As a follow-up to our story on innovative deck and railing design I want to share a real-life example of how we met the budget, maintenance, aesthetic and space allocation needs for our clients on a recent project. This illustrates how good design can provide solutions across a spectrum of different requirements.
The clients requested a spacious, low-maintenance and attractive deck to complement their 1920’s Oakland home and to provide outdoor living space adjacent to the beautiful garden that is evolving from their hard work, care and attention.
The original deck had an awkard layout and was showing signs of wear from years of hard use. The platform was about the right size but the railing blocked the view and the stairs consumed some of the best gardening space in the center of the back yard.
We designed a new deck approximately the same size as the original but modified the placement of the stairs to create better flow to the ground level and more efficient use of the available space. This allows the garden to become the focal point of the yard versus the oversized staircase.
We decided on Azek PVC decking in acacia (www.azek.com) for the platform and stair treads and used pressure treated lumber for the framing. We found a photo of a cable railing system that the clients really liked but determined that cable was not a good choice for their very active dog nor did it meet their maintenance and budget requirements. Our lead carpenter suggested using metal electrical conduit as a cost-efficient material for the railing. I merged his suggestion with the concept of the cable railing system to come up with a stylish, low-cost, low-maintenance railing that meets all of the criteria of the project. The clients are thrilled with the outcome.