Here’s a great way to add value to your lifestyle and your home…

Most of us get to spend some time away from work during the summer months.  Some will head to the beach or the country-side, but this year,  faced with economic uncertainty, many will choose to stay at home.

Well, here’s an idea and a way to improve your lifestyle for years to come with a project that will make it a summer to remember. And it won’t hurt the value of your home either!

A deck is a wonderful way to extend your living areas
A deck is a wonderful way to extend your living areas

Build a deck!
Building a deck is a project that is well with in the skill level, and finances, of most people. Working on the interior of your home requires knowledge and money – you can’t knock down a wall to open up more space without getting some professional advice.

Is there a spot in your garden or backyard that doesn’t get much use? Maybe it’s an area where the grass won’t grow because it’s too dry, too shady or too wet. Why not deck it?

Over the next few weeks we’ll cover just about everything you need to know to build your own deck. Here’s the first stage…

Step 1: – Planning and Design

Having a deck allows you to create a natural transition from your home to your yard. A deck is a great casual space where you can loosen up a bit, enjoy the outdoors and entertain guests. It’s also a great place to send the kids when you need some ‘quiet time’.

A deck is a great way to increase the value of your home without having to fork out big money for major renovations. Because a deck is elevated, whether it be 30 centimetres or 3 metres, you can avoid all those expensive foundation and drainage costs associated with a conventional extension.

Contrary to popular opinion, a deck doesn’t have to be directly attached to your house. In fact, an attractive walkway leading out to a deck can be a visually dramatic addition to a home – especially with the right plants, such as a hedge of Tiger Grass (Thysanolaena maxima), growing beside the walk.

A deck can be fully or partially roofed or even completely open. Alternatively you could erect a trellis and grow deciduous plants over it so that you have shade in summer and sun in winter. A word of advice – if you live in a hot climate and decide to roof a deck, be aware that heat radiates straight through any single skin cladding. To avoid problems you should either use an insulated panel system or allow a minimum 2.7 metre height with excellent side ventilation.

Have we got you thinking about the possibilities? If so, give some thought to these issues so that everything runs smoothly:

Location – Ideally, you want to have a good view of the outdoor scenery (and avoid unsightly ones). Depending on which side your deck is facing it can be too windy or too sunny, especially during the summer, so think about the necessity of wind breaks of shade screens. If you’re decking toward the street, will you need to screen it for privacy? Will you use plants or build a screen?

Function – Are you going to use your deck to host big parties or just for family or intimate gatherings? You’ll probably want a spot for a BBQ or pizza oven but what about a hot tub, spa or sauna? Such plans may be beyond the budget in the short term but you should plan for future usage as well because a well-constructed deck should last for decades. Take the time to think this through now – It’s a classic ‘measure twice – cut once’ situation.

 Material choice – There are many beautiful timbers to choose from as well as steel, aluminium and the new composites. There are also some new bamboo products coming on to the market that offer excellent strength and durability. Your budget may be the determining factor here. For example, treated pine is less than half the cost of kwila.

Balustrading – If your deck is more than a metre above ground level, you must have a balustrade. Even if the drop is only 50 centimetres, you may want to consider using built-in perimeter seating to reduce risk.

Approvals – The bane of every homeowner’s life. Will you need to get your deck certified? Remember that certification serves one principal purpose – to ensure your future safety.

OK, that does with planning. Over the next few weeks we’ll cover everything in more detail from how to choose the right location, materials and finishes, right down to step by step construction details.

If you have any questions or suggestions, pop them in the comments box below or you can ask our community!

Have you thought about adding a deck to your home?  What information do you need to get your decision ‘over the line’?

Next up:  Your prestart checklist