I am going to let you in on my thought processes…scary, I know. Well, I put a lot of thought into choosing the perfect design for our deck. Several of our neighbors have set the bar pretty high. Now we really could care less about “keeping up with the Joneses”, but for our home value we did feel it was important to ensure our deck was in keeping with the others in the neighborhood. We also had our own list of requirements.
Our deck requirements:
- connection to the backyard – stairs were a must to get to the yard below
- lots of space – ideally room for a lounge and dining area
- clean lines – we do not like post caps or intricate balusters
- room for a patio underneath – no posts to interfere with a future patio
There are a lot of ways to meet the above requirements and we found each contractor has their own ideas. We brainstormed and doodled out some ideas before meeting with the contractors. Then as we went through the process, right or wrong, we worked with each contractor on a different design option. We thought it might make it harder to compare contractors, but ultimately all the decks were very similar in square footage and materials required. The separate designs really evolved from meeting with each contractor and sharing our ideas and taking their advice.
We ended up with three strong choices. I am going to share my doodles of each design and explain how we evaluated them and finally chose our ideal deck design. To doodle, I simply took a print out of our floor plan and then used markers and a ruler to draw out my ideas.
Deck Option #1
The first option was actually proposed by the contractor. We provided our requirements and they developed this design. We really liked it. They did 3D renderings and it was pretty awesome. The staircase on the angle was good and bad for us. I love how it was in keeping with the design of the house. The contractor thought the layout made the stairs more accessible, almost providing a straight shot from the door to the yard. The bad part was the angled staircase created a barrier to the rest of the yard from below the deck. We plan to create a large patio under the deck and we want it to be open to the yard. The angled stair also cut off some square footage on the deck. This design also included a pergola for the dining area. With the defined dining area and the angled staircase, I struggled to see how we would fit in both a lounge and dining area. The big red X on the doodle is what I felt was dead or unusable space. This deck design was $$$$, even after removing the pergola it was $$$.
Deck Option #2
Option 2 was actually our own design idea that we asked the second contractor to bid on. The idea was to focus the view from the deck to the North East where we have more of a view over the city. To the South East we just see a bunch of other houses. To focus the view we had to push out beyond the kitchen nook. The bad thing is this design ended up bumping out way too far in the yard. In the brown marker I added our kids play set to highlight the space issues with this design. It was too close to the play set. We also have a severely sloped yard in the back. This design would have eaten up all the level yard we have. The contractor drafted the deck with the many area being a 16 x 16 foot square. The square seemed tricky for me to divide nicely into a dining and lounge area. I really felt we would only be able to get a large dining space. Again the red X shows what I felt would be dead square footage. This deck was $$ (in the range we were comfortable with).
Deck Option #3
The final option was inspired by another deck in the neighborhood that we have always admired. The inspiration deck was on the same house plan, but had a straight staircase. Our contractor recommended the turned staircase, which we loved (even though it cost a little more $ for the extra landing). This design really maximizes the square footage. It is about 14 x 26 feet. Although it is maybe not be as unique as the other two designs, it was the most functional for our requirements. You can see the longer rectangular space can easily be broken up into a lounge side and a dining side. In the drawing the dining side actually shows two smaller tables to make one larger square table to seat eight. The idea here is the tables could be separated and put in one long line and seat 10-12 for a larger gathering. This deck can handle that arrangement. This design also has a huge open area for a patio underneath. The stair design actually provides some privacy for the patio below from the neighbors to the South East. This deck was $$ (in the range we were comfortable with).
We chose #3!! Here is a sneak peek at the deck under construction…