This step is the easiest, take a tour of your neighborhood and see the different styles of decks that are built and how they are attached to the house. Look through a few home improvement magazines madison builders
What do you like or dislike about them?
Things to look for:
Is the deck railing built with the deck or is it a custom deck railing system
Where are the deck stairs placed in relation to the house
Do the decks have deck lighting on the railing, post caps, or step lights
What kind of material is the deck built of,cedar, redwood, composite decking material, or a combination of material
Is the deck attached to the house or is it a free standing deck
In this step you will determine how you will use your new deck.
Will you use it for entertaining, weekend cookouts, or just relaxing after a hard days work?
Once you have determined the primary use of your deck you can then calculate the size to build your new deck.
A simple way to do this is to cut out some cardboard silhouettes (chairs, tables, grills, storage benches,planters,etc.) and place them in the location where you plan to build your deck. This will give you a good visual of how big your deck will be. You can then modify the size and shape according to your needs.
Now that you have decided on where to put your new deck and what size your are going to build your deck, you need to decide what type of deck lumber and material you are going to use.
Here are some of the most common deck building lumber:
Green Treated Pine, usually the least expensive and can be stained.
Cedar, an excellent choice it is long lasting and will weather to a light gray over time. Cedar can also be stained or treated to protect the wood over time.
Redwood, another excellent choice for you deck, also weathers to a light gray and can also be stained or treated to make the wood last longer and enhance the appearance.
Composite Decking, there are quite a few different types and styles of composite decking material out there that you can choose from. Just Google composite decking and look at all your choices.
The claim to fame for the composites is they are low maintenance, not maintenance free.
You will still need to power wash the deck and keep it but it does eliminate the staining you will have on a wood deck.
Now is the time to decide if you are going to add some type of deck lighting to your deck. You can choose from many different styles to fit your decor. You can add low voltage deck lighting to the post caps, the deck railing, the deck steps, and you can also add recessed lighting in the deck floor to really set your deck apart.
This step is optional, but it’s one I use. It is the use of deck design software. the software package is easy to use and it will let you view your deck in 3D.
The programs are a simple drag and drop interface that will let you see you deck in various sizes and styles, plus some will let you calculate your deck package and give you a ball park cost estimate.