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Choosing materials. Are you the type of person who has to have a natural decking material? If so, your options go beyond pressure-treated lumber or cedar. Ipe, cumara, garapa, cambara and bamboo are among the many harvested woods that you can choose from.
Try ipe, a sustainable product, if you like the darker, richer look of mahogany. Or use bamboo if you're looking for something that's lighter and also known for its sustainability.
Do you have concerns about maintaining the deck over the long term, but want the look and feel of wood? If so, maybe a synthetic material like a wood-plastic composite (WPC) is right for you.
When selecting a decking material, Jeswald suggests considering:
Take field trips to look at decks made of the materials you're considering. And talk to a local decking pro to get some advice on what's available in your market, plus each material's cost and maintenance.
Working with a patio. Sometimes we think we should have either a deck or a patio, but not both. Not so, says Jeswald. A deck and patio can work very well together, especially on a sloping site, or when you want to make a graceful transition between inside and outside with a few feet of height between the two. In this example, a small deck area with a broad flight of steps to the patio allows for that gradual transition.
Finishing touches. Furniture, plants and other outdoor accessories bring the best of modern life outdoors. Organize plants in a container garden that adds color and structure to the deck and can be used to flank doorways and stairs.
Extend the use of your deck throughout the year with a chiminea, freestanding fireplace, fire pit or outdoor heaters powered by electricity or gas. Outdoor heaters can range from small, inexpensive tabletop units to larger, more costly freestanding gas units on wheels, allowing you to move them to where the heat is needed most.