Are built-ins out for your Columbus deck?

Earthwoods Evolutions with planters looking at golf courseWhen people find out that I am a professional deck builder, the conversation frequently turns to questions about current trends in the industry.  Folks want to know what’s “in” and what’s “out.”  Built-in seating, planter boxes and firepits are popular choices as it relates to built-ins, but I have been getting fewer requests for them recently.  There are excellent arguments for and against built-ins and I thought I’d share my perspective.

Built-ins do a great job of making the most of the space you have.  Whether you are creating a long planter or bench seating, built-ins are an extremely efficient use of space.  Someone who thinks they might not have room for both a seating and an eating area may find that with built-ins they can have both.

On this deck, the benches are bookmarked with planter boxes. These benches create a natural barrier.
On this deck, the benches are bookmarked with planter boxes. These benches create a natural barrier.

Built-ins also double as a way to create conversation areas or guide people away from the edge of a deck.  While decks that are more than 18” off the ground are required to have a railing or something else to keep your guests on the deck rather than the ground, it can still be helpful to provide a buffer even at lower elevations.  If you like to guide your family or guests to a specific section of your deck, you won’t find a more effective tool than built-in seating.

Built-ins are also a great way to keep your outdoor living space easy to maintain.  You don’t have to haul as much stuff in and out as you use it or the weather turns bad.  You can also build your benches with storage space underneath for items like seat cushions.  They are also as strong as the building material you choose.  More often than not, that material is much more durable than any furniture or flower pots you will buy.  Also, you will never have to file a police report about the theft of a built-in.

Central GA composite deck built in benches plantersThere are very few cons to built-ins, but I’ll share a few that I’ve heard.  The primary one is that people are afraid that they will change their mind about how they want to use the space down the road.  Once you have built something in, it is difficult to change it.  That lack of flexibility turns some people off.  Another is that if you choose to put in planters, you are committed to having something in them.  That something will probably be alive and you will have to care for it.  If you dread gardening, you may want to stay away from building in planters.

Finally, you can’t take it with you.  If you fall in love with your outdoor living space, built-ins and all, it needs to stay behind if you sell your home.  Traditional outdoor deck furniture can travel with you from house to house.  That might be a consideration if you move often.

hardscape paver patio with hardscape retaining wall bench and planter Columbus OHPatios can have built-ins also. This can include vertical hardscape seating walls and fire pits among other built-in amenities. Seating/retaining walls are often par for the course with a paver patio hardscape. They do a great job of serving multiple purposes.

Finally, built-ins give an outdoor living space additional visual interest and somehow seem more finished.  Ultimately, it’s about what you want and how you think you will use the space.

Contact Archadeck of Columbus today to see how we can make creating your dream backyard an enjoyable experience, start to finish. The consultation is completely free. (740) 879 – 3730 or email us at We look forward to your call.

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

Author: archadeckofcolumbus

I began my association with Archadeck in 2001 when I was working for a subcontractor that Archadeck of Columbus was employing for patio installations. I had been working in the Landscape/Hardscape industry for quite a few years at the time and immediately noticed a difference in how Archadeck operated in comparison with other deck companies that we worked with. Over the years of working with Archadeck on numerous projects, large and small, I came to realize the importance of what they were selling; beautiful designs, top-notch craftsmanship and a world class customer experience. This is what drove me to start working for Archadeck in January of 2011 and eventually buying the company in 2016. My wife, Amber, and my son, Logan, could not be happier to be a part of such a wonderful organization. We look forward to the future as we build the outdoor living environments our customers dream of with the “world class” service they deserve!

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