Novel to Know:'Deck Ideas That Work'

With springtime here, it’s time to go out to enjoy the sun and clean air. And what better place to do this than on a deck overlooking the yard? If you have a deck you adore, great. But if your deck is need of a makeover or if you are thinking of creating a new one, I can’t think of a better place to begin than Deck Ideas That Work, by Peter Jeswald (Taunton Press). Continue reading for tips from the book about deck layout, fabrics, lighting and much more.

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Extra living area. Decks are great options for creating much-needed living room for older, smaller homes. Having an overhead construction plus some furniture, a deck greatly extends the house’s living room.

And do not stop there. Decks may be great places to enjoy family movie night; outdoor dining, cooking and entertaining; a soak in a hot tub; or even a unique retreat for some silent outdoor moment. It all begins with making a wish list that defines your objectives.

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Choosing materials. Are you the sort of person who must have a natural decking material? If so, your choices go beyond pressure-treated timber or cedar. Ipe, cumara, garapa, cambara and bamboo are one of the numerous chosen woods which you can pick from.

Try ipe, a sustainable product, if you like the darker, richer look of mahogany. Or use bamboo if you’re looking for something that’s milder and more also known for its sustainability.

Can you have concerns about keeping up the deck within the long term, but want the look and feel of wood? If this is so, maybe a synthetic material like a wood-plastic composite (WPC) is right for you.

When selecting a decking material, Jeswald suggests considering:
accoya (radiata pine) because of its resistance to insects and decay in addition to sustainabilitypressure-treated forests due to their long lifetime and low costcedar (white and red), a native materialWPC because of the woodlike appearance and low maintenance
PVC because of its resistance to insects, splintering and fadingcoated WPC for blending the best characteristics of WPC and PVCAnd did you know that there’s also aluminum, vinyl and fiberglass decking? These are not all that frequent, but they may be just the solution you’re looking for.

Take field trips to look at decks made of the substances you are thinking about. And speak with a local decking pro to find some advice on what is available on your market, plus each material’s price and upkeep.

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Working with a patio. Sometimes we think we should have either a deck or a patio, but not both. Not so, says Jeswald. A deck and patio can work really well together, especially on a sloping site, or when you want to produce a graceful transition between inside and out with a couple feet of elevation between the two. In this example, a small deck space with a wide flight of steps to the patio allows for this slow transition.

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Use a view. Decks do not need to be large. Sometimes a deck for one person to sit down and take in a view is your best approach. A deck space for a retreat for just one can be that silent area that keeps you outdoors all the longer.

When you have a unique view that you want to maintain, think about using cable railings or chain link fencing to make a visually unobtrusive rail that meets building code requirements. Cable railings can be pricey, but a simple wood railing with vinyl-coated chain connection is cheap and attractive.

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Light it up. Backlighting your deck stair risers is an unusual approach to place exterior safety lighting where it’s needed. Simple cutouts from the risers in almost any pattern which suits you can yield a beautiful decorative element whilst keeping you from the dark.

Do not make light the deck an afterthought. Successful lighting increases the enjoyment you’ll receive from the deck. And light your deck is going to continue to keep the view to the yard all the more enjoyable by eliminating the”black mirror” effect on windows if it’s dark outside and all lit up inside.

When considering light your deck, the book suggests considering:
ambient lighting created by the bounce of lighting off outside walls and surfacesshadowing to highlight interesting contours, by shining the light on the object so its shadow is cast on a neighboring surfacesilhouetting an object by putting light behind itmoonlighting by casting light down from a high spot in a treevignetting by using several lights to illuminate a spot or objecttask lighting with concentrated lights on a particular area, like an outdoor kitchensafety lighting, like light on the stairs from deck to lawn

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Finishing touches. Furniture, plants and other accessories deliver the best of contemporary life outdoors. Organize plants in a container garden that adds color and construction to the deck and may be used to flank stairs and doorways.

Expand the use of your deck through the year with a chiminea, freestanding fireplace, fire pit or outdoor heaters powered by electricity or gas. Outdoor heaters may vary from small, cheap tabletop units to bigger, more costly freestanding gas units on wheels, letting you move them to where the warmth is needed most.

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Deck Ideas that Work by Peter Jeswald – $19.95

Find out more about the book here.

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