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Designing Your Deck With Shade in Mind

June 25, 2015

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A deck is a wonderful outdoor space you can enjoy almost year round. But if you are familiar with Maryland summers, you know that in order to have a truly useful deck you need some shade. After all, it’s hard to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning or a bushel of crabs on a Sunday afternoon if you are being scorched by the sun. As Maryland deck builders, we help our clients design and plan their decks with shade in mind, and here are a few tips from our experts.

Consider the Location

Unfortunately, in most cases there is little you can do in regard to which side of the home your deck gets attached to. Decks are typically installed facing the back yard, as far away from the street as possible. And if it’s the eastern or western side, your deck will be getting sun at least half of the day. If the space allows, consider a wrap-around deck, so that you can have both shaded and sunny deck areas depending on the time of the day. And be especially mindful about cutting down those large trees. Unless they are in the way of construction, they will come handy when they cast a nice shadow in the morning or evening.

Add a Pergola

A pergola is a rather light structure that can be placed on top of most decks, whether it’s a multi-level deck or a platform deck. A basic pergola consists of 4 supporting posts and an open roof with rafters. To create shade, sides of the pergola can be closed off with curtains, and roofing or lattice can be laid to regulate how much sun enters through the top. Inside a pergola, you can make a sitting/reading area or place a dining table for alfresco dinners. Pergolas can be made with materials that match the rest of your deck, or it can be designed to contrast and stand out.

Build a Gazebo

A gazebo can also be installed on virtually any deck. While a pergola can be placed on top of a deck with no extra reinforcements, a gazebo is a more permanent structure that requires additional foundation support. A deck gazebo might take a bit more planning and construction efforts, but at the end you will get a nicely shaded structure that will also protect you from rain. For even greater versatility, a gazebo can be screened to prevent birds, insects and rodents from nesting inside or interrupting your leisure.

Think Portable

Pergolas and gazebos are great, but you can’t move them wherever you want. And if your deck is small, there may not be enough room to implement such a permanent structure. In this case, you have a few portable shading options. This includes patio umbrellas, portable canopies and sunsails. They don’t require complicated installation and can be moved or tilted to keep you in the shade all day long.

Looking to implement any of these solutions on your new deck? Not only is shade desirable for our outdoor activities, but it will also help prolong the life of your deck. Sun can be brutal on the deck surfaces, especially if it’s wood, so shade is welcome for many reasons.

Feel free to visit our Shrewsbury decking showroom to browse a wide selection of decking materials; and get in touch for a free quote if you want us to build your shaded deck oasis that features one or more of the above solutions.