Deck building ideas and wood deck plans you can build now.

Decks and deck building ideas can create the perfect transition between the house and your backyard. Interested in learning more about building a deck and deck building ideas?

Whether you are going to have your deck built by a contractor or do it yourself, building a deck correctly requires some planning and design.

Imagine your first warm night during spring, your first casual dinner with family and friends on your deck with candlelight, colorful tablecloth and beautiful pots with blooming flowers.

It's very normal to be asking about where to find flat deck building instructions and plans. Perhaps you'd like to know where to find wooden deck plans?

Decks are becoming more and more like outdoor rooms. Most decks are an extension of your home and often they are attached directly to a house wall.

There are several types of deck building ideas to consider for your home:

1- Outdoor decks which are usually attached to your home (these are the most commonly built decks). The most convenient location is off the family room or kitchen.

2- Destination decks - these are usually placed in a special place with a great view, for example. They are not connected to the house and you may have to walk through a beautiful garden and winding path to get to it.

3- Connector decks - several decks of any shape or size connected to each other with pathways. A deck that functions like a peninsula or an island can create a wonderful retreat from stressful daily life.

Before you begin deck building, take your deck building ideas and make a list of what different activities you will be having with your family and friends in the backyard, such as:

• Are you going to use it only for grilling and barbecuing?
• Are you going to have a birdbath and bird feeder?
• Is it going to be located off the family room or kitchen?
• Is your deck going to have a soaking spa or be near the swimming pool?
• Are you going to have parties and entertain groups of friends or family?
• How much landscaping and trees do you want around your deck?
• Are you wanting to build your deck with a great view of the lake, river or mountains?
• Do you want to have the sound of a fountain or running water nearby?
• Is your deck going to be for lounging only?
• Are you planning to have a potting shed, compost plot or flower/vegetable/herb garden near the deck?

If your property is not very large and you're not expecting to entertain large groups, you likely don't need a huge deck.

Keep it simple, but don't be afraid to add an angle or two to the deck design. Divide the area into two sections - one for lounging where you get more sun and another section for dining and cooking.

More deck building ideas - consider using planters or flower pots with beautiful plants, overhead structures or trellis, benches and steps to create a transition between areas in the backyard.

If you're not a good gardener, you can still create a low maintenance landscape with shrubs and other low maintenance plants. One of the best ways to simplify deck building is to view or use deck plans that have been successfully built many times.

Seeing attractive plans that may be just what you are looking for can give you deck building ideas that will simplify your planning and design. Maybe you are just wanting to build a freestanding deck.

Before you design or learn how to build a deck, make sure you consider the following deck building ideas:

1- Make a budget that you can afford for the project, and have some idea when you can start and finish the project.

2- Create a plan that includes all the details about your property.

• Your exact property lines
• Fences and gates (should not be the same as property line)
• Draw the location of your garage and driveway
• Location of existing outdoor lights, outdoor electrical outlets and outdoor faucets.
• List of outdoor structures - dog kennels, sheds, gazebos, patio covers...
• Location of swimming pool or spa/sauna.
• Location of the septic tank and the drainage area.
• Location of all walks and paths that you have now.
• Document all trees, shrubs and gardens.
• List and location of all utility lines - water meter, gas meter, electric meter and downspouts from your gutters.
• Show house, roofline, exterior walls, exterior stairs, porches, perhaps other decks, windows and exterior doors.
• Locate sprinkler and irrigation systems.

3- Select a location for your new deck.

Is your deck going to be accessible to the house and yard?

Study the wind and sun patterns in your backyard before you determine the location of your deck. If your backyard has strong winds, you may have to use plantings or build a fence to minimize the wind and drafts. Perhaps an overhead cover is appropriate for sun protection.

Consider the areas in the backyard that give you the most privacy. Of course, you can install fences, but make sure you decide what areas in the yard are going to be for socializing, children's play or simply relaxing.

Deck building ideas should include understanding how traffic will flow in your backyard.

Understand how family and pets will be walking from the front of the house to the back, from the garage to the kitchen, from the greenhouse or toolshed to the garden.

Many decks have plenty of square footage but they pathways that are too narrow. Pathways should be 3-1/2 to 4 feet wide at all points.

To accommodate a table with six chairs, you need an area at least 9 feet in diameter for everyone to be comfortable. Your cooking area for a grill and a small table needs an area of at least 6x6 feet.

Don't locate the deck stairway in the middle of your busiest activity area or where all your outdoor furniture is placed - you will definitely experience traffic jams.

Most decks should be built to support heavy loads, high winds, earthquakes, heavy snow and unstable soil. Good deck building should resist rotting and be done according to the standards of your local building code to ensure a strong and durable deck.

Deck building ideas should include the following components:

• Footings or piers - will support the post or beams. For withstanding freezing winters, your deck should have concrete footings that extend below the frostline.

If your area has sandy soil, you may be required to build massive footings. Check with your building department and building code for this information.

• Posts - 4"x4" lumber is generally strong enough for deck structural posts. According to most codes, if your deck is raised above ground, you may be required to use 6"x6" structural posts.

• Beams - will rest horizontally on the posts and will support the deck joists.

• Joists - will be spaced horizontally every 12", 16" or 24" and support the decking boards.

• Decking - boards are the floor of your deck. They span from joist to joist.

If your deck is more than 2 feet above ground, it will likely need to be surrounded by a railing which consists of posts, rails and balusters. Lumber type and quality are also crucial considerations.

The most common used woods on decks are:

• Redwood - most decks made with this type of wood are very beautiful and durable. However, make sure to treat the wood regularly with preservatives and sealers to avoid rotting of the redwood. Redwood weathers naturally to a gray color and is termite resistant.

• Cedar is less termite resistant than redwood, but it resists moisture and warping. Cedar makes beautiful decks and also needs to be treated periodically with preservatives.

• Cypress - this type of wood is naturally rot resistant, easy to work with and it weathers to a light gray.

• Tropical hardwoods - mahogany, teak, bilinga, ipe, kwila and many others...are very dense woods and they are generally stronger and more durable than redwood, cedar or cypress.

• Pressure-treated Douglas fir is the strongest lumber used in deck framing (posts, beams and ledgers), but it's not suitable for decking or framing that will be visible since the pressure-treated lumber becomes discolored over time.

• Pressure-treated Southern pine is also a strong, attractive, durable, affordable material but it has a tendency to warp and crack. This type of wood is treated with a preservative that's put into the wood under pressure to last longer, resist moisture, mold and mildew.

Today, any pressure-treated wood has uncertain environmental problems because leftover wood can't be burned (it is toxic) and many landfills have labeled the material environmentally hazardous and are refusing to accept it.

Agree with your contractor on all disposal issues before the construction begins.

• Plastic/Engineered wood and vinyl - decking done with these types of products is becoming popular, is durable, requires almost no maintenance and in general does not need painting or staining.

If the material fades dramatically over the years because of the sun - some of these products, but not all, can be stained when they fade. Wood composite is made of recycled plastic products and waste wood, but these materials are not intended for structural use.

• Pressure-treated Hem-fir (spruce, hemlock or other species of wood) - some are strong and stable, but other types are very weak and tend to warp and crack. Before you use hem-fir because of its low cost, check with your building department or lumber company before you start building with it.

There are inexpensive deck building ideas and plans you can build now.

Seeing deck building ideas and plans that have been successfully built many times means you will have plans that work. The question is - are any of the plans right for your home?

Perhaps the wood deck plans that you're looking for already exist, ready for you to build. Take your time as you search online for exactly what you are looking for.

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