Decks that are very low to the ground are called low-to-grade decks. Low-to-grade decks are suitable in so many situations and popular with a variety of clients, especially with those who have flat yards.
Top 4 reasons low-to-grade decks make a whole lot of sense:
Mobility: Customers with friends or family with mobility issues love these decks because of their easy accessibility.
Toddlers? Young grandchildren? Situated so close to the ground, they work well for families with young children.
Dislike heights? For some people, being on a lower outdoor space is just more comfortable thank being on a more elevated space.
Yoga anyone? A low-to-grade deck creates a “zen deck” feeling.
Your dog or cat: If you have timid pets who dislike stairs or rambunctious pets who can easily scale tall sets of stairs in a single bound, a low deck might be the favorite for your pets.
Transitions: today’s homeowners think about the whole picture. They think about how their deck transitions to their patio and how those spaces connect to their yard. A low deck welcomes you to the surrounding spaces with the easy transition.
Flat yard? Is a patio a better choice?
Deck, patio? Patio, deck? Which to choose? Archadeck can consult with you about the pros and cons of the various options. Working with a contractor that has installed many decks and many patios can help you decide which type of outdoor living space will work best for the way you want to live outside. Here is a little insight about both kinds of spaces. In general, a structure such as a deck is going to cost more than a patio. Obviously the building materials that you select will impact the overall cost, but the carpenters who build a deck are skilled tradesmen and are more expensive to hire than a patio installer. Another consideration is that in most jurisdictions a patio is considered landscaping and not an off-the-ground structure, so no permits are required.
It may not sound logical, but decks lower than 18” from the ground can require more time and effort than a deck that is more than 18” off the ground. We use post and beam construction which is the most efficient way to build a deck, but at heights under 18” we have to excavate to fit all the necessary parts into that small area. Throwing one more number at you: railings are optional on decks under 30”. Decks and patios with fewer extras like railings and built-in seating are generally less expensive.
Your vision for how you want to integrate pathways, landscaping, or other yard features will influence your choice. Ultimately, the kind of project you build should be driven by how you want to use that space. Regardless of whether you decide patio or deck or both, Archadeck of Columbus would love to meet with you to see your yard, listen to your concerns and preferences and then help design and build a project you can proudly call part of your home.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to your call.
Archadeck of Columbus explains when is the most opportune time to build your new deck and why.
Many of our Columbus homeowners ask me when is the best time to build a new deck? Many of you may think that the best time to build a deck is the spring, but the truth is, the best time to consider building a new deck may be in the winter. The best way to explain the reasoning behind a winter deck construction is what i would refer to as the “give and take” of the project. Give and take refers to the use of pressure treated wood during the winter months. The give refers to the woods expansion, and the take refers to the woods contraction that is caused by the effects of varying outdoor temperatures on the wood itself.
The first thing you have to remember when considering building any type of deck or other outdoor structure, whether the decking boards you choose are composite, PVC, vinyl, IPE or hardwoods the foundation of your structure will be constructed using pressure treated pine or another pressure treated wood. Wood curing is important to understand in relation to the wood’s natural tendency to “give and take”, and curing which occurs over the winter months offers many important benefits.
Pressure treated wood has a 50% moisture content when you initially build. This fresh lumber is sometimes referred to among builders as “green”. The winter has less humidity and thus the pressure treated wood will stabilize itself and dry more consistently and evenly when you build in the winter. On the other end of the spectrum a summer deck construction exposes the pressure treated wood to higher humidity conditions. In addition, when drying in the hot sun, pressure treated wood will undergo expansion and contraction which can cause cracking, warping and other damage to the wood itself. Due to the orientation of the sun during the winter months, the sun doesn’t beat down on your deck, and the pressure treated wood that holds the key to your project’s structural integrity will not undergo these negative effects.
Another benefit of building in winter is you will also experience less wait time and backlogs which are typical in spring and summer projects. Our typical waiting list is 8 weeks in the height of the season, during the winter you are likely going to cut that wait time in half. A winter project also causes less lifestyle interruption because homeowners typically spend less time outdoors and less time participating in outdoor activities during the colder months of the year. You will also experience less deterioration of the ground, and less turf damage during the winter months because of the dormancy period that Columbus landscapes experience through the cooler months.
Keep in mind that Archadeck of Columbus can also build your outdoor structure combination in stages. Winter is the perfect time to start the first stage of your desired outdoor living project. If you are considering a deck and patio combination for example, you can take advantage of our staged building option and build the deck this winter and then we can add the patio later into the spring. With Archadeck of Columbus’ staged building the choice is yours. Contact us today to learn more, call us at (740) 879 – 3730 or email us at email@example.com
Multi-level decks as well as deck and patio combinations are the growing trend in the Columbus, OH market. Archadeck of Columbus gives you some wonderful examples of the different combinations, with function and beauty in mind.
Here at Archadeck of Columbus the growing trend we continue to see among our customers is multi-level structures such as multi-level decks and decks that step down to patios and landscaping. Not only are these structures pleasing to the eye on multiple levels but they are built with multiple ways to enjoy your structure. Bi-leveled structures maintain room for a multitude of uses some of which would include separate dining, separate gathering areas and separate seating areas.
Most homeowners usually have a deck or patio only. By utilizing a combination of both of these structures you will not only have two distinct living areas, but you will also have multiple outdoor living areas which is unique. In today’s markets having the “unique” will enhance your investment in your outdoor living structure.
A classic example, and one most homeowners can relate to, is the scenario of the backyard dinner party where the men and women usually end up congregating in separate spots on your single level deck or patio. The added space and separation a multi-level structure provides would give your male and female guests alike room to stretch out and enjoy their evening . You could even heat things up a little by adding a fire pit to create a distinct area. One level could make room for seating and dining and the other could be seating and the fire pit area.
Another unique and aesthetically pleasing option is a gazebo or pergola added to one the levels in your your multi-level structure. Not only are these structures stunning to look at but they add shade to your space. Structures such as these would allow for shelter from the elements as well, so even if a summer shower comes to ruin your backyard barbecue your guests can move under the covered structure portion of your structure until the rain passes.
Multi-level structures are common in the Columbus area because of our terrain. The average home is about 30″ off the ground so it makes a perfect place to have two distinct areas. Low-to-grade decks are still a popular choice in this area as well. The beauty part of a low-to-grade deck is the option of not requiring a rail. Structures less than 30″ off the ground do not require a rail by code. advantages of not having a rail are the ability to see an un-obstructed view of landscaping, or hardscaping, or other focal point in your landscape, as well as the additional room you will have to add seating, furniture or planters. A clear uninhibited view is appreciated by many homeowners. If you have a relatively flat grade to your yard hardscapes such as patios are easier to construct.
There are two things about being close to ground-level that we want to caution homeowners about. If the grade is extremely low the structure will require more posts to structure because you can’t use a beam construction. We use a true post and beam construction but with low to grade structures the posts are actually attached to joists which eliminate the beam. The second concern is the moisture and ventilation issue. Most communities require landscape fabric with gravel be put down to avoid grass and weed growth into the deck. This barrier also inhibits animals and helps keep it drier. Archadeck of Columbus recommends being no less than 16″ off the ground to alleviate structural costs and ventilation issues.
If you are considering a multi-level deck or deck and patio multi-level combination, or one of many other unique combinations, give Archadeck of Columbus a call to discuss what type of structure is best for you. We can schedule a free consultation to evaluate which grade would best suit your lot and design and construct the structure of your dreams.
There are multiple benefits to a low-to-grade as we will write about in the next blog post. We have quite a few photos for design ideas so we wanted to share a photo gallery for inspiration if you’re considering a low-to-grade deck.