Decks have changed greatly over the years, from the dull platforms of the past to the multi-level, highly-personalized extensions of indoor living space. With the addition of pergolas and other shade-giving features, as well as built-in fire pits, decks can now be utilized for most of the year, allowing homeowners to maximize their outdoor space as a part of everyday life.
Here’s a look at some deck trends that have contributed to bringing home life into the outdoors:
Since 1973 the average home size has increased by more than 1000 square feet. It makes sense that homeowners would also desire an increased deck size. A typical deck in years past might have been 200 square feet, but current average deck square footage is 300-400 square feet. Building larger decks makes room for all of the “extras” that homeowners want, such as pergolas, privacy walls, built-ins, and storage and planters for both beauty and function.
Typical decks in years past were simple rectangles with rails and stairs. Today’s decks are often multi-storied structures, built to accommodate sloping terrain, maximize a pleasing view, or create different zones for multiple functions. Multi-level decks allow interaction between different zones, connecting people rather than separating, as multi-story decks tend to do. With multi-level decks (compared to single-level or multi-story decks), it’s possible to have a lounge area connected to an outdoor kitchen, or an open viewing area connected to a covered area for protection from the elements.
Many homeowners today choose to add interest to their deck by selecting two finishes or even two species of wood. It’s becoming more common to combine a lighter-toned wood with a darker-toned wood. This combination has been seen both by pairing built-in furniture in light tones with a deck in darker tones, and also by integrating the different colored boards in the same deck, with, for instance, dark floor decking and light-colored borders or railings.
Until recently it was fairly standard to see a line of screws on a deck, but thankfully hidden fasteners are gaining traction. Some, like the Pro Plug System, go through the top of the board and have a wooden plug placed on top, and other types, such as Camo Fasteners, are mounted to the side or underneath. Aside from aesthetic concerns, hidden fasteners also provide increased safety and durability. Hidden fasteners won’t stand out from the board after exposure to the elements causes the wood to contract. Less fasteners exposed mean less stubbed toes and a cleaner look.
Lighting has always been important, but homeowners and designers realize now what impact it can have on the look and feel of a deck. Gone are the days of tiki torches roped to the railing; they’ve been replaced by permanent solutions that call attention to special details and highlight the different zones of the deck. Low-voltage lighting can be wired into the deck’s steps, increasing both safety and beauty.
When homeowners dream about using their deck, the most frequently pictured scene is one of burgers grilling while family and friends relax nearby. Modern decks take that to a new level by creating an entire outdoor kitchen featuring elements such as cabinets, countertops, a refrigerator, sink, kegerator, and of course, a first-class grill.
These emerging deck trends open up the outdoors to be more than a deck. They enable the deck to be an outdoor living room, outdoor kitchen, outdoor dining room...really almost any indoor area can now be reimagined as an outdoor space!