Large Decks Designs
Large decks designs are complex to get right and the specifications are just the beginning of creating inspired decks. Sure, you need heavier footings and beams to support the larger spans, but the size of the structure is just the beginning.
This is where the builders that are well versed in their trade shine. A high-quality builder will pay attention to the crown, and a “Basic” builder will complain that the lumber quality is terrible and that is why the deck has waves in it and is just not level or straight.
You can learn a little about the basics of building in our DIY Plans area or the Decks Blog. Most people are surprised to learn that not all decks nor builders are created equal. Some builders make the same silly mistakes for 30 years–these are the guys that are constantly having to come back to fix what they build.
Designing Large Decks – Deck Ideas
Large deck designs that fit the home and actually add to the value of the home are rarely rectangular. We get hundreds of phone calls each year that all start the same way, ” I want a 20 x 12 deck–How much?” My answer typically goes like this, “Why on earth would you want to build a 20 x 12 deck?” We can do better than that!
Just because it is simple, doesn’t mean it has to be uninspired. Let’s keep things interesting! Let’s build a beautiful deck, and if the time comes that you want to sell your home it may help you get more for the home. A boring, character devoid deck will never add value to a home. A showpiece deck, however, may trigger a bidding war.
Large Deck Ideas
Here are a few of our Large Deck Ideas– Consider these during the design phase!
Play with the shape. Curves, angles, insets, and borders can draw the eye and help the deck blend with the house or stand out as a feature.
A large rectangular deck is rarely the most efficient design idea. Since pathways through the deck cannot be used for furniture, create 2 or 3 spaces for “Rooms” in your large decks, and smaller areas going to them.
Change things up with level changes, with the first platforms level at the house and a few steps down to the next platform. This takes the lower platform out of the field of view from the home.
Large decks attached to the second story gives you the opportunity to create a dry room below. Consider a waterproofing and add lights, heaters and use the space as an additional outdoor living space that can be used on rainy days.
Build in Privacy to make your large deck comfortable with distracted views from neighbors. Roofs, Pergolas and Privacy screens can make this happen.
Large decks need vertical interest to help them blend into a taller home. Using posts and beams, pergolas, or roofs can help it look like it grew there naturally. Skirting and screens on the lower level can help connect a large deck visually to the ground level.
Lighting is critical to the look at night. Lighting the stairs and rails gives it a look that says, “These are Very Special Large Decks”.
See some Small Decks here! Diminutive decks don’t need to be basic!
How much does it cost to build a large deck?
So many Magazines and TV Shows make up crazy small numbers when they announce the budget for large decks. They should say, if you go to Kijiji or Craigslist to find your builder, they will promise to do it for $35/sf… but they may not show up…and they may botch the job.
Decks are not a commodity unless you are fishing for the lowest price and the lowest quality. If you want pressure treated, done without permits by handymen… then maybe it is a commodity. Every year GardenStructure.com and it’s partners… “put Expertly Built 2 or 3-year-old projects in a bin and haul it to the dump in order to build our client a proper deck”
Inspired designs, expertly installed by Craftsmen, with the best materials available, with features you will love for decades can run between $100 and $300 per square foot. The average deck we build is $30-50,000
What is the ideal size for a large deck design?
The ideal size for a large deck design is a footprint that is similar to that of the home. It should be large enough that furniture fits and people can still pass by without bumping into the furniture. An inspired design will proportionally match or exceed that of the rooms within the home. Consider how many guests are at your gatherings. A good rule of thumb is 50 square feet of space per guest for a spacious looking deck. If the floor plan of the adjacent floor is 1500 sq’, it should be 700 sq’ or more. That is the equivalent of adding 2 rooms. An outdoor kitchen/dining room and an outdoor den.
Do you need a building permit to build large deck designs?
In most areas in the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe you need building permits to build large deck designs. There are a few exceptions. Some rural areas in the Southern States don’t have building departments– and in some areas, if it is less than 20″ off the ground, it is deemed landscaping and does not need a permit. Many areas require an engineer’s stamp these days. Building departments are under the burden of lawsuits and they are casting off full responsibility wherever possible.