When you boil it all down, you really have just two choices in decking materials: wood and concrete. It is important to choose the right type of decking materials because this will dictate the type of wood deck design. Wood decks seem to be the most popular choice at the present time.

Really, there is no one ‘best’ wood deck design – no one design that will meet the needs of every family. What will work for one home may not be best for another. Just because your neighbor did it a certain way does not mean that you have to do it the same way.


The basic requirement for all good wood deck designs is that the design and construction methods meet all local code ordinances for proper construction. Your wood deck design should also specify the use of good-quality materials (lumber and hardware). Lastly, and most obviously, your wood deck design should fully meet your needs. Feel free to discard design ideas if they won’t work for you.

In planning a good wood deck design, you need to consider what your limitations are. How much money can you afford to spend? Are you limited in available time? Will you need to hire a pro – or do you think that you are up against the challenge of building it?

Once you have the general idea for your wood deck firmly in mind, then it’s time to develop specific design plans. You can adapt and use a wood deck design pulled from a book or magazine article. You can also use special computer software to draw up your wood deck plans – and then you can print them out. If you want to make sure that your wood deck design is a sound one, you can hire a professional: a contractor or designer.


When getting an estimate from a contractor for your wood deck design construction, you should insist on a written estimate. It should be a complete estimate of all costs. The estimate should also specify the cost of materials separately from all labor charges.

Beware of any contractor or individual who suggests that you can ‘get by’ with using inferior, substandard materials or who attempts to modify construction plans to ‘save money.’ You may be left with a wood deck that will not pass code inspection – or that might collapse, causing injury!

As you work on getting various written estimates for your wood deck designs, you will notice, of course, that labor charges can vary significantly from contractor to contractor. If materials charges vary significantly from one contractor to another, compare the estimates very carefully to make sure that a contractor is not trying to use cheaper materials to lower the cost, or increasing their profit margin by charging a lot for using cheaper lumber and hardware.

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