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Old 08-07-2007, 10:42 AM   #1
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What size deck is 'good' for our situation?


I know it sounds like a silly question, but what would be a good size deck for a family of 4 (in the future)? We like to do some entertaining, and I BBQ a lot and we do like to eat outdoors often. We live in a townhome on a 40' wide lot, with about 36' of depth from the back of the house to the rear property line. I also have an 8x10 vinyl shed in the backyard that can be moved to another corner if needed.

Currently we have been eyeballing some plans to put a deck that runs from the house to the shed, which is about 15'4", and from the side fence to the jut-out where our fireplace is, which is also about 15'. There is a large basement window on the 'deck' side of the fireplace jut-out that I'd like to keep somewhat open to allow lots of light in. The deck will be low, probably 16" above grade, so decking almost right up to the window well would be OK as long as there is still an escape route through that basement window. My guess is that we would have a deck that is 15'6" wide, and dual-depths of 15' and 12'6". I don't know where we were going to put the stairs to the lawn yet, but was also thinking that since it's so low, we might be able to make it more of a patio than a deck, and just have one stair that wraps the deck on all open areas, and not have a railing.

Would something in that size be sufficient, in your experience? If not, I can look at moving the shed to the other corner and making a longer deck (say 20' deep by 15' wide, but then I'm taking up more lawn that my daughter will surely like to have to play on.

Thanks for any opinions everyone. PS: I'm trying the graph paper and cutouts method right now but want some personal experiences in the mix too.

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Old 08-07-2007, 11:25 AM   #2
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What size deck is 'good' for our situation?


How big is your living room? Have the family stand in it and imagine it as your deck with all the deck furniture you want and the number of people you expect to entertain. Does it need to be bigger in one or both directions?, does the traffic flow look like it will be ok? Only you will know. I've never heard anyone say I wish I had a smaller deck. But you can always add onto a deck - especially if you design the deck for future additions.

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Old 08-07-2007, 12:33 PM   #3
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What size deck is 'good' for our situation?


I like the living-room idea, thanks!! I guess ideally we'd like to have a 6-person patio set, and a BBQ, on the deck, and a nice flowing stairway to the lawn for other furniture and a kids' play area. Judging by my excellent skills with scissors and graph paper, a 15x16' deck will work for our needs, less the cutout for the basement window and fireplace chimney.

We're actually going to use the deck as an extension of our main entertaining area -- the combination kitchen, dining area, and living room (open-concept with an island separating the 3 rooms, kinda). The large patio doors off of the eating area lead right onto the deck area, where to the left is an upcoming fence, to the right and is the basement window, main-floor window, and fireplace (further to the right), and straight ahead is our vinyl shed, which will get some sprucing up with a trellis or something. So in reality we don't exclusively need the deck for entertaining, as we can use the tables and counters in the house just steps from the deck, as an area to stage food and drink, etc.

Thanks.
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Old 08-07-2007, 12:44 PM   #4
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What size deck is 'good' for our situation?


I built my deck, 12 x 20.....because that naturally squared off the back of the house...that size works for me and my family of 4, and it seems that in total footage you're in that range....one thing i wish i had done was a little extension off that, just big enough for the grill, with the railing also around it, gives you a little more room, and safer with kids.
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:55 PM   #5
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What size deck is 'good' for our situation?


I have 12x46 and you know only 12x20 is used most of the time.You will find square is not necessarily the way to go. Lay out everything you are going to want on your new deck on your lawn useing some string or garden hose and see what size fits well for you and family and don't forget your friends coming over to.
When did you say you will have this done
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Old 08-08-2007, 06:04 AM   #6
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What size deck is 'good' for our situation?


You also need to take into consideration what you plan on putting on that deck. Example: A large grill with a grilling area, some potted plants, a large or medium sized table and chairs, additional chairs, etc....all take up alot of room.
Basically, a 12'x20' deck would be the minimum for such things and a family of 4. Don't go smaller than that.
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Old 08-08-2007, 06:16 AM   #7
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You also need to take into consideration what you plan on putting on that deck. Example: A large grill with a grilling area, some potted plants, a large or medium sized table and chairs, additional chairs, etc....all take up alot of room.
Basically, a 12'x20' deck would be the minimum for such things and a family of 4. Don't go smaller than that.
I did a lot more planning yesterday on paper and in-person, and the best size I could come up with was 15'x16' with a slight notch for an escape route from the basement window (and to let more light into that big window), and an angled corner which is in the middle of the yard, to help the yard 'flow'.

With generous allowances for the patio set (3x5.5' table+2' chairs+walking area around), I can still easily fit my BBQ (55" across, 21" deep) on the angled corner, and have room for one of those little benches, a 4' wide stairway to the lawn, and many potters in the corners. I think it works, as does my wife. 16x16 is a standard sized, large deck. Cutting one foot off won't be disastrous, and saves me from getting into the townhome right of way/passage that I need to leave clear.

Thanks everyone.
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Old 08-08-2007, 08:40 AM   #8
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What size deck is 'good' for our situation?


How about some pictures when your done.
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Old 08-08-2007, 09:28 AM   #9
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What size deck is 'good' for our situation?


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How about some pictures when your done.
Will definitely try to do that! Construction starts in about 10-12 days so let's aim for about 14-17 days from now. I can't work my dad TOO hard on his vacation.
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Old 08-09-2007, 08:15 PM   #10
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What size deck is 'good' for our situation?


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Will definitely try to do that! Construction starts in about 10-12 days so let's aim for about 14-17 days from now. I can't work my dad TOO hard on his vacation.
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:45 PM   #11
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What size deck is 'good' for our situation?


We ended up doing a 16'x16' deck with a few notches/cutouts for various areas. I'll let the pictures do the explaining. Oh, there are a bunch of pictures of the fence we built as well. FYI, the fence at the back of the lot escept for the farthest left panel, was done by my rear neighbour. I want to re-do it... lol... the wood is hideous!

Click the link and then navigate through the directory to see the pics -- I really can't link to all of them on the forum for fear of blowing up a few 56k modems.

http://pics.smileydesigns.ca/pics/backyard/

Let me know what you think!

OH, and to mention... we did ALL of the fence and ALL of the deck, including demolition of the existing 4x8' deck, and moving the shed and building a new base... in 5 working days! Yes, my dad works VERY hard!
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Old 09-05-2007, 06:17 AM   #12
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What size deck is 'good' for our situation?


Looks great, nice work!!
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:29 AM   #13
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What size deck is 'good' for our situation?


Looks like you worked your dad pretty hard....came out great!
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:40 AM   #14
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Very nice, now all you need is good weather
What did you use for the spindals??
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:42 AM   #15
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Haha, yeah, him AND I worked from 7am-8pm most days. He was only in town for 7 nights and still needed time to visit his new granddaughter (our first!), so we had to work hard and smart.

Thanks for the compliments guys! We sure enjoy the deck and the fence, that's for sure!

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