Looking to build a fabulous backyard deck or improve upon your current one? Here are seven decking trends to help get your creative juices flowing.
Environmentally friendly deck materials may make you feel good about your choices while your deck also looks great. “From repurposing old bricks and cinder blocks into retaining walls and waterfalls, to using pallets to create patio furniture, the options are endless with enough imagination,” says Chris Breen, owner of DeckMasters of Greenville in South Carolina.
Composite decking is one material that’s considered more environmentally friendly than others because it often incorporates recycled or recovered materials, according to Fiberon. Another plus? It can deliver the aesthetics of wood without as much maintenance and upkeep because it can be more resistant to fading, scratching, stains and mold than standard pressure-treated lumber, Breen says.
That said, the perks of composite decking come with a price: Composite and recycled materials generally cost $30 or more per square foot, according to Breen, about twice the typical price of traditional wood. Despite the potential cost difference, Bobby Parks, owner of BP Consulting and Design in Atlanta, says composite decking is still worth the investment. “Composite deck boards are more reliable, hold more color and have better performance characteristics than normal woods and older-generation materials,” he says.
Image courtesy of Trex Company.
With more deck and railing colors to choose from than ever before, you have the freedom to be creative with the styling and presentation of your deck. HGTV suggests contrasting your railing color or material with your deck surface for the best aesthetic appeal. For instance, try pairing wrought-iron railings with a wooden deck.
If you’re feeling even more daring? Breen suggests experimenting with multicolored patterns that incorporate bold streaks of brown, black or gold. For further contrast, add a decorative railing made of aluminum, cable wire or glass. If you’re surrounded by beautiful mountains or a forest, wire and glass railings have the added advantage of letting you keep your view. No matter the color scheme or design you choose, the goal is simple: “It’s really about putting your unique stamp on the space,” Breen says.
Image courtesy of Sarah Gallop Design Inc.
Thanks to advancements in technology, you can now bring some of your favorite indoor activities out onto your deck. Particularly if you have a covered porch, Parks suggests setting up an outdoor television so you can watch a football game with your family in the backyard, or hooking up surround sound for relaxing background music when reading a book. You can also sync your smartphone to your lighting system, or buy a remote control, so you can adjust the settings of your lights right from your chair. Keep in mind, however, that high-tech features may come with a cost. So plan out a budget and stay realistic. Your deck can still be an oasis without emptying your wallet.
Image courtesy of BP Consulting and Design.
And by outdoor kitchen, we don’t just mean your grill. Outdoor cooking has evolved into increasingly functional kitchens, according to house-plan provider The House Designers. Your deck can now be fully equipped with a mini oven, a small refrigerator, cabinets, a sink and much more. “Outdoor kitchens are definitely becoming more popular,” Breen says. “Customers are looking for alternative countertop solutions, like granite or concrete, as opposed to traditional stone countertops. They’re easier to maintain and wipe down than stone, and are more aesthetically pleasing,” he says.
Entertaining tip: Set up a separate lounging area with patio furniture where guests can relax and socialize while their meals are being prepared. If you want an outdoor dining area separate from the lounging area, the good news is that more and more patio sets are being designed to mimic the styles of indoor dining furniture, according to The House Designers.
Image courtesy of Chicago Roof Deck & Garden.
Keep up with one of the hottest trends in decking (pun intended!) by adding warm and inviting lighting features to your deck. Candles are a simple way to up the ambiance — but when it comes to decks, be sure to stick with LED candles. Any live flame could be a fire hazard, particularly on decks made of more flammable materials like wood or composite, says Ralph Ford, owner of DeckMasters of Indy in Indiana. If you want to make a bigger change, permanent lighting features are also becoming more popular among deck owners. Fiberon suggests installing lighting on your deck posts or stairs. They’ll add a comfortable glow, plus help provide better visibility once it gets dark.
Image courtesy of Trex Company.
Don’t want your deck to look like anyone else’s? Break away from traditional horizontal and vertical wood boards by designing your deck with curved structures and bold patterns. For instance, install a curved rail-wrapping to a bench, build a trellis seating area for privacy without blocking daylight and airflow, or incorporate a few angled steps or a spiraling staircase. “As technology evolves, people are doing more round and curved structures, as opposed to square,” Breen says. “By heating composite materials, we can bend them into shapes you couldn’t previously do, creating more design opportunities.”
Image courtesy of Urban Rebuilders.
Who says you have to be inside to enjoy the comforts and convenience of your home? It’s becoming increasingly popular to bring the indoors outside through deck transformations, particularly in warmer climates. You can start with an outdoor kitchen, à la trend No. 4, and then keep going.
With recent innovations of all-weather deck materials, furniture and decorations, you can customize your deck like you would any other room. Decking company Trex suggests using pergolas and/or weatherproof drapes to section off separate spaces on your deck and create the feel of rooms. Don’t forget about traditional living room décor like all-weather throw pillows, area rugs and throw blankets. Add some art to the walls for pops of color and personality (search for pieces labeled “waterproof” or “weatherproof”). A fan of reading? Hang a hammock for your own outdoor reading nook.
Image courtesy of Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design.