• Thu. May 19th, 2022

What you need to know before you design and build the ultimate bridge

ByLinda W. Smith

Dec 20, 2018

Building a patio creates additional space for entertaining or just relaxing. A smooth transition from indoors to outdoors is very appealing to most home buyers and can increase not only floor space but even the value of your home.

There are many things to consider before building a patio, and a variety of design styles, installation methods, and materials to choose from. You can have a patio attached to the house, or you can install a freestanding patio.

Search online or browse Pinterest for inspiration to find a design that suits your taste and space.

Before you begin any deck construction, check that your local council will allow this addition to your home and if there are any restrictions on height, size, materials, or privacy.

Hardwood deck boards are a classic and durable choice.

Which deck material is the best?

Before you build a patio, you need to consider what you want to look like, maintenance requirements, and your budget. Consider the pros and cons of hardwoods, treated pine, and composite decking materials.

  • Hardwood such as jarrah, blackbutt, spotted gum, and merbau are extremely durable and very tough. You can choose between the warm red-brown tones of merbau or the rich jarrah brown to achieve the look you desire. Maintenance is also a factor to consider, as hardwoods require a wood finish such as oil to apply to maintain their durability and prevent them from deteriorating.
  • Treated pine is a more affordable wood option and has been treated to resist rot, fungus and termites. A versatile material, you can let it turn gray with the elements, or dye it in any color to suit the look you want. It is light and easy to install but requires annual maintenance to keep it in good condition.
  • Composite terrace is made from a blend of wood fibers and recycled plastic or fiber cement, and is an environmentally friendly alternative to wood. This material is available in a variety of wood tones and most importantly, it is low maintenance because it will not fade, warp, rot or split. All you have to do is wash it every now and then. Composite decks can be more expensive than other deck options.
  • Modular terrace is another option. These prefabricated panels are easy to install and are available in a variety of wood choices, such as merbau and treated pine. Maintenance depends on the material you choose, but the cost may be higher than purchasing individual planks.
Sunny outdoor entertainment deck with triple sliding glass doors in a new contemporary design home
Composite decks are a low maintenance alternative to wood.

Construction and maintenance

At the base, a deck consists of a frame of posts, brackets, and joists that supports the deck boards. The frame can be constructed from hardwood, treated pine, or steel.

There are a number of ways to secure patio material to joists, including nailing, screwing, or even installing hidden patio fasteners for an uninterrupted sleek look.

Every spring, you should inspect your patio for any deterioration. Most stained decks will need to be repainted annually or every two years.

You can check the condition of the protective layer by running water over the planks. If the water is boiling on the top, the surface coating is in good condition. But if the water seems to be sinking into the wood, it should be covered to seal it and protect it from the elements.

71 The Strand, Newport.  Rt Edgar
Consider confidentiality when designing a patio and get board approval if needed.

Bridge design

When designing your new patio, consider the features you want it to include for your lifestyle and available space.

It is more cost effective to plan and build what you want correctly than to retrofit the deck later with additional inclusions.

If you want an outdoor kitchen, for example, consider where the gas or plumbing should be installed before construction.

If you are looking for privacy from neighbors, consider installing a paneled privacy screen or adding planters for planting a hedge.

Consider the position of a barbecue, furniture and lighting in the design of your patio.
Consider the position of a barbecue, furniture and lighting in the design of your patio.

Do you want built-in seating or free-standing furniture, or a combination of the two? Wooden benches can be constructed with a hinged top to create hidden storage space. If you make them weatherproof, you can store your outdoor cushions to prevent them from fading or getting wet in the rain.

Before construction, notice where the sun hits the space throughout the day. The amount of sunlight depends on the appearance. North facing bridges will benefit from winter and summer sun, south facing bridges will benefit from summer sun, and west facing bridges can be very hot in the afternoon.

You can create protection from the scorching sun by including trees and bushy plants, adding accent walls to block out the sun, or installing shade sails.

A covered terrace with ceiling fans
A covered patio creates an all-weather entertainment area.

If the space is covered, you can add cooling by installing ceiling fans. Also consider how the patio can be used at night so that you can install any lighting required as part of the building process.

Outdoor living and entertainment have become an integral part of contemporary living and a well-designed patio will add excellent value to your lifestyle and home.


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