Friday, July 15, 2011

Six Trends in Deck and Porch Design

Homeowners are craving spaces that are more creative, attractive and functional than ever before for outdoor entertaining.  Simple decks are no longer the norm.  Depending on your location, you may be able to enjoy your deck all year long because of a milder climate.  Here in Nebraska, we probably enjoy our decks for entertaining about half of the year.  Before you plan your outdoor space, take a look at what the latest trends are in deck & porch design. 

1. Outdoor Living Spaces  More homeowners are bringing the indoors outside. “Instead of just having a deck where you sit and maybe grill, you’ll have separate spaces. “You’ll have a seating area, for instance, that’s kind of like a living room, with end tables, couches and even outdoor rugs and standing lamps.”
To take advantage of this, consider building multi-level decks with unique floor plans that include distinct spaces for cooking, eating, lounging and entertaining—just like inside the home.

2. Outdoor Kitchens  Perhaps the most popular outdoor living space is the outdoor kitchen. It’s not your grandfather’s deck anymore Instead of having a grill off to the side all by itself, we’re creating outdoor kitchen areas where Dad can be cooking on his outdoor kitchen grill, then turn around and see a circular bar behind him where all the family is hanging out.
While standard kitchen features, such as a grill, a sink, a food prep counter and a refrigerator, are popular, other options include a bar, a stone fireplace or a fire pit.....even a pizza oven!

3. Mixed Media  Although wood is the most trendy decking material, more diverse materials are quickly becoming popular. Among them are composites and hardwoods, including ipe, as well as colored stains and deck brighteners.
Glass, aluminum and wrought iron, are also popular and are quickly turning into decorative replacements for wooden railings and ballisters.
Natural stone is another option. Stone may be used both as the primary material, as well as a decorative addition to the deck, patio or porch.

4. Sustainable LumberHomeowners also are more frequently requesting responsibly sourced materials. Grown and harvested in sustainable forests, then certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, sustainable wood offers builders a means for capitalizing on two trends, green building and outdoor living, at once.  

5. Deck-cessoriesDecks themselves aren’t the only things getting more sophisticated. Deck accessories are, too. Popular options include outfitting one’s deck with outdoor furniture, low-voltage lighting, sound systems and even outdoor movie projectors, not to mention pergolas, awnings, mosquito netting, spas and more.
6. CustomizationBuilders who truly want to wow homeowners should offer them custom deck features, such as built-in storage and unique architectural elements, as well as distinctive features such as gardening stations, horseshoe pits and water features, depending on their clients’ interests.
However you want your deck to be, build your dream.  Build it in phases....enjoy the outdoors during these beautiful summer months.
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