A Wood Deck for Your Home
There’s just something about wood. By its very nature, it has a friendliness and hospitality about it, which surely goes back to it being one of our first building materials in the earliest days of human development.
In this vein, wood decks naturally bring beauty and warmth to your home. Enjoyed by all your friends and family, a wood deck creates an outdoor room, thus bringing the indoors out into the open and expanding your living space.
Wood decks enhance the landscapes of most homes, but in particular, they work well with these types of gardens:
• Modern landscape design. This style uses dramatic geometric shapes, easily personified in wood planks, to create a point of view that is fluid and natural. Horizontal and vertical planes can manufacture a modern sculpture effect while colors and plantings evoke a warm, welcoming feel. Water and light are often used, as in artfully-lit outdoor water fountains, to enhance the visual feast. It is the juxtaposition of soft and hard, linear and non-linear, free-flowing and restrained that defines modern landscape design
• Japanese garden design. In this tradition, the garden is a microcosm of nature, thus a wooden deck fits in perfectly. It can play off nicely against fences and gates, other elements important to Japanese gardens with their underlying philosophy of enclosure. The fence seals us away from the outside world, the gate is the threshold from which we enter the retreat and leave for the outside world, and the wood deck connects us to our natural selves.
• English garden design. The English garden design is the essence of an informal garden and a deck made of wood feeds that informality. Colors and textures in profuse wildness draw visitors in and create a feast for the mind’s eye. Because plants are chosen out of personal preference and a strong mix of color is used in this style, wood decks make for a pleasing backdrop.
• Urban landscaping. An urban yard or garden usually comes with big challenges, like the blank wall of a neighboring townhouse or a space that is all straight lines and right angles. As with all landscape architecture, the goal with urban landscaping is to create spaces in which the home and architectural elements have a relationship with its natural setting. Wooden decks fit neatly into this relationship.
When choosing wood for your decking, pressure-treated pine is the most popular material choice. Many people choose treated pine because it stands up well to weather and damp soil, two of the most common problems we face in the Houston area.
However, redwood and cedar have resins that naturally protect them from weathering and rotting, too. Cedar is also popular because it possesses dimensional stability and a natural resistance to decay. These woods generally lie flat, stay straight, retain fasteners and provide a firm base for many types of stains and paints.
Maintenance and Ongoing Care
Mother Nature is hard on wooden decks—moisture and the ultraviolet rays of the sun are the two biggest enemies. It goes without saying that the weather found here in the Gulf Coast region is particularly hard on wood decks.
For regular cleaning, the wood can be cleaned with a special cleaner, which will most likely take care of the gray mildew. For especially stubborn stains, use a small amount of household bleach diluted with water to kill the mildew. Whatever cleaning agent is used, be sure to rinse thoroughly.
Wooden decks need to be protected every two years or so. A penetrating, clear wood finish or stain should do the trick. It is also a good idea to regularly check for protruding nail heads, something that happens with temperature changes which makes wood expand and contract. You will also want to look for any rotten areas, especially on stairs and railings. These services can be included in landscape maintenance contracts with landscape service companies.
Since 1987, Exterior Worlds has brought the best of high-end landscape design and services to the greater Houston area, including the Memorial Villages of Hedwig Village, Piney Point Village, Hunter Creek Village and Bunker Hill Village, Bellaire, Tanglewood, River Oaks and West University.