Building a Deck : Plan and Design Decking

plan and design your own decking guide

It is all well and good making the decision to build a deck on your property, but to get the most out of this feature, you really need to sit down and go through the process of planning before you begin building and installation process.

If it’s a DIY decking project, it may seem tedious to some of you out there, but believe me, decking it is not hard and it won’t take up too much of your time. The benefit of doing this is it will help you create an outdoor space tailored to your specific needs. That is a much better result than installing a deck only to realise some aspects of it are not quite right.

In this post, we are going to look at some things you should ask when you build your deck.

Step 1: How will you use it?

This is probably the most important consideration, because it will heavy influence your design. Let’s look at four common uses of a deck.

Family dining

If your new deck is going to be used for dining, you will want to ensure that you have plenty of room to comfortable pull out chairs from a patio table. The deck should also be close to your kitchen to minimise lengthy trips back and forth.


Where there is a pool, there is water. Water does not play very well with traditional timber (unless it is sealed), so a composite material might be the best foot forward. Trex composite decks are water and slip resistant, making it an ideal candidate. It is also prudent, for safety reasons, to allow a nice, clear path around to pool to allow for kids to get up to a bit of mischief – you won’t always be able to stop them doing a bommie or running around, but at least with some room, they are less likely to hurt themselves.


Traditionally, decking are seen as a single, flat surface. But by only seeing them this way you may be limiting the possibilities of your outdoor space. A multi-level deck can create an inviting space for friends and family, with each section being used for different purposes (serving drinks, dancing, eating etc.). The additional benefit of having a multi-level deck is you have a lot more flexibility in terms of design. Just make sure you have enough room for your guests to move around freely.


With the right design, a simple deck can be an outdoor paradise. Consider putting in large, fully reclined lounge chairs with a Pergola to shade you from the hot Australian sun. For those of you who want to experience a holiday getaway at home, a cocktail table next to the chairs will make it feel like a Bali Oasis.

Step 2: How much space?

While a deck can enhance your backyard and house value, you will want to be careful that it does not overwhelm it. If you do not have much room to play with, smaller is better – there are always options (like multi-level decks) to get more out of your space. The last thing you will want is an outdoor space that is completely dominated by a deck.

If you have an obstacle in your space (i.e. tree) that is preventing you from building a traditional deck, you might need to have a custom one built.  Build a well-designed custom deck using curves and railings can transform a difficult area into a functional one.

Step 3: Sun or shade?

If your deck is around a pool, you definitely want it to be as open to the sun as possible, so your family and friends can soak up the rays after a refreshing dip.

If your deck is going to be used primarily for entertaining, it is vital, particularly living in an unforgiving climate like Australia, to have some sort of protection against the sun. You can do this in two ways – make use of existing trees or install a gazebo or pergola to stop the sun burning you the colour of crispy bacon.

Step 4: Have you thoughts about access and safety?

With any sort of construction, it is important to check with your council about building codes. This is especially relevant if you are planning entranceways, stairs and guardrails. It might not fit in with your overall vision, but it is important to build to the codes as they have been put in place to keep people safe.

Step 5: Selecting your deck & installation

As you can see, building a deck is not too difficult when you consider how it is going to be used. By asking yourself these questions now, you are going to save yourself a lot of trouble down the track when your DIY decking is actually installed.

Now you have to select the right decking product for the job. In our next blog post, we’ll compare timber & composite decks for your home.  We specialise in decking supply and leave the installation to others. We have a list a reputable installers and if you want more information, give one of our friendly staff a call.