Your Home If you’re looking to increase the value of your home, a multi level deck is an easy and cost effective way to do it! Building a deck is much cheaper than an indoor renovation because you are simply adding to your home with a basic structure, rather than reconfiguring the internal layout. You won’t run into unexpected expenses and problems, such as electric and plumbing issues. This increases the living area at a minimal cost per square foot. If you plan to sell, a multi level deck could definitely work in your favor. According to Porch.com, “Homeowners can expect a 77% return from adding a deck.” This will vary depending on your geographic region. For instance, a deck in California would be more valuable than a deck in the Northeast due to the climate. By having mild to warm weather all year round, the homeowner will get more use out of it. Add an Interesting Visual Component One of the benefits of a second floor deck is that it adds to the curb appeal of your home. If you choose to keep it contained to the back of your house, it will break up a monotonous view of the home and backyard and add grandeur to its design. You can also create a wrap around for a more interesting and unique design choice. It can be crafted to compliment your home’s design. A multi level deck creates a dynamic view for anyone looking at the back of your house. The eye will follow the path of your deck from the top to the ground level. Homes on Slopes If your home is on a slope, you may find outdoor entertaining difficult. The angle of your yard makes it nearly impossible to have stable tables and chairs. A ground level patio isn’t an option unless you want to level out the surrounding area. This can be expensive and require extra work as you will have to install your porch after you level the yard. A second floor deck eliminates the need for leveling out your yard. Your supports will create the level base for your deck. This gives you a solid and level space for outdoor entertaining. By elevating the space, you can still have a full backyard and a flat entertaining space. If you have children or pets, this is a major plus. You don’t have to sacrifice your green space for an outdoor entertaining area. Homes with a View If your home has an amazing location, take advantage of it! While you can enjoy the view from indoors, should be able to enjoy your home’s views outside in nice weather as well. By using a second story deck, rather than a patio, you can extend your view further. If your home backs out onto a heavily wooded area or a water feature, create your own landscape panorama by having a multi-level deck. Give your home a new wow-factor by adding a personal observation deck to the back of your house!

Building Your Deck

Once you’ve decided that a multi level deck is for you, there are some design choices to make. Many multi level deck ideas incorporate the building material into their design and décor. Consider this when reading about the pros and cons of each option. Deck Structure Materials Wood Wood has always been a homeowner favorite when it comes to decking materials. Most wood that is intended for outdoor application is now pressure treated to fight against decay and is economically priced. However, with any natural material comes changes over time. Wood often swells, warps, and splits due to the absorption of moisture. This requires a deck restoration process every one to two years. While there is wood that requires less maintenance, it comes at a higher price than your average pressure treated wood. One of the benefits to using wood as your decking material is the customization of it. Between the different types of stains and paints, you can create a custom deck that fits into your design needs. Composite Composite decking material has been growing in popularity in recent years. The material itself is made up of a mixture of wood particles, such as wood fiber pieces or wood chips, and plastic. This mixture of materials means that your composite deck will require little to no maintenance. The composite material will last longer and will not require the same restoration as a wooden deck. You’ll also avoid any splintering that you would have with lumber, making it a safer choice for children. However, these benefits don’t come without a cost. Composite decking is heavier than wood, meaning you will need more supports than if you were using traditional lumber. Some composite decks utilize steel supports underneath the frame rather than standard lumber. Composite is also typically more expensive than wood. More and more homeowners are leaning toward composite as the higher price upfront means that you will little to no maintenance costs. Deck Stair Designs Deck stairs are one of the most important factors to consider when designing your multilevel deck. One of the benefits of your second floor deck is to have your outdoor entertaining space without sacrificing any of your backyard. By choosing the right multi level deck stair, you can have the best of both worlds. Traditional Stairs A traditional deck stair is a straight stair that extends from one level to the next. It will have the same measurements and footprint as an indoor staircase. While you may want the traditional design, this design takes up a lot of square footage in your deck. Assuming your deck stair will meet building code, a standard 8’ tall deck will require a staircase that is approximately 9’ long. However, many traditional stairs that move from one level to another elevated deck rarely move in a straight line. They break in the middle with a platform and continue in an “L” shape. While this may save room, this uses much more material making the design more expensive. Much like a deck, the two most popular materials for this design are wood and composite. Both of these have their own benefits and drawbacks when used in the stair design.
multi level deck stairs
Photo by: Evergreen Homes
All Wood Traditional Stair An all wood deck stair is going to be the most traditional design and material combination your deck. By using wood, you can easily stain or paint them to match your deck. To ensure the structural integrity of your stair, you will need to use galvanized hardware to protect against the corrosion and break down of the structure. If your stair will be subject to heavy foot traffic, expect to restore or replace your steps every year or two. The lumber will also be subject to decay over time. Composite Traditional Stair Using composite decking materials for your deck stairs will ensure that they last longer. Composite decking won’t decay like lumber, but it will need to be replaced eventually. With heavy foot traffic comes inevitable wear over time. Unlike wood, which you can sand and restore, composite decking must be replaced. As mentioned above, composite decking materials are also less customizable than lumber. The installation time of your traditional deck stair will vary depending upon the height of your deck and the experience of the installer. If you’re tackling your deck stair as a DIY project, it will most likely take two days. There are many precise measurements to follow and pieces involved when putting together a full staircase. An experienced contractor could finish an average sized deck stair in a day. img_4282_3_4-edit Spiral Stairs If you want to reach the first level of your deck without the large footprint of a traditional stair, a spiral stair is the perfect solution. Because of the design, a spiral stairs footprint is kept to a small circle on your deck. This could be as small as 42”x 42”, helping you to maximize your deck space. A small footprint doesn’t mean that it is any less safe than a traditional stair. All Salter Spiral Stair’s designs have a lifetime warranty on fabrication. This means that the structure of the stair is guaranteed to last. Spiral stairs are truly the meeting place of durability and beauty. Your deck spiral stair is completely customizable to match your home’s design. There are two designs that are most common for multi level deck stairs: Galvanized Exterior spiral stairs and Aluminum Powder Coated spiral stairs. Galvanized Exterior Spiral Stairs A Galvanized Exterior spiral stair is a cost-effective and durable solution for your deck. The steel stair components go through a hot-dip galvanizing process. This gives the stair a weather-proof barrier that prevents it from rusting over time. This finish is great for homes and decks in coastal areas with corrosive sea air. Many homeowners leave the stair in its metallic industrial grey finish. Over time this weathers to a battleship gray colored staircase. If you want the durability of a galvanized stair, but want a custom color, you can paint your spiral stair after six months with the proper paint and primer. Your stair has the added safety measure of a diamond plated treads which provide a non-skid surface for you and your guests. Aluminum Powder Coated Spiral Stairs An Aluminum Powder Coated spiral stair is an aesthetically pleasing option when looking for a way to access your backyard. We enhance the naturally rust-prohibitive aluminum by powder coating it with a maintenance free barrier. This finish also allows you to customize your stair’s color. If you want a quiet accent to your deck, traditional black and white are perfect. If you want a unique centerpiece to your backyard, custom colors are available upon request. Your Aluminum Powder Coated spiral stair can have the added safety feature of the non-skid diamond plated treads. However, this stair also has the option of a classic design and look by adding solid wood tread covers to your stair. This can be combined with the wooden handrail to create a classic elegance for your deck stair. No matter which design you choose for your outdoor spiral stair, you can be assured that the installation will be simple! Your spiral stair is shipped in a kit form with each piece individually packaged for easy delivery. Once you receive your stair, you can complete the installation in a day with the help of a spouse, friend, or neighbor. Not only do you now have a beautiful addition to your deck, but you have the satisfaction of installing it yourself.

Living With Your Deck

Once your deck is built, you get to the fun part of decorating your deck to meet your outdoor entertaining needs. Don’t overpower your deck’s structural design, but enhance it by creating a space that makes the most of it. Your deck should be unique to your home’s personality and design. Here are just a few second story deck ideas! Outdoor Kitchen Take advantage of your multi level deck design by utilizing the different levels. Outdoor kitchens are a popular trend in deck design. If you have a finished porch below your deck, you can install anything from a grill to a full kitchen with a fridge and prep area. Turn your deck into an outdoor dining room with a large table to fill your space and outdoor chairs. Café lights area popular addition for outdoor dinner parties to complete the space. By separating your cooking and dining areas, you’re adding to your guests comfort. You can easily keep the any residual smoke away from conversation. Another added benefit is that the host/hostess can stay outside near the guests. They won’t be completely separated for their own event. _jl86296 Rooftop Deck One way to use your multiple floors is to connect your rooftop deck to a larger second floor deck. This small platform is the perfect place to relax and have some alone time. Whether you like to read or sun bathe, you’ll definitely be able to relax while taking in the view from the top of your house. Use a spiral stair, like the one pictured here, to connect your rooftop deck to a larger deck that lends itself to a communal area. You can enjoy your outdoor space no matter what mood you’re in with these two spaces. Indoor Outdoor Decks Use your one level of your deck to enhance the other by creating a three season porch. The second floor deck provides a ceiling and screen connectors through the supporting columns. By using screens, you can still enjoy the nice weather outdoors. This design is especially popular in regions with mild climates. By closing off the space, you can continue to enjoy your backyard through Fall and early Spring. Multi level decks are a unique space in any home. Whether you plan to use it for different applications, like dining and cooking, or just want an incredible outdoor entertaining space, a multi level deck can help you achieve it. The best way to maximize all of your outdoor space is to use a spiral stair to connect the different levels. The small footprint gives you the largest amount of open space on all of your decks, no matter what floor they’re on. Call our consultative designers for accurate pricing on all of your deck spiral stairs in 5 minutes or less!