Warm weather provides countless opportunities for outdoor entertaining. From backyard barbecues to a sunny Sunday afternoon brunch and any event in between, avid entertainers love to throw parties on their Virginia decks. But good design and a thoughtful layout are essential to creating the perfect outdoor party, and the advice of your Virginia contractor goes a long way toward achieving this.
Tip # 1 – Go Big
Who knows how many people will show up for your backyard bash, and it’s much better to have plenty of room for everyone. Design an oversized deck to maximize the opportunities. Standard deck sizes run from 12ft. x 12ft. (just enough to hold an average patio set) to expansive decks wrapping around the back of large homes. Entertainers need to aim for the larger size, and should consider building a multilevel deck for better traffic flow.
Find out how large you can build your deck, taking into account the local building code and any underground wires or pipes. You cannot build your deck over a septic bed, although an experienced contractor can figure out a way to install a larger deck over asphalt, gravel, turf or garden.
Whatever size you decide on, ensure your deck is well supported and built to recent codes regarding structural limitations.
Tip # 2 – Think Barefoot Comfort
Homeowners have several choices of finish for Virginia decks. You can opt for treated wood and stain or paint the product to achieve the look you want. Cedar wood can also be stained or painted, but presents fewer splinters, cracks and splits than treated wood. This type of wood provides a smoother, more comfortable surface for walking and ensures lower risks of injury for your younger guests.
Composite wood provides another option. This product combines plastics and wood byproducts, and creates a comfy surface. It can be manufactured in a wide range of colors that never require staining. Your best bet for barefoot travel on the deck, composite costs at least twice as much as treated wood.
Choose your deck board wisely and consider how the products ages. If your deck is exposed to full sun, drying and cracking present a threat. Decks that rest in the shade for more than a few hours tend to grow mold, mildew and other organics, which can create a slippery deck surface. Consider your comfort level, exposure and budget when choosing the deck board.
Tip # 3 – Include Kitchen Essentials
Outdoor kitchens transform your backyard into a functional space. Think about incorporating a grill, sink and refrigerator into the deck design, providing the perfect space for food prep and serving. Be sure the area is equipped with power and water, as well as natural gas, if applicable.
Build the kitchen in a strategic location, near both the entrance to your home and the outdoor seating. Keep the traffic path free of obstacles and avoid steps or ramps. Create multiple levels to make this design safer and more functional, or consider building the main deck area higher up.
Tip # 4 – Built In Seating Means Less Furniture
Adequate seating makes your deck party more comfortable for everyone. Think about incorporating built in seating by replacing railings with high-back benches or building low, wide-lipped planter boxes that double as seats. These insignificant features make a major difference when you have guests, and leave the balance of your deck open for patio furniture.
Get creative when designing Virginia decks for entertainers. Think about size, comfort, food prep and seating to ensure your outdoor space provides the ideal area for entertaining a crowd.