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Can You Build a Deck onto Any House?

Does your yard have good drainage? Is the terrain flat or hilly? Is your yard a decent size—can you choose the perfect location for your deck—or is your yard so small that there is only one (possibly less than ideal) spot? Will a larger deck swallow your backyard whole? What size deck do you need to accommodate your furnishings and other accessories?  

If you’re asking yourself these questions you may be ready to talk to a contractor. Some homeowners feel like a deck should be a simple DIY project for a weekend or two, but DIY decks are potentially disastrous. Ask any contractor how many deck DIY projects they’ve repaired or rebuilt after collapse. There are numerous considerations to make when planning a deck. We would love to tell you that building a deck is feasible no matter what style yard or home you have, but there are rare instances where perhaps it may not be possible. When it is realistic to build your deck, doing it thoughtfully and safely is a must! 

Safety, Legality, and Marketability

  • Safety is a primary concern in deck building. The type of ground, the style (attached or detached), the materials (down to the fasteners!), and engineering of supports can all become quite complex. Factor in the requirements of building codes and permits, and there is untold nuance to the process. A DIY can rapidly become a headache for a weekend warrior wanting a quick fix. Often blueprints for projects like this must be approved by the building code office before construction can even begin. 
  • Consider that property taxes may increase when adding a deck to your property. Always consider potential return on investment if you needed to sell your property. Decks do add value and many potential buyers expect them in certain markets. Yet you don’t want to add a huge, elaborate deck if other homes in your neighborhood have far more modest decks. At the same time, you don’t want a small deck if other homes in your market have more impressive decks.    

Location and Privacy

  • Location is key, and there are variables some homeowners lack the experience to consider, like what is the best location off of your home for an attached deck? Many would say the kitchen, picturing themselves carrying food to and from the grill. During a party the kitchen becomes a high traffic, inconvenient spot. A dining room or living room, if it is kitchen adjacent, are far better areas for deck access. Also, think about the ease of access to the yard, and make sure that the deck isn’t blocking services like electricity on the outside of the home that can’t be rerouted. 
  • Placing your deck to maximize a beautiful view, if you have one, is ideal. Sun, shade, and privacy are also huge considerations for locating your deck. Consider the sun exposure on your deck during various times of the day and also how trees with weak branches could potentially cause damage in the future if they aren’t trimmed prior to building. Think about viewability from your neighbor’s homes and find creative solutions to increase privacy on your deck without blocking out light; for example, use patterned concrete blocks, fences, trellises, or screens.  

Get the Job Done Right!

When evaluating your home’s ability to accommodate a deck, consider the architecture of the house. A deck’s aesthetic should complement the home and the surrounding landscape as well. You want the structure designed as a cohesive part of your home and yard. Recently, the trend of having the indoors and outdoors married together in the home means that a seamlessness between the house and the deck is more important than ever. Nature is therapeutic, and designs “bringing the outdoors in” are deeply impactful to the human psyche: they are here to stay rather than a passing fad. 

Whether you are certain now that your home can accommodate the deck of your dreams (or especially if you are still not 100% certain), give T.W. Ellis a call for a free estimate on your project! We are famous for our decks. Our award-winning decks have been among our company’s proudest achievements for more than 15 years. Take a look at our work and decide for yourself!


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