It’s a common question, and like most it has no set answer. It depends on your needs and your budget, but there are a few general rules to keep in mind.
Some experts suggest that a deck should be no larger than 20% of the square footage of the accompanying house. It’s a solid point: an extremely large deck can dominate a property. If your first instinct is to go big, consider building an addition to your home first. A sunroom will add value and balance to the overall grounds, and with the extra new space a deck that’s more proportionate to your home is easier to plan.
What do I want from my deck?
It’s the obvious question and the best place to start. If you’re going to be entertaining large groups of people the design will be different than for a more family-oriented space. Is privacy a concern? Often it is if there’s a pool in the yard, or if the deck is going to be used as a study nook. If not, a more open concept can make your whole yard look larger and more welcoming.
A handy rule of thumb
We recommend a handy rule of thumb to get an appropriate size. Budget 40 square feet for each person likely to be on the deck at the same time. Say, for example, a family of four anticipates having dinners on their new deck. 160 square feet or about 12 feet by 14 feet would be a good size to consider.
The rule allots a 5 foot by 8 foot area for each person: plenty for a chair and some breathing room. Keep in mind the deck won’t be “full” all the time. But when it is there will be no danger of stuffiness or overcrowding if the guideline is followed.
And of course it’s just a guideline. Budget is often trump for size decisions. If you can afford more than the recommended footage so much the better. Conversely, if the number for your project comes in a little high, look to trim the budget elsewhere (e.g. extras and features, material choices) before reducing the size to less than 40 square feet per person.
If you have more questions about decks we’re happy to answer them. Call 613-736-1122 or hit the chat button on the right during business hours.