Style Inspiration

Designing a Dream Deck—10 Deck Features You Can’t Do Without

Design your dream deck with these 10 must-have products during the design phase, ensuring a seamless and visually stunning final result without the need for costly revisions.

November 02, 2023

Designing your dream deck should be an exciting experience. But for some homeowners, the final build leaves them wishing they would have signed off on a few additional features to bring their design together.

In this blog post, we’ll cover 10 deck must-have products to consider during the design phase of your deck to help you avoid costly revisions and build the deck of your dreams — without any regrets.

1. Deck Layout and Design

Before your deck build begins, make sure you’ve thought about all your layout and design options for each cool deck feature you want. If you want your deck to include curved railing or feature a herringbone pattern or picture frame design, you’ll want to include these elements in the initial deck plan. Deciding on a layout or design change after the build can result in additional costs and design inconsistencies.

2. Deck Railing

Deck railings offer style and deck safety, especially for elevated decks. While a deck railing can technically be added down the line, it’s better to consider style and placement before a build begins. Choosing the right railing style during the design process ensures a cohesive and visually pleasing final result. 

When deciding on deck railings, consider different customization options and how the railing will integrate with other deck features. 

3. Cocktail Rail

Cocktail rails make hosting a breeze by offering guests a convenient place to rest drinks and snacks. They’re a must-have deck feature that elevates the entire deck experience.

Adding a cocktail rail after a build can be more expensive than incorporating it into the initial design. Installing a cocktail rail after the fact can also require alterations to a deck’s structure, potentially compromising stability and detracting visually from the space.

4. Wired Deck Lighting

Wired deck lighting offers both safety and ambiance, but deciding on your lighting before the building begins is crucial. Going back and adding wiring to a completed deck structure can require board removal and even light demolition to reach the necessary spaces. You may also be limited in your lighting options.

Planning for Trex® Outdoor Deck Lighting™ from the get-go is recommended. But in a pinch, non-wire-based options like solar deck lights are often easy to retrofit.

5. Outdoor Kitchen

There’s just something about cooking in the fresh air that makes an outdoor kitchen one of the best features you can add to your deck design. With Trex® Outdoor Kitchens™, your deck gains not only immense value but also becomes the ultimate entertainment spot on the block. 

However, adding an outdoor kitchen to an existing deck can require costly retrofits or leave you with limitations in space or functionality. Considering grill placement, storage, and seating while designing your deck is the best way to get the outdoor culinary space you’ve been dreaming of.

6. Hidden Fasteners

Hidden fasteners are more than a cool deck feature–they are ingenious hardware that eliminates the need for visible screws or nails on a deck's surface. By securing boards from beneath, you’re left with a smooth, seamless finish that’s less likely to trip up deck-dwellers.

Deciding on hidden fasteners before building ensures proper installation and avoids the time-consuming process of removing existing screws or nails, which may damage your deck.

7. Fascia

When designing your deck, don’t overlook the significance of fascia. For many deck designers, it’s a deck must-have that adds a finishing touch and creates a polished look by covering the deck's perimeter. 

Adding fascia later can be challenging if not considered before a deck is built. It can result in uneven edges and an unfinished appearance in worst-case scenarios. Planning for Trex® fascia during the design phase ensures seamless integration and a clean finish.

HGTV Dream Home 2018 in Gig Harbor, Washington

8. Pergola

A pergola adds shade to your deck, creating a cozy retreat. However, a pergola adds extra weight to a deck, so it should be considered during the initial design rather than as an afterthought.

Adding a pergola to a finished deck may necessitate reinforcing the structure or even entirely redoing parts of the deck. But by adding Trex® Pergola™ to the initial design, you can rest easy that your pergola will be properly supported and perfectly matched to your deck.

9. Unique Stair Options

When designing your dream deck, don’t assume your stair options are limited to a select few. There are plenty of styles and options, including custom-shaped steps or Trex® Spiral Stairs™ for a fun and space-saving alternative. 

As with other important features, considering stairs before the build begins ensures proper integration and can avoid costly modifications later on, especially when considering unique designs.

10. Deck Drainage

Proper deck drainage systems prevent water from pooling and protect your deck from serious moisture-related issues. But to be effective, it’s a feature best thought of and implemented during the build rather than after construction has wrapped up.

Ensure your deck remains dry and comfortable, even during rainy days, by considering a Trex® RainEscape® Under-Deck Drainage System during the design process.

Decking Done Right with Smart and Stylish Features

As you plan your dream deck, consider these essential features during the design phase to avoid costly retrofits and delayed construction schedules. By making informed decisions now, you’ll save time and money in the future.

When designing your ultimate outdoor retreat, browse the Trex Outdoor Living Collection for a wide range of top-notch deck options.


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