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5 Accent Areas for Your Deck

There are countless ways to customize your deck. This
article presents some options for 5 specific areas:

  1. Benches
  2. Planters
  3. Railings
  4. Roofing
  5. Stairs

Benches

Benches can serve many purposes on a deck. In addition to
their obvious use as seating,
they can provide a barrier at the edge of a low deck, or a surface for plants
in containers, creating a multi-level potted garden show in the growing season.
Free Woodworking Plans has
lots of styles to consider, including Mission Style, a Heart Bench, and a Time
Out Bench. Free
Bench Plans
also offers free woodworking plans for building deck benches,
including potting and storage benches.

Planters

No deck seems complete without planters
of some kind. Even a single planter of substantial size can add a beautiful,
cared-for look to a deck. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can build your own
planters – perhaps with materials left over from deck construction or other
projects. Garden centers and import shops are excellent places to find ceramic,
terra cotta, and faux stone planters. For inspiration, check out the garden
centers at your local Lowe’s or The Home Depot.

Railings

Many homeowners will hire a contractor to build the
foundation and floor of their deck, but select different materials for the
railings and either install them themselves or with the help of a fellow
do-it-yourselfer. Railings add safety and also define the deck surface area.
They can be simple or attention-getting, and be accented with lighting or
planters. Do It
Yourself
has a section devoted to deck railings and stairs, with examples
and plans and how-to information. Easyrailings
products are made of high-strength
aluminum alloys and have long-lasting powder coating finishes; they’re great
looking, too.

Roofing

As people become
more aware of the dangers of over-exposure to the sun’s direct rays –
especially in the hot summer months, when decks are most often used – including
a roof in your deck’s design makes a lot of sense. An excellent resource for
the do-it-yourselfer is the Best Deck Site, which
illustrates how to build a gazebo-style roof and provides tips for building,
materials needed, and useful checkpoints to be aware of in the process.
Awnings, or retractable roofing are other effective solutions for providing
shade for you, your family, and friends while enjoying your deck. Did you know
that, according to Retractable Awnings, by shading exterior windows and doors, cut the light
before it enters rooms, which can reduce interior heat by 77% (the American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning
Engineers
). Reducing the heat in a room with retractable awnings can reduce
air conditioning use – and energy bills – by almost 25%.”

Stairs

If there’s an area
to get really creative with, deck stairs is it. Stairs
usually encompass a very straightforward design element, too. You can stick
with the basics very successfully, or you can go for elongated steps lined with
lighting or plants, or build a meandering stairway through multiple levels of
your landscape. There are lots of how-to videos and articles available for
building deck stairs, calculating stringers, meeting building safety
requirements, etc. – just browse on the keywords “deck stairs” and you’ll come
up with dozens of selections. For visual inspiration, check out Hickory Dickory Decks for a
photo gallery of different types of deck stairs.

By now, you can see
that with these 5 basic accent areas – or elements – of decks, you have
mix-and-match capabilities galore. Happy option-shopping!

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