Planning the Perfect Deck Planning the Perfect Deck

A beautiful, versatile redwood deck can extend your lifestyle and add richness and pleasure to daily living. Equally as important, a deck is a long-term investment because it increases the resale value of your home. Here are some basic planning, design and building tips for the deck of your dreams.

Design

Libraries, book stories and home centers are good sources for deck ideas and plans. CRA also has information on decks and other back yard projects.

Site Planning

Survey the yard and decide which problems the deck should solve. Redwood decks can be built over steeply sloping ground, along a side yard or even in front of a house as an entry. Consider wind direction, the amount of sun or shade desired, the availability of water and electrical outlets and other fixed conditions. Generally, the southwest and southeast corners of a house offer the best combination of sun and shade.

Guidelines

Be sure to check the local building codes and regulations to determine what guidelines and restrictions you must follow. Consult a building professional if the area is to be extensive or the construction difficult. If you decide to do it yourself, you may want to divide a large deck project into small manageable projects, so your building experience, budget and outdoor living can grow each year with your deck.

Lumber

Be sure to choose quality materials. Redwood is a classic for decks because it is great looking, resists weathering and is easy to saw and use. The heartwood grades naturally resist insects and decay. Redwood has no chemical additives and resists warping and splitting better than other woods.

Grades

The rugged, knot-textured garden grades, which are more economical than architectural grades, are ideal for outdoor structures. Choose an all-heartwood grade such as Construction Heart or Deck Heart for applications on or near the ground. The sapwood-streaked grades, Construction Common and Deck Common, for example, are good choices for above-ground uses such as deck boards.

Hardware

A variety of joist hangers, patented connectors and deck fasteners are available to help the do-it-yourselfer. When working with redwood, always use top quality, hot dipped galvanized, stainless steel or aluminum hardware. To avoid splitting, pre-drill holes for nails or screws at the ends of the decking boards.

Finishes

Redwood takes and holds finishes better than most other woods. For long lasting good looks and performance, a quality water repellent finish containing a mildewcide and an ultraviolet inhibitor is recommended For best results, the finish should be applied directly to the lumber before construction covering all sides, edges and ends. A second application is recommended when the deck is completed.

Amenities

After the deck is finished, adding amenities completes the job of individualizing your project and making it a true outdoor living center. Popular add-ons in the '90's include relaxing spas, shade shelters, privacy screens, built-in benches and planters. If you like to entertain,, incorporate a grilling center and service counter. Plant enthusiasts often create a work center for potting activities and storing garden equipment and supplies.


A redwood deck addition to a backyard corner incorporates a bubbling spa. The simple asymmetrical deck was stained a silvery gray to blend with the house siding. Brick paving and flagstone provide interesting contrasts to the redwood structure.

Many deck solutions in the '90's provide for shelter from the sun. This redwood deck addition includes soaring shade redwood trellises. Built-in benches and surrounding redwood fencing create an private backyard getaway.

An sloping, unusable side yard area was transformed with a redwood deck addition.
A shady, existing tree was incorporated into the plan. Sparkling white railings contrast beautifully with the cinnamon color of the redwood decking and stairs.





An inviting, low-maintenance backyard landscaping solution is an above-ground pool surrounded by a redwood deck. A series of low steps form a graceful transition to a conversation area. Built-in planter/walls provide privacy and the pleasure of surrounding plants.

Courtesy of the California Redwood Association

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