The first step in choosing the best deck design is carefully measuring the area in which you would like to have the deck installed. You will also need to check local ordinances about how large of a structure you can build, and how close to other structures the deck can be built. The size of the deck will help you narrow down your choice of deck design, and it will help you decide what features you can reasonably afford to build on the deck. Once you have determined the accurate measurements, consider how you are most likely to use the deck.
Some families will spend a significant amount of time on the deck, either lounging or eating meals during the summer. If kids will be using the deck frequently, safety should be the top concern when choosing a deck design, in addition to well as durability of materials. You may want to consider composite decking, which will be resistant to damage from toys and impacts, as well as moisture damage. The railings on the deck should feature slats narrow enough to prevent children from sticking arms and legs through them, which can potentially lead to injury.
If your deck will be attached to a pool, either above ground or in-ground, you should consider a deck design that specifically addresses this configuration. The presence of a pool will have an impact on the choice of materials used for the deck, as well as the features, such as benches, stairways, railings, pool surrounds, and so on. Make sure any deck design you choose accommodates access to all parts of the pool should repairs need to be made to it. If your pool features heaters, filters, lights, or plumbing, be sure the deck design will allow you to access these features for repairs or adjustments.
All deck designs should account for durability and stability. Research the best methods for attaching the deck to the house to ensure the two do not separate from each other. Research local building codes as well to make sure the deck design you choose fits these local codes. Footings should be stabilized with concrete, and they should be placed at regular intervals throughout the deck structure. Wrap-around deck designs will cost more money, as will decks with several features such as stairs, benches, tables, and so on, so be sure to draw up a budget for the project before committing to any plans.