A composite deck with vaulted deck cover, tongue and groove ceiling, stucco fireplace, and hot tub.

In my last blog post, I discussed how to prepare for your design consultation with Doug and Keith.  This blog will review how to create the perfect design for your outdoor space.  Here at Decks by Schmillen, we work to understand your needs, style, and desires to create an outdoor living space that will be part of your everyday life for years to come.

Below is a breakdown of the different steps along the journey, with a short description of why each one is crucial to the whole process.

Identifying the Primary Purpose

Designing the perfect deck for your lifestyle begins with the seemingly simple yet crucial question:  What is your deck’s primary purpose?  If you are looking strictly for an area to relax and unwind, that design could be very different from one that gives you area to relax but will also be used to entertain family and friends.  For example, the placement of a staircase can significantly affect the space available for a dining table and chairs.

Optimizing the Layout and Design

A well thought-out layout will only enhance the enjoyment of your outdoor living space.  You want to create a functional and aesthetically pleasing deck with the design, providing a seamless transition between your indoor and outdoor living spaces.  Here is how to best optimize your deck design for practicality, style, and comfort:

  • Utilization of Available Lot Space – How much space is available in your yard, and how much of that space do you want to utilize for building your new deck? You also need to consider the city and county setbacks and easements.  We will verify all setbacks and easements on the property and the maximum lot coverage the city or county will approve.
  • Utilization of Deck Space – If you want to build a large deck, consider dividing it into zones – an area for lounging, a cooking space, a dining space, etc.  For a smaller deck, consider using multi-use furniture (such as a bench that also has storage space) in your layout and consider different layouts that will help maximize your space without feeling cluttered.
  • Ensure Accessibility and Flow of Traffic – Moving easily between the different areas of your deck and in and out of the house will make you and your guests feel more at ease.  When designing the layout of your deck, consider the placement of doors and stairs and where you want to put furniture, grills, etc.  Your deck should be a true outdoor living space, an extension of your home.
  • Seating Arrangements and Focal Points – Do you have an idea for building a focal point with a seating area around it?  Different additions can be designed to function as a central focal point, such as a fireplace, a water feature, stunning views, a built-in kitchen, or firepit.  We can design and build your main feature while keeping seating arrangements and foot traffic in mind.
  • Choosing the Right Furniture and Accessories – When shopping for furniture and accessories, consider the size and shape of your deck.  By using different materials, colors, and textures, you can create distinct areas.  More information can found in on our blog on deck furniture:  https://www.decksbyschmillen.com/choosing-the-correct-deck-furniture-for-your-outdoor-living-space/.

Innovative Decking Patterns and Designs

Don’t be afraid to get creative with decking materials and patterns when designing your deck.  Using a board pattern like a herringbone or mixed-width boards can create the unique style you want for your space.   The right board design can also help define different deck areas, such as multiple seating areas.

Composite deck with herringbone board design, a black metal railing, and deck cover.

Railing and Stair Design

Deck Railings – Safety is paramount when designing any deck, particularly the railing and stairs.  But there is no need to sacrifice style for safety.  We have access to a wide variety of railing designs, from sleek and modern to more traditional styles.  They are all designed to complement the aesthetic of your custom deck without compromising on safety.  You can view our recent blog on metal deck railings at: https://www.decksbyschmillen.com/benefits-of-metal-deck-railings/

A composite deck with a metal railing that has vertical stainless steel cables.

Stairs – These are just as important to safety as are railings.  However, many people that there are few design options available for stairs.  If you look at our Deck Stairs webpage (https://www.decksbyschmillen.com/deck-stairs-1/), you can see multiple ways to ensure that your stairs integrate seamlessly and even add to the overall design of the deck.

Composite deck staircase. It has light gray treads with a dark slate riser to create a beautiful contrast.

Deck Covers and Pergolas

In Colorado, the elements can significantly influence the amount of time you spend on your deck, especially in the summer.  Whether you seek shade on a sunny day or shelter from a light rain, having some cover can make all the difference.  There are many different styles of coverage that you have built.  Pergolas are great for providing some shade on hot days.  Full deck cover will add protection but can also be built to include lighting, ceiling fans, and heaters if desired.  You can see the different deck covers we have built at: https://www.decksbyschmillen.com/deck-covers-1/ and pergolas can be viewed at: https://www.decksbyschmillen.com/pergolas/.

Composite deck with a gabled deck cover that features a flat tongue and groove ceiling.
Composite deck with a grey Cedar pergola that features a drop down shade for privacy.

Maximizing Outdoor Living Space with an Elevated Deck

Elevated decks offer homeowners an opportunity to create more outdoor living space.  Installing an under-deck drainage system can turn the space below your deck into a fully functional patio.  If you go to our webpage, https://www.decksbyschmillen.com/under-deck-drainage-sytems/, you can see how previous customers have created additional outdoor living space and the different types of under-deck drainage systems available.

Elevated deck with an under-deck drainage system featuring a tongue and groove ceiling. This allows an area for entertaining below the deck that will be kept dry.

Creating the Perfect Ambiance with Deck Lighting

Lighting can play a crucial role in design if you plan on enjoying your outdoor living space after sunset.  The key to successful lighting is layering.  Three types of lighting are incorporated in “full” lighting: ambient, task-related, and accent.  Ambient lighting can be achieved by using recessed overhead lights (such as in deck covers), wall-mounted fixtures, or even string lights that cast a soft glow. Task-related lighting can be installed in specific areas such as cooking or dining spaces.  Brighter, more focused lighting in these areas will help facilitate activities.  Finally, accent lighting can be used to highlight certain features such as a fireplace, water feature, landscaping, architectural features, and more.

The back of a home showing how the homeowners used deck lighting for safety and ambiance.

Adding an Outdoor Kitchen

The kitchen in a home always seems to be the main gathering place.  However, if you are entertaining on your deck but have to cook in the kitchen, you can end up alone while everyone congregates outside.  Building an outdoor kitchen will allow you to not only create amazing dinners for everyone, but also enjoy their company at the same time.  When building an outdoor kitchen, consider the layout to ensure the area is functional and inviting.  Your outdoor kitchen should feel like a natural extension of your deck.  DBS can create something as simple as a built-in grill area to full mini-kitchen, with refrigerator, sink, etc.

A redwood deck that features a corner with stucco columns and a built-in grill area. The grill area has a rock base and granite countertops
Composite deck with a fully-functioning sink and mini refrigerator.

Whatever design you decide to use, your deck should be a space where you can unwind, entertain, and enjoy the outdoors in a way that best suits you and your family.  Decks by Schmillen is committed to creating decks that aren’t just structures but personal sanctuaries.

Call us at 719-440-6966, and we will work with you to bring your vision to life!