Turn an uninviting backyard into the perfect spot for relaxing.

Building Ideas
Contractor Gerry Gibbons suggests some tried-and-true solutions to building a good pressure-treated deck.

1. Use #1 grade lumber, especially for floor decking. It's more expensive, but it won't warp, twist, or splinter as easily as less expensive lumber.

2. Use 2 x 12s on center for floor joists on longer spans. This will prevent the deck from bouncing and becoming unsafe.

3. Butt floor decking together when you install it. Because pressure-treated lumber shrinks as it dries, this will prevent large gaps.

Dressing the Deck

  • Don't be afraid to mix styles, but use complementary colors.
  • Use a bar-height table and stools to lift you above the rail. Your view will be better.
  • Invest in an umbrella if you don't have mature trees nearby.
  • Always find a spot for a chaise longue or comfortable chair--this deck has both. They're better for reading and enjoying a beautiful afternoon.
  • Don't be afraid to have more than one table. For large parties, conversation is easier around two tables of four or five.

"Building a Deck" is from the October 2002 issue of Southern Living.