An outdoor deck can bring your backyard alive. It can be a place to entertain or a quiet retreat. Before the deck building begins, decide what you want to include. Here are some ideas to factor into your decision.

Many people build their deck right outside their backdoor, but you have other options. You can have a platform with steps leading up to it to the side of your door if this location affords you more privacy from the street in front of your home. This may also be the better option if your backdoor is surrounded by and AC unit and a dryer vent. It’s also a good idea to keep shading in mind as you are choosing its location. How the sun hits your deck may determine what kind of awning you need and where you should place it.

A key factor in deck building is its size. Obviously, the size of your yard will play a role in this decision, but you should also consider how you plan to use the deck. If you are planning to entertain guests, you need a deck that is large enough to accommodate a seating area. Decide how many access points you want around your deck, and that will also help determine how big it should be.

The height of your deck can affect what else you need to add. A deck that is lower to the ground doesn’t necessarily need a railing, but if it’s over 18 inches off the ground, you should add safety features to prevent injuries. An elevated deck that comes to your door should still be lower than the door to avoid flooding issues.

Wood such as cedar or redwood is a classic choice for backyard decks. You may consider alternatives such as PVC or vinyl as they can be more durable.

There are many decisions that go into getting the deck you want. A deck building professional can walk you through the choices you need to make before construction begins.