Deck Design 101 - Where Do I Start?

Posted 28 January 2022 2:28 PM by Jase DeBoer

You've decided to add a new deck to your home. Great choice! The first step is to choose a few key design elements that will best suit your needs and taste. While the size of your house and yard — along with your budget — will influence your options, there are a lot of choices to be made during this important planning phase.

Standard or Custom Layout?
If you have a smaller backyard, a limited budget or prefer the minimalist approach to outdoor spaces, you'll likely choose a simple design. Square and rectangular decks are the most popular, and common dimensions include 12’x12’ and 16’x20’. Both are adequate for outdoor entertaining and relaxation, plus add square footage proportionally. Standard rectangle deck layouts are great DIY projects.

Those who want a more personalized design often opt for custom shapes, sizes and styles. Multiple levels can incorporate covered areas that are perfect for outdoor kitchens or grill corners. Hot tubs and water features, as well as subtle lighting accents that enhance the ambiance of the night, are popular additions to custom decks.


Photos courtesy of Certified Pro Deck Dogs, LLC

Photos courtesy of Certified Pro Deck Dogs, LLC

Wood or Composite?

Deckorators products are backed by our industry-leading warranties. Our wood plastic composite (WPC) decking (Vista and Trailhead) is backed by our 25-year Structural, 25-year Stain & Fade and 25-year Limited Removal & Replacement Warranty, while our mineral-based composite (MBC) decking (Voyage and Vault) is upheld with a 50-year Structural, 25-year Stain and Fade, 25-year Removal and Replacement Warranty.


Regardless of the decking you choose the material for the understructure needs to be a ground-contact, pressure-treated lumber like ProWood®. Not only does pressure-treated lumber provide protection from water damage and termite infestation, but it offers a beautiful, natural look for decking and railing. Stain to your desired wood tone or try color-infused, treated lumber like ProWood Color Treated.

Decking Patterns and Colors
While the shape of your deck is a major consideration, another consideration should be the overall look of the decking colors and patterns. Go beyond one-color options and imagine more visually appealing, multicolored patterns such as herringbone, hexagonal, V-shaped, sunburst or picture-framed. Even a basic-shaped deck can become something fabulous when the decking is installed in an interesting or unexpected pattern.


Photo courtesy of Certified Pro LeBlanc Decks

Photo courtesy of Certified Pro Premier Outdoor Living, LLC

Photo courtesy of Certified Pro Simcoe Decks

Photo courtesy of Certified Pro All Pro Decks

Don’t Forget …

Many spend a great deal of time researching the decking and leave railing for later in the process. However, after rugs, patio chairs and grills are added, the railing is often the most visible part of a deck (and the most important for safety). Modern or Classic? Black or white? Composite or aluminum? Choose the railing style and material that suits your needs best.

The Take-Away
When designing a deck, you have many choices to consider. Perhaps a basic deck shape will do, but an eye-catching water feature is a must for you. Maybe an elaborate, multi-level deck with an intricate, multicolored pattern is your dream. The key is to decide what meets your needs, suits your tastes, complements your home and enhances your quality of life. To start discovering and envisioning design options, check out our Deck Designer and start designing today!