A house with a small deck styled with furniture and plants.

How To Maximize The Space On A Small Deck

Having access to a backyard deck or patio offers an expansion of your home to include the outdoors. A well-built and maintained deck can provide enjoyment for you and your family for many years. You don’t have to have the largest deck to get enjoyment out of it. 

Just like other rooms in your home, the key to getting the most enjoyment out of a deck is to design and decorate the living space appropriate to the size of the total area. Here are a few ideas to help maximize the space on your deck.

Find Appropriate Furniture

Small deck furniture. A small table and set of chairs.

One of the biggest issues with small deck designs is the use of too big furniture for the area where it is used. Nothing will make your deck look small, quite like oversized furniture. You and your guests want to be comfortable sitting outside, and ensuring you have chairs and a table that fits the space is the best way to do it. 

Consider furniture that is collapsible or stack together for storage. This option will offer an adequate amount of space when needed and more when using it by yourself. If you plan to place a table, ensure it is big enough for your family to eat a meal and act as a buffet when hosting guests. 

Consider multi-use furniture options such as stools that can double as a side table, a console table that can also act as a server, and storage boxes for additional seating. Find a way to keep these things out of the way when not in use to create more walking space for you and your guests and maximize the square footage of your small deck.

Built-In Features To Optimize Space

A built-in seating area on a small deck

Whether you’re custom-building a new deck or working with an existing one, there are likely several options for you to incorporate a built-in feature to make the most out of your space. A waist-high counter could serve as a bar, individual dining space, or a spot to put potted plants or other accent pieces. You could also eliminate the need for multiple chairs with a built-in bench seating attached to one of the perimeters of your deck.

If you find yourself cooking outside frequently, consider making a space for your grill and your grilling supplies to keep them together and out of sight. Building a shelf, storage box, or cabinet next to your grill would be a quick and ergonomic way to do that.

Another fantastic built-in option would be to create storage for outdoor tools like gardening supplies, kid’s toys, and other non-frequently used things you want to keep outside.

Let Colors Work For You

Bright orange, patterned pillows.

Take advantage of how our mind interprets color to increase the appearance of the size of your deck. You can paint your deck to match the color of your house, making it instantly appear as an extension of your home and not just an addition. If your house has a stone or brick facade, try to match the bark of trees in your yard or any fencing that surrounds your yard.

Use bright colors in furniture and accent pieces both for the aesthetic as well as a way to hide the fact that you’ve incorporated smaller furniture. Vibrant rugs, throw pillows, and art fixtures are fun ways to fill gaps in the space and help make it pop. Commission pieces to fit your needs, or use your creative skills to make some yourself.  

Consider repainting any metal furniture in bright, contrasting colors. Chair and table sets can pop on their own when done in a bright palette. When accented with a rug, cushions, and a few fun art pieces, your dining space will shine.

Use Privacy Accents To Turn “Tiny” into “Cozy”

A small deck with a small shade structure hanging with cafe lights

There are several options to help partially close off an area of your deck which will serve the dual purpose of providing you and your guests with privacy while also adding charm to your smaller space. Just be sure to not completely block out natural light, or your space will feel smaller.

A pergola or other partial covering for the overhead area will help make a great divider on your deck and offer some relief from the elements. It can also serve as an upper post to mount shades, blinds, curtains, bug nets, or a wooden lattice to create a greater sense of divided space.

Creating a divided deck with a cozy dining area, adult zone, or outdoor workspace can really give the impression that your outdoor space has far more room than it looks. Using rollable or collapsible dividers also provides the option to re-open the area when needed.   

Incorporate Nature Into Your Decor

Potted plants ona small deck

Using natural elements like plants to decorate your deck can give the illusion of space where it may not exist. Start by incorporating any existing natural elements into your outdoor space. Building around trees, into bushes, or up to gardens will instantly give the deck the appearance of more space, using an area that you weren’t going to use anyway.

Adding planters, flower boxes, or other green design options are great ways to fill out corners, nooks, or other spaces that will not hold furniture. Hanging plants off of the end of a rail will artificially extend the size of the deck as well. Look for locations to hang flower baskets from to add color and expand the vertical space.

Small Deck Ideas By Dupont Decks

new square slightly raised deck with black railings and assorted potted plants

Don’t feel limited by the space on your deck. Use these tips to find creative solutions to the issue of space. If you need help making the deck of your dreams, contact us at Dupont Decks today, and our team will help to find a solution that fits your needs.

Construction workers discussing project on digital tablet at site

Deck Construction 101: Building the Deck Frame

Deck Construction 101: Building the Deck Frame

Building a deck is sometimes pictured as a do-it-yourself backyard project. In American beer commercials, you’ll see a group of friends framing out a deck, and then relaxing at the end of the day on the finished product, enjoying a cold one.

If you’re handy with power tools, have some construction experience, and are good with math, then building a deck is something you and your friends might want to tackle yourselves. If you are ready to bring in the pros who have crafted hundreds of decks of varying types across the area, then give us a call at Dupont Construction and Remodeling. Over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two about deck construction. Take these tips from the professionals before you dive in too deep.

Determine the Type of Deck You Are Building

Are you attaching the deck to your home or is it free standing? Is it a floating deck? What are the regulations in your area for pouring post holes and using foundation piers? What is the depth of the frost line in your region? The type of deck you choose to build affects both the materials and the process for framing.

Determine the Material You are Using

If you choose to build a wood deck, there are guidelines for load bearing and placement of joists for support. These guidelines differ for composite and PVC decking. Sawdust, reclaimed wood, plastic and other recycled materials make up composite decking options. The type of material will determine the number and spacing of your joists as well as the type of fasteners you need.

Make sure you know the precise type of wood you are using so you can determine its approved span for joists. This handy chart will help you.

Are You Ready to Begin Framing?

You must be sure your footers and posts are installed correctly before you begin framing, if necessary. Also, be sure that you have properly attached the deck’s ledger board to your home’s rim joists. The ledger board must be secured to the joists using lag bolts and needs to be level and secure for your framing to go well.

Gather Your Tools

Tape measure, wood, pencil, and work plans for deck.

Framing a deck requires some essential tools to do the job right. You’ll be making frequent checks that the boards are level and straight and also verifying that your corners are square. Make sure you have the following tools:

  • Torpedo Level
  • 2-foot level and 4-foot level
  • Speed square
  • Framing square
  • 25’ heavy-duty measuring tape
  • Chalk line or chalk box to draw straight lines. Blue chalk washes off more easily than red
  • Carpenter’s square to check for square corners and mark extended cutlines
  • Construction pencil or Sharpie to mark where your joists go
  • Clamps of varying sizes to temporarily hold pieces together
  • Lag bolts to attach the deck to the home
  • Decking screws (1 ½ lb and 2 lb) and galvanized screws – use galvanized if the screws will be underground or in a high-moisture area
  • Galvanized joist hangers
  • Crescent (adjustable) wrench for tightening bolts
  • Utility knife, as needed to modify cuts
  • Handsaw
  • Circular saw for straight cuts
  • Flashing (if attaching to the home)
  • Tin snips (aviator shears) to cut flashing
  • Small planer to shave down boards, as needed
  • Hammer
  • 18 or 20-volt cordless drill with nail/screw attachment or compressed-air nail gun
  • Sander and sandpaper or orbit sander
  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves

Making the Deck Frame

A deck frame is composed of joists and beams. To do this job, you’ll need to know the difference between the two. Joists are the boards that are repeated across the length of the deck at intervals to support the flooring. These typically come in 2” x 6”, 2” x 8”, and 2” x 10” sizes. The size you need depends on the number of footings and beams you will install, as well as how high the deck is off the ground. Local building codes may also dictate the size of joists you must use.

A beam is the primary load-bearing portion of the deck. Appropriately sized and placed beams determines your deck’s structural soundness. Beams support the weight of the joists, as well as the railings, banister, decking, and, of course, the furniture and people who will be on the deck. Beams are often Double or Triple 2” x 10” or 2” x 12” treated pine lumber.

Building the Deck Frame

  • Measure the pieces of wood that will make the sides of your completed deck, and attach them to each other using butt joints, galvanized fasteners, and decking screws.
  • Measure your sides for joist placement, using the guidelines for how far apart they should be spaced, typically 16”. Next, mark the sides with your Sharpie or construction pencil.
  • Toenail a joist onto the rim joist, making sure your corners are square. If you are in a high-wind area, reinforce with hurricane clips.
  • Install the joist hangers and ensure the board is level, flush, and square.
  • Repeat with other joists along the length of your frame. If you end up with one joist that is higher than the others, notch it or plane it to make it level over the beam.

Building a deck frame can be complicated, but once you get the hang of the measure, cut, level, square, reinforce process, it will go fairly quickly. You’ll love seeing the deck take shape under your hands.

Contact Dupont Construction For Help

There are expert deck installers right here in the Twin Cities area. To ensure the job is done right, give us a call. We’ll be happy to provide a free estimate and to work within your budget to design and build a deck you will love. We will construct your deck up to code so that it is safe and long-lasting. We’ll handle the permitting process as well as any regulations or communication with utilities. In the end, you’ll have a beautifully constructed and framed deck that you can enjoy with your friends, family, and pets.

Whether you did DIY construction or picked up the phone to call the pros at Dupont, it’s time to crack open a cold one and enjoy the fruits of your labor on your new deck.