Late summer and fall are good times to plan and build your new deck - temperatures are cooling from the summer highs, making work outdoors more appealing, and when the kids go back to school, you'll have fewer "helpers" underfoot. To help inspire this season's construction of your ideal outdoor living space, read on for the hottest deck trends.
From a basic rectangle to intricately curved sections, your deck design can be as simple or complex as you like. Among the year's trends in decks and outdoor living, here are six that captured our attention:
• Bringing the indoors out
• Detached decks
• Multi-level decks
• Curved decks
• Multiple decking colors
• Ground level boardwalks
Bringing the indoors out
This deck trend has been on the upswing for several years now. Simply put, it's a blurring of the lines between the home's indoors and its outdoor living space. Large patio doors and movable wall sections, such as those from Milgard and NanaWall, enable family and friends to move freely in and out, while also providing plenty of fresh air and open views. This deck design trend also applies to the decking material, as more homeowners desire a strong visual tie between indoors and outdoors. For example, MoistureShield's new Vision decking holds the promise to allow customizable colors and patterns to visually integrate with the home's flooring.
Contrasting with the above deck trend, many homeowners are looking to create a backyard retreat away from the home. HGTV Canada calls this an "alfresco dining area," which can take the form of a patio or a free-standing deck that's not attached to the house, as is common. The remote retreat ambiance of these spaces can be enhanced with landscaping for privacy and a meandering path, which provides a sense of journey and transition.
Whether as a typical deck attached to the home, or as a free-standing deck, an increasingly popular deck design incorporates decks of various heights. Rather than having one large deck all on one level, these creative decks have sections higher and/or lower than the main deck. In addition to providing an eye catching design, this is also a good way to define functional areas. For example, a small raised or lowered section can provide an intimate conversation nook or a private space for a glorious outdoor hot tub. You can also set-off a raised or lowered deck as a dining space, to separate it from the distractions of your outdoor kitchen.
As deck designs have evolved in recent years, more deck builders and DIYers are moving beyond simple squares and rectangles, to include curved decks. These range from decks with a curved edge on one side to circular decks, and even intricate shapes like leaves or guitars. While more challenging to build than rectangular decks, composite decking makes a curved deck easier, as the boards can be bent after heating - something that is more difficult to achieve with wood and that is not possible with aluminum decking.
Multiple decking colors
The advent of composite decking in a variety of colors enables homeowners to create more visually captivating decks. Some ideas include installing a row or two of darker boards around the edge of a light colored deck, to serve as a frame, and outlining cut-out areas for trees and shrubs (or reversing the color - using lighter boards to frame a darker deck). For a double contrast, place the highlight board(s) on a different alignment from the boards in the majority of the deck (either perpendicular, or at an angle). A truly adventurous builder can even bend a contrasting composite board to meander through the deck, for a one-of-a-kind design. For more insights on this deck trend, see the article "Mix and Match" from MoistureShield senior vice president Brent Gwatney in Building Products Digest.
Ground Level Boardwalks
Whether to connect your home to an "alfresco dining area" as discussed above, or as a garden path, another deck trend to note is low-lying boardwalks. Because MoistureShield decking can be installed on the ground, in the ground or underwater, it is ideal for such applications. Designer Jamie Durie, star of the FYI network's "Outback Nation" is a big fan of MoistureShield composite decking. In several episodes of the show, he used MoistureShield to create amazing outdoor spaces, including ground-level boardwalks, an outdoor living room and a Bohemian chic wedding pavilion. Durie was so impressed with the material's beauty and durability he showed viewers of the popular NBC "Today"" show how to use composite decking to craft easy-to-build, segmented walkways to boost a home's curb appeal.