With Summer here, many homeowners are building a ground level deck to enjoy the good weather outside, whether for Sunday BBQs with the family or for the kids to play safely. However, there are so many different types of decks that it’s common to be confused. 

You might choose a simple platform that sits close to the ground or a more elaborate deck. A large one allows you to add steps that lead up to it from the yard along with railings that add a decorative touch while also keeping you safe, so size is an important factor to consider. 

There are seven simple tips to consider when planning a deck addition.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." – Charles R. Swindoll

Make a Wishlist

Before building a deck on the ground, make a wishlist of everything that you want in a deck. This includes the overall space and where you want to put the steps. Though you'll likely place one set of stairs near the front door, you may want a set that leads from your driveway or yard. 

It's helpful to think about any special features that you might want in the future, such as an outdoor kitchen, to make sure your deck will be able to handle that. 

Think About Location

One important decision that you need to make is about where to place the deck. 

  • Many people add decks leading to their front yard, but it’s also common on the side of the house. If you have a larger home, you can even opt for a wraparound design. 
  • You should consider the shade available in your yard and where the sun hits. Some decks get more natural sunlight, which can make the space feel hotter and cause you to avoid the area. 
  • You'll also want to look at the codes and permits needed for decks in your city, which can determine where you place it.

Choose the Right Size

A deck that is too large can overwhelm your house and make it seem much smaller. You usually want to consider both the size of your home and the amount of space that you need ahead of time. 

A deck that you use as an outdoor kitchen or one that needs to hold a hot tub will be larger than one that you use for entertaining and relaxing. The cost to build a deck will depend heavily on the size that you need. When you add multiple sets of stairs or decide to add several levels to the deck, your building costs will rise.

Consider Material Types

One of the most important factors that go along with building a ground level deck is the type of material that you choose. 

  • Pressure-treated wood boards are very popular because they can last for a decade or longer. The treatment keeps the wood looking great. This type of deck requires cleaning at least once a year. 
  • Vinyl decks can last for as long as 30 years and do not require as much maintenance. You can easily use a pressure washer to keep it clean. 
  • Another option is composite decking, which is quite popular in New England and along the coasts. Composite decks can last as long as vinyl decks do or even longer.

Add Lighting

No matter what type of deck you choose, make sure that you think about outdoor lighting. What good is a deck that you can only use during daylight hours? 

Floodlights are a good option because you can install them around the base of your deck and near the steps. Accent lights that you place around the edges of the deck or near your front door can also help you see. Some people also love the look of solar cap lights, which replace your deck's railing caps and run on solar energy.

Hire a Professional

Whether you have a lot of construction experience or not, it's helpful to work with a professional deck builder. These builders provide estimates that show what the job will cost after looking at the materials and features that you want. They can also ensure that your deck meets all local building codes and that you have the necessary permits. 

You may want to hire a designer, too. Deck designers will show you popular plans and determine the best type of deck for your home.

Don't Forget About Landscaping

Though you should focus on deck construction, don't forget about landscaping and the plants that you want to use around your deck. Landscaping can easily take up more than 10% of your total building budget. 

You might want large bushes that surround the base of the deck or larger plants that provide shade and give you some privacy. There are also container plants that let you add some bright colors such as petunias and mums. You can choose from a wide range of containers and plants for your deck.       

Contact a local deck building company to request a free quote for your project and help you decide exactly what type and style to go for! 


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