Wooden Decks: Ideas, Designs and Plans to Build the Perfect Deck

Wooden deck in a home's backyard

Adding a wooden deck to your home increases living and entertaining space and when done properly, adds to the value of your property. Spend some time brainstorming ideas for your deck and discussing its main purpose before deciding on a design. That way, your family will get the deck you both want and need.

Getting Inspired
The web has a seemingly endless supply of images capturing dream decks from around the world. This photo gallery from the Better Homes and Gardens website has several standout designs, including this griller's dream and this perfect blending of deck and pool. Another image from the gallery shows how you can create a covered deck using Plexiglas.
This Old House's website also has its own gallery of dream decks, with many detail shots. This image shows how railings can go beyond boring to reflect a home's natural surroundings. The gallery offers practical advice, as well, such as how to frame a tree within a deck and how to frame a boulder.

Lastly, take a look at HGTV's collection of dream decks. The more ideas the better, when it comes to fuel for a brainstorming session.

Keeping in Mind
When you sit down to brainstorm with your family, discuss the primary purpose of the deck. Will it be an outdoor kitchen and eating space? Do you plan to blend the deck with a gardening hobby? Or will it be a pool deck with the primary focus on swimming and sunbathing? Decide what its main purpose will be, keeping in mind that secondary purposes can be included in a design, as well. For example, decks with multiple levels can include an individual purpose per level and create not just additional space but additional rooms, in a sense.

Also make a list of the must-have items on the deck, as doing so will help to further focus its purpose. Do you want space for a portable grill or an outdoor kitchen with burners, fridge and counter space? How much seating do you want and should it be free form or attached via benches, or both? Do you need storage? Will you want to use the deck year-round? If so, consider incorporating a fire pit and/or heating elements into your design.

Making Plans
Thankfully, you need not be an architect, nor have the funds to hire one, to design a wooden deck for your home. Simply check out some of the many deck design websites. These websites - Decks.com and DeckPlans.com - offer multiple free deck designs for download, as well as cost estimators and shopping lists. Be sure to check out railing options as well, as they can make an impact visually.

Next, gather your ideas, needs and wants, along with examples, and a handful of the plans you like best. If you don't like the free plans offered online, make a basic sketch of what you would prefer. It doesn't have to be to scale, but it should include all of your must-have items.

Deck Repair

Finally, consult a professional handyman regarding the project. Adding a deck to your home requires professional expertise and execution, as the deck must be well built to ensure the safety of your family and guests. Your handyman can also advise you regarding the permits required and ensure that the deck meets all building codes. As mentioned above, a wooden deck can increase the value of your home, but only if done properly - one that fails inspection during a sale will sink a deal or result in serious expense to right the wrongs. One built to code by a professional, will be the deck your family dreamed of.

This article is part of the Deck Repair and Maintenance Series

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.