From checking whether you need a building consent, to thinking about how you will accessorise you deck – a little planning now will help you avoid any future hassles when you build your deck.
1. Do you need a building consent for your deck?
You need a building consent if your deck is higher than 1.5 meters. In some cases, you may also require a resource consent. Want to learn more? Read our guide on getting building consents for decks.
2. Where to place your deck
Before you start designing your dream deck, you need to figure out where to put it. In the backyard? Against the door? Freestanding? Upstairs? To help you figure out where to place your deck, have a think about the following factors.
What will you use your deck for?
If you are putting on a barbeque, you’ll need easy access to the kitchen. Would you rather spend your time relaxing? Then a quiet spot at the back of your property might be more peaceful. Or if you want to extend your living space, wrapping your deck around your living room may be more appropriate.
Want to be staring down into the neighbour’s place? Didn’t think so. Find the best viewpoint from your property. Building your deck higher can let you take advantage of scenery. Don’t have a view? Improve your landscape by planting trees, adding decorative features, and installing trellises or pergolas.
Likewise, you probably don’t want your neighbours peering down into your deck. If your property is lacking privacy, you can add balustrades, outdoor blinds or privacy screens to your deck to create a secluded space.
Weather and the elements
Having a good mix of sunlight is important – you don’t want to be exposed to the harsh UV rays when the sun is at its peak, but you will need warmth during the cooler parts of the day. It’s also a good idea to consider how the light acts during different seasons. You can manage the amount of sunlight your deck gets with pergolas and louvres which provide shade. You will also need a sheltered spot that’s not exposed to wind or sea breezes, blinds and screens can help block out these gusts.
3. Is a bigger deck really better?
A massive deck on a tiny house will look out of place. Your deck should complement your home – meaning it should be in proportion to the rest of the building. Consider the space you have available and think about what you will use your deck for. Does it need to be large enough for barbeques, entertaining guests, plants, and storage?
For an averaged sized deck, we recommend building 3.6m out from house. This creates enough space for an outdoor dining table (usually 900mm wide) and chairs, and for people to walk around.
Still unsure? We’ll come to you and assess your property.
4. Which decking timber to build with
There are three main types of decking timber to choose from. Softwood (treated pine), hardwoods like Kwila and Vitex, and composite which is an artificial timber. Each have pros and cons, vary in price, colour, and lifespan. You can read our guide on choosing the right decking timber here.
5. Deck foundations and fixtures
Piles or pilings, are pieces of wood driven into the ground to support your deck’s foundation. Using treated piles means your deck has a solid foundation that won’t rot. We use H5 treated piles which are 100 x 100 (mm) in size.
Instead of nails, which can pop out of the deck over time, we use stainless steel screws to fix decking wood. Screws also limit timber movement that can happen because of moister.
6. Deck design
The most popular deck designs are platform, tiered, and raised decks. Each serve different purposes and suit different homes.
These decks are low to the ground, level, and either freestanding or attached to single storey houses. They are practical decks, which you can easily accessorise to add a touch of style. But, being close to the ground, they need to be waterproofed well.
Stylish and versatile, tiered decks help to divide your outdoor living area or create spaces for different activities. They are great for taking advantage of space on sloped sections and getting the last rays of light at sunset.
Built above the ground, raised decks are usually constructed around multi-story properties. They typically need additional safety features such as railings or balustrades.
7. Accessorising your deck
When creating your perfect outdoor living space, it’s important to think about how you will style and accessorise. Lights, barriers, and vegetation can affect the mood, shelter, and the look of your deck.
Roofs for decks
Add a splash of colour to your deck with flowers, create an herb garden, or grow lush shrubs. Built-in planter boxes are a great way to accessorise your deck or create vegetation if you don’t have a backyard.
Usually wrapping around the edge of your deck, built-in bench seats are long-lasting, great for al-fresco dining, and you can add a cabinets below for extra storage.
Railings and balustrades
Most people think of railings or balustrades as a safety measure, but they can also be a design feature by combining different materials, like wood, aluminium, and glass. And by using different colours.