5 ways to revamp your outdoor living space this year

(HIB) – Do long, winter days holed up indoors have you dreaming of a new deck to relax on come springtime? Whether you envision transforming a deck into a personal sanctuary or building a new outdoor living space for backyard entertaining, now is the perfect time to start turning those dreams into reality.

Get a jump-start by preparing to enjoy warmer weather with these five easy steps that will take your deck from functional to fantastic, before spring.

1. Add lasting style underfoot by selecting the right decking product.

A deck only looks as good as its boards, which is why it is important to select decking that is as durable as it is attractive. Even well-designed outdoor living spaces can disappoint if deck boards crack, fail, fade or warp.

Many deck products are available, but composite decking is one material that has quickly grown in popularity, and market research firm the Freedonia Group predicts the material will see continued growth in the coming years. Composite decking products, like ChoiceDek, fuel this growth by helping homeowners realize that decks can require minimal upkeep while still providing lasting beauty.

“Homeowners are looking for outdoor living spaces that will allow them to relax and enjoy their backyards,” says Scott Spencer, ChoiceDek national account manager. “They don’t want to worry about the chore of cleaning or maintaining their outdoor products regularly. Composite decking brings the beauty of real wood to a deck with less maintenance and lasting durability.”

2. Design your outdoors as an extended living space.

Once you have the perfect materials in mind, consider that your outdoor living space serves as an extension of the home. Your deck, patio or porch doesn’t have to be boxy in design. By incorporating level changes, handrails, lighting and the right furniture, you can clearly define areas for eating, socializing and relaxing. If you have multiple outdoor living spaces you can also incorporate pathway features and ground lighting to connect the spaces and help your guests travel smoothly from one area to the other.

Don’t let difficult terrains or space limit you. By using platform decks to tame hard-to-navigate slopes and including raised portions in smaller designs, you will be able to expand your usable space and extend your views of the scenery.

3. Create drama on deck.

Once you’ve got a basic idea of how you want to design your deck, get creative and pinpoint areas where you could make use of artistic focal points that will make your deck even more unique.

Some of the simplest ways to add distinction to your deck are to alternate the plank directions, create in-laid patterns and inset frames. With moisture-resistant deck boards you can accent nature in your design by simply encircling a tree near the deck or highlighting a water feature. Similar levels of creativity can also be applied to fire pits, planters, built-in seating and storage boxes.

4. Stay ahead of the curve.

If those simple design tricks aren’t enough to set your outdoor living space apart, consider incorporating curves into your deck design. Circles, sweeping arcs and other unique shapes that are juxtaposed against straight lines can add a distinctive touch of customization that will showcase your creativity.

Contemporary materials like composite decking make shaping deck boards into these eye-catching curves a breeze. Contractors and do-it-yourselfers following manufacturer instructions can rip, route and bend the boards into a range of one-of-a-kind custom shapes.

5. Give guests something attractive to lean on.

While railings are an important safety feature, they can also double as a decorative accent that takes your deck to a whole new level. You can finish out your deck with color-matched composite railing components and accessories for a seamless look, or contrast colors to create visual interest. If preserving views is important, consider using tempered glass panels, horizontal cables or shaped metal instead of traditional balusters.

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