You’re thinking of building a deck, dreaming of lazy days in a hammock, or grilling something delicious on the barbie. But the reality is that summer scorch, winter chill and rainy days will keep you inside more than you’d like unless you plan ahead.
Make the most of your deck with a little inspiration and investment. Here are three ways to make more of your deck:
1. Take cover
If you have a ground-level deck, add a canopy, awning, or umbrellas to give you shade. If you have the option to add a roof, be sure to install ceiling fans. You’ll enjoy your new shady, breezy spot for spending time with family or just reading a book.
If you have a two-story deck, meaning your deck is elevated enough to create a room beneath, add a drainage system to create dry, usable space under the deck. Next, you can install a ceiling to create a more finished living space with lights and fans. With a protected space, you can be as creative as you like!
2. Brighten up
Lighting can take your outdoor living experience to the next level with beauty and ambiance. Your deck will also be safer, more enjoyable and more usable year-round.
If you’re looking to put up some temporary lights for a celebration or special dinner, you might want to string up some fun party lights. If you’ve decorated your deck with greenery, weave in some fairy lights. Beautiful lanterns, whether pierced Moroccan style or a more traditional farmhouse variety, are easy to place and light. You might use candles of various shapes and sizes — including some that repel bugs — or use battery-powered lights shaped like candles.
While string lights and lanterns are versatile and fun, they are not usually permanent solutions. For that, install subtle patio siding lights or under-deck ceiling lights. Both can be installed nearly flush with your siding or ceiling.
Hang a statement light over your seating or dining area. Choose something that matches your outdoor living theme — maybe something nautical or reflective of your favorite sports team.
Whatever you choose, be sure to buy equipment made for outdoor lighting and follow the manufacturer’s requirements or hire a professional electrician.
3. Get comfortable
Now that you’ve created a more dry, useable space with beautiful lighting, make it more comfortable and fun!
- Install an entertainment center and a wet bar, and you instantly expand your party space by finishing the area beneath your two-story deck. Be sure to buy weatherproof TV for the outdoors.
- Include an outdoor kitchen or roll out a portable cart to your patio table and chairs for your next dinner party. Eat outside without having to worry about the forecast with your under-deck living space. Add some screening, and you won’t even have to worry about the bugs.
- Buy comfortable seating. Think about how you’d like to use your deck for yourself, your family, and entertaining with friends. Instead of uncomfortable lawn chairs, maybe you need a couch and chairs with fun and functional cushions. Perhaps you’d like to add a hammock or bed-sized swing. Great seating will make you want to spend more time on the deck!
- Take a deep breath. Nothing beats a hot tub in the quiet, private space beneath your two-story deck. Make it your weekend oasis.
- Make it your own. Whether you want to make a splash with aqua or pop with red, unleash your creativity with decorations that reflect your personality.
If you’re going to put this much effort into your deck, be sure it will last. According to builders, more than 90 percent of a deck’s timber substructure starts to split and rot at around 8 to 10 years if not protected from moisture. A simple and cost-effective way to protect your deck is with flashing tape, such as Trex Protect. Peel-and-stick deck flashing tape allows the timber to breathe because it is applied as a cap directly on top of bearers and beams. The tape protects screw holes from moisture by acting as a barrier against water. Deck flashing tape will protect your substructure from decay and will help ensure that your foundation lasts as long as the decking it supports.
With a little up-front planning, you can create a space you’ll love for years to come. And you’ll spend time there!