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16 Apr. 1978

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Free Deck Plans Ideas – Free deck plans can be found quite easily if you do some research on the internet or at your local hardware store. A deck is a popular home improvement that not only adds to the value of your home, but provides a focal point for enjoying the outdoors.
How You Plan to Use Your Deck–The most important consideration in deck design is how you will use it. Try to imagine all the ways you'd like to use your deck, because most design elements will be based on those kinds of preferences. Location–Chances are, the size and orientation of your property and house limit you to one or two deck locations, but within those limits, you may have more choices than you think. The climate in your area and the views you'll see are the major factors to consider when deciding where to place your deck.
You may be able to avoid prevailing winds by locating your deck where the house will provide some protection. Shape and Decking Patterns–A deck can be any shape you want, and in fact, simple changes like an angled corner or a 45-degree decking pattern can dress up a house with a long, plain wall. Height–Usually, the decking should come to within 2 " of the bottom of the access door from the house, with steps leading from the deck to the ground. Cutouts–A spa or hot tub can be set on the deck if the structure is reinforced to carry the weight of the water, or it can be set directly on a concrete slab on the ground, with the deck built around it. Railings–Railings are the most prominent visual element in a deck, and offer great opportunity to use your imagination and creativity.

Once you have a rough idea of what you want, draw two sketches–one of your lot, showing the deck as part of your landscaping plan, and one of your design.
You'll want to carefully consider the design elements that go into your deck–it should include the features that match your lifestyle and complement the design of your house.
You may be able to add a door, build a walkway, or incorporate a privacy screen that will allow you to locate your deck so it is most convenient for your intended uses.
They will limit the overall size of your deck, height of any privacy screens, and the minimum distance from your deck to your lot lines. You'll have to buy standard lumber lengths anyway, and there's no point in wasting that material when you could have a larger deck for the same amount of money.
Of course, a more complicated deck is more difficult to build, and may require more materials.
Existing trees and rocks can also be integrated into the deck by framing around them; then either cap the ends of the decking or contour the decking to the shape of the obstacle.
They may be fastened to posts that run all the way to the ground, along the sides of the rim joists, or attached to the decking itself.
In the freestanding pool decks the deck itself must be fairly close to the pool and be entirely surrounded by a small path.
Planning is the most important part of building a deck, because, chances are, you'll be living with your design for a long time.
Southern or western orientations may be too warm in the middle of the summer, unless you include an overhead screen, or build the deck around an existing shade tree.

The most important consideration (aside from cost) is use, but a huge deck can look out of place next to a small house, just as a tiny deck looks wrong with a big house. You can also add visual interest by wrapping the deck around a corner, adding built-in benches, integrating a fence or screen on one side, or even adding an overhead screen.
Typically, wherever the deck is more than 48" off the ground, codes require that the posts be braced to prevent swaying and racking. They may include wood, metal, or even rope–nearly anything that satisfies structural requirements.
If you think your dream deck is too large for your house, break up the expanse by building smaller sections on multiple levels. The difference in cost between a deck that is a little too small and one that is the right size usually isn't that much.
Redwood and cedar offer an added advantage in that they are soft, fine-grained woods that will resist splintering. They distribute the weight of the deck and allow you to use decking boards that wouldn't be strong enough to span the distance between the beams.

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