ConstructionHome & LivingLifestyle

How to Make the Perfect Outdoor Deck for Fun Gatherings

As spring kicks in and summer approaches, it’s time to plan outdoor get-togethers with friends and family. A well-designed backyard deck is ideal for barbecues, outdoor dinners, or just chilling with your loved ones. Whether you’re building a new deck or revamping an existing one, creating the ultimate outdoor entertainment space requires thoughtful planning.

Let’s explore some key considerations.

Related article: Different types of blinds: What are the best blinds to use and which are trendy?

Type of Entertaining

Before diving into planning and design, think about the kind of gatherings you want on your deck. Are you envisioning dinner parties, family barbecues, relaxed afternoons in the sun, or playing with kids? Your intended use will influence the deck size, layout, location, and the materials you choose.

Deck Size

When planning the deck’s size, consider several factors. Ensure it’s spacious enough for the number of people, furniture, and accessories you’ll have. Think about the typical number of guests and the space needed to accommodate them comfortably. If you often host large groups, consider a larger deck.

Also, think about seating arrangements. Whether it’s a formal dining setup or a casual cocktail party, make sure the deck size allows for comfortable seating and movement. Consider extras like a barbecue, wood oven, or fireplace. Keep in mind that a larger deck takes up more backyard space and costs more, so find a balance to avoid sacrificing too much garden space.

Create a flow from the deck into the garden for an extended entertaining area. However, be cautious about making the deck too large, as it can overshadow your garden. A general guideline is to avoid making the deck larger than the biggest room in your house. Still, the size should align with its purpose and use.

Living room designed on a wooden  deck in the yard

Choosing the Right Spot for Your Deck

The location of your deck plays a big role in how convenient it is for entertaining. Decks are typically built near or connected to the main living area of a house, creating a smooth transition from indoors to outdoors and placing the deck close to important indoor areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms.

However, the location can vary based on your deck’s intended use. For instance, you might consider placing it near outdoor attractions like swimming pools or spas. When deciding on the location, also think about getting the best view or finding the most comfortable shade.

Consider the purpose of your deck and how its location will impact your entertainment plans. If you’re aiming for dinner parties or barbecues, a position close to the kitchen makes sense. For a family relaxation spot, seamless access from the living area to the deck might be ideal. If the deck is meant for general relaxation, consider positioning it based on the view and shade.

Don’t Forget About Shade!

In the Australian summer, direct sunlight can make a deck too hot to enjoy. Therefore, shade is a crucial consideration for outdoor entertaining. When designing your deck, consider its orientation and where the sun will be during the summer. Explore options for shading the deck effectively.

Natural shading using trees is an option, but keep in mind that they will block out the sun on cooler days when you want warmth. Some people use umbrellas for shade, but these can be inconvenient and pose safety risks in windy conditions.

If shade is a top priority, consider incorporating a pergola or canopy into your deck design. A flexible solution with a retractable roof or adjustable louvres allows you to control the amount of shade your deck receives while still enjoying the sun on cooler days.

Outdoor restaurant terrace with wooden furniture in scandinavian style. Eco-friendly authentic design.

Ensuring Privacy for Your Deck

Whether you’re hanging out with friends or enjoying outdoor playtime with the kids, maintaining privacy from neighbours and passers-by is essential. There are various ways to enhance the seclusion of your outdoor entertaining space.

For a natural and green solution, consider strategic planting. Utilizing evergreen trees, shrubs, vines, or hedges with dense foliage can boost privacy while adding a touch of nature to your entertaining area. Keep in mind that it takes time for plants to grow, so opt for fast-growing varieties if you’re looking for quicker results.

If you’re short on time, there are other privacy-enhancing options. Explore materials like fencing, composite screening products, canopies, pergolas, trellises, and outdoor curtains or roller blinds.

Making it Suitable for All Seasons

To make your entertaining area enjoyable throughout the year, it’s crucial to keep it warm during winter. Outdoor gas heaters or a wood-fired pizza oven can help achieve this. In colder months, a thick outdoor rug can insulate the area and block drafts from beneath the deck.

For protection against chilly winter winds, use outdoor curtains. Alternatively, clear roll-down cafe-style blinds offer a solution to keep out the cold air without obstructing the view.

Family relaxing on houseboat sun deck, Kraalbaai, South Africa

Choose Your Decking Material Wisely

When creating the ideal outdoor entertaining space, it’s crucial to carefully select the right decking material for your needs. Common options include native and imported hardwoods, softwoods like pine, and composite decking boards. The suitability of different materials depends on your priorities for the entertainment area.

For minimal maintenance, consider premium composite decking. While all timber decking requires regular oiling and staining to preserve the wood’s appearance, composite decking doesn’t need refinishing, making maintenance much simpler.

If durability and safety are top priorities, opt for premium hardwoods or composite decking. Cheaper softwoods are more prone to splitting, warping, and splintering, posing a safety risk, especially for young children. High-quality hardwoods and composite products are more durable, reducing repair costs and minimizing the risk to little hands and feet.

Regardless of your outdoor entertaining plans, designing the perfect deck will enhance your property and allow you to make the most of outdoor living.

In conclusion

In conclusion, creating the perfect outdoor entertaining space involves thoughtful considerations, from the layout and size of the deck to privacy measures and the choice of decking material, including different types of floorboards. By aligning your design with the intended use of the space and addressing factors such as privacy, seasonality, and maintenance preferences, you can craft an inviting and functional outdoor area.

Whether you opt for the natural charm of strategic planting or the low-maintenance appeal of composite decking, the careful selection of different types of floorboards can play a pivotal role in achieving the desired aesthetics and functionality. The goal is to maximize enjoyment while minimizing hassles.

So, as you embark on designing your ideal deck, keep in mind that a well-planned and carefully chosen outdoor space, complete with different types of floorboards, can truly enhance your property and provide a delightful setting to savour the great outdoors with friends and family.

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