From Patios to Pergolas: What Homeowners Need to Know About Decks and Outdoor Structures

Welcome to the world of decks and outdoor structures, where your backyard dreams can become a stunning reality. A beautifully crafted deck and elegant pergola, stately pavilion, or other structure add charm and functionality to your outdoor space. We’re here to guide you through the many possibilities, from the benefits of decks and outdoor structures to choosing the best materials and designing a space that suits your lifestyle.

Benefits of Covered Outdoor Living Spaces 

If you’re anything like us, you love the idea of turning your home into a cozy, welcoming haven where every square inch is designed for comfort and beauty. A covered outdoor living space is one of our favorite ways to enhance your home’s charm and functionality. Trust us, once you see the possibilities, you’ll be ready to start immediately.

Year-Round Enjoyment

It’s a crisp autumn evening, and you’re sitting outside, sipping hot cocoa under a beautifully crafted pergola. Or maybe it’s a summer afternoon, and you’re lounging in the shade of your pavilion, escaping the scorching sun. A covered outdoor living space lets you enjoy your backyard your way.

Increased Home Value

Now, let’s talk about the practical side of things. Adding a covered outdoor space is a fantastic investment to boost your home’s value. Potential buyers love seeing that extra living area, and they’ll appreciate the thought and care you put into making your home both beautiful and functional. According to Consumer Reports, “An NAR study found that new decks and patios can return 69 to 80 percent on the investment. And the word “pergola” (an outdoor structure that provides shade) in a listing correlates to a 2% percent higher price and a property selling nine days faster, Zillow found.” Not only do you get to enjoy this space now, but you’re also making a wise financial decision for the future.

Enhanced Aesthetic Appeal

You know we’re all about aesthetics. A covered outdoor living space can transform your backyard into a stunning extension of your home’s style. Whether you love the rustic charm of a pergola draped in wisteria or the sleek, modern lines of a pavilion, there’s something for everyone. You may add cozy outdoor furniture, twinkling string lights, and lush greenery to create a space as inviting as your living room.

Improved Functionality

One of the best things about a covered outdoor space is how it enhances the functionality of your yard. It gives you a dedicated area for dining, cooking, entertaining, or just unwinding after a long day. Imagine an outdoor kitchen where you can grill up your favorite meals or a cozy seating area where you can sip your morning coffee. These spaces make your outdoor living much more versatile and enjoyable, turning your backyard into a true extension of your home.

Comfort and Convenience

Comfort is key. A covered outdoor living space offers a comfortable environment to escape the harsh sun or stay dry during a surprise rain shower. And with a few thoughtful additions like ceiling fans, outdoor heaters, or a cozy fireplace, you can enjoy this space year-round. Plus, you can furnish it with plush, weather-resistant furniture that makes it feel like a living room, just outdoors.

Social and Recreational Benefits

We believe homes are made for gathering with loved ones, and a covered outdoor living space is perfect. It’s an ideal spot for hosting parties, family get-togethers, or spending quality time with friends. You can set up an outdoor TV for movie nights, add a sound system for music, or create a game area for endless fun. It’s all about making your home a hub of activity and joy.

Personal Well-Being

Lastly, let’s not forget about the benefits to your well-being. Spending time outside is great for reducing stress and boosting your mood. You can easily incorporate more outdoor time into your daily routine with a covered outdoor space. Being outside can do wonders for your mental health, whether it’s enjoying a quiet moment with a cup of coffee in the morning or unwinding with a good book in the evening.

A covered outdoor living space is more than an addition to your home—it’s a way to enhance your lifestyle, create beautiful memories, and add value to your property.

Preparing to Build an Outdoor Deck: What You Need to Know Before Design

An outdoor deck can transform your backyard into a beautiful, functional retreat. But before you dive into the deck design process, a few important steps are taken to ensure a successful project. Here are a few considerations we walk our clients through.

Establishing Your Purpose

First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand why you want a deck and how you plan to use it. Are you looking for a space to entertain guests, a quiet, relaxing spot, or an area for family gatherings? Knowing the primary purpose of your deck will guide many of your design decisions, from size and layout to features and materials. Making a list of your top priorities and how you envision using the space will be helpful for you and us.

Obtaining Local Building Codes and Permits

Every area has its regulations regarding deck construction, including size limitations, setback requirements, and safety standards. We are familiar with and follow local municipality building codes and obtain the necessary permits, so your deck legally complies with local laws.

Choosing the Right Materials

Selecting materials for your deck is a key decision that impacts its appearance, durability, and maintenance needs. Here are some popular options:

  • Pressure-Treated Wood: Affordable and widely available, but requires regular maintenance.
  • Cedar or Redwood: Naturally resistant to insects and rot but more expensive than pressure-treated wood.
  • Composite Decking: Made from a mix of wood fibers and plastic, it’s low-maintenance and durable, though it comes at a higher initial cost.

Planning Your Deck Design and Layout

A well-thought-out design is central to a functional and aesthetically pleasing deck. Here are some aspects we consider with deck designs:

  • Size and Shape: The deck’s proportions to your yard and home, including how much space you’ll need for furniture, plants, and pathways.
  • Levels and Stairs: Multi-level decks can create distinct areas for different activities, while stairs help connect the deck to your yard.
  • Built-In Features: Built-in seating, planters, or storage to maximize space and functionality.
  • Lighting: Lighting enhances safety and ambiance. Many options exist, from string lighting to up and down lighting to path lighting.

Our designers help you find one that works best for you and your space.

Deck Budgeting and Costs

Establishing a budget early on will help you make informed decisions throughout the project. Costs can vary widely depending on the deck size, materials chosen, and additional features. Getting a few quotes can help you stay within your budget. Balance costs with the value you will get.

Maintenance Considerations

Different materials have different maintenance needs, so choosing one that aligns with your lifestyle is essential. Wood decks require regular staining or sealing to protect against weather and extend their lifespan. On the other hand, composite decks generally require low maintenance and only need periodic cleaning with soap and water. Understanding the maintenance requirements upfront will help you keep your deck looking great for years.

Safety Considerations

Safety is paramount when designing and building a deck. Ensure your design includes the following:

  • Sturdy railings are necessary for elevated decks.
  • Non-slip surfaces are critical in areas that get wet.
  • Proper lighting illuminates stairs and pathways.

We ensure your deck meets all safety standards and provides your family and guests with a secure environment.

Creating Decks and Outdoor Structures to Match Your Lifestyle

Your home should be a reflection of your unique lifestyle, and that includes your outdoor spaces. Whether you’re an avid entertainer, a dedicated gardener, or someone who simply loves to relax in the fresh air, there’s a deck design and outdoor structure that complements your lifestyle and enhances your daily enjoyment.

For the Entertainers

If hosting friends and family is your favorite pastime, you’ll want an area that serves as the ultimate gathering spot. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Spacious Layout: Ensure plenty of room for mingling, with enough space for tables, chairs, and even an outdoor bar. Multi-level decks can create distinct areas for dining, lounging, and socializing.
  • Outdoor Kitchen: A fully equipped outdoor kitchen with a grill, sink, refrigerator, and counter space makes entertaining seamless. Add a pergola or pavilion overhead to provide shade and shelter.
  • Built-In Seating: Incorporate benches and built-in seats around the perimeter to maximize seating without cluttering the space with furniture.
  • Lighting and Sound: String lights, lanterns, and recessed lighting create a festive atmosphere, while outdoor speakers can set the perfect mood with your favorite music.

For the Relaxation Seekers

If your ideal outdoor space is a tranquil retreat where you can unwind and recharge, focus on creating a peaceful and comfortable environment:

  • Comfortable Seating: Invest in plush outdoor furniture with weather-resistant cushions. A hammock or a swinging daybed can add a touch of luxury and relaxation.
  • Water Features: The soothing sound of water can enhance the tranquility of your space. Consider a small fountain, pond, or waterfall.
  • Privacy Screens: Lattice panels, tall plants, or even outdoor curtains can provide the seclusion you crave while adding a decorative element.
  • Natural Elements: Incorporate natural materials like wood and stone, and surround your deck with lush greenery to create a serene, nature-inspired oasis.

For the Family-Focused

If your outdoor space needs to accommodate a bustling family life, safety and versatility are key:

  • Kid-Friendly Zones: Designate areas for play with soft surfaces like outdoor rugs and built-in sandboxes. Consider safety features such as non-slip decking and secure railings.
  • Dining Area: A large, sturdy table with ample seating ensures your whole family can enjoy a meal outside together. Picnic-style tables are great for a casual, kid-friendly vibe.
  • Storage Solutions: Built-in storage benches or cabinets help keep toys, gardening tools, and outdoor gear organized and out of sight.
  • Fire Pit or Fireplace: A safe, enclosed fire pit can become the center of family gatherings, perfect for roasting marshmallows and storytelling.

For the Garden Enthusiasts

If you have a green thumb, your deck can serve as an extension of your garden:

  • Planters and Raised Beds: Integrate built-in planters and raised garden beds into your deck design to grow herbs, flowers, and vegetables right on your deck.
  • Potting Station: A dedicated area with a potting bench, storage for tools, and easy access to water can make gardening more convenient.
  • Vertical Gardens: Use vertical space efficiently with wall-mounted planters or a trellis for climbing plants. Vertical gardens not only save space but also add a lush, green backdrop.
  • Greenhouse: If space allows, a small greenhouse or garden shed can be a functional and charming addition to your outdoor space.

For the Tech Savvy

If you love integrating the latest technology into your life, your outdoor structure can be outfitted with all the modern conveniences:

  • Smart Lighting: Install smart lights that you can control with your phone or voice commands. These can be programmed to change colors and set the mood for different occasions.
  • Outdoor TV and Sound System: Create an outdoor entertainment center with a weatherproof TV and high-quality speakers. Perfect for movie nights or watching the big game outside.
  • Wi-Fi Boosters: Ensure strong, reliable internet coverage throughout your outdoor space with Wi-Fi boosters, allowing you to work, stream, or play games seamlessly.
  • Charging Stations: Incorporate built-in USB ports and power outlets to keep all your devices charged and ready to go.

By tailoring your deck and outdoor structures to meet your specific needs and lifestyle preferences, you can create a beautiful, functional, and enjoyable extension of your home.

Creating Comfortable and Stylish Outdoor Spaces with Shade

As much as we love soaking up the sun, there are times when a little shade can make all the difference in enjoying your outdoor space. Whether you want to create a cozy retreat, protect your outdoor dining area, or provide a play area for the kids, incorporating shade into your backyard design is essential. Here are some backyard shade ideas to help you create a comfortable and stylish outdoor haven.

Shade Sails: Modern and Flexible

Shade sails are a modern and stylish solution for backyard shade. They are made from durable, weather-resistant fabric stretched between anchor points to create a canopy-like effect. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, allowing you to customize the look to suit your outdoor space. Shade sails are highly versatile and can cover large areas, such as patios, playgrounds, or poolside lounges.

Retractable Awnings: Convenient and Adjustable

Retractable awnings offer the convenience of adjustable shade at your fingertips. These awnings are mounted to the exterior wall of your home and can be extended or retracted as needed, providing flexible shade options. They are ideal for covering decks, patios, and windows, offering protection from the sun while allowing you to control the amount of shade. With motorized options available, retractable awnings provide ease of use and can be adjusted with the push of a button.

Trees: Natural and Beautiful

Planting trees is one of the most natural ways to add shade to your backyard. Trees provide cooling shade and enhance the beauty and tranquility of your outdoor space. Fast-growing species like maple, oak, or birch can more quickly create a canopy of shade while flowering trees like cherry or dogwood add seasonal color and interest. Strategically planting trees around your deck, patio, or play area can create cool, shaded spots for relaxation and enjoyment.

Pergolas: Elegant and Versatile

Pergolas are a fantastic option for adding both shade and style to your backyard. These open-structured designs are typically made of wood or metal and feature beams and cross rafters that provide partial shade. You can enhance the shading effect by adding climbing plants like wisteria or ivy or installing retractable canopies or fabric drapes. Pergolas are great for defining outdoor living spaces, such as seating areas or dining zones, and they add a touch of elegance and charm.

Pavilions: Spacious and Stylish

Pavilions offer a larger, more open design that can provide ample shade and shelter for various activities. These structures typically have a solid roof supported by sturdy columns, making them ideal for hosting larger gatherings, outdoor parties, or even wedding receptions. A pavilion can easily house an outdoor kitchen, dining area, and lounge space, providing a versatile and stylish addition to your backyard.