James Treble explains how to create an outdoor living space that can be enjoyed all year round.
James’s tips for a great deck.
WHETHER YOU HAVE A LARGE, expansive house or a narrow terrace, making the most of an outdoor area can provide many exciting and functional options for you to enjoy your home – as well as add thousands of dollars to its value. Consider these ideas to help you use your deck more often and make it a functional area in all seasons.
1 PLAN TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SPACE
When you are working out the design and placement of your deck, don’t automatically look to a standard square or rectangular shape. Sometimes working with your site in mind will provide interesting shapes, which may follow the line of your block rather than just the house. In a narrow site, including a curve can trick the eye into thinking the space is wider than it really is.
The deck doesn’t have to just sit under the roof line or covered area. Allowing it to extend creates a greater link to the outdoors and helps to blur the lines between the garden and deck areas. Why not consider continuing the deck around the side of the house instead of finishing it off with a set of stairs? This can provide easy one-level access to the side of your home, and may mean that guests don’t have to trample through the house when you have a big party.
If you have an ugly view or wish to block out an eyesore on a neighbouring property, then think about running the decking up vertically to create a privacy screen. This can also provide a great place to hang garden art or wallmounted pots, and still create a cohesive feel in your yard.
2 CREATE ZONES FOR EATING AND RELAXING
In the same way, you can create zones inside your home to help define dining and living areas, so too can you “zone” your deck to provide a clear intention of how the space will be used, and inject personality at the same time.
Separating your furniture into clearly visible dining and seating areas provides many options when entertaining, as well as allowing you to direct how people use and move though your space. But it’s not just the outdoor furniture that can help you achieve this. Positioning outdoor rugs is
another great way to clearly define where one space finishes and the other starts, as well as allowing you to add some colour, pattern and interest.
The placement of pot plants and timber screening can also help define different spaces within your deck, and perhaps give you separate kids’ and adults’ zones. This can be a great solution for teenagers who want to feel away from everything but still included.
3 MAXIMISE YOUR SEATING OPTIONS
To really let your deck be inviting all year round, it’s a great idea to include as much seating as you can, allowing everyone in the family to go outside any time they wish. Of course, a standard chair and table setting will work well, but perhaps consider adding comfy outdoor sofas to create a place to relax with a book or a beer. Another great design idea is to incorporate built-in
seating into the deck structure. This can easily be done during construction, and building in the same timber decking will provide a consistent and stylish look. Installing built-ins around the perimeter of your deck will maximise seating, while still keeping the centre of the deck free of clutter for a table or extra guests.
4 TO COVER OR NOT TO COVER?
We possibly use our decks more in summer than winter, so it’s an obvious choice to include cover to your deck areas to provide shade and keep the heat out!
But this doesn’t mean you should simply cover and build a pergola over the whole deck, as this can in fact close the space in and make it feel smaller than it actually is. Complete cover can also prevent sunlight from entering adjoining rooms, making your house feel darker inside.
Clear roofing will provide cover from rain and still allow light to your deck. If it suits your design, installing woven bamboo under the clear roofing will give a relaxing tropical feel plus shade with filtered natural light. Options like
adjustable roofing which can open and close to suit the weather can work very effectively. But if your budget is not this high, then using large umbrellas can give you a cost effective way to have cover when needed.
So shapely Be creative and think beyond a basic rectangle. The good life Allow room for eating and relaxing areas.
New order Style your outdoor space as you would any indoor room.