The choice of deck location for most homeowners seems simple enough, off of the kitchen or living room for fast and easy access to the kitchen. But depending on the kind and size of deck you’re considering, you might want to rethink that option. Your deck should be placed where it fits your lifestyle, and where it’s going to last the longest. Here are some things to consider when choosing a location for your deck.
Size of Deck
How big is your deck? A small deck intended to hold a round dining table should be at least 12 feet by 12 feet. Larger decks designed for entertaining and other uses will be much larger. But large or small, size matters when deciding where to place your deck. How large is an “average” deck? The average deck size is between 300 and 400 square feet. Traditionally, your deck should be wider than it is deeper, and your longer dimension should run along the house for a more secure attachment. If you’re creating an entryway deck, then the location is obvious – it should go where your exiting entryway is, or where you want to create a new entryway.
How much privacy do you want or need? Will your deck placement put you in a direct line-of-sight with your neighbors? Do you want to be able to hang out, relax, hot-tub, or entertain and not be in full view of the street or passersby? Some homeowners solve the privacy issue with screens, landscaping, or other structures. However, it’s nice to know before you build what your options are.
Proximity and Lifestyle
How much do you plan to use your deck, and where do you plan to use it? The closer to where the action is, whether it’s your kitchen or den or living area, that’s where your deck should be. You’re less likely to wake up in the morning and stroll outside your bedroom to wake up on the deck if you can’t actually access it from your bedroom! Decks closest to where the action and lifestyle choices of the family are, are also the decks mostly likely to be used. If you envision your deck as an outdoor breakfast nook, site it off of the kitchen, or as close to it as you can. If you plan to use the deck as a quiet retreat, an outdoor office, or a place to go hot-tubbing place it next to a bathroom/shower, or alongside the house where there will be fewer interruptions.
A floating, or island deck located next to a pool, pond or natural feature or firepit won’t be used as much as an attached desk simply because people don’t like to have to hike to their deck – even if it is only 20 or 30 yards away.
Multi-level decks may be used more often – simply because they tend to be located near high use areas of the home – living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms. That’s why it’s important to understand how you plan to use your deck.
In Colorado, you’ll want a deck that is somewhat protected from prevailing winds, snow, and weather. But you’ll also want to consider what time of day you’re most likely to use the deck and whether you prefer direct sun or constant shade. If the only place you can have a deck is in direct sunlight, consider structures or awnings that will protect you from the direct sunlight.
The reason many people build decks is so they can take full advantage of a great view – whether it’s the mountains, their backyard, or a feature on their property. Take time to stand on each side of your house and really look at the views you’ll have from there. While a side yard deck that takes advantage of a narrow strip of land beside your home may not have a view other than a fence, it’s still important to get a sense for what you’ll be looking at every time you use the deck.
Most homeowners don’t have to worry about existing trees on their property, but if you do, talk to your contractor about incorporating the tree into your deck design. The right tree can often add a romantic, rustic feel to the deck, as well as much welcomed shade on sunny days. Trees can also be good wind blocks if you have a windy property.
It’s not always possible to avoid a good Chinook wind, but try to orient your deck where there’s less wind. There’s nothing that will spoil your deck time more than wind. Yes, you can erect glass or wooden barriers, but that defeats the whole purpose of being outside in nature.
Your deck should fit the style and architecture of your house so it doesn’t stick out or look out of place. Whether you choose to live out your life in your home or sell it one day, having a deck that blends in well with the property and the home’s architecture will only enhance your property and add to your home’s value.
Take time to consider all your options, not just what seems to be the most obvious one. It’s not that much more expensive to create a new doorway to the place where you envision your new deck or to add a pass-through window where you can make the deck an even greater extension of your kitchen.