Top 10 Deck Design Tips and Tricks

Designing, planning, and building your family's dream deck is a beautiful opportunity to create the ideal outdoor space for your home. For some of us, it's also a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build something truly great that will remain for decades to come!

Decks are more than just some boards nailed together, they're an entire living room for your family and guests outside. This is the space where friends will gather, children will grow, and good times will be had by all! Learn more about the notes, styles, and architectural tips to keep in mind when putting your deck plan and layout together.

And once you've got a strong idea on the look, shape, and atmosphere you want for your outdoor living area, reach out to us here at DecksDirect! Whether you're looking at a brand new start or a fresh end-of-season deck renovation, give our expert deck designers a call at 1-888-824-5316 or send us an email at Our deck experts will help you get the information, products, and tools you need for a gorgeous deck that you created and designed!

10 Deck Design Tips

Find your deck inspiration by browsing through online Deck Image Galleries showcasing top brands such as Trex, Deckorators, Westbury, and more

1. Find Inspiration in Online Deck Image Galleries:

Browse through online deck image galleries and find details that you love and apply them to your own deck design! Check out the DecksDirect Deck Image Gallery full of beautiful deck builds by professional contractors, DIY builders, all in one place! Check out looks and styles available in composite decking, deck railing systems, LED deck lighting, and more to find what you want for your deck space.

Browse Deck Image Galleries

Build and design a deck that fits your outdoor space and style rather than focusing on your home

2. Build a Deck That Fits Your Space:

Some builders and architects state that a deck should be no larger than 20 percent of the house’s square footage, so as not to overpower the home visually.

However, if you and your family absolutely love to spend your time outdoors and you plan to split the deck space into several different areas, then design your deck as large as you like! You can design certain areas of your deck to fulfill different roles and it will allow your growing family to spread out while still being together.

Create the deck and outdoor space perfect for your home and lifestyle by designing your deck around your hobbies

3. Design for Your Lifestyle:

Are you a family full of party animals? Do you love to cook for big groups of friends and entertain the day away? Or would you much more prefer a quiet space to enjoy your book and a glass of wine at the end of the day? Thoughts such as these will help you build the deck that fits your lifestyle and achieves exactly what you need. Extroverts can plan a huge outdoor barbeque and entertainment area to watch all of the sports easily, while those who prefer some privacy might install some decorative Privacy Panels to make their space their own.

Deck designs should focus on spaces for friends to gather and open walkways for people to walk safely and smoothly through the area

4. Plan for Foot Traffic:

When planning the layout of your deck, be sure to keep in mind how your guests will be entering, leaving, and moving around your outdoor space. Knowing the path of traffic throughout and across your deck will ensure that there aren't trips over the grill or traffic jams near the entryways. This can also help you decide if you need more than one staircase for your space.

Also, think about installing secondary handrails along your deck's stairways for increased safety for both children and older guests.

Shop Secondary Handrails

Add guest seating and comfortable deck and patio furniture highlighting your outdoor space

5. Add guest seating with deck furniture:

When browsing through the deck images, pick out what types of deck furniture you'd like to add on your deck and patio area and then plan around it! Having an idea of the space you want to present will help with every step of the process.

Would you love an outdoor dining table? Plan for one! Feel like your space is missing something? Maybe a water fountain or fire pit can help liven up an area! The sky's the limit when creating your space.

Design and install LED Deck Lighting to your outdoor space to bring it to life

6. Add LED Deck Lighting:

Deck lighting is a fantastic way to accent your backyards features while providing safety for your friends and family. Help your deck be the best spot in the house, day and night, by using deck and landscape lighting to create a unique outdoor space. Choose from stair lighting, recessed lighting, post cap lights, deck rail lights, and more.

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Choose low-maintanece deck materials such as metal deck railing systems and composite deck boards to keep effort minimal and enjoyment high

7. Plan Ahead to Keep Deck Maintenance Low:

While working on the overall layout and atmosphere you want for your family's outdoor space, start thinking about how much work you'll want to put in maintaining your deck year to year. Most homeowners are moving towards installing premium composite railing or metal deck railing systems to avoid the annual pain of staining.

To help their decking surface remain fade-free and totally resistant to water damage and rot, it's recommended to install composite deck boards in place of the standard pressure-treated or cedar decking. Offering gorgeous, realistic coloring and increased resistance to water, insects, and fade, composite or PVC deck boards from brands like Trex and TimberTech will help you enjoy your deck more and work less.

Browse Composite Decking Brands

Add an entirely new room below your deck as well with an innovative and secure under deck drainage system

8. Look forward to a brand new room below deck with Under Deck Drainage:

Adding an under deck drainage system such as ZipUP, UpSide Deck Ceiling, or Trex RainEscape can increase your home's outdoor space even more easily! Gain a completely new room or storage space underneath your upper level deck when you install these water-diverting systems. Whether storing seasonal decorations or toys, or creating a warm, dry spot to lounge during a summer rain; plan on under decking.

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Plan a three-season porch for your family easily with the deck screen systems available at DecksDirect

9. Dream up a three-season porch:

Do you and your loved ones love stay up late on summer nights? Who doesn't! Plan to include a lovely screened-in porch area on your family's deck to keep the good times rolling while preventing mosquitoes, insects and pests from joining the party. Even if you're not ready to install deck screen straight away, at least you'll have a plan in place for a year down the road.

Check out Deck Screen Options

10. Look Forward to Expanding Into The Yard:

With your deck design plans starting to form, it's also a great time to think about how you want your deck and backyard space to interact with each other.

This will help you create a cohesive look for your entire outdoor area and will also help ensure that you have space to add a pergola, pavilion, or shade structure you've always wanted. Whether you want to add a relaxing pergola to lounge in your hammock, or need a space to showcase your garden and prize-winning blooms; planning ahead can help you out.

Check out LINX Pergola Kits

Learn more about the basics of deck framing and building in the Deck Framing Guide and learn the specific deck part names in the Glossary of Deck Terms and Lingo.

Browse more deck design and railing style notes to upgrade your backyard space and deck in the DecksDirect Railing Style Guide. The quickest way to learn if your home is more suited for a classic aluminum deck railing or a strong, composite railing line.

The more you know, the better your deck and backyard projects will be! Whether you're looking at a brand new start or a fresh end-of-season deck renovation, give our deck designers a call at 1-888-824-5316 or send us an email at Our deck experts will help you get the information, products, and tools you need for a gorgeous deck that you created and designed!