So You Want To Build a Deck?
Are you thinking about adding a deck to your home to enjoy good food, good friends, and the great outdoors? Before you call your contractor, or make your way to the local hardware store, here are a couple of things to think about:
How Big Should You Make Your Deck?
A small deck, intended to hold a round dining table for instance, should be a minimum of 12×12. Sizing can go as large as your yard and needs allow. The average deck size is roughly 300-400 square feet.
Your deck should generally be wider than it is deep, with the longer dimension running along the house, and should be kept in proportion to your house – and your budget and construction skills if you are building it yourself.
Remember that you can always start small and add on later as well, if your deck dreams aren’t quite matching up to your current budget.
Where Should You Locate Your Deck?
Most often decks are attached to the rear or side of your house, often just off a kitchen or dining area. This location makes the most sense, since it will extend your eating and entertaining area to the outdoors. You, of course, can choose other locations in your yard – even freestanding – if that will best suit your needs.
Be sure to check the amount of sun and shade the area will have when planning the location, as that can affect when and how often you can utilize your deck space – or if you will need to invest more money into shades and other options.
Other Things to Consider
Always check with local building regulations to confirm that your plans meet their requirements and remember to obtain a permit from your local building department. Consider lot size and spacing when configuring deck size and location. If you have a well or septic system, or some other types of buried lines, those may impact where you can and cannot place your deck – so a call to your utility company is probably a good idea before you actually start construction.
The moral of the story is, there really is no “right or wrong” size for a deck. All decks – just like people – are different. Think about WHY you’re building a deck, and what you’ll use it for most. Your reasons may very well differ from your neighbors, and those reasons will most definitely affect the size of your deck. Once you have an idea of what you want, as well as an idea of any restrictions that may impede your construction process, you can begin drawing up a solid plan for your dream deck and outdoor living space.