8 Top Outdoor Deck Features for Fun and Value
You may be adding a deck, expanding one you have, or converting a porch to something more. The idea is to enjoy the outdoors more, add an entertainment area, and increase the value of your home in doing so. Here are 8 top outdoor deck features you may want to consider.
-1- Outdoor Kitchen
It’s nice to be able to enjoy the outdoors while entertaining friends, and it’s even nicer to cook and enjoy your meal outdoors. An outdoor kitchen can be as simple as a movable grill and table or as fancy as an integrated island with built-in cooking equipment and prep areas. If the weather is nice enough to want to entertain outdoors, it’s the perfect setting for an outdoor kitchen and dining area.
-2- Construct for Heat Transference
If you’re going to be cooking on the deck, you should construct the cooking area to allow heat generated by cooking to escape without damaging other materials or overheating the space and making it uncomfortable for people. One technique is to place the cooking area on an exterior edge, so the heat dissipates to the yard and away from the deck. For built-in cooking appliances, be sure to leave space for heat dissipation and don’t use combustible materials in contact with grills or cooking gear.
-3- Low Maintenance Materials
Enjoyment of your deck should be the goal and maintaining it a necessary but manageable task. Consider materials that are easy to maintain and those that weather the elements well. Materials like Trex in place of natural wood is a start. This material requires little care and doesn’t need periodic oiling or treatment that natural wood requires to avoid drying out and cracking. Consider easy to clean food prep and cooking areas as well.
-4- Seating Designs Built into the Deck
Buying patio furniture is easy, and there is nice furniture out there. However, building seating into the deck can create a pleasing space, and make it easily cared for as well. Building wooden benches and using weather resistant cushions can add color to your deck space. They can be tie-down cushions, so they don’t blow around.
-5- Railings for Code and Beauty
In many areas, any raised outdoor surface requires some type of railing to prevent falling accidents. This doesn’t mean that you can’t make utility a design feature though. Railings made from the same wood material as the decking can enhance the deck, but you could also use tempered glass railing material. You can see through it to admire the rest of your yard, and yet you’re still complying with code.
-6- Deck Board Design
That nice expanse of beautiful decking doesn’t have to look the same throughout. Try using boards of different widths to add variety and make your deck less repetitive. Another great way to set off areas is to change the wood, color, or pattern in those areas. You could border them with a different color wood, or you can turn the wood at an angle to the wood surface around it.
-7- Lighting for Effect
Entertaining at night on nice weather evenings is enhanced greatly by mood lighting. Lighting is necessary for nighttime use of the deck, but it needn’t be garish or just for light value alone. Adjustable lighting with dimmers is one way to set the proper mood. Another is to intersperse regular lights with specialty lighting that looks like fire, candles, or torches.
-8- Shade and Rain Protection
If the wind’s not blowing, a soft rain can add clean fresh air to your outdoor gathering; that is if you have some kind of covering to keep the rain off. Also, in the summer months, the heat from direct sun can be annoying or even unhealthy in large doses. Use some creative materials and patterns to put a covering over all or part of your deck for more use.
These feature tips can make your deck the focal point for entertainment a good portion of the year. Try several if you’re renovating or all of them if you’re building a deck from scratch.