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5 tips for a relaxing outdoor area or deck

Bring the outside into your home with our five simple tips for the perfect outdoor escape.

Bring the outside into your home with our five simple tips for the perfect outdoor escape.

Summer is the ideal time to embrace al fresco living, and a well-planned deck or outdoor area offers a wonderful spot to relax, unwind, and share sunny days with friends and family.

Tip 1: Determine your main objective

Consider the main role your deck will play in family life - whether it is for entertaining, a play area for children or simply for relaxing. Creating an outdoor oasis that reflects your lifestyle makes it more likely the area will be used on a regular basis and prove itself to be money well spent.

Tip 2: Gather ideas

Here's the exciting part! Be inspired by checking out the latest home design and landscaping magazines or visit a few display homes. Above all, think outside the square. Decks can be curved, shaped with unusual angles, and even set across multiple tiers or levels. A more complex design will come with a higher price tag though it can make your home the envy of the street.

Tip 3: Choose the materials

Outdoor areas must be able to withstand extremes of weather so the building materials you select must be durable yet comfortable under a range of conditions. Dark pavers for instance can look stylish but they can be punishing on bare feet in summer. Ceramic floor tiles can be a slipping hazard when wet.

Timber is a popular choice for decking – and with good reason. It's low maintenance, durable and the wide variety of timbers available mean there is a price point for every budget. Be sure to select timber that is suitable for outdoor use. Some timbers, like oregon, may not be appropriate for external structures.

Tip 4: Allow for year-round use

Adding a pergola, canopy, or gazebo to the design of your outdoor area will extend its use across the four seasons. In addition to providing shelter and shade, you'll also have anchor points for lighting, plants or outdoor heaters for winter warmth.

Tip 5: Make safety a priority

Your deck or outdoor area will bring comfort and flair to your home however it must be structurally safe.  Building advisory service Archicentre point out that decks are usually used by small family groups, and when 20 or more adults gather on a deck it can place stress on the structure. Added to this weight may be a BBQ, tables, chairs and heavy planter boxes filled with plants. Seek professional building advice to be sure you have a structurally sound deck, and contact your local council about building permits before starting your project.

The planning process should also cover how you will manage the cost of your new deck or outdoor area. This is where the experience of your local Mortgage Choice broker provides a firm foundation to build on. You'll discover the range of funding choices available, your borrowing capacity and expert advice on the finance option best suited to your circumstances.

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