Factors to Consider when Planning Your Deck

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Mitchell

Mike Mitchell is an award-winning deck builder and designer who specializes in urban decking, transforming cityscapes with his creative constructions. He is a second-generation deck builder.

Table of Contents

A new, professionally installed deck can add beauty to your outdoor living spaces and value to your home. Of course, there are lots of things to consider when planning your deck, and now is the perfect time to start thinking about your project so you’re ready to go once the spring thaw sets in.


Choosing the type of decking to install is one of the most important choices as it will determine how long the product will last, the overall cost, how much maintenance you’ll have to do, and how the finished deck will look.

Having a deck that looks good is always important, but many classic choices such as natural wood come with a hefty to-do list every year as you’ll have to be sure the finish is in good condition and reapply a sealer every one to three years. Wood decking is also more likely to become damaged than materials such as composite or PVC, so you’ll have to stay on top of repairs to prevent long-term damage.

Size and Location

Once you know what type of materials you’ll be using, you can determine how big your deck should be. In most cases, the size of the deck is determined to be in proportion to your home, but there are other factors involved. For example, if you have a pool in your yard, you’ll probably want the deck to be connected or perhaps surround the pool. Or, if you have neighbors close by on one side and would prefer more privacy by building in a different area of the yard.

Other factors that will help you determine where to place your deck include were there is natural sunlight and shade in your yard, different views from your home, and how much of your yard space you’re willing to yield to your deck. Gardeners may not want to lose too much ground; entertainers may wish to maximize outdoor living areas. You’ll also have to think about the current landscaping and whether certain items like trees or shrubs will need to be moved.


How you’ll use your deck will also help you determine how big it should be. Generally speaking, you don’t want your deck to be overwhelmingly large in comparison to your home, but also consider how you will be using your outdoor spaces when considering size. If you host many get-togethers when the weather is good, you may want more space. Or, if you tend to prefer solitude in the mornings with your coffee, a smaller size may be all you need.

Additional elements such as railings, pergolas, or privacy fencing will also depend on what you’re using your deck for. For example, you may want to close off the view of your pool from the street or the neighbors or add several garden boxes for cultivating your favorite annuals. If you have small children, locking gates may also be on the menu to keep them safe. Lighting is another concern to think about as you’ll want plenty of bright areas if you’re outdoors in the evening.

Making the Best Decisions

Before finalizing any decisions, make sure to check with your city and county to find out about building permits, codes, and other legal considerations related to modifying your home’s current structure. In some cases, you may be limited to where you can build your deck, how large it can be, or how close to the property lines you can come. Once you have all the basics figured out, be sure to save some time (and budget!) for fun extras such as built-in seating areas, additional landscaping, decorative railings, and more.

If planning a deck on your own seems like an overwhelming project, we can help! With your ideas and our expertise, we can bring the deck of your dreams to life. Contact us today!