Deck Planning 101

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

We’ve all heard this old adage used when emphasizing the importance of planning. And we firmly believe detailed planning is the key to a successful renovation – whether big or small. That’s why we’re sharing our top planning tips for each space in your home. To kick things off, we’re getting in the spirit of the summer season and talking decks. What materials should I use? What should I factor into a deck renovation? What kind of timeline should I expect? Whether it’s a complete overhaul or a simple remodel, deck renos require basic pre-planning before the work begins.

What are your needs?

During the warmer months, your deck becomes an outdoor living space to relax and entertain. If you’re considering a deck reno, think about what the deck will be used for and what elements will be needed to accommodate your day-to-day outdoor living needs. If the grill is on repeat, consider an outdoor kitchen with ample space for prep work, grilling and cleaning. Al fresco dining should include a great patio set with plenty of seating and table space. If a pool or hot tub is a must for family fun, keep this in mind when planning the deck’s dimensions and layout.

Consider traffic areas.

Think of your deck as an open-concept space. Similar to a kitchen, dining and living area, once you’ve determined your needs, you can decipher how much space should be allotted for your deck and the different areas required to make it happen. Your grill shouldn’t sit on top of your seating area and there should be ample space for chairs, tables and benches so you can move around the deck with ease.


There are options when it comes to deck materials. Practically maintenance-free materials for decking, railing and skirting include composites and PVC. These options are pricier than a cedar, but unlike a cedar, they will not require regular pressure washing and sealing from year to year. Besides the less expensive price tag, many will still opt for wood due to its natural, rustic look. Your budget may determine which material will be best for you.


You should feel comfortable and “at home” while enjoying your deck. Depending on your proximity to neighbours, privacy walls may be a valued addition to a deck renovation. A solid wood wall, fences, trees and shrubs are all options when planning your preferred level of privacy. A trellis is a beautiful option to provide a bit of seclusion from the surrounding area without losing the free flow of natural light and air into the space.

Sun coverage.

If you plan to spend great lengths of time on your deck, consider including shaded areas to avoid over-exposure to the summer sun. Canopies, awnings and partial sun blockers will keep your deck a little cooler and much more comfortable during warmer days. A pergola is a partial shade solution which can become even more protective with the addition of plants or weather-resistant fabric.


If you are considering a deck renovation, the time is now to start planning. Once you have a general idea of your needs and budget, reach out to your general contractor. Having a detailed plan will allow a seamless transition from initial contact to project completion. Keep these timelines in mind when preparing for a deck reno:

  • Upon contacting your general contractor, expect to receive a complete proposal in one to two weeks.
  • Once the contract has been awarded, it may take about two weeks for the work to begin.
  • Completion time will depend on size, shape and deck features. Generally, expect a completed project in one to two weeks.

So start planning for your next deck renovation today! For a little inspiration, check out our portfolio at Happy planning!

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