Things to think about before building a Deck

Things to think about before building a Deck
Posted: Feb 11, 2016
Categories: Outdoor, Decking
Comments: 0

Here are a few things to consider before you kick start your new deck building project

Space in the backyards of Australia has never been more confined. Once upon a time it was about filling the quarter acre suburban block with a pool, deck, pergola swing set, veggie patch, lemon tree etc and there was ample room for the lot. Kids playing backyard cricket or adults gathered around a permanent built in BBQ were staples of Aussie backyard life. Where we had ample land to use previously new home developments are more often than not on smaller blocks making for limited backyard space.

Population studies confirm Australian capital cities are becoming denser, and standard housing block sizes are getting smaller, ranging from 200 sq m to 350sq m on average (or roughly half what they were 30 years ago).

Does that mean our houses are smaller too?

Well no.. According to the average size of a new Australian house increased from 162.2 square metres to 227.6 square metres between 1984 and 2003, that’s a jump of 40%. The average new Australian home is now 10% bigger than even its US equivalent. So with smaller blocks of land and larger homes something has to give in the aussie backyard as space becomes a premium. Don’t let your deck be the casualty, a deck designed right and using the right materials should always be a feature of the aussie backyard. That’s why we say “Get your hands off my deck”.

Big isn’t always better

Decks don’t need to be big to be functional and add value to the space, it is all about efficient design principles and applying the architectural techniques of form follows function. What this means is the deck design should be designed to suit its function and not fill a space for the sake of filling it. Too often we see back yards of different sizes and the deck area is just too big for the space limiting the home owner’s ability to properly use it and the rest of the yard.

So what should you consider when designing a deck?

What am I using the deck for?

Is the deck about entertaining? Or is it about getting from the house to the yard? Does it serve a function in adding levels, allowing sloping back yards to be functional? Or is it a deck at the back door to stop your feet getting wet walking to the clothes line or so you can admire an ocean view? Whatever the reason it’s important to firstly identify the purpose for the deck you are going to build, this will make many decisions later much easier.

Where will the deck go?

Once you identify the function you need to think about the best place for your deck to be positioned. Careful planning should go into this decision. If the deck is for the children to use to play on then think about where it will be and what’s around it, for example a deck with this function shouldn’t go under a big gum tree with the potential for branches to fall onto it without any warning.

Choose the right material

This is a decision strongly recommended you make at an early stage. Some materials are lower in maintenance than others. Decks close to the ocean or in a fully exposed application with no shade will wear quicker and need more looking after than a composite material like ModWood.

Seek council approval

Always check with your local council before starting the work, even if you are doing it yourself it doesn’t take long and can save you time in the long run.

Now these steps are out of the way we are ready to start building, tune in next week for the first in a series of “How to build a deck”.


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