How to plan the perfect deck

If you have space, a well-designed deck is a great way to add extra entertaining room and value to your house. This how-to video takes you through how to plan and prepare the perfect deck for your home.

Step 1: Design the perfect deck

Deck design is a personal choice, but site location will come down to a few factors. You may need to build a hillside deck on a sloping block, or an isolated deck around a pool or a garden feature like a gazebo. A great way to add extra space to a family room or living area is a low level deck extension for that inside/outside feel.

Handy tip: Most decks require council approval so make sure you do your research and if you are unsure, it’s always best to check.

Step 2: Aspects to think of

Start thinking of how you want the deck to work for you- ask yourself questions such as: How big is the table you want to put on the deck, do you want shade or sun, do you need stairs or safety railings, does it need a roof, will you need power (think waterproof power points), do you need lighting or blinds, do you want the deck to have easy access to the kitchen, do you want a quiet deck or is it an extra play area for the kids? All these will change the position, shape and idea of your perfect deck.

Step 3: Decking Boards

The next step is to decide which way you want the decking boards to run, parallel to the house or even diagonal. Also take into account the finish you prefer- the deck should be coated with something that will help protect it from the elements. Check out our How to seal a deck video to find out more.

Step 4: Area Around your house

Familiarise yourself with your preferred deck area to prepare. You may need to remove trees or obstructions or level out the land. Drainage may be required as well, you may need to put in ag pipes so the surface water doesn’t pool underneath the deck. Weed control matting can also be a good idea.

Step 5: Getting ready to build

Accuracy in the planning stage is going to save you a lot of pain later on. Don’t rush this part, as it will ensure a great result. Make a copy of your house plan and draw the deck on to it to get the scale right. Mark out the width and length of the deck where it will meet the house. Make a note of any doors, windows and easements and a special note of plumbing and electrical lines meet the house.

If you are not confident making the drawings yourself, a draftsperson can help you with design drawings and technical specs.

Once you know what you want to use the deck for, and have it mapped out with approval from the council, you can start to build!