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Deck & Patio Materials for Summer Enjoyment

Summer is a great time to just relax and hang. Enjoy the outdoors with the sizzle of steaks and cool beverage in hand. Of course, the best way to achieve this seasonal ecstasy is to have a top-notch retreat to fall back on. A full-scale redwood deck or natural stone patio comes to mind. If you’ve always wanted to build a deck or patio of your own, you’ll need to follow this checklist.

Deck materials

Planning the location – Account for slope of the terrain, wind direction, and the amount of sun or shade the area receives. Other considerations are electrical outlets and nearby water. You want the electrical outlets to be close for lighting and other possible upgrades.

Lumber – Redwood is a classic for deck lumber. It’s easy to work with and the wood naturally repels insects. Other types of wood are perfectly fine for use in deck construction. Cedar, ash and pine are all good choices.

Hardware – You really want the highest quality fasteners for a wood deck. Stainless steel hardware, galvanized nails, joist hangers and deck fasteners should come from a patented line of hardware. These are the things that will strengthen and hold the deck together, so you want these parts to be durable.

Footing forms – Used on all kinds of decks, footing forms can be poured in one day and stabilize the structure overnight.

Stain – Weatherize and protect the deck from the elements. At least one protective coat of sealant should be applied. Then, you can put a second coat on after the deck is constructed. This should prevent water from infiltrating the wood.

Patio materials

What’s your preference? Tile, brick, stone, maybe even concrete? Flagstone, tile and brick are more expensive but very appealing. Pavers are easily assembled and durable. Concrete might be the least desirable of them all, but its low maintenance makes it an option. Stamped concrete is a little different - it comes in a single block that’s been colored and textured to look like brick. This may be the way to go if you want to save on materials. Once you’ve decided on the type of surface you want, either build it yourself or hire a professional to complete it for you. If you’re building a brick patio, follow these directions for a beautiful outdoor addition.

  1. Outline and dig an area 7 to 8 inches deep. Leave about 2” of space around the perimeter. This extra space will be filled in by edging.
  2. Test the newly dug out area by laying a couple rows of bricks.
  3. Now pour four inches of crush stone in the patio framing and then lay landscaping fabric over the top of the stone. Follow that up with two inches of sand.
  4. Level the surface and tamp it down to stabilize the stone, fabric and sand.
  5. Begin laying brick in close formation; some landscapers use a rubber mallet to tap the bricks together. Use mason’s line to help maintain even rows.
  6. Once the bricks are laid, spread sand over the cracks and then broom it into the gaps. You can also use a garden hose to lightly wash the sand into place.

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