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Unless you are an experienced designer, you will probably want to purchase a deck plan to follow when building your deck. The best deck plans will include detailed instructions as well as a list of needed materials and tools.
Before you begin looking at deck plans, you should make some basic decisions about what you want the deck to look like and what purposes it will serve. This will help you narrow down your deck plan choices and help ensure that you are happy with your deck in the end.
To get started, think about how you plan to use the deck. Is the deck primarily for your family's use or do you entertain frequently? How much furniture will you need and how will it be arranged?
Next, plan the location of your deck. Is there a particular view you want the deck to overlook? Will you need to add a door to improve access between your house and the deck? How much sunlight will the deck receive? If you intend to use your deck at night, be sure to include deck lighting in your plans.
Lastly, consider how much time you are willing to spend maintaining your deck. This will determine whether you choose wood, vinyl, or composite decking. Wood is a traditional, warm choice, but also requires the most maintenance.
Once you have made your list of requirements, you are ready to choose a deck design. Deck plans come in an almost unlimited variety. You can also start with a design you like and customize it for your needs by changing such items as the stair style or railing design. The Internet is full of deck designs, many of which are available at no cost.
For starters, visit Decks USA, which features plans and construction packages for pool decks as well as single-level, multi-level, and L-shaped decks. Deckorators focuses on deck railing products, but also features deck building tutorials, an online interactive deck design tool, and a deck railing style gallery. DeckPlans.com offers free architectural deck plans as well as deck building instructions and custom deck plans for a fee.
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