Deck Design Considerations

Decks look good anywhere and can be either contemporary or traditional in design.
Some of the factors that need to be considered at the deck design stage include:

  • Is the site flat, sloping or difficult terrain - can changes of level be built in to add interest?
  • Is the deck to be wholly in the sun or a shaded area or need to combine elements of both; either naturally or by including features like an arbor or screening for protection against a prevailing wind?
  • Is the deck intended to be a private space or on public view. Will trees, shrubs, boundaries and buildings provide privacy?
  • Will the deck's location interfere with services, like drains and manholes - access to these may need to be built in to the design.
  • Is the deck primarily for adults, for entertaining or for family use with a children's play area - swing/sandpit included?
  • What features will be incorporated into the deck design eg planter boxes, seats, trellis, arbors, pergolas, storage boxes, sandpits, ponds - almost anything is possible.
  • Is a hot-tub spa, out of ground swimming pool, garden pavilion, shed, conservatory or other heavy structures going to be added at a later date? If so you will need to make sure that the structural specification of your deck is beefed-up significantly to take the loads that may be placed upon it.
  • What style of handrail and balustrades will I need to build in?
  • What type of timber do I need to use for the frame. Timber comes in various strength grades and for raised level decks you will need to use the appropriate structural grade eg (C16 or C24 grade).
  • If your frame is in contact with the ground then the timber needs to be suitable for ground contact use - see more on timber durability.
  • What type of board will be used for the surface of the deck? There are a wide range of species and styles available providing variations in grain pattern and colour. There is also a choice of plain, grooved or ribbed finishes to enable different effects to be created.
  • Is planning or building regulation approval required? Get a copy of our timber decking planning guide entitled Statutory Requirements: Technical Bulletin (TB02) from the publications page. It's free to registered users.