Building a deck in Florida's Panhandle and Emerald Coast

Coastal Home Pros is Your Local Expert for Decks and More

If you’ve landed here without reading Part One in our series on deck-building, be sure to check out our Materials Primer. Once you’ve got your material choices nailed down, it’s time to think about designing your perfect deck. Our local experts at Coastal Home Pros can help you maximize your space and your budget to create the outdoor living space of your dreams.

Design it Right

Your family’s favorite outdoor activities should help determine the size, shape, and features of your new deck.

A great deck has well-designed space, multiple seating options, and adequate lighting and electrical outlets.
Plan for cooking and prep areas, built-in seating, dining, privacy, and sufficient lighting and electrical outlets.

Family Meals 

Maybe you already have your deck furniture, or maybe you’re buying new pieces. Either way, you should make sure your table will fit comfortably in the space you’re designing. At Coastal Home Pros, we recommend the “4-foot rule” when it comes to dining tables. Keeping a 4 foot margin all the way around the table allows plenty of space for people to walk behind those who are seated. Ideally, you should avoid layouts that trap diners at the table once they are seated.

Your new deck should have plenty of room for your dining table.
Plan room for a nice-sized dining table with plenty of clearance room around it.

Fresh Air Cooking

If you’re an avid outdoor cook, think about your grilling space. Leave room for a prep station as well as the actual grill. When you’re hosting the neighborhood barbecue, you’ll want a place to set your tools, seasonings, and ingredients near the cooking surface. 

Decks offer a wonderful outdoor space for cookouts and outdoor dining.
Your new deck will be the site of many great cookouts.

Entertaining Outdoors

Are you the host with the most whose door is always open to friends and family? Be sure to create spaces for your guests to sit and stand comfortably. Adding built-in perimeter seating is a cost-effective way to seat larger groups. And a deck railing with a wide, flat cap can do double-duty as a cocktail ledge for drinks and snacks. If you budget allows, it’s nice to create a space for lounge chairs and low tables.

Consider the Elements

Our coastal Florida sunshine is glorious, but even the most die-hard sun bum needs shade now and then. Consider adding a pergola to your decking structure to provide both shade and visual interest. Another option is a retractable awning. Besides providing shade, awnings can also offer shelter during our frequent afternoon rainstorms. 

Despite the sun, the evenings can get chilly here, especially in winter months. Consider planning space for an outdoor heater or fire pit (check fire codes first) to make your deck a year round outdoor space. 

Pergolas are a nice structural element that add shelter and beauty to your deck.
Pergolas are a nice structural element that add shelter and beauty to your deck.

Light Up the Night

When the sun drops and the stars come out, your beautiful new deck will be a lovely space to relax and entertain. Don’t forget to think about lighting. Make sure you’ve got enough lights to illuminate the entire space, paying special attention to stairs and transition zones. If you’re bringing an electrician out to install new lights, consider adding extra exterior outlets to allow for string lights and lanterns.

Go Green

Decks are a great place to highlight your green thumb. Planters and pots full of bright annuals or subtle evergreens can bring life and interest to your exterior space. If you intend to use very large planters, you may need extra structural support. If this is an issue, talk to your Coastal Home Pros deck specialist about incorporating stronger beams. Our experts can also talk with you about adding built-in planters. 

Next Steps

If you’ve chosen your decking materials and thought about your unique entertainment and relaxation needs, you’re almost ready to get started. Our Coastal Home Pros decking experts can help you think through the final planning and design details. If you have special considerations such as large trees you want to build around, a sloped yard, or handicapped access needs, we are here to help. Put our years of expertise in the Florida Panhandle and the Emerald Coast to work for you. Contact us today to get started!

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