Over the years, the building experts at The Hignell Companies have been invited to many customers' homes for a rather forlorn “introduction” to the backyard deck.
“Just look at it,” our team often hears. “What do you think I should do with that thing?”
The truth is, the problem usually isn't the structural integrity of the deck (although it could be).
Rather, often it's that the deck is vastly underused or is not conducive to outdoor entertainment, which is a shame because those are the precise reasons the deck probably was installed in the first place.
Begin by “Reshuffling” Your Deck
Clearly, it's time to reshuffle the deck – and we're not just being “punny.” Then you can decide whether your deck could benefit from structural, design or decorative changes.
Hignell's building experts suspect that the primary reason decks are so underused is that they lack the definition of rooms in your home, where you have a designated area to cook (the kitchen), eat (the kitchen and dining room table) and relax (the family couch and recliner).
Just because most decks don't have walls (as your home does) to separate these areas doesn't mean that you cannot create them on your own. In fact, this is the starting place of most Hignell deck projects: identifying specific areas for cooking/grilling, eating, group conversation seating and maybe even a place to play board games and cards (so you can shuffle a deck of another kind).
Like other Hignell customers, you might initially worry that your deck is “limited by space.” But when you think about it, no deck offers unlimited space. Hignell's creative building team is skilled at maximizing the space you do have while designing custom options. Think in terms of cafe-style nooks, bench seating and yes, even sturdy outdoor countertops.
As Hignell's building experts “reshuffle” a home deck, they map out a design and divide deck space into specific functions. Then we work in tandem with our creative customers and mull structural, design and decorative changes.
Consider Structural Changes to Your Deck
Note that “structural” doesn't necessarily equate to “expensive.” In this context, we're referring to even minor modifications that can equate to major outdoor enjoyment, such as creating:
- An entrance to your home deck, perhaps with steps framed by plants, shrubs and annuals, and capped by post lamps with carriage lights
- A pergola to block sunlight and a natural place to hang plants and flowers
- A built-in banquet table, seating and storage bays
- A wrap-around bench border, which carries the additional aesthetic benefit of defining the perimeter of your deck
- An open-air gathering spot, complete with an outdoor heating unit or fire table
Consider Design Changes to Your Deck
Design changes to a home deck can be particularly fun for homeowners who enjoy painting and craft projects, repurposing objects found at flea markets and garage sales or who are naturally creative and inventive. Design changes often result in a deck that is certain to be unlike any other on the block because it includes at least one eye-popping feature suggested by the homeowner, such as a:
- A container garden, plant tower or window box – all of which can add warmth, color and vibrancy to a deck
- A privacy wall made of plants or herbs
- A privacy screen, meant to replicate the look of an awning, made of canvas or a nostalgic item, such as a school emblem or sports mascot
- A privacy lattice made of salvaged shutters or antique windows
- A deck rail that is lined with colorful portable tray tables (suspended on deck rail hangers) that can be used at will for everything from prepping and serving food to placing a pitcher of lemonade for guests. This is a real space-saver for decks that are truly space-challenged.
Consider Decorative Changes to Your Deck
Before you begin purchasing deck furniture, outdoor speakers, throw pillows, candle lanterns, wind chimes and other accessories, make sure that your deck could not benefit from some fundamental decorative changes, such as:
- Overall staining (or painting)
- Stenciled floor designs (checkerboards and border trims look particularly appealing on decks)
- An anchored outdoor rug
Remember that where you begin with an idea is rarely where you end up; new sparks of inspiration will surely ignite along the way. That's part of the fun of reshuffling a home deck – and working with Hignell to ensure that the result is nothing less than an ace.
If you are considering a new deck or deck upgrade, talk to us today.
The Hignell Companies has been in business for over 60 years and provides home construction, heating & air conditioning, plumbing, electrical services & more for your home or business in the communities of Chico, Paradise, Magalia, Durham, Oroville, Red Bluff, Corning & Orland, California.