Kill two birds with one stone. It’s pretty wonderful when you’re able to get more than one benefit out of a single purchase. Bang for your buck reigns supreme when it comes to installing a deck for your backyard. When you install a deck you’re eliminating an entire portion of your backyard that needs grass, plants, and watering while keeping the biodiversity in your soil alive and well. This is a fabulous secondary (and third) benefit to adding a deck that you don’t get when putting in a patio or artificial turf. But what else is in it for you?

Increased Value

On average, when homeowners opt to install a deck in their backyard they can expect a return of 85% when they put it on the market. While that particular point in time might be far off, in the meantime, you can enjoy more room for hosting parties and relaxing. There’s also the aesthetic appeal a deck brings to any home. Design elements such as layout, pattern, color and material all enrich the visual aspect of your home. Not to mention, most homes have a foundation that’s raised, even slightly. Whereas you would need steps to lead straight from the back door to your patio, a deck is level with the back door, so you can toss that “Watch Your Step” sign and walk seamlessly onto your deck with ease.

Personal Touch

Whatever your backyard situation, there’s a deck solution to provide you the best experience a deck can bring. If your yard is scattered with trees, a deck can be built around those trunks. Smaller yards in close proximity to neighbors is no problem when you can fence in some privacy with a tradition or lattice fence and some creeping ivy. Even sloped yards are no issue for a multi-level deck.

Getting Started

There are just as many choices to weigh in choosing the right deck as there are for any home improvement project. Size, materials. climate, and purpose all factor in to what option you end up choosing. If you plan on hosting parties, make sure to include room enough for a grill, mini-bar, and table and chairs as well as room enough to move around comfortably. Same thing goes for relaxing. A stand-up hammock is a wonderful way to relax, but it’ll need room to swing.

The type of climate you’re building in will mostly affect the materials you choose. There are many options from composite wood, to real wood. In addition to the materials, sealants and upkeep will be affected by the type of weather you’re likely to experience. Materials also vary in price and availability in certain areas.

Before deciding on a size and design, map out the blueprint with yard spikes and string and place your furniture inside the perimeter to get a feel for what it’ll be like moving around the space. You can change the plans from there, but once the deck is installed, you’re stuck with what you’ve got.

Details

There are many finer details you’ll get to choose from the color stain, to trim and caps for posts, even trimming the bottom of the deck to keep critters out from under your deck. Railings, lights, and footlights can come in handy when it comes to safety features.

Speaking of safety, always be sure your deck can support the load it will bear. If you plan on hosting larger parties, or have a particularly heavy furniture, note that with your contractor so you can have a safe, worry-free deck experience.

Maintenance

Different materials will require different maintenance schedules, as will the type of stain and seal you use to finish the deck. But a general rule of thumb is to always wash your deck once a year with a power washer on a lower setting to clean away debris and mold or mildew (which often requires additional, specialized products). Otherwise, sweep leaves, branches and debris away frequently and always mop up spills immediately.

If you’re in the market for an addition to your home, look no further than a deck to improve hosting space and overall value on your home.